Best Wine Coolers of 2018

Nicole Johnston ·
Internet Security & Appliance Editor
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We’ve been evaluating wine coolers since 2010 and recently spent 40 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 NutriChef PKTEWC18 wine fridge is the best choice overall because it strikes a good balance between premium features and price, holds 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.      

Best Overall
NutriChef PKTEWC18
The NutriChef PKTWEC18 holds a generous 18 bottles, yet it's small enough to fit on a kitchen counter. It uses an efficient thermoelectric cooling system and has a temperature range of 53 degrees to 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Best Value
Magic Chef MCWC12B
The Magic Chef MCWC12B is a budget-friendly, midsize wine cooler that holds 12 bottles. It has a temperature range of 54 degrees to 66 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just right for many wines.
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Best Dual Zone
EdgeStar CWF340DZ
This wine cooler has two temperature zones, so you can store both your reds and your whites. Its wood-trimmed wire racks look great, and the cooler accurately controls its inside temperature.
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Product
Price
OVERALL RATING
Value
Cooling Features
Design & Storage
Number Of Bottles
Warranty
Cooling Unit
Number of Zones
Highest Adjustable Temperature
Lowest Adjustable Temperature
Adjustable Thermostat
Digital Controls
Tempered Glass Door
Freestanding Unit
Built-in Unit
Shelf Material
Removable Shelves
Locking Door
Depth
Width
Height
$169.99Amazon
8.7 9.8 9.5 7
18
1 Year
Thermoelectric
64
53
Metal
20
13.6
25.4
$429Amazon
8.7 9 10 7
34
1 Year
Compressor
2
64
41
False
Wood
26.5
19.5
33
$204.02Amazon
8.7 9.3 9.8 7
36
1 Year
Thermoelectric
57
43
False
False
Metal
20
17.5
32.6
$592.95Fox and Grapes
8.6 5.3 10 10
30
1 Year
Compressor
60
40
Wood
22.4
15
33.9
$161.49Compact Appliance
8.5 9.8 9.8 6.2
18
1 Year
Thermoelectric
2
64
45
False
Metal
False
19
13.6
19.6
$81Amazon
8.5 10 9.5 6.25
12
1 Year
Thermoelectric
66
54
False
Metal
False
20.1
14.2
19
$180.9PriceChopping.com
8.5 9.5 9.8 6.3
18
1 Year
Thermoelectric
2
66
46
False
Metal
False
9.8
20
37.5
$98.97PC Richard & Son
7.8 6.5 9.8 7
12
N/A
Thermoelectric
64
48
False
Metal
20.2
10
25.2
$145.77Amazon
5.6 6.5 9.8 0.8
12
N/A
Thermoelectric
72
52
False
Metal
False
20.2
10
25.2
Best Overall
The NutriChef PKTEWC18 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 PKTWEC18 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.
Pros
  • Compact
  • 18-bottle capacity
  • Thermoelectric cooling
Cons
  • Not a built-in unit
  • Single cooling zone
  • Not cold enough for some sweet wines
$189.99Amazon
Read the full review
Best Value
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.
Pros
  • Fits on a counter
  • Accommodates red and dry white wines
  • Has a tempered glass door
Cons
  • Doesn't lock
  • Can’t be built into a cabinet
  • Has only one cooling zone
$116.39Amazon
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Best Dual Zone
The EdgeStar CWF340DZ 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 EdgeStar 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.
Pros
  • Two temperature zones
  • Accurate temperature control
  • Shelf for irregular-size bottles
Cons
  • Uses more energy than thermoelectric fridges
  • Lock can be bypassed by teens
  • Noisier than thermoelectric fridges
$419.00Amazon
Read the full review

Why Trust Us

We have been researching and testing wine coolers since 2010. In the past eight years, we've researched online, read reviews, and found the best wine fridges on the market to compare and test. We looked for appliances that fit a modest wine collection, fewer than 50 bottles, and our review includes both compressor- and thermoelectric-cooled units. The models we chose work well in most homes – they accurately maintain temperature, have flexible storage arrangements and include safety features.


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 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.”

Key Features of Wine Coolers

Temperature: How cold should a wine cooler get?
The right temperature depends on the type of wine you're chilling – red and white wines need to be stored at different temperatures. If you want to store both types at the same time, you need a dual-zone wine refrigerator. These models, such as the Koldfront TWR181ES, have two areas and can maintain a different temperature in each. However, if you chill only one type of wine, a single-zone cooler is a more economical option.


For red wine, it is best to keep your wine cooler between 50 degrees and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. White wine should be chilled between 41 degrees and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with 46 degrees being the optimal temperature if you’re storing both sweet and dry varieties. This is warmer than a standard refrigerator, which is kept between 32 degrees and 40 degrees to keep food from spoiling.

What is the difference between a compressor and thermoelectric cooling system?
There are two big differences between a compressor and a thermoelectric cooling system: energy usage and noise. There is also some temperature difference – wine coolers with compressors get much colder, so they better accommodate sweet and sparkling wines. However, there are some thermoelectric wine fridges, like the Wine Enthusiast 272031805, that get cold enough to chill all varieties of white wines.


You can expect a wine cooler with a compressor to make noise while it runs. It typically isn’t loud enough to interrupt a conversation, but it’s still noticeable. Thermoelectric coolers are much quieter, sometimes nearly silent.

Thermoelectric cooling systems don’t have as many moving parts as compressors, so they don’t use as much energy to cool your wine. As such, they cost less to run.

Size: How many bottles does a wine fridge hold?
Wine fridges come in a variety of sizes – some can hold as few as six bottles and others as many as 100. If you have a wine cellar, you probably just need a small cooler to chill a few bottles to have ready for guests. Most of the wine coolers we evaluated hold between 12 and 18 bottles, but many of their manufacturers make fridges that hold more or fewer bottles.


You should also consider the size of bottles you buy. A cooler's advertised capacity is the number of standard-size bottles that fit comfortably inside. A standard wine bottle is between 3 inches and 3 1/2 inches around (diameter) and 12 inches tall. If you need to store a larger bottle, you can take out a shelf or two and stand it upright in the cooler. The Danby DWC93BLSDB is a decent cooler that is compact and holds 36 standard bottles, though it stores larger bottles when you remove some shelves.

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.