If you’re a wine aficionado, you’re probably proud of your knowledge of fine viticulture. You know which vineyards are the best, and which ones to pair with your meals.
But if you’re not storing your wines properly at home, you’re letting yourself down. Without a proper wine cooler, you’re exposing your nice bottles to temperature and light conditions that can turn a great drop into a poor swig.
That’s why you need to find the best wine coolers on the market!
We know it can be overwhelming to find a good cooler, with so many on the market. And since a lot of models look pretty similar, you’d have to have an excellent handle to tech specs and mechanical jargon to tell the difference.
That’s why we’ve created this guide! We wrote it as a wine lover’s guide to coolers! Our goal is to help you find your ideal cooler quickly, so you can spend less time shopping and more time enjoying a perfect glass.
On this page, you’ll find our full, in-depth reviews of three coolers we think you’ll love. We compared dozens of models, looking at features and specs, and combing through hundreds of buyer reviews to find out more about how these machines stood up to long-term use.
We chose them for their effectiveness, user-friendliness, storage capacity, and aesthetics. We also made sure to think about price.
Here’s a quick look at the options:
In this Guide
Wine Cooler Reviews
1. Westinghouse 6-bottle
We used to recommend a 6-bottle model from The Magic Chef in this spot. It continues to be one of the most popular small coolers on the market today. However, when we finally got around to reviewing this Westinghouse model, we knew we’d found our new favorite compact unit!
It’s ideal for people who are looking for a countertop option that won’t take up too much space. We love it because it’s compact, stores different shapes easily, and is much more reliable than other budget-priced coolers!
It has metal shelving. With a lot of coolers, you’re looking at wooden shelves. And on a budget priced model, that means thin, cheap wood that breaks easily. These metal shelves give you a sturdier structure. They’re also curved to fit your bottles perfectly.
It’s very affordable. This unit has much more precise temperature control than any mini fridge.
With a temperature range from 46-66 ℉, this machine will suit nearly any wine.
It’s quiet, especially compared to other coolers this size. That’s thanks to the thermoelectric cooling system, which eliminates the vibration and rattle you’ll be used to from other coolers and mini-fridges. This one only puts out 38 db, which is well below most traditional compact refrigerators.
It’s very compact. This one measures 14 inches tall, by 20 inches long and 10 inches wide. It’s ideally-suited to countertop spaces, and for side tables. The recessed door handle helps keep everything in a neat box, too.
The door has grey tinting to keep wines safe from light damage. There’s an internal light, to help you read labels as you choose your bottle for the evening. You can turn it on when you need it, then switch it off to preserve your bottles.
It looks sleek and unobtrusive. The all-black finish blends in with most other kitchen appliances.
It’s very reliable, which is something you don’t often hear about coolers–especially at this price point. We didn’t find any reports of durability issues with the Westinghouse! That’s one of the key reasons it’s replaced the Magic Chef at the top of our rankings!
By comparison, many other budget models have trouble keeping temperatures stable, or have cheap parts that wear down easily (shelves, hinges, etc).
There’s no lock. If that’s something you’re looking for, the Westinghouse probably isn’t for you.
2. Avalon Bay 12-bottle
For wine drinkers who like to keep a few more options on hand, the Avalon Bay is a great midsize option. With a 12-bottle capacity, it gives you more freedom of choice without requiring too much dedicated space.
You can use it as a countertop cooler, a small built-in appliance, or stood on its own. We like the digital control panel, too!
It has a simple digital control panel with a digital temperature display. There are large buttons for raising or lowering the temperature. You can choose from a range between 51 and 64 degrees, to suit either red or white wines.
The compact design makes it work on countertops, while the elegant finish looks fine standing on its own. As far as looks are concerned, this one will fit in anywhere. We especially like the mix of black and stainless trim on the Avalon Bay, which allows you to match appliances in both colors.
Just like the Westinghouse, this one is thermoelectric and vibration-free. Previous buyers said they were very impressed by how quickly this one adjusts to the set temperature, compared to other models they had used.
