Reasons to get a wine cooler
If you’re not sure yet whether this is the new appliance your home needs, let’s tell you why one of the best wine cooler products should feature in your home. Firstly, realize that your normal fridge simply isn’t the right option anymore; not if you’re serious about enjoying wine optimally, or if you’re embarking on a new hobby. A normal fridge can’t store wine at the appropriate temperatures or cater for different wines that need different temperatures.
A wine cooler is also made to prevent your wine bottles’ corks from drying out. Did you know your refrigerator pulls out the moisture so the air is dry? In contrast, a cooler traps it inside, so your corks stay moist enough. It effectively manages humidity, such as the Ivation 24 Bottle Dual Zone Stainless Steel Wine Cooler mentioned above with its effective seals. So, you just need to open a bottle, dispence and aerate your wine and then enjoy a perfect drink.
In creating these ideal conditions, a cooler becomes the perfect place for your wine to age. You can see that it serves many functions, making it a good investment for anyone that enjoys a glass of white or red.
Features to consider when choosing the right wine refrigerator
Our list of wine coolers proves that all of these appliances aren’t the same. To ensure you get the best value for money, you need to match features to your unique requirements. Below we’ll discuss the features that most wine lovers consider when they make purchases. When you use this as your shopping checklist, you’ll quickly identify the best option for you.
Shelves and wine bottle capacity
A first feature to consider is how much space you’ll have to place your bottles. Ask yourself what the average number of bottles is that you’ll want to store at a time. Make sure of your habits so your purchase the ideal long term solution.
Important note: the bottle capacity mentioned in specs is measured in terms of standard-sized bottles.
If you’re not sure how many bottles you’ll want to store, at least research the number of shelves you’ll get and whether they’re removable. If you can customize some, it’s a great sign of user-friendliness.
Some coolers allow for storage of bottles in upright positions, but this isn’t a common requirement for all wine lovers. If it’s something you’re after, there are models out there that will suffice such as the NutriChef PKTEWC120.
Modern technology enables wine cooler manufacturers to create different zones in one unit. But not all wine coolers have this feature. You have to pick between a single and dual-zone wine cooler. Of course, the dual zone design is versatile, but if you only store one type of wine, you may not need this. Since the dual zone models tend to be more expensive, you can save some money if you settle for the single zone type.
Even in a single zone unit, also read up about the temperature range the cooler can provide so you know it can cater for your favorite bottle of vino at its optimum temperature.
In the modern market, you’re lucky to be able to pick between a permanent installation and a portable design. With fixed models, you must ensure it suits the cabinet space you have available—as they’re often installed as part of a cupboard area—or the area underneath a counter. You also need enough space for a vent to be installed at the front, as this is the only means of ventilation for built-in wine coolers.
You can place a portable or freestanding unit wherever there’s enough floor space, as long as you have access to a power source too. They can also be moved around to where you need them or want to enjoy your wine with a group of friends. A benefit here is that you don’t have to pay an additional price for installation. Just remember that a unit that gets moved around regularly may get damaged easier than a fixed unit.
Thermoelectric vs. compressor wine coolers
There are two ways your wine cooler will produce the low temperatures you require. The first option is a thermoelectric process that is popular because there are barely any vibrations while the components work. This is a plus because it means it’s a relatively noise-free unit.
A compressor wine cooler is much more powerful than a thermoelectric unit, making them the preferred option if you require large capacity. But these units will be noisier, even with advances in modern technology. They also impress by maintaining the same temperatures, even in areas where the climate often changes—something a thermoelectric cooler can’t always do.
Note that a compressor wine cooler tends to be more expensive than its countertype, as they’re often larger and require more components to do their impressive work.
There’s no best option—simply pick what’s appropriate according to your preferences of noise levels, budget, and capacity.
Noise level rating
Above we mentioned the noise aspect already. Yes, it’s an important feature to consider as you don’t want your new appliance to ruin the atmosphere in your home, restaurant, or office.
If your cooler will be in a basement or storage area, chances are a few vibrations won’t disturb anyone. But if it’s in your kitchen, lounge, or office, you may require silence from time to time.
This aspect will often be noted in specs and is worth your consideration beforehand to ensure satisfaction with your new purchase.
Dimensions and weight
As with any portable unit, it’s ideal to have one you can easily carry and maneuver. So pick a lighter model if you know you’ll often move or transport your wine cooler.
Also measure out your available space, so you know exactly what sizes you need to shop for.
With fixed units, weight is less of a problem as it won’t ever need to move. Just make sure it will fit and that it’s big enough for what you want to use it for.
Luckily the market offers all sizes and even wine coolers small enough to place on your countertop or use as a room beverage cooler such as the Koolatron Wine Cooler.
Extras: lighting, controls and security lock
You may not find the perfect wine cooler on our list, but the good news is that you can do some customization if needed. Many wine lovers add lighting to their coolers or pick it as a paid-for extra feature. Just make sure the lighting only provides a soft glow and can be switched on & off as you don’t want it on at all times. It can affect your wine’s aging as well as the electricity bill.
You can opt for manual or digital controls. You may prefer the first if you want to stay in control of your wine’s aging, but the benefit of a digital setup is that it’s so effortless!
If your wine is a valuable asset, you’ll want to lock it up securely. Luckily there are units with locks such as the Kalamera 15” Wine Cooler to keep a fridge childproof—simply enquire from the manufacturer. If it’s not a necessity, rather spend your money on other extras.
Tips on getting the best results from your wine fridge
As mentioned above, a cooler is not only about keeping your wine chilled. It can be an integral factor in its aging process. You can ensure optimal results with a few good habits and guidelines.
Ideally, your wine should be in darkness rather than in direct light, which is why you don’t want harsh lighting inside. Also, make sure there aren’t extreme light beams entering the front panel from outside the cooler.
Look after your cooler and don’t let it fall, get knocked over or moved unless absolutely necessary. As we’ve stated, this can cause components to get damaged.
You want your bottles to be kept at a humidity of 60% to 70% and do your best to ensure the same temperature is maintained. This is why a compressor system is so valuable as it won’t have as many temperature fluctuations as a thermoelectric unit.
Do what you can to keep the room’s air clean so there’s no pollution or particles that will ruin your wine as air is ventilated in and out of the cooler.
A smart, practical decision relates to where you’ll place your fridge. Ideally, you shouldn’t put even one of the best wine cooler models in a garage or basement where you know the temperature often fluctuates. Many fridge models won’t be able to compensate for the erratic temperature conditions. Also, because it will have to work harder, it may have a shorter lifespan than usual.