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 overall choice because it’s a good balance between premium and value, holds a good amount of wine and is compact enough to sit on your counter without taking up too much space. The thermoelectric cooling system is energy efficient and runs quietly.      

Best Overall
NutriChef PKTEWC18
The NutriChef PKTWEC18 wine cooler holds a generous 18 bottles yet is small enough to fit on your kitchen counter. It uses an efficient thermoelectric cooling unit and has a temperature range of 53 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Best Value
Magic Chef MCWC12B
The Magic Chef MCWC12B is a midsize wine cooler that is budget-friendly, and it still holds a decent number of bottles – 12. It has a temperature range of 54 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit, just right for many wines.
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Best Dual Zone
EdgeStar CWF340DZ
This wine storage cooler has two temperature zones so you can conveniently store both your reds and whites. Wood-trimmed wire racks look great, and this cooler has excellent temperature accuracy.
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Product
Price
$169.99Amazon Warehouse
$393.95Fox and Grapes
$210.33Amazon
$599Jet
$159.95Fox and Grapes
$99.78Wal-Mart
$199.98Amazon
$106.73Rakuten
$121.43Amazon
OVERALL RATING
8.7
8.7
8.7
8.6
8.5
8.5
8.5
7.8
5.6
Value
9.8
9
9.3
5.3
9.8
10
9.5
6.5
6.5
Cooling Features
9.5
10
9.8
10
9.8
9.5
9.8
9.8
9.8
Design & Storage
7
7
7
10
6.2
6.25
6.3
7
0.8
Number Of Bottles
18
34
36
30
18
12
18
12
12
Warranty
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
N/A
N/A
Cooling Unit
Thermoelectric
Compressor
Thermoelectric
Compressor
Thermoelectric
Thermoelectric
Thermoelectric
Thermoelectric
Thermoelectric
Number of Zones
1
2
1
1
2
1
2
1
1
Highest Adjustable Temperature
64
64
57
60
64
66
66
64
72
Lowest Adjustable Temperature
53
41
43
40
45
54
46
48
52
Adjustable Thermostat
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
Digital Controls
True
True
False
True
True
True
True
True
True
Tempered Glass Door
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
Freestanding Unit
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
Built-in Unit
True
False
False
True
False
False
False
False
False
Shelf Material
Metal
Wood
Metal
Wood
Metal
Metal
Metal
Metal
Metal
Removable Shelves
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
True
Locking Door
True
True
True
True
False
False
False
True
False
Depth
20
26.5
20
22.4
19
20.1
9.8
20.2
20.2
Width
13.6
19.5
17.5
15
13.6
14.2
20
10
10
Height
25.4
33
32.6
33.9
19.6
19
37.5
25.2
25.2
Best Overall
The NutriChef PKTEWC18 has a temperature range between 53 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit. It only has a single cooling zone, but it can effectively chill either red or dry white wines (sweet white wines should be chilled between 40 and 46 degrees).
You adjust the thermostat using digital controls that also include a safety lock to keep curious kids from getting into your fridge. However, the lock isn’t complex enough to deter teens. This fridge uses a thermoelectric cooling system. This means it runs more quietly than coolers that use a noisier compressor system. It is also more energy efficient. This model is compact. It is only about 13 inches wide and just over 2 feet high. The removable shelves are metal and include places for storing bottles lying down and standing up. The front of this NutriChef unit is made with tempered glass designed to block UV rays from reaching your wines inside. UV rays can dramatically change the inside temperature and cause your wines to spoil. A one-year warranty comes with the NutriChef PKTWEC18. This wine cooler is a free stand unit with side vents, so it shouldn’t be placed directly by other items or built into a cabinet. It also shouldn’t be set in an area that isn’t temperature controlled, such as in a garage or a patio. Doing either of these could void the warranty.
Pros
  • Compact design
  • Holds 18 bottles
  • Thermoelectric cooling
Cons
  • Not a built-in unit
  • Single cooling zone
  • Doesn’t get cold enough for some sweet wines
$189.99Amazon
Read the full review
Best Value
For the number of features and the number of bottles it holds, this wine cooler is priced competitively. Plus, the cooling system of the Magic Chef MCWC12B is thermoelectric, so it’s quiet and more energy efficient than a compressor system.
It comes with a one-year warranty, which is standard for wine coolers that include a warranty The Magic Chef MCWC12B is a small, free standing unit that easily fits in a corner or sits on your countertop. It is only 19 inches high, which is about 3 inches taller than a bowling pin. It holds 12 standard wine bottles lying down, but you can remove some of the metal racks and store some bigger bottles standing up. This wine cooler is a single zone you can set between 54 and 66 degrees Fahrenheit, which is great for red wines and good for dry white wines. The digital controls make it easy to adjust temperature, and it includes an LED light that you can turn on to look through the glass door and see what’s inside without opening the door. The glass door is tempered, which mean it blocks UV rays and insulates the cooler so the inside temperatures doesn’t fluctuate.
Pros
  • Compact to fit on a counter
  • Temperature range accommodates either red or white wine
  • Tempered glass door
Cons
  • No lock
  • Can’t be built into a cabinet
  • Single cooling zone
$116.39Amazon
Read the full review
Best Dual Zone
The EdgeStar CWF340DZ makes it easy to store up to 34 bottles of wine with the confidence that they will be at their best when you’re ready to serve them. There are two separately controlled temperature zones inside this cooler, which is perfect for storing two kinds of wine.
You can set the upper zone between 41 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lower can be set between 54 and 64. That offers plenty of options for getting both reds and whites exactly how you like them. This model lived up to its claims, reaching and maintaining the set temperatures in our tests, and fitting as many bottles as advertised. The EdgeStar can accommodate larger-circumference bottles on one shelf, and it even fit a tall bottle of Gewurztraminer that other test coolers could not. The slide-out shelves make it easy to access your collection, and they are sturdy enough for regular use and abuse. The combination black metal and wood finish gives it a chic look that is complimentary with most home décor. There is also a lock on this cooler. Since it is a common hex shape, you may not want to rely on it to keep the teens out, but for households with little kids, it is a great safety feature.
Pros
  • Two temperature zones
  • Accurate temperatures
  • Shelf for non-standard bottles
Cons
  • Uses more energy than thermoelectric models
  • 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 and have learned a lot about what’s important for most consumers. We’ve spent a lot of time researching online, reading reviews and finding the best wine coolers on the market to compare and test. We looked for appliances that fit a modest wine collection – fewer than 50 bottles – and we included both compressor and thermoelectric-cooled units. While not everyone needs the same things in a wine cooler, we looked for features and capabilities that could be a great fit for the majority of homes – temperature accuracy, flexible storage and safety features.

