We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
During our investigation, we examined almost 4,000 different ways to control the temperature of a bottle of wine, from clever gadgets that will rapidly chill a single bottle to substantial, built-in cabinets.
This wine cooler review does not include individual bottle devices. Not that there's anything wrong with them (some are excellent), but we wanted to look at appliances that wine enthusiasts — from beginners to serious collectors — could use to store a number of bottles over an extended period of time.
We've also avoided particularly large wine refrigerators that need dedicated space, preferring to review models that could be fitted without difficulty into the average home.
You'll find all kinds of options out there, and it can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff.
That's where we come in!
At BestReviews, we want to help you pick the perfect wine cooler for your home. We're dedicated to writing the most honest and unbiased reviews out there.
These days, quite a few wines - whether bought directly from the winemaker or in a store - are produced "ready to drink." As such, modestly sized counter top wine coolers have become very popular, particularly with people in apartments and small homes. On the other hand, there's clearly still a demand for wine chillers that can hold several dozen bottles for a longer period of time. We've included a broad range of options.
While keeping wine below room temperature is usually beneficial, you don't want your bottles to be overly cold. In fact, it is dramatic temperature fluctuation that does the most harm. Also, if you have vintage wines, you don't want the sediment shaken about - which can happen with the vibration caused by traditional refrigerators. In this part of our ratings, we look at how each model manages not just cooling, but the wine environment as a whole.
Capacity and control are the major features of any wine cooler, but many manufacturers add extra touches that can make your life easier. In this part of the review, we look at everything from touch-sensitive screens to lockable doors.
Regardless of your level of wine experience, it's likely that you're keen to stretch your budget as far as possible while still getting the best value you can. In this section, we look at what you'll need to pay for each appliance and rate just what you get for your investment.
Vintage wines should be kept in top of the line coolers. If the cooler is vibrating, it will disturb the sentiment in the vintage bottle and possibly ruin the wine.
Haier Wine Cellars come in various sizes. We've chosen one of the smallest because it will be the ideal wine store for many — not just those in apartments and small homes, but also those with larger cellars who want to keep a number of bottles on hand in the kitchen. The Haier 6-Bottle is described as a "counter top" wine cooler, but potential buyers should check the amount of space they have available before purchasing. One or two of the owners we surveyed didn't have that much height between their counter top and wall cupboards. Style-wise, the Haier is a plain but smart unit with a smoked glass door and clear, simple controls just above it. This appliance is actually deep enough to hold a bottle with a vacuum stopper in it — an advantage over some smaller coolers.
At around 24 inches in height, the Avanti Wine Cooler is a bit more imposing than the Haier. It might be a little too tall to qualify as a counter top wine chiller in some homes, but it's still small enough to fit in a variety of spaces. With platinum-colored highlights, a curved glass door that clearly shows the contents, and a handy control panel, the Avanti wine cooler will hold a total of 12 bottles (eight lying down and four standing up). This configuration gives owners the ability to store some bottles that are taller than normal. Experts recommend that vintage red wines be stored upright for a day or two before serving, as the sediment can settle; this cooler will let you do that while simultaneously maintaining the proper chilling temperature.
Look for a wine cooler that allows the bottles to lay flat and stand up. Red wines should be kept standing up 2 to 3 days before consumption to allow the sediment to settle.
Wine Enthusiast is a well-known manufacturer of quality wine refrigerators. We've chosen their 18-bottle model because of its sleek, modern appearance and slim profile. The slim profile makes the Wine Enthusiast Wine Refrigerator suitable for some spaces in which standard wine coolers would be too wide. This appliance is 37.5 inches tall and a fraction under 10 inches wide. It's definitely not a counter top model, but most customers don't have trouble finding a home for it. While nominal capacity is 18 standard-sized wine bottles (ten on the top half and eight on the bottom), any of the racks could easily be removed to accommodate larger-sized bottles.
With its stainless steel highlights and wood-fronted shelving, the NewAir Wine Refrigerator we've chosen is almost like a piece of furniture. At around 32 inches tall and 21.5 inches wide, it's not something you could hide away in a corner. But frankly, why would you want to hide something that looks this good? The NewAir's capacity is stated at 32 standard bottles and is divided into two zones, left and right. If you want to accommodate unusually sized bottles, or stand them upright, it's easy to do - simply remove some of the shelves. Of course, if you were to remove shelves, that would reduce the number of bottles the appliance can store. This is true for any wine cooler with removable shelving.
With a capacity of 36 bottles, the EdgeStar Wine Refrigerator is the largest model we've chosen for our final five. At roughly 34 inches tall and 23.5 inches wide, you could fit four more bottles in this cooler than the NewAir. The EdgeStar wine cooler is a purposeful-looking appliance - aesthetically industrial, perhaps. Large areas of stainless steel have always been popular, so it will suit a wide variety of room styles. This is a vertically split design with racking that can be easily adjusted to allow for the storage of non-standard wine bottles.
