What to Look for in a Wine Fridge? Buying Guide

information about wine fridges

So, buying a wine cooler seems pretty straightforward, right? You have some wine bottles, you want to store them at a specific temperature, you buy a wine fridge, you put them inside, and voilà, that’s it!

Well, there’s a bit more to the story, especially if you want to get more value for your money and buy a

Today, we will shed light on all the details you need to consider to choose the best rated wine fridges. Welcome to Wine Rooster’s Wine Refrigerator Buying Guide! Let’s get started!

Not All Wine Fridges are Created Equal

While wine refrigerators as a whole don’t differ much one from another, there’s a number of things you should consider before choosing the right wine refrigerator for your needs.

Factors like space, storage needs, budget, prefered type of wine, design, and so much more all come in play when buying wine fridges. And while you can find two wine coolers at the exact same price, one will be able to hold x amount of bottles, while the other will hold 10 more than that.

Or, one will allow for built-in installation, while the other one will be freestanding use only.

So, before splurging on one, make sure to read up on its pros and cons, in order to make the best decision for your wine storage needs, and hopefully, it will chill your wine for many years to come.

Size Matters

First of all, measure the space where you have decided to put your wine cooler. It depends on the specific wine cooler, but usually, all wine fridges require some space around the back, or sides, or sometimes both, to ensure proper ventilation (yes, even built-in wine refrigerators).

If you want a freestanding wine cooler, try to imagine it in the space you have assigned for it. Will it be too tall, too wide, too small, or hopefully, just right? You don’t want to get your wine cooler and decide it just doesn’t fit the way you wanted it to.

And double-check the wine cooler measurements provided by the seller. For example, some wine coolers designed for undercounter use might be slightly taller than they should be and won’t fit beneath a standard counter. And if they don’t come with adjustable legs, that could be a big problem. So, double-checking the measurements of your future wine cooler and its designated space can be a lifesaver.

The More, The Merrier

So, wine storage needs. Let’s say you have 70 wine bottles, and you’re looking for the perfect wine cooler to house them. If you ask me, go for a bigger wine cooler.

Another thing to consider: wine fridge manufacturers state their bottle capacity based on standard Bordeaux bottles. Most of us have wine collections that include many different types of wine bottles. So, if you buy a wine cooler with a capacity to hold 32 bottles, it might turn out that fitting a bottle or two of Pinot Noir, Champagne, or Riesling will eat up your bottle capacity, and you will be able to fit in fewer bottles than expected.

The solution to that problem is to overestimate. Go for a wine fridge with a slightly larger bottle capacity than you actually need. That way, you will be able to fit in all the bottles you want inside, and you won’t have to feel disappointed that your wine fridge can’t hold as many wine bottles as it claimed.

Because, trust me, your wine collection will keep growing, and ultimately, you will be happy you went with a larger wine fridge.

Temperature Zones

Before deciding whether to buy a single or a dual zone wine cooler, take a look at your wine collection. Is it mostly red wines, white wines, or a mix of both? Do you like drinking a bottle of Prosecco every now and then, or are you a Merlot-every-day type of person?

If you prefer to drink only one type of wine, go for a single zone wine cooler. That way, you will be able to find the perfect temperature for all of your wines and just keep your wine cooler at that exact temperature.

Of course, you can put all kinds of wine in a single zone wine cooler; you just have to do some research and find the perfect “middle ground” temperature range for them.

Now, if you don’t have a preferred type of wine, then you should go for a wine refrigerator with two temperature zones. There are even triple zone wine coolers on the market, but they are quite pricey and not that popular, so we won’t consider them in this wine refrigerator buying guide. However, a wine cooler with dual temperature zones will get the job done and chill everything you put inside to perfection – red and white wines, rosés, and even sparkling wines.

Compressor or Thermoelectric Cooling?

Wine coolers can either have a compressor or a thermoelectric cooling system, and both options have their pros and cons. Both options will do the most important thing – chill your wine, but there will be some differences in how they do it.

Thermoelectric Wine Coolers

First, the advantages to choosing a thermoelectric wine refrigerator. They use way less electricity, so they are good for the planet, and good for your wallet, as well. They are, in most cases, really quiet when cooling, so they won’t disturb your environment. And thermoelectric fridges have minimal vibration levels, which is great for wine storage.