How We Tested

We’ve tested many wine coolers over the years, getting a feel for their functionality and appearance. To evaluate temperature accuracy, we ensured it matched the number displayed and measured the temperature at different times in different parts of the fridge. All of our testing occurred in a laboratory setting so we could ensure the ambient, or outside temperature, stayed consistent, right around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is worth noting because thermoelectric-cooled units can become less effective at cooling in areas with dramatic temperature fluctuations.

We also tested for aspects of design, using wine bottles of various sizes to gauge what would fit where. We gave credit to the coolers that can easily fit larger bottles, and we used standard-sized bottles to make sure the coolers fit as many as advertised.

While we got our hands on several different models for our testing, it wasn’t possible to physically test each model in our comparison. We also relied on user guides and customer feedback to learn the features and dependability of each wine cooler.

We built a chart to assess how many of the most important features were available on each of the contenders. We assigned a numerical score to each of those features to indicate their level of importance, and then scored and ranked the coolers based on the quantity and quality of their features.

Part of our research involved chatting with Barbara Zeigler, a wine enthusiast that has enjoyed wines for over 40 years and has been keeping her own wine, and using 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.”

For her specific needs, Zeigler and her husband chose a small dual-zone wine cooler that holds a few bottles. “We used to keep [white] wine in the fridge.” But since wines must be kept at certain (sometimes warmer) temperatures, red wines especially are not ideal in a regular fridge.

Now Zeigler keeps 50 bottles in her wine cooler, “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

The best wine coolers have features that protect all types of wine, including a lock on the door to deter curious children from getting to the bottles. Coolers reach and maintain the ideal temperature, and the door should block UV rays that tend to speed up the aging of wine. If you choose a wine refrigerator with a glass door, make sure it is tempered to help block UV rays. And make sure it has a light inside that you can turn on without opening the door. This helps keep the internal temperature consistent while you look over your collection and choose a wine before opening the door.

Temperature: How cold should a wine cooler get?
How cold to keep your wine cooler depends on the type of wine you are planning to chill. If you want to store red and white wines at the same time, look into a dual-zone wine refrigerator. These models, such as the Koldfront TWR181ES, are designed to keep two different areas inside the fridge at different temperatures. But if you chill only one type of wine, a single-zone wine chiller is a more economical option.

For red wine it is best to keep your wine cooler between 50 and 65 degrees. For white wine set your wine fridge between 41 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with 46 degrees being the optimal temperature if you’re storing both sweet and dry white wines. This is warmer than a standard refrigerator that is kept between 32 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; compression wine coolers get much colder, which accommodates sweet and sparkling wines better. However, there are some thermoelectric wine fridges, like the Wine Enthusiast 272031805, that can get cold enough to chill all varieties of white wines.

Compressors are the same cooling systems used in standard refrigerators, and you can expect a wine cooler with a compression system to sound as loud when running. This 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 need as much energy to cool your wine. This means you’ll save on your monthly power bill with a thermoelectric wine cooler compared to one that uses a compressor system.

Size: How many bottles does a wine fridge hold?
Wine fridges come in a variety of sizes that can hold as few as six bottles or as many as 100. If you have a wine cellar, you probably don’t need a large unit, but instead can have a smaller wine cooler to chill a few bottles to have ready for guests or for a quick drink. Most of the wine coolers we evaluated hold between 12 and 18 bottles, but even these manufacturers have units that hold more or fewer bottles.

The biggest consideration, however, is the size of your wine bottles. The bottle number is how many standard-size bottles that will comfortably fit inside. A standard wine bottle is typically between 3 and 3 1/2 inches around (diameter) and 12 inches tall. If you need to store larger bottles, you can do it if you take out a shelf or two and stand the wine bottle upright in the cooler. The Danby DWC93BLSDB is a decent cooler that is compact, but still holds 36 standard bottles, or larger bottles after removing some shelves.

Can you put beer in a wine cooler?

Technically speaking you could store some beer in a wine cooler. Craft and specialty beers cool to the same temps as white wines, and the bottles are small enough to fit on the wine cooler shelves. Or, if you have a case of beer, you could take out the shelves and store the case on the floor of the fridge. If you want to chill domestic beers, such as Budweiser, Keystone, Michelob or Miller-Coors, especially in cans, it’s best to get a mini fridge. These are more practically designed to hold cans and chill your draft to a more pleasant cold temperature. Also, you can’t put a wine cooler into an area where the outside temperature isn’t regulated, such as in a garage or on a patio. Doing so will void the warranty. But mini fridges can handle the temperature changes in a garage or basement.