It uses metal shelves, like the Westinghouse. You can remove them as needed to accommodate larger bottles.
You can store up to 12 standard-size bottles in this one. We like this as a compromise capacity for people who are passionate about wine, and want a variety on hand, but don’t have the space for a big 18 or 24 bottle unit in their house.
The internal blue LED light gives you good visibility inside the unit without affecting your wines. It also gives the cooler a rather chic look with a bit of modern flair.
Even though it’s larger than the Westinghouse, it’s still pretty light. This one only weighs about 24 pounds.
Previous buyers didn’t have anything bad to report as far as durability or reliability. In fact, lots of reviewers commented on the high build quality and smart design.
It doesn’t have quite as wide a temperature range as the Westinghouse. The slightly higher lowest temperature means this one’s not ideal for dessert wines.
While previous buyers found that it kept temperatures stable, a few suggested rounding down slightly on the control panel. They found that their thermostats were off by a degree or two, but held steady. It’s always a good idea to test a new cooler, so you can figure out how to work with its idiosyncrasies.
3. Wine Enthusiast 18-bottle
If you’re passionate about wines, and want to have a wide range on hand whenever the mood strikes, we highly recommend this Wine Enthusiast unit.
We love the dual compartments, which let you store a much wider variety of wines at their proper temperature. It’s an excellent choice for the most ardent enthusiasts, and gives you lots of options without taking up all your space!
It looks great. This one is a sleek standalone unit with an all-black finish and chromed trim around the door.
There are two different compartments, and you can set a different temperature for each. That makes this one a good choice for people who like a good balance of reds and whites. They both need different conditions, so if you have a single-space cooler, you’re forced to choose a single type or treat them both slightly off-temperature. With this model, you can keep them both happy!
If you’re a one-color drinker, we’d also recommend using the lower compartment for liquor or dessert wines which like a lower temperature range.
Like the Avalon Bay, this model has a digital temperature display and controls. It has readouts for both compartments, so you can keep a steady eye on all your bottles at a given time.
The shelves are easy to remove or rearrange. This model also comes with a special shelf for storing upright bottles, so you don’t have to improvise with champagne or other bubblies. The top compartment holds up to 10 bottles, and the bottom compartment can handle up to 8.
It’s CFC-free for a more environmentally friendly cooling system.
Even though the Wine Enthusiast is a larger cooler, it’s still compact. This one is easy to fit in a corner, or beside a cabinet without taking up too much space in your kitchen or dining room.
Some previous buyers found that the internal fan wasn’t as quiet as they expected. The fan runs fairly constantly, and is typical of these larger coolers. It helps keep the temperature even throughout the large compartment. However, some other buyers complimented how quiet their coolers were.
A few reviewers were disappointed that you can’t switch sides for the door hinges.
Best All-around Compact
One of our favorite compact models on the market right now is this Westinghouse. We like it because it comes in a few different sizes and capacities, so you can choose exactly the right size for your space and habits. You can get one of these for 6, 8, 10, or 12 bottles. We recommended the 6-bottle above for folks who want a small selection of bottles, but we wanted to feature the full range because they’re quickly becoming our go-to recommendations at any small to medium size!
We love them because they integrate lots of the features you’d find on a high-end, full-size cooler into a compact countertop unit. The Westinghouse has a door with a recessed handle to save space, and ghosted glass to protect your wines from light damage. It’s super quiet, thanks to thermoelectric cooling.
Plus, you get a very wide temperature range to choose from: 46-66 degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s too new to get much of a sense of the Westinghouse’s reliability, it comes from a company with an excellent reputation. Check it out!
Best Built-in: Kalamera
If you’re looking for a big built-in wine cooler to fill a space in your kitchen, this Kalamera is your best bet. We love it for built-in spaces because it has a front-facing ventilation panel, so it doesn’t need any clearance around the back or sides.
Plus, it has an elegant stainless finish to match most modern appliances. It has all the features of a great wine cooler, with tinted double-glass doors, a key-lock system, and an internal carbon filter to protect your wines from kitchen odors.