Now, the cons. Thermoelectric coolers have a limited cooling capacity in comparison to compressor wine fridges, and they usually offer smaller temperature ranges, which in turn, limits what wines you can store inside. And they are really picky when it comes to the ambient temperature of the place they’re positioned. If it’s too hot for them, they will have a really hard time getting to and maintaining the desired temperature.

Thermoelectric wine coolers usually come with a smaller storage capacity, so they are not a good choice for long-term aging or bigger wine collections.

Compressor Wine Coolers

Wine fridges with a compressor cooling system offer more reliability when it comes achieving and maintaining the ideal temperature range for your wines. And they are not as affected by outside temperatures as thermoelectric coolers are. Compressor wine coolers have bigger storage capacities, so they are more suitable for large wine collections.

They do have cons, as well. For example, they use a lot more electricity. Nothing scary, of course, but still more than thermoelectric units. They are noisier, as well, and they produce more vibrations. Of course, many newer compressor coolers are quiet and virtually vibration-free.

Sip in Style

Now, let’s talk about one of my personal favorite things about wine coolers (besides the whole ‘keeping my wine cool’ part) – their design. I think that placing a wine cooler in any room instantly elevates the interior. In fact, it is a relatively inexpensive way to add a touch of luxury to your space.

Generally, wine fridges have very similar designs. You usually have a choice between black or stainless steel door trims, which entirely depends on your personal preference. Some have hidden handle designs, while others have different styles of handles attached. Most wine refrigerators come with interior LED lighting, which adds some extra flair. It’s usually blue or white, but some fridges come with changing color options, which is always a plus in my book.

The interior is usually black, which is great because it provides the perfect backdrop for your wine bottles. The shelves are either silver wire, black wire, or wooden. I prefer the last option, as it brings a wine cellar vibe, but I think all of them can be beautiful.

So, the design is definitely important because we want our wine cooler to chill our wine but also look good while doing it. It just adds to the enjoyment of wine, at least in my opinion.

Keeping Your Wine Safe

How your wine cooler protects your wines is another very important thing to consider before buying one.

Door Protection

Make sure the wine cooler you choose comes with a double or triple pane door, as they help maintain the temperature inside, keep the wine cooler energy-efficient, and reduce condensation.

Also, look for a door with a UV-protection layer. Such doors effectively block out the harmful effects of UV-light on your wine bottles, such as premature aging or, in the worst-case scenario, light strike.

Air Filters

Some wine coolers feature carbon filters. Carbon filters in wine coolers act as “odor police” by trapping and neutralizing bad smells, which ensures your wine keeps its unique taste and prevents different wines from mixing their aromas, maintaining the distinct qualities of each bottle.

They are also great in absorbing and neutralizing odors. This is important in wine refrigerators because wine is sensitive to odors. Carbon filters play a key role in preserving an odor-free environment for your wine, safeguarding its flavor and aroma from any undesirable influences.

Temperature Memory Function

Another very important thing to look for is the temperature memory function. Essentially, this function restores the previously set temperature after a power loss occurs. This is super important, especially if you live in an area with frequent power outages.

Or, just imagine going on vacation, a power outage happens, and your wine refrigerator turns on to a random temperature. I’ve had that happen, and I did have to part with some very nice wines, so I’m a temperature memory function advocate through and through.

Safety Lock

Door locks are another big plus when it comes to wine fridges. They keep your wine safe from any unwanted hands. And when your wine fridge’s door is locked, you also prevent any unnecessary opening and closing which can affect the temperature and humidity levels inside, and in turn, affect your wines.

Wine Cooler Shelves

When you’re selecting a wine refrigerator, several factors related to shelf design should be considered:

Shelf Material

The material of the wine fridge shelves impacts their strength and flexibility. Wooden shelves are look great but may limit capacity and stacking, while metal wire shelves are lightweight but not suitable for many bottles. Solid metal shelves are sturdy, and wood-metal hybrids combine aesthetics and functionality.

Bottle Orientation

Bottle orientation affects cork moisture and access. Vertical orientation allows easy viewing of labels and access, while horizontal orientation displays labels fully but requires pulling out the shelf for access.

