Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: February 01, 2021
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Nothing beats a glass of wine after a long day of work. But it has to be chilled, right? And those in the know realize that using your fridge or freezer to cool the bottle down won’t do the trick. You need a wine cooler. Before you balk at the idea because you imagine a large room filled with bottles or a cooler taking up an entire wall of your living room, simply read our review. You simply need one of the best small wine cooler models on the market, and we reviewed them all.
While mini wine coolers have a reputation to be of lower quality, we bring you the good news that it doesn’t have to be the case. Our experts did in depth research to find high quality units that provide high end features you’re after such as you’ll see in the impressive Editor’s Choice model, the 12” wine cooler from Kalamera. Below you’ll see feedback on temperature zones, capacity, installation specifics and of course dimensions. Use the data in our easy to understand summaries to plan where you’ll use your new appliance.
Our data was gathered by wine experts and we combined their insight with feedback from consumers. Now you have our reviews to read through as well as a quick guide in the form of a comparison table. Our buying guide at the end of this article will also help you understand the market better so you make the right purchase for your home. Whether you’re a novice wine collector or an expert, there’s something for you here.
Kalamera is a trusted brand to pick and with this model you get space for 18 bottles of standard size. The best thing about it is the slim design which makes its footprint quite small; that’s ideal if you don’t have much floor space to sacrifice.
You can see the temperature range is sufficient to cater for both red and white wines, so it’s a winner no matter your preference. But unfortunately as with many smaller units you won’t have two separate zones. Its versatility is further confirmed by the fact that you can use it as a free standing unit or have it permanently built in. This is possible thanks to the vent’s positioning. Just make sure you leave enough room for the plug at the back.
Users often comment on how quiet this unit runs, so place it in your kitchen or lounge with no fear of it disrupting conversations.
Bonus is how stylish it looks thanks to the silver finishes and the LED lighting. It will complement the aesthetics of your room.
One area the brand can work on is the instructions they provide: it’s not very detailed. But for those of you with basic tech savvy the digital display should be easy enough to understand.
Most importantly the wine fridge cools well, although you should test temperature accuracy from time to time.
Apart from the fact that this allows cooling the bottles of wine, this model will also contribute to the interior decoration of your house.
In this cellar, you have enough space to store 18 bottles. If you happen to have less stock, you will have the option of adjusting the six shelves to your liking.
Its dimensions are 11.6 x 22.75 x 34.25 inches, and its weight is 88.1 pounds. Its size and weight remain very reasonable considering the number of bottles it can accommodate.
The control is carried out with touch buttons: you can choose whether the temperature is expressed in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius, regulate it, and activate the lighting or turn off the lighting. The device allows you to tune it to the temperature you want. The lighting is done with a blue LED light: classic but efficient.
The device works thanks to thermoelectric cooling. The wine cooler offers an anti-vibration and cool environment which preserves all the taste qualities of your wine. No chemical is involved in the cooling process and the product is therefore environmentally friendly.
You won’t have any nasty surprises: the Antarctic Star 12-inch is strong and durable. Apart from the wooden shelves, its design is 100% glass and suitable for modern home decor.
Enjoy full view of all your bottles with this innovative design. You can view your bottles through the door’s glass panel and managing the temperature via the digital controls means you don’t have to open the door unless it’s to take one out for dinner time. If you need to store a half bottle for later you can use the vertical shelf design to store it upright. The storage area is customizable to suit your collection’s requirements in terms of space needed.
Despite its small size you get two different temperature zones so this one caters for both reds and whites at once.
The wine fridge is slightly more expensive than others with similar capacity, but the dual zone feature makes it worth it we think. The brand also gives you reinforced glass so you know you’re buying quality products and there’s an LED light already installed inside.
Note that this one takes a while to get working and reaching optimum temperature can take up to 48 hours the first time. But after that it works well, keeping temperatures constant. It’s also not the most quiet item on our list, but still better than many compressor powered models out there.
The design takes up little floor space and looks neat next to a cupboard. It may even fit underneath a window sill so it’s out of the way and doesn’t ruin aesthetics.
So you don’t think you have any space available for a wine cooler? Then you haven’t considered this model from EdgeStar. Its extremely limited footprint is why we labeled it our best small wine fridge—it’s really small. So why not squeeze it in between two cupboards or next to your regular fridge since this one is intended as a built in unit. You can even reverse the door if required, so no matter your kitchen layout this one may just work for you.