It has a touch-panel thermostat which can be set to either Fahrenheit or Celsius, and the innovative compressor system keeps things quiet. This one’s also a perfect choice for larger wine selections, since it’s available in either 18 or 46 bottle sizes. If your wines occupy a prime space in your kitchen, the Kalamera will give them the treatment they deserve!
Which is the Best Wine Refrigerator for You?
If you’re on a tighter budget, or are stretched for space in the kitchen, your best bet is the 6-bottle Westinghouse. It gives you enough space for a reasonable selection of your favorite wines, without taking up much room at all. It’s a perfect choice for countertops or offices.
We’re also very impressed by the durability and reliability factor with this model. The thermoelectric cooling system and metal shelves hold up very well over time–much better than other compact models. On the downside, some viticulturists might find the small capacity too limiting.
For more ardent wine fans who want a larger selection but don’t have the space for a big, bulky cooler, we highly recommend the Avalon Bay. It gives you twice the storage capacity of the Westinghouse, while still fitting on a countertop. We like the internal LED light for safely illuminating the unit. The digital temperature controls and display are also a nice upgrade over other compact models. Best of all, it’s available for a very reasonable price.
Finally, we strongly recommend the 18-bottle Wine Enthusiast model to the most passionate wine drinkers. While it’s only appropriate for people who have a fair amount of space to devote to their wines, the tall, narrow design helps it fit into even smaller homes. We particularly love the divided storage area, which allows you to store your reds and whites independently. It has a very wide temperature range, and we’re really impressed by how quickly this one adjusts to the set temperature. We also like that this model uses metal racks, as opposed to the thin wood pieces you’ll find in most other large models. It’s easy to customize, and can store just about anything you can drink.
How to Shop for the Best Wine Chiller
Think about your wines:
Depending on the wines you prefer to drink, you’ll want to look for specific temperature ranges in your new cooler. Reds and whites require different temperatures, so if you drink a balance of both types, you might want to look at a cooler with two compartments. Even if you mainly drink one type of wine, you may find a dual-compartment unit useful for storing liquor or dessert wines.
The other big thing to think about as far as your wines is quantity. You’ll want to consider how many bottles you drink on a regular basis, and balance that with how often you shop. If you like to stock up for a week or two, you might want to go for a larger model. Likewise, if you have a bottle most evenings at dinner, you’ll probably want a larger cooler so you have a choice of options as opposed to one per day of the week.
Consider environmental factors and protective features:
In addition to the objective temperature you want to store wines at, make sure you take your environment into account. If you live in an extremely warm area, you might find that some coolers struggle to keep up with heat, especially hot humid climes. We recommend that people in super warm spots opt for coolers that state a lower minimum temperature than you actually need, so that you’ll be able to cope with a few degrees of environmental effects.
Temperature isn’t the only thing that can wreak havoc on your nicer bottles. You’ll also want to think about light damage from UV radiation, which can harm the finer vintages. Look for tinted doors, or layered glass. LED lights on the inside provide illumination without damaging rays. Some nicer coolers also include carbon filters to protect bottles from kitchen odors. That’s particularly important with built-in models that don’t have as much ventilation.
Decide on your budget:
When you’re thinking about your budget for your new appliance, think about your drinking habits first. Think about the quality of the wines you buy, and consider that an investment to protect. Since the price of a wine cooler is largely dependent on the size of the appliance, you’ll want to establish your ideal “on-hand” quantity of wine. That’ll narrow down the price range you’ll be looking at.
More expensive wine coolers tend to have much larger capacities, and more elaborate features. They’ll come with locking doors, changeable hinges, better quality shelves. More importantly, the high end models will give you the most protective features, like odor and light control.
Consider your space:
Think about where you’ll be installing your new unit. If you’re going to be putting it on your counter, you’ll need a compact model. If your wines are going to be cased into your cabinets, look for a built-in option. Many models work as both stand-alone and built-in coolers, but you’ll want to make sure you don’t build in any appliance with rear ventilation.