We’ve been evaluating wine coolers for a long time and recently spent 48 hours researching the latest trends to add to our past testing experience. We talked with several wine experts to learn about wines in general and what to look for in a quality cooler.
We feel the wine coolers under $500 is the best choice overall because it strikes a good balance between premium features and price, hold a good amount of wine, and is compact enough to sit on your counter. The fridge’s thermoelectric cooling system is energy efficient and runs quietly.
Top 10 Bestseller Wine Coolers
Top 5 Best Wine Cooler Reviews
Nutrichef 15 Bottle Refrigerator-White Red Chiller Countertop Cooler
- 15 BOTTLE CAPACITY: The wine coolers freestanding countertop wine fridge includes contoured, polished chrome 4 wine racks & 1 bottom standing rack to safely hold 15 bottles of wine for secure chilling & storage. Perfect gift idea for wine enthusiast
- ADJUSTABLE TEMPERATURE: Nutrichef wine cooler small wine refrigerator features a built-in compressor cooling technology w/ adjustable temperature setting of 41-64° degrees Fahrenheit (5 - 18°C) so you can precisely set the temp level to your liking
- CHILD SAFETY AUTO-LOCK: This wine refrigerator small wine cooler is equipped w/ a control panel lock feature which will lock itself automatically 20 seconds after the last time a button is pressed to keep the little ones from changing the levels set
The NutriChef has a temperature range between 53 degrees and 64 degrees Fahrenheit. It only has one cooling zone, but it can effectively chill either red or dry white wines. You adjust the thermostat using digital controls.
This wine cooler also includes a safety lock to keep curious kids from getting in. However, the lock isn’t complex enough to deter teens. The fridge uses a thermoelectric cooling system, so it runs quieter than coolers that have compressor systems. Thermoelectric systems are also more energy-efficient.
This NutriChef model is compact, measuring only about 13 inches wide and just over 2 feet tall. Its removable shelves are made of metal and include places you can store bottles lying down or standing up. The fridge’s front is made of tempered glass designed to block UV rays. UV rays can dramatically change the temperature inside the cooler and cause your wines to spoil. NutriChef includes a one-year warranty with the wine fridge. It is a free-standing unit with side vents, so it shouldn’t be placed directly against other objects or built into a cabinet. It also shouldn’t be left in an area that isn’t temperature controlled such as a garage or patio. Doing either of these could void the warranty.
- 18-bottle capacity
- Thermoelectric cooling
- Not a built-in unit
- Single cooling zone
- Not cold enough for some sweet wines
Magic Chef MCWC12B Black 12-Bottle Single-Zone Wine Cooler, Rack
- 12 bottle capacity. Width is 14.2 inches , height is 19.0 inches and depth 20.1 inches
- Black door/ Black cabinet/ Sculpted chrome shelves
- Quiet thermoelectric cooling
Considering the number of features it has and the number of bottles it holds, the Magic Chef MCWC12B is priced competitively. Plus it has a thermoelectric cooling system, so it’s quiet and more energy-efficient than wine coolers that use compressor systems.
The Magic Chef MCWC12B is a small, free-standing wine fridge that can fit in a corner or sit on your countertop. It holds 12 standard wine bottles lying down, but you can remove some of the metal racks and store bigger bottles standing up.
This is a single-zone wine cooler, and you can set the temperature between 54 degrees and 66 degrees Fahrenheit, which is great for red wines and good for dry white wines. The digital controls make it easy to adjust the temperature, and the fridge includes an LED light you can turn on to see through the glass door. The door is made of tempered glass, so it blocks UV rays and insulates the cooler to keep the inside temperature stable. Magic Chef includes a one-year warranty with the MCWC12B, which is standard for a wine cooler.
- Fits on a counter
- Accommodates red and dry white wines
- Has a tempered glass door
- Doesn’t lock
- Can’t be built into a cabinet
- Has only one cooling zone
Ivation 34 Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler Refrigerator
- TEMPERATURE STABILITY - Ivation wine coolers’ compressor technology ensures temperature is not affected by outside heat sources, and reaches temperatures low enough to house sparkling white wines with a 41°F to 64°F temperature range!
- PRESERVE WINE’S FULLEST FLAVOR & AROMA - Set the temperature and let the wine cooler do the rest. With a built-in fan that maintains a consistent temperature throughout, this cooler ensures an optimal environment for long-term wine storage.
- UV-RESISTANT DOUBLE-PANED THERMOPANE GLASS - A double-paned glass door not only keeps the interior insulated, but also protects your collection from harmful UV light that can damage the tannins and overall flavor of your wine.
The Ivation stores up to 34 standard bottles of wine. Also, it has two separately controlled temperature zones, so you can store two kinds of wine at the same time.
For example, you can set the upper zone between 41 degrees and 54 degrees Fahrenheit and the lower one between 54 degrees and 64 degrees Fahrenheit. That is a wide enough temperature range to chill both reds and whites exactly how you like them. When we tested it, this wine fridge lived up to its claims, reaching and maintaining the temperatures we set and fitting as many bottles as advertised.
The Ivation can accommodate large-circumference bottles on one shelf, and during our tests, it even fit a tall bottle of Gewurztraminer that other coolers could not. The slide-out shelves make it easy to access your collection, and they are sturdy. The cooler’s combination of black metal and wood finish gives it a chic look that complements most home décor. It also has a lock. However, since it is a common hex-shape lock, you shouldn’t rely on it to keep teens out. Still, for households with little kids, it is a great safety feature.
