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Best wine coolers: The top wine fridges reviewed

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 also energy efficient and runs quietly. 

Best Overall

NutriChef PKTEWC18

NutriChef PKTEWC18

18-bottle capacity
Thermoelectric cooling
Not a built-in unit
Single cooling zone
Not cold enough for some sweet wines

The NutriChef PKTEWC18 holds 18 bottles but is still small enough to fit on a kitchen counter. It also uses an efficient, thermoelectric cooling system and has a temperature range of 53 degrees to 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

The NutriChef PKTEWC18 has a temperature range between 53 degrees and 64 degrees Fahrenheit. And, even though It only has one cooling zone, it can effectively chill either red or dry white wines. The digital controls also make the temperature easy to adjust, and 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 wine cooler includes a safety lock to keep curious kids from getting in. However, the lock isn’t complex enough to deter teens.

This NutriChef model is also 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. Its front is made of tempered glass designed to block UV rays, since UV rays can dramatically change the temperature inside the cooler and cause your wines to spoil. 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 one-year warranty that comes with this wine fridge.

Best Value

Magic Chef MCWC12B

Magic Chef MCWC12B

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

The Magic Chef MCWC12B is a budget-friendly, midsize wine cooler that holds 12 bottles and has a temperature range of 54 degrees to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. This temp range is just right for many wines.

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 midsize, 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. The fridge includes an LED light you can turn on to see through the glass door, which is made of tempered glass to block UV rays and insulate the cooler. This keeps the inside temperature stable.

This is a single-zone wine cooler, and you can set the temperature between 54 degrees and 66 degrees Fahrenheit. These are great temps for red wines and good for dry white wines. The digital controls also make it easy to adjust the temperature.

This Magic Chef model includes a one-year warranty with the MCWC12, which is standard for a wine cooler.

Best Dual Zone

Koldfront TWR181ES

Koldfront TWR181ES

Dual chill zones
Holds 18 bottles
Thermoelectric cooling unit
No door lock
Can’t be built into a cabinet
Too tall to fit under kitchen wall cabinets

This wine cooler has two temperature zones, so you can store both red and white wines at the same time, and it holds 18 standard-size wine bottles.

The Koldfront TWR181ES uses a thermoelectric cooling unit to quietly chill two different areas independently; this allows you to keep different types of wines in one cooler. Each zone can be adjusted to chill between 45 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit. And the tempered glass door helps keep the inside of this wine cooler cold, even when in direct sunlight.

This wine fridge holds a total of 18 standard-size bottles, though the metal shelves can be adjusted or removed to accommodate larger bottles. It stands 19.5 inches high. Since the standard space between your kitchen counter and wall cabinets is about 18 inches, this wine fridge wouldn’t fit under your cabinets. Additionally, since it is a freestanding unit, it can’t be built into a cabinet or placed against the wall because it needs enough room for the cooling unit to work properly.

The biggest drawback of the Koldfront TWR181ES wine cooler is that it doesn’t have a lock to help deter curious kids. It does come with an industry standard one-year warranty though.

Best Built-in Wine Cooler

Kalamera KRC30SZB

Kalamera KRC30SZB

Can be built into a cabinet
Has only one chill zone

The Kalamera KRC30SZB 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 a 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 KRC30SZB 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 KRC30SZB 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.

Best for Beginner Wine Collectors

Avanti EWC1201

Avanti EWC1201

Holds large wine bottles
Can’t build it into a cabinet

If you’re new to keeping wine, we suggest the Avanti EWC1201.

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 can be set between 48 degrees and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, which is low enough for sweet white wines and high enough 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 Avanti EWC1201 uses a thermoelectric cooling system. As such, you can’t build it into or place it in a cabinet; however, it is more energy efficient than compressor wine coolers.

This Avanti wine fridge has a glass, locking door that is insulated to keep the inside cool, even when the outside temperature is much hotter.

Why Trust Us

We have been researching and testing wine coolers since 2010. Over the past eight years, we've researched online and read many reviews in order to find 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 reviews include both compressor- and thermoelectric-cooled units. The models we chose also 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 the fridge. 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 the number of wine bottles they were advertised to hold.

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 were.

During our research, we chatted with Barbara Zeigler, a wine enthusiast who has enjoyed wines for over 40 years and who has stored her wine in a wine cooler for nearly 15 years.

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.”

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.

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 only need a small cooler to chill a few bottles to have ready for guests. Most of the wine coolers we evaluated held 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 the 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.

How much does a wine cooler cost?

Because wine coolers differ so much in size, 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 $400.

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 are also some differences with the temperatures they can reach – 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 are an exception to this rule and can get cold enough to chill these varieties of white wines as well.

As far as noise, you can expect a wine cooler with a compressor to make some 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 running nearly silent.

For energy usage, 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 also cost less to run.

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 than a wine fridge. Additionally, wine coolers can’t be placed anywhere the surrounding temperature isn’t regulated, such as in a garage or on a patio, because doing so voids the warranty. On the other hand, a mini fridge can handle the ambient temperature changes in these areas, so you’re less restricted on where you can put them. This can be important if you’re pressed for space and the only room open is in your garage. 

ProductPriceOverall RatingCooling FeaturesDesign & StorageNumber Of BottlesWarrantyCooling UnitNumber of ZonesHighest Adjustable TemperatureLowest Adjustable TemperatureAdjustable ThermostatDigital ControlsTempered Glass DoorFreestanding UnitBuilt-in UnitShelf MaterialRemovable ShelvesLocking DoorDepthWidthHeight
NutriChef PKTEWC18View Deal4.5/54.83.5181 YearThermoelectric16453Metal2013.625.4
Danby DWC93BLSDBView Deal4.5/54.93.5361 YearThermoelectric15743Metal2017.532.6
Kalamera KRC30SZBView Deal4.5/555301 YearCompressor16040Wood22.41533.9
Koldfront TWR181ESView Deal4.5/54.93.3181 YearThermoelectric26445Metal1913.619.6
Magic Chef MCWC12BView Deal4.5/54.83.1121 YearThermoelectric16654Metal20.114.219
Wine Enthusiast 272031805View Deal4/54.93.2181 YearThermoelectric26646Metal9.82037.5
Avanti EWC1201View Deal4/54.93.5Thermoelectric16448Metal20.21025.2
iGloo FRW1225View Deal3/54.90.412Thermoelectric17252Metal20.21025.2