Though compact, it’s still practical since seven bottles are more than enough for many wine lovers who don’t necessarily want to build up a collection but enjoy their drinks at just the right temperature. It only has one zone, but the cooler does have quite a large range of temperatures you can pick from so it caters for all types of wine.
The unique design means this one is pricier than some others, but as a quality product it’s a long term investment. Another reason to trust it is that it circulates the cool air throughout so all your bottles will be chilled at the same temperature—there are no hot spots that can spoil the aging process or have you end up with a warm drink with your dinner.
The unit looks stylish and runs fairly quiet.
What we liked:
Extremely slim design
Cool air circulates well
Door can be reversed
What could be better:
Not ideal as a free standing unit as it may topple if bumped into
Don’t have floor space? Why not place your new wine cooler on your countertop? This one is ideal if you have a large kitchen or an island with space you’re not fully utilizing. You’ll also have your wine on hand if you need it for cooking. It may even fit under a cabinet so it doesn’t make your space feel cramped.
The smoked glass front will protect the wine from light so the aging process isn’t impacted from the outside. Inside the effective system will keep your bottles cool whether you’re storing white or red wines: this product caters for a wide temperature range. The cool air is circulated thanks to a built in fan so all the bottles will get the same cool treatment. On occasion the temperature may fluctuate so it’s wise to test it regularly.
Of course this is one of the lighter units on the list and with a little help you can move it around if you need it in a different room to cater for a party. Just remember to do this as little as possible so you don’t damage the components.
It’s also one of the more affordable units on the list so it’s ideal if you’re shopping on a budget and you’re still deciding if you want to get into wine collecting.
The brand does manufacture both vertical and horizontal units, giving you even more options to customize your living space.
Here is another relatively slim design. You can easily fit this between other pieces of furniture or appliances as it doesn’t have a large footprint. Simply note that it’s a free standing unit so you can’t slot it into a cupboard—it requires enough ventilation to work.
A stand out feature is how quiet it runs. At only 25dB it won’t be too much of a bother. It also comes with all the other high rated bells and whistles such as a light, a glass panel that blocks out UV light and an LCD screen that helps you monitor & adjust the temperature settings. Here it’s important to note that the temperature range isn’t as great as on some other models on our list. The lowest setting may not be ideal if you prefer your bottles stored at very low temperatures. On the up side, thanks to the quiet running and very little vibrations your bottles’ sediment won’t be shaken around all the time. It’s a very wise option for aging your wine.
With Black & Decker being a trusted name in today’s market you can also be assured you’re purchasing a quality product. It also looks modern and sleek, so you can place this in any room in the house without ruining the aesthetics.
Many users comment on how this unit complements their rooms. That means no matter where you have space available you can add this one to your layout and the area will still look good; ideal for small apartments where you can’t hide your wine fridge behind closed doors. Remember to leave room around it though—it’s not designed to be boxed in as it requires ventilation to operate.
The practical elements are also impressive as it runs relatively quiet. And NutriChef gives you a 12 month warranty so you know you can give it a try and let them know if anything should go wrong.
Take note that this one only provides you with one temperature zone and it can’t become as cold as some high end units. But if the 50°F is low enough for the types of wine you prefer, this is a great buy. One thing that counts in its favor is that it cools down rather quickly compared to some other models so you’ll have the benefit of your new appliance very soon after unpackaging it.
It’s versatile for such a small item as you can let bottles on their sides, but you can create room for opened ones to stand upright as well.
You get all of this at a very decent price, making this another wise option for budget shoppers.
This is another stylish unit as many home owners love the black look that matches with almost any décor, modern or classic. And it works as good as it looks. This one can handle very low temperatures so any type of wine can be chilled inside. Just remember that it only has one temperature zone, not multiple ones. While it’s easy to set the temperature, unfortunately this is operated manually from inside the wine fridge. This means you may lose some cool air while you’re toggling the switch. Still, for the relatively low price you’ll pay this isn’t the biggest sacrifice to make. It has other high end features such as tinted glass.
The exterior design is smart too as the handle and hinge are all hidden. Firstly this adds to the sleek appearance but you’ll also appreciate that it’s easier to fit this next to other appliances or furniture. There aren’t any components sticking out and making it difficult to fit.
This one is small enough to consider placing on your counter top as it doesn’t weigh too much. You’ll easily handle picking it up and it won’t damage the structure by weighing down your counter top too much.
It’s also practical as a wine and beer fridge to cater for everyone’s drinks at one time.
Commercial Cool provides you with a quality unit that will have your wine cool within a few hours after unpackaging the fridge.