While you can store red and white wines together, typically it’s preferred to keep white wines slightly colder.
Most wine coolers provide you with either one or two temperature zones. While experts agree that storing red and white wines together (at around 50 - 55 degrees Fahrenheit) is perfectly acceptable, white and sparkling wines would ideally be kept slightly cooler (at around 45 - 50 degrees Fahrenheit). The most important thing to avoid, of course, is hot and cold extremes. Other environmental elements to avoid are constant vibration (i.e., the vibration caused by a refrigerator motor) and prolonged exposure to bright light.
The compact Haier Wine Cellar offers a single climate zone which can be set anywhere between 46 and 66 degrees Fahrenheit. You could choose a comfortable mid-point for red and white wines or, given the compact size and low cost of this unit, you could purchase two and designate one for white and one for red. The Haier's cooling process is handled by a thermoelectric system. Many wine coolers use this type of system because it's solid-state, meaning that it doesn't vibrate like traditional chillers. You want to avoid vibration as much as possible because the motion can disturb your sediment and damage your wines over time. Thermoelectric models tend to be a bit more expensive but, as we'll see, that doesn't make a noticeable difference in units of this smaller size. From an environmental perspective, thermoelectric wine coolers are also CFC-free.
The Avanti Wine Cooler employs thermoelectric cooling technology and, like the Haier, uses it to deliver a consistent, single-zone environment for different kinds of wine. Full temperature range is from 47 - 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Most owners agree that the Avanti is extremely quiet, but a few told us that their appliance was unpleasantly noisy. This could possibly be a problem with a particular product batch, but we have no way of knowing for sure.
Most wine coolers have tinted glass to protect the wine from direct sunlight, but it’s still best to keep your cooler away from windows.
With the slimline Wine Enthusiast Wine Refrigerator, you actually get two thermoelectrically controlled zones. The top section ranges from 54 - 66 degrees Fahrenheit and the bottom section ranges from 46 - 66 degrees. This allows you to keep your whites and reds in slightly different environments, as some enthusiasts recommend. We appreciate dual-climate appliances like this because they can satisfy even the most fastidious of wine aficionados.
The NewAir Wine Refrigerator is powered by a thermoelectric system. It's a dual-zone climate machine with a 50-50, right/left split. Both areas offer the same range of temperature (a fairly standard 46 - 66 degrees Fahrenheit), which should cover every potential wine chilling need.
The EdgeStar Wine Cooler is a dual-zone chiller. It uses compressor-based cooling technology - very similar to the technology used in a household refrigerator - that some consider to be "old fashioned." On the one hand, it's not as environmentally friendly as some other wine coolers on the market, but it is definitely more powerful. The EdgeStar can take either of its climate zones down to 41 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 64 degrees. More importantly, it can maintain its environment consistently in areas where ambient temperature is higher or lower than average. In geographical areas where the daytime heat consistently exceeds 75 degrees, some thermoelectric systems struggle. This is not the case with the EdgeStar.
Modern wine coolers aren't over-burdened with extras, but each of the coolers on our shortlist sports one or two noteworthy features. With the Haier Wine Cellar, the manufacturer's reputation for quality and attention to detail is underlined by a double-pane glass door that increases insulation and helps maintain a consistent temperature. There's a basic control panel with a button for the soft internal light, up and down arrows for setting temperature, and a blue LED readout. What more do you really need?
The soft-touch electronic control panel on the Avanti Wine Cooler offers a button for the internal light, a button for choosing between Fahrenheit and Centigrade, and plus/minus keys for setting temperature. Conveniently, temperature can be locked in once it is set. There's a central blue LED display that tells the temperature, the measurement type chosen (Centigrade vs. Fahrenheit), and whether the internal environment is suitable for red or white wine.
If you’re worried about the environment, we suggest looking into thermoelectric wine coolers. They are CFC-free.
A touch-sensitive panel is used to control the temperature zones of the Wine Enthusiast Wine Cooler. Mounted halfway down the front, the Wine Enthusiast's panel can seem a bit complicated because it controls two separate zones. Having said that, it follows the fairly standardized format of an LCD display with right/left arrows: left for the upper zone, right for the lower zone. In between the arrows is a button to turn on the light. Interestingly, this light offers variable brightness.
Like the Wine Enthusiast wine cooler, the NewAir Wine Refrigerator has two different control panels. Each panel performs the same functions but is handily sited above the door of the half it controls. The shelves of the NewAir are designed to slide in and out for convenience. Several owners found this to be a useful feature, as they could read labels without having to pull out individual bottles. A couple of owners were disappointed that the temperature cannot be locked and that the doors themselves cannot be secured. Locking features such as these are only found in a few of the wine coolers we rated and are not common - unless you spend a lot more money.
