So you're looking to buy a wine cooler. Chances are (since you're here), wine has become somewhat of a hobby of yours. Whether you've started to collect more wine than you can store, you're sick of wines going bad, or just wish your favorites would be temperature-ready at all times, you don't need to be a budding sommelier to reap the benefits of an at-home wine fridge. It not only helps wine age properly and maintain flavor for a longer time, but it also doesn't have to cost a fortune.
But, wine coolers can vary dramatically, so before you start shopping, it's helpful to know what kind of features to look for, specific to your needs.
First, it's important to note why a wine cooler is beneficial, and the biggest thing to remember is that wine is fragile. Temperature, humidity, sun exposure, and storage can all play huge factors in how long and well wines last. Fridges can be too cold and not humid enough; cabinets are often way too dry and warm — and all of this can affect how your wine will taste in as little as two to three weeks.
What should you look for?
When it comes to wine coolers, perhaps the biggest differentiator is the number of zones a cooler offers. Dual-zone wine coolers can let you keep different kinds of wine (i.e., white and red) at different temperatures or can maintain one temperature for long-term storage and another for wines you're prepping for serving and drinking. There are also different kinds of cooling mechanisms: Traditional compressor-based refrigeration units tend to be a little noisy, while newer thermoelectric coolers are quieter and have no moving parts to vibrate the wine, disturbing the sediment — although the latter can also struggle with keeping the cooler at the perfect temperature in very hot climates.
Further, some wine coolers come with special features like LED lighting, digital displays, and fancy styling, while others are much more utilitarian. Either way, you can't really go wrong when it comes to wine coolers — all options can help your beloved beverage last longer and taste better.
Ready to up your wine game? We've rounded up the seven top-rated wine coolers to help care for your collection.
Best for Beginners
This is a single-zone cooler that keeps all 18 of your bottles within the temperature range of 54–64 degrees Fahrenheit using a thermoelectric cooling system. The freestanding design can accommodate floor, table or countertop placement, and measures 25 inches tall. It's simple and easy-to-use, but doesn't include many of the "fancier" features of other models, like slide-out drawers, dual-zone temps, or fancy touchscreens, but it works like a charm.
There are actually a few variations of this model. You can step up to the stainless steel finish (which adds about $20 to the price) which changes the styling a bit and adds a large steel handle to the front of the door. Alternately, if your storage needs are more modest, there's a less expensive (and smaller) 12 bottle version as well.
Best Budget Buy
A single-zone thermoelectric wine cooler with a temperature range of 54-64 degrees Fahrenheit, the hOmelabs 18 Bottle Wine Cooler is a freestanding model that is one of the more compact models on the market (it's 25 inches high, but only 14 inches wide). That said, it still has all of the features any budding sommelier needs, without breaking the bank.
The slide-out racks give easy access to see all wine bottles and a unique arrangement lets you store four bottles vertically as well.
The cooler is finished in all black, including the large bezel around the large frosted glass door. The digital temperature display and touch controls sit above the glass at the top of the door. The interior can be illuminated with a large top-mounted light (and controlled via the touch controls atop the door). It's perfect for people who love wine, but don't have a ton of space — or budget — for it.
Best for High Sun Exposure
If you have an extra sunny kitchen or live somewhere with year-round sunshine, this single-zone wine cooler is your best bet. It has a fairly conservative look thanks to the simple smoked glass door and a simple temperature display and minimal touch controls at the top, but the frosted glass is built to block out harmful UV rays that can damage the wine. It holds 18 bottles and is billed as a countertop model, but since it stands about 25 inches high, you'll likely have to set it on the floor. The shelves are designed to slide out for easy access to your wine collection.
Powered with a thermoelectric cooling system, Ivation says it's super quiet and won't vibrate the wine bottles, which allows your wine to settle and age properly. It offers a temperature range of 54-64 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best for Small Spaces
This slimline cooler is clearly designed to fit in tight spaces. Measuring less than 10 inches wide and 37.5 inches high, you can potentially tuck it between other appliances, at the end of a counter, or in a pantry. It's also thermoelectrically cooled, so it runs very quietly and energy efficiently.
A two-zone cooler, it holds 18 bottles in total, with space for 10 bottles in the top zone, which runs 54-66 degrees Fahrenheit, and the remaining eight bottles in the bottom zone, which can be set from 44-66 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have larger bottles than will fit on the included shelving, you can rearrange the cooler by removing shelves to accommodate them.
The overall appliance has an elegant appearance with a black metal case, reflective smoked glass, and a stainless steel rim. There's a digital touchpad on the front as well. Unfortunately, Wine Enthusiast will not ship to California, so if you live in the Sunshine State, this model is not an option.
Best for Countertops
If your wine storage needs are modest, the Magic Chef 6- or 12-bottle cooler might be just what you're looking for. The 12-bottle fridge stands just 19 inches high and weighs just 26 pounds, making it easy to move around. Plus, it's thermoelectrically cooled (with a range of 54-66 degrees) so it's virtually silent.
The all-black case features a wide black bezel around the smoked glass door. There's a digital temperature display and large touch controls atop the door, along with a button to turn on the interior light.
As you'd expect with coolers this small, they offer a single temperature zone and the racks are removable, so you can rearrange the interior or make room to store a few oversized bottles.
When it comes to judging appliances on the internet, sometimes you just have to go with what sells. Utilizing a high-quality compressor and dual fan circulating system, this built-in or standalone wine cooler keeps consistent temperature and humidity with dual-zone temperatures. The upper zone ranges 41-55.4 degrees, while the lower zone stays between 55.4-64.4 degrees. There is also a temperature memory function in case of a power outage, to ensure your wine stays at peak freshness.
This cooler includes a smart touchscreen, stainless steel double-layered tempered glass to keep everything in tip-top shape, and can hold up to 30 standard-size Bordeaux bottles.
Best for Savants
If you take your wine very seriously and are looking for a true return on investment, this premium wine fridge is exactly what you need. While certainly not budget-friendly at $1,500, this fully-loaded "beverage center" includes dual independent cooling zones and the ability to store up to 35 standard Bordeaux wine bottles on seven pull-out shelves and 90 cans of beer or soda on four fixed shelves.
There is a digital touchscreen to easily control temperature without having to open the door and each side has the widest range of temps — the left zone ranges from 41-72 degrees, while the right zone ranges from 36-72 degrees.
It can fit under most counters, clocking in at 33.5 inches tall and 30.25 inches deep, but can also be used as a standalone unit. Plus, it uses 25% less energy thanks to its ETL certified compressor, while still offering optimal care for your wine.