This is our best 6 bottle wine cooler as well as our budget pick for the day. Thanks to the wide range of wine fridges that Commercial Cool manufactures almost anyone—no matter your budget or available space—can now get a dynamic appliance to keep wine and drinks cool. With two built in shelves it’s easy to keep drinks organized and see what is inside; because yes, this budget model even has a light already built in. If you need to store uniquely shaped bottles or want more space it’s possible to remove the racks; customize how you use your new wine cooler according to your lifestyle.
This one is small but very powerful as can be seen from the great temperature range you can pick from. Only when the room gets really hot may the cooler struggle to keep the interior temperature consistent when set to a very low setting. It even has advanced features such as allowing you to adjust the temperature on the outside via the digital interface. This interface is easy to understand, so newbies can try this one and you won’t feel overwhelmed.
As an all black unit it’s another design that easily matches décor and appliances.
What we liked:
Digital interface for controlling temperature
Exceptional temperature range
What could be better:
Only one temperature zone
Performance drops in very warm environment
Things to Сonsider
Let’s make the decision making process a little easier on you with our informative buying guide. We discuss all relevant aspects to have you feel like a pro wine collector in no time.
Benefits of having a small wine cooler
There are many reasons why this appliance is one of the best investments you’ll make this year. Why not enjoy these benefits:
A small wine cooler gives you the benefit of wine chilled to the exact temperature you want, without taking up too much space in your home.
It’s the solution for those living in small homes with limited floor space as many can even be placed on counters.
They’re often cheaper than regular wine coolers.
Your wine can be placed in your kitchen where its on hand whenever you want to pour your next glass.
Wine coolers protect your wine from the effects sun and fluctuating temperatures can have on it.
Features to consider when choosing a small wine cooler
If you’re unsure which of our models above will work for you, read up on small wine coolers’ features below. We discuss the most important factors—when using this as your checklist while shopping you’ll easily identify the best value for money for your unique setup.
Shelves and wine bottle capacity
The first thing to consider is how many bottles your cooler can take. Is it enough for your needs? In this wine cooler category, you’ll get bottles of various sizes, with the maximum capacity being 18. Remember that this capacity refers to how many standard sized bottles can fit inside. If you’re storing unique brands, odd sizes or champagne bottles you may fit in less.
Look at how many shelves there are and whether they’re removable. If they’re permanent fixtures you may not be able to fit non-traditional sized bottles at all. You may also require bottles to stand upright, such as when you’re storing champagne that doesn’t need to be on its side. This feature also comes in handy if you want to return an opened bottle to the cooler so you can enjoy the rest later. In that case you don’t want it lying on its side necessarily. See if that’s possible with the model you pick.
It’s also handy if you can customize the setup as is possible with the Commercial Cool CCWT060TB above. If you can take out shelves to make space for unique bottles or even beer and cold drink cans your new wine cooler caters for much more than simply chilling your wine.
When it comes to temperature you have to consider two main aspects: the temperature range and the zones.
The temperature range must cater for the type of wine you’ll store as whites and reds are best served at different temperatures. While you’re usually able to set the temperature, each cooler will have its own range based on the technology used. Many smaller coolers don’t cater for very low temperatures which can be a problem if you want your white wines extremely cold.
You can also consider investing in a dual zone wine cooler like the NutriChef PKTEWCDS1802. With this you can cater for two different types of wine in separate compartments, each with its own temperature setting. But this is only important if you know you’ll often store different wines. It’s versatile, but may cost a little more. If you only need one temperature zone the single zone models are sufficient. Simply make sure you can adjust the settings according to the temperatures your favorite wines require.
Not all coolers are permanent fixtures. You’ll find free standing ones that you can place wherever you want it. Simply don’t move it often as this may damage the components.
Alternatively, you can have one fitted into cupboard space so it’s out of the way. Note that this is only possible with models that have vents in the correct places. If vents are at the back the unit most probably needs to be used as a free standing unit.
The benefit of small wine coolers like the EdgeStar CWR70SZ is that you can utilize wasted space in your kitchen: these slim coolers that are meant for permanent installation can be placed in the space between your fridge and a cupboard which many home owners don’t know what to do with.
Thermoelectric vs compressor wine coolers
While there isn’t a specific winner in this category it’s an important aspect to consider.