- Two temperature zones
- Accurate temperature control
- Shelf for irregular-sized bottles
- Uses more energy than thermoelectric fridges
- The lock can be bypassed by teens
- Noisier than thermoelectric fridges
Kalamera Mini Fridge 15″ Wine Cooler Refrigerator
- ★SMALL COOLER WITH GREAT STORAGE: This mini wine fridge holds up to 30 bottles of your favorite wine in different size, and is only affected when having larger bottle, like Pinot or Champagne. It's the perfect choice for the wine lover having various wine collection. Soft blue LED light keep your wine in a beautiful environment, help you selection of your favorite wine at all times.
- ★STAINLESS STEEL DOOR & AIR OUTLET: Special stainless steel frame with 2 layers of tempered glass stabilize temperature levels inside and keep glass from fogging. This wine refrigerator with automatic defrosting function, this function would work every six hours. The air outlet is so cool and fit for different kitchen, you could put the unit anywhere you like.
- ★SINGLE ZONE: LED control display makes it easy to set temperature from 40-66°F, providing perfect chilling temperature at all times! Kalamera unique design make this small wine cooler could be installed as built-in wine cooler or freestanding wine fridges. This mini wine cooler could hold the drink you like too. You would not just enjoy your wine, could enjoy your drink too.
The Kalamera Mini wine fridge uses a compressor cooling system.
As such, it is a good option if you plan to build your cooler into a cabinet since it doesn’t need as much room for air circulation as thermoelectric models do. You can set the temperature between 40 degrees and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s good for both red and white wines. However, because the Kalamera Mini 15″ only has one zone, you can only chill one type of wine at a time.
You can chill up to 30 standard-size bottles of wine laying down on the wooden shelves, or you can remove some of the lower shelves to accommodate taller and wider bottles standing upright. The Kalamera Mini 15″ has an insulated glass door that keeps cold air in while letting you see what’s inside. It also has a lock to keep small children out.
- Can be built into a cabinet
- Has only one chill zone
Koolatron WC12DZ, Dual Zone Thermoelectric Cooler
- Dual Zone Cooling - Separately Controlled Upper And Lower Temperature Zones Can Each Hold 6 Bottles Of Wine At Their Ideal Storage Temperature. Capacity: 12 Bottles X 750Ml
- Touch Screen Controls - Tap The Digital Display To Easily Adjust The Temperature Or Turn On The Interior Led Light
- Freestanding Convenience - Place This Attractive, Compact Unit Anywhere There Is A Power Source So Your Favourite Wines Are Always Close At Hand
If you’re new to keeping wine, we suggest the Koolatron WC12DZ.
This wine cooler is small enough to fit on your kitchen counter but still holds 12 bottles of wine – it even includes a shelf to hold large bottles. It cools down to 48 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cold enough for sweet white wines, and up to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, which is good for red wines. However, this wine cooler only has one chill zone, so you can only keep one type of wine in it at a time.
The Koolatron WC12DZ uses a thermoelectric cooling system. As such, you can’t build it into or place it in a cabinet, but it is also more energy-efficient than compressor wine coolers. This Koolatron wine fridge has a glass, locking door that is insulated to keep the inside cool, even when the outside temperature is much hotter.
- Holds large wine bottles
- Can’t build it into a cabinet
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How We Tested
To evaluate temperature accuracy, we measured each fridge’s temperature multiple times at different spots inside. All our testing occurred in a laboratory so we could ensure the ambient temperature stayed consistent, right around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is worth noting because thermoelectric units can be less effective at cooling in places with dramatic temperature fluctuations.
We also used wine bottles of various sizes to gauge how well they fit. We favored coolers that fit larger-than-average bottles, and we used standard-size bottles to make sure the coolers fit as many as their manufacturers advertise they can.
While we tested several of the wine coolers in our lab, we weren’t able to physically test each model we compared. As such, we also relied on user guides and customer feedback to learn about the fridges’ features and how dependable they are.
During our research, we chatted with Barbara Zeigler, a wine enthusiast who has enjoyed wines for over 40 years. She has stored her wine in a wine cooler for nearly 15 years. Zeigler has toured vineyards in Napa and Sonoma and is amazed by the entire process. “It’s very hard work and one small mistake can be very costly to your batch.”
Zeigler and her husband chose a small dual-zone wine cooler that holds a few bottles. She used to keep the white wine in the fridge, but red wines must be kept at warmer temperatures and shouldn’t be chilled that way.
Now Zeigler keeps 50 bottles in her wine cooler. It has “storage for 25 red and storage for 25 white. [And] no room taken up in our crowded refrigerator and wines stored at the perfect temperature.”
“We don’t have any space for a wine cellar and we don’t have that many bottles,” Ziegler explained, “so the [wine] fridge is perfect for our use.”
How much does a wine cooler cost?
Because wine coolers differ so much in size, the number of cooling zones, and features, their prices vary greatly. You can find some for as low as $100 or as much as $4,000. We focused on wine fridges designed for a modest wine collection and priced between $100 and $500.
Can you put beer in a wine cooler?
Technically speaking, you can store beer in a wine cooler. Craft and specialty beers cool to the same temperatures as white wines, and the bottles are small enough to fit on the shelves. Or, if you have a case of beer, you can take out the shelves and store it on the floor of the fridge.
However, if you buy domestic beers, such as Budweiser, Keystone, Michelob, or Miller-Coors, especially in cans, it’s best to get a mini-fridge. They are designed to hold cans and can chill your draft to a more pleasant temperature. Also, you can’t put a wine cooler anywhere the surrounding temperature isn’t regulated such as in a garage or on a patio. Doing so voids the warranty. On the other hand, a mini-fridge can handle ambient temperature changes.