Space Between Shelves

Consider the space between shelves and their adjustability for stacking bottles. The shelf design will determine if stacking is possible. Also, ensure that your wine fridge has adequate space between shelves to accommodate the diameter of the majority of your collection, leaving some extra room to prevent any damage to your bottle labels when you’re pulling them out.

Shelf Style

Shelf styles can affect capacity and minimize vibrations. Flat shelves allow bottles to touch, potentially causing movement. Cradling shelves have curves to prevent bottle contact and reduce movement, but this can affect capacity and bottle size compatibility.

Adjustable and Removable Shelves

Some wine refrigerators come with adjustable shelves, which is great because you can fit different-sized bottles with ease. However, that might affect the overall bottle capacity of your wine fridge.

Most units come with removable shelves, which is also handy. This way, you can fit a bigger bottle or two when needed. Removable shelves are also a plus when it comes to cleaning your wine fridge.

Winetelligence: Wine Meets Tech

It’s the 21st century, and wine storage is moving with the times. Many wine refrigerators offer smart features meant to make storing your wines easier and more efficient.

Application Management

For example, some wine refrigerators on the market come with companion apps. The functionality of these apps varies depending on the price point of the wine fridge, but even the most basic ones provide useful features. Typically, you can use the app to power the cooler on and off, adjust the temperature, and control the lighting.

Imagine you’ve settled in for a quick nap on the couch, but the blue lighting from your wine fridge disrupts your rest. Instead of having to get up, you can simply open the app, turn the lights off, and enjoy a blissful nap.

Door Open and Temperature Alarms

Basically, if you leave the door open, the wine fridge will start beeping after a few seconds. It’s quite convenient, in my opinion. The temperature alarm activates when the temperature inside the wine chiller becomes too high, alerting you to a potential issue with your wine fridge before it’s too late.

Chill & Secure: Wine Fridge Warranties

Every wine fridge manufacturer offers different warranty options, but generally, a wine cooler comes with one or two-year warranties. Of course, for extra peace of mind, you can get additional warranty extensions for an extra charge. Make sure to research the warranty provided by your wine cooler manufacturer before buying.

In addition to warranty length, consider the warranty coverage, terms and conditions, and the availability of customer support when researching wine coolers. Also, don’t forget to explore maintenance recommendations to maximize the cooler’s lifespan and potential warranty benefits.

Also, look up the return and refund policies, as they might vary from seller to seller.

Customer Support That Pairs Perfectly with Your Wine Fridge

Do your research and determine whether reaching customer support will be a hassle. Some wine refrigerator manufacturers provide excellent customer support, while others may fall short. Look up reviews where you can typically find information about the experiences other buyers have had with the customer support of your wine fridge’s brand.

Research Is the Name of the Game

Finally, the most important factor in buying a wine cooler is reading its reviews. You can find reviews for most wine coolers in plenty of places, like seller websites, social media, and forums. While product descriptions sound great, the truth often lies in the reviews.

So, spend some time reading up before making the big splurge. There, you will find out how the wine cooler actually works, whether it’s quiet or not, if it holds its temperature well, if the light’s too bright, and so on.

Reviews are subjective, and that’s exactly what makes them valuable. You get people’s actual opinions, which are not influenced by the wine fridge brand they are reviewing.

When reading reviews, consider the number of reviews, how recent they are, and look for detailed feedback. Pay attention to consistent comments across multiple reviews. Also, consider the reviewer’s knowledge level about wine, as a wine connoisseur may have different expectations from a wine refrigerator than a casual drinker.

While reviews can be very helpful, they are just one piece of the puzzle. It’s also important to do your own research and consider your personal needs and preferences.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Wine

Well, wine enthusiasts, we are officially done with Wine Rooster’s Wine Fridge Buying Guide.

We’ve covered all there is to know before purchasing a wine cooler. Long story short, do your research so you won’t be disappointed in the end. I, for one, love blind purchases, but that doesn’t really work with appliances like wine refrigerators.

In your quest for the perfect wine fridge, remember that it’s not just about preserving your wine, but also enhancing your overall wine experience. The right fridge will not only keep your wine at the perfect temperature but also display your collection in style. So, consider it an investment in many great wine-filled moments to come.

Okay, now you’re equipped with the necessary wine refrigerator buying wisdom, so don’t wait any longer, go find the perfect wine cooler for you and buy it. Your wine is counting on you!

Helen Ruiz

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