For many users a thermoelectric unit is the best option as it runs quieter than a compressor wine cooler. This is a huge plus if you’re shopping for a small wine cooler and you don’t have much space available. Chances are your cooler will be in your kitchen, your room or even the lounge and you don’t want the sound bothering you. The thermoelectric design also produces fewer vibrations which is good news for your wines: they won’t be affected by vibrations so the sediment will stay at the bottom and not affect the wine’s flavor.
For these reasons we mostly listed thermoelectric coolers, but note that compressor wine coolers are more powerful. This is more relevant to large scale storage of wine though.
Noise level rating
As mentioned above, coolers may produce some noise as part of the cooling process. The unit’s specific noise level rating is an important specification to check before you buy. Make sure it’s low enough especially if your small wine cooler will be positioned near your bedroom or where you want to converse with other people. You don’t want it bothering you. An excellent option is the BLACK+DECKER WACDBWT12TB Wine Cellar that runs very quiet.
Look for these specs when shopping for your wine cooler. Chances are if it’s not mentioned in marketing and packaging content it’s because the manufacturer knows it should be improved upon.
If your new cooler will be placed in an attic or basement away from day to day activities this isn’t a primary concern and in that case it’s not a deal breaker.
Dimensions and weight
When shopping for a small wine cooler, always start by measuring out your available space. This will be the starting point of identifying which models will be appropriate, so once it arrives there’s no chance of it not fitting where you wanted it to stand. Remember to consider whether it’s an under counter wine cooler with vents in the right places or a free standing one as already discussed above.
Weight can also be important especially if you need to handle it yourself once it’s delivered. You also don’t want to purchase a unit that’s too heavy if it’s meant to stand on your kitchen table or counter. Make sure the surface can handle the weight.
Extras: lighting, controls and security lock
To new wine collectors the small extras on small wine coolers may seem unimportant at first but you’ll quickly realize how they make all the difference in how you enjoy your wine as a hobby.
Firstly, lighting is actually very important. Lights allow you to see which bottles are inside and help you put them on display. But also consider the type of lighting your unit has. It should be soft, with blue LED lights being an even better option. This lighting won’t affect the wine’s aging process much. It’s also worth the money investing in a model that allows you to switch off the lighting when not in use to save electricity and so the light doesn’t affect the wine.
You’ll still find many models that allow you to manually control the temperature and other settings. Some consumers may prefer this way of staying in control of your wine’s aging process, but having digital controls is definitely more user friendly. Some of them can automatically adjust to the appropriate settings, even after a power outage.
Security locks are only nice to haves for many collectors but may be essential if you have kids in the house. A lock makes the cooler child proof and this is important if your cooler will be on display in a room the kids have access to. This can also be important if your new cooler is purchased for your restaurant to keep your merchandise safe.
You need to discern whether these are necessary features. If not, you can rather base your decision on other aspects.
Yes, it’s worth every cent when you purchase a wine cooler as it operates differently than your fridge. A wine cooler manages the humidity and lets air circulate, unlike a fridge which pulls moisture from the air. This means your cooler ensures that corks don’t dry out and the environment is more conducive to successfully age a bottle of wine. Wine’s taste can improve and it can stay drinkable for longer than usual, simply because you used the correct storage method.
Wines can be roughly divided into two categories. For each one you need a different temperature to enjoy optimum results in terms of aging and taste. Red wines are best enjoyed when they’re between 50°F and 65°F while whites are stored between 45°F and 50°F. For this reason it’s best to get a dual zone cooler if you want to enjoy both types in your home.
Noise levels differ based on the type of technology that’s used. A compressor type cooler is noisier than a thermoelectric unit, which is why we mostly showcased the latter in this article. Thermoelectric coolers can run almost silent if they’re of high quality; they will therefore not disturb you.
The right cooler that consistently provides the right temperatures for your wine can help you keep a bottle of wine for years, but it depends on the type of wine you have. Reds can be stored up to a decade, but whites only last for a maximum of three years.
The small wine cooler market has all the options you can possibly require and now you simply have to decide which one will be yours. For us the Kalamera 12” Wine Cooler stood out from the rest which is why we gave it a rating of 9.9. This is thanks to looks, functioning and quality.
In close second place with a rating of 9.8 is the Antarctic Star 12-Inch Wine Cooler which impresses with its two possible ways of installation. It also looks super stylish.
The NutriChef PKTEWCDS1802 also deserves a mention on our list of best small wine cooler options. In a compact design you get many features and can even have bottles stand upright; a plus for many users, landing it a 9.6 rating.
So, what is your number one priority in picking out your new cooler? You have all the information. Go shopping and enjoy your wine more than ever.