The dual-zone, two-door EdgeStar is similar to the NewAir in many ways, but the EdgeStar features a handy control panel above the right-hand door. To avoid confusion, the EdgeStar's left and right zones are clearly indicated. The glass doors are tempered, giving them considerable extra strength, and each door can be locked independently of the other. As with the NewAir, the racks on the Edgestar wine cooler are of the sliding type. (One owner mentioned that he wished the racks would slide out a little further.) The EdgeStar's stand-out advantage over the other wine chillers in our review is that it can be used as a free-standing or built-in model. (All of the others models on our shortlist require space around them for proper air-flow, making them unsuitable for built-in storage.)
Most wine coolers can keep the temperature between 46 and 66 degrees fahrenheit, which includes the ideal temperatures for both white and red wines.
The Haier Wine Cellar costs $107. That's a very good price for a high-quality product from one of the better-known manufacturers. It's a versatile unit in terms of where it will fit in your home, and it's cheap enough to consider buying two - one for red, one for white - rather than a single, larger appliance.
At a cost of $128, the Avanti Wine Cooler offers an economical solution to your wine storage needs. The manufacturer calls it a counter top wine cooler, but if you're thinking of buying this appliance for your kitchen, we recommend you take measurements first. (It's a little too tall to sit on the counter tops of some kitchens.) Most owners find it to be a quiet and efficient appliance, and many would recommend it. However, some owners who live in hotter climates told us that their Avanti struggles to maintain an accurate temperature. Overall, the majority of Avanti owners find the quality of this wine cooler to be acceptable, especially considering its budget price.
The Wine Enthusiast Wine Refrigerator will cost you $279 - not at all expensive for a smart-looking, 18-bottle, dual-zone wine cooler from a reputable manufacturer. The slimline design means it will fit in many places where others won't, although we would like to re-iterate that it does require some open space around it. (You can't build it into a cabinet.) There is some debate among owners concerning noise. Some told us that their Wine Enthusiast hummed annoyingly; others found it to be very quiet. In general, the vast majority of buyers think the Wine Enthusiast 18-Bottle Wine Refrigerator does it job very well.
If you’re hoping to purchase a countertop wine cooler, make sure to measure your available space and give yourself a couple inches of wiggle room for the perfect fit.
Right now, the NewAir Wine Cooler costs $430 - a competitive price for a chiller this size. It offers plenty of storage space and is a good-looking unit. While some people would prefer that it could be built in, there are plenty of places other than your kitchen cabinetry to site a wine store. The dual zones are clearly a benefit, as are the sliding racks (although a couple of owners did find them a bit flimsy). The internal light was rated as just about useless but, to be fair, most wine cooler lights do little more than add a certain ambiance. You shouldn't store wine under a strong light, anyway.
The EdgeStar Wine Refrigerator costs $1219 - a significant amount of money. It's the only model in our ratings that can be built into your cabinetry if you so choose. Of course, you wouldn't have to build it in - you could also use it as a free-standing appliance. For many homeowners, however, it's a valuable stylistic option. Considering the fact that the EdgeStar's compressor technology maintains a consistent temperature regardless of climate conditions, along with the fact that you could either build the EdgeStar into your cabinetry or use it as a free-standing appliance, we think this is an exceptional value. Indeed, other models with similar specification cost quite a lot more. Our research uncovered a few minor criticisms from owners: the light is poor (just like the NewAir), and some would have liked the product to come with a control panel lock. Generally, however, the EdgeStar is hailed as an excellent buy, and may owners tell us they would recommend it to a friend.
The bottom line is this: if you want what's best for your large wine collection, you can't afford not to get the EdgeStar Wine Refrigerator.
The appliance that stands out as the best value for your money is, hands down, the Haier.
First and foremost, the Haier's price of just $107 is a terrific bargain. It doesn't offer dual climate zones for your reds and whites, but you'd have to shell out a lot more cash to get a wine cooler with that specification. It would actually be cheaper to buy two Haiers. If you were to do that, you'd most certainly have the ultimate in flexible counter top wine storage!
Haier has a superb reputation for quality, as evidenced by little touches like the double-pane door that helps insulate this robust cabinet. The 6-Bottle Haier isn't built down to a price; it uses the same thermoelectric cooling technology and digital controls as its larger siblings, but in a smaller package. This package suits people from all walks of life, from those living in tiny apartments to those who want counter top wine storage in their kitchen or bar.
When evaluating a product, we think it's important to take into account all customer compliments and complaints. With the 8-bottle Haier, we uncovered many positive customer ratings - "Works well, looks great!" and "Everything I hoped for," to quote a few. Conversely, we uncovered very few negative customer ratings. In fact, apart from one buyer who had to exchange his Haier because it was damaged on delivery, nobody had a bad word to say about it. We fully endorse the Haier 8-Bottle Wine Cellar as the Best Bang for Your Buck. You simply won't find a better deal at such a low price.