When inviting some select dinner guests over, there is nothing like having a particular range of some of the best vintages available in your personal wine cooler to offer guests.

Owning a wine cooler removes the idea from existence that a dark cellar or storage under the stairs is a good place to keep a stock of bottles from a picturesque winery bought during the last trip to the Napa Valley region.

Each wine cooler gets designed differently, with manufacturers taking pleasure in offering their carefully appointed product as a slice of a decadent luxury for the home or the executive suite. Dark designs are the most popular. However, double insulated tinted glass at the front of most coolers gives off a sleek, sophisticated aura.

Inside each cooler, there are wine racks that hold several bottles on each level, stacked row by row. The materials used with the wines racks vary with each wine cooler, but a curved chrome design is a dashing choice that some manufacturers select to offset the darker coloring of the cooler exterior.

Temperature controls come as part of any quality wine cooler. The owner can adjust the temperature of the single zone or dual zone cooling areas to suit their needs. An auto defrosts setting is also present in a few models. A built-in thermostat helps to monitor the temperature at the value set by the owner of the wine cooler.

What’s Included With The Best Wine Cooler

Wine coolers come in different sizes from two-level, dual-rack affairs right up to 30 bottle storage coolers for the serious wine consumer. In some cases, models are selectable where the buyer can choose the same manufacturer but decide the amount of wine storage they need. Their choice will determine the size of the wine cooling unit and the space required to house it properly.

The best wine cooler comes as a complete unit, with the racks either slid into place one by one or already fitted inside the cooler before delivery. The shelves made of wood, chrome, and other metals, which usually looks attractive behind the smoke glass door(s) that most wine coolers use.

The refrigeration system doesn’t always use a compressor and systems not using a compressor tends to keep the operation noise down to a minimum. For anyone worried about how much noise a wine cooler will generate should check on the respective manufacturer’s website.

The controls will either be easy push buttons or an LED control panel present with the most expensive models.

What To Know Before Making a Purchase

Some wine coolers use coolant in their refrigeration process whereas others are refrigerant free. The latter choice is more eco-friendly which will matter to some wine connoisseurs more than others.

Coolers have either a single zone cooling process or a dual zone cooling process. Depending on the model, with a dual zone cooling process, owners can bring one of the zones up closer to room temperature to make the wine more palatable.

Many coolers include interior lighting to help illuminate the storage area. The interior lighting makes it a little easier to read the wine labels and select the right bottle of Burgundy or Bordeaux. Either the rack or single bottle needs pulling out to reads the wine label successfully. It is best to store wine with the bottle facing inwards to ensure the bottle’s label is the right way up and easier to read.

While some internal lighting systems will run when the cooler is operational, others have a switch system, via either an on/off switch or a keypad to control the lights and conserve power.

Other Considerations

A few wine coolers cannot adequately chill wine stored inside them when positioned too close to an interior wall or adjacent unit. Most units need to be 2-4 inches from a back wall to provide enough room for the cooling vents to work efficiently and some also need clearance on either side too. Without enough clearance, these units will be unable to get up a sufficiently low temperature.

Best Brands

Haier is a Chinese manufacturer based in Qingdao on the Chinese mainland. The company, founded in 1984, is a producer of refrigeration and other cooling products for global markets.

Living Direct is behind the KoldFront brand. The company produces both indoor and outdoor appliances, wine coolers, and other refrigeration products.

Nostalgia Electrics, named to evoke comfortable feelings, manufacturers a range of home-based appliances.

NewAir produces wine coolers, air conditioners, heaters, fans, evaporative coolers, and ice makers.

Wine Enthusiast sells wine refrigerators, glassware, wine racks, and other wine accessories.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Bottle sizes: The majority of wine coolers house standard bottle sizes, and not Magnum size Champagne bottles, or other oversized bottles.

Installation: Wine coolers are heavy objects (50 lbs or greater) that must be carefully maneuvered into place. Wine coolers require 2-4 inches of clearance on all sides to work properly.

Dual zone cooling: For pleasing consumption, chilling dessert and late harvest wines to 45-degrees is necessary. A wine cooler with a dual zone cooling setup is a better option for wine enthusiasts who like to consume different types of wines that require storage at more than one temperature.

Locking: A few higher-end wine coolers have a locking system to protect the wine from casual theft. In some cases, the glass doors are tempered, but will not stand up to a determined attempt to get access to the wine. However, these types of locking system will sufficiently deter younger family members and those attending a party at the home from helping themselves to the family wine collection.

Aging cheese: Some purchasers of wine coolers use them to age cheese instead of wine. The humidity level is often right for this purpose too. However, no wine cooler manufacturers make their coolers with this secondary purpose in mind.