Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: April 22, 2023

5 Most Common Types Of Wine Fridges And Picking The One Best For You

5 Most Common Types Of Wine Fridges And Picking The One Best For You

So, you’ve decided to grow your wine collection but struggle finding the right appliance for your bottles? 

There are a lot of options when choosing a wine cooler. You can have the fridge that best suits your needs but first things you should take note when planning of owning one is: what is the capacity of the cooler? How many bottles can it store? What type of wine are you going to store in it?

Let’s start by making light on the best options you have, then find out how to pick the best one for you.

6-bottle Wine Fridge

For wine lovers who just want a small wine cooler where to store a few varieties, the 6-bottle wine fridge would be the best choice. Everyone has their differences and preferences, and these wine coolers are ideal for those who have a very small collection or only want to preserve a few expensive bottles in a protected atmosphere.

Due to their small capacity, these coolers are typically single zone units that come in either countertop or built-in solutions.

A thing that makes these fridges stand out from the crowd is the compact design that makes it possible to place them anywhere, from the shelf in your office to the countertop in your kitchen, or even integrate it in your living room.

Despite the 6-bottle capacity, this type of wine fridge comes with adjustable and removable shelves that allow you to accommodate larger bottles, you can choose between the compressor and thermoelectric models, and most even come with extra-features like incorporated LED lighting, security locks, and other add-ons.

12-bottle Wine Fridge

For the wine aficionado who gets serious about wine drinking, the 12-bottle wine fridge comes with double capacity. This is no doubt one of the most common models found in the homes of wine lovers and even in small wine businesses.

Double capacity doesn’t mean a cumbersome appliance then. Available in multiple cabinet configurations, the 12-bottle wine fridges promise versatility. Some of these models are wider and arrange three bottles on four shelves. Others are longer and only accommodate two bottles per shelf.

Some can even hold a few bottles upright and all others horizontally - ideal if you want to store a few open bottles too.

Just like the 6-bottle, these units are mostly single temperature zone and come in either compressor or thermoelectric variants. Some are safe to integrate into your furniture or mount under the counter, while others are freestanding.

Regardless of the model you like, the 12-bottle fridge shows you’re getting serious about wine drinking.

18-bottle Wine Fridge

Another popular is the 18-bottle wine cooler. I have to confess this is the model I like best, small enough to fit on a counter yet large enough to accommodate a growing collection.

You can again choose the preferred technology but what a wine cooler has that its smaller brothers don’t is the dual temperature zone on some models.

Dual zone wine fridges are ideal if you want to both store and chill wine, as they can keep a different temperature range in each area of the cabinet.

Because of its perfect size, the 18-bottle cooler is also perfect for small restaurants, a tasting room, or a small wine business if you want to sample your beverage to your guests.

Many of these models come with removable wood shelves that are elegant and look great in any room. The customizable interior even allows you to change configuration and accommodate larger bottles.

Like the smaller versions of the wine coolers, these ones may also have security locks, interior light, and other perks that improve the user experience.

24-bottle Wine Fridge

Wine coolers are not just for the high-class. Even casual wine enthusiasts can find a lot to like in owning a wine fridge that is specifically dedicated to the task of keeping wine fresh and tasty. One of these wine coolers would be the 24-bottle fridge.

The coolers in this class typically come with adjustable shelves that slide out to accommodate your collection and stores the bottles at optimum serving temperature. Most operate with thermoelectric technology, which is still more efficient than the compressor on a fridge of this size.

No compressor typically means quieter operation and the possibility to keep the cooler in the living area without noticing its presence. The lack of vibrations also keeps your wine sediment undisturbed.

Like the variants above, you can choose from coolers with security locks, interior lights, built-in or freestanding, and the list could go on and on.

36-bottle Wine Fridge

Known for its big size and capacity, unlike the rest of the coolers, the 36-bottle can store larger types of bottle seamlessly. It is ideal for the wine lover with a larger collection or for the wine business.

Coming in either thermoelectric or compressor variants, these wine coolers can stand right on the floor, be built in a cabinet, or under the counter. However, at this size, the compressor is more energy efficient.

Most 36-bottle wine coolers come with easy-to-use digital controls, most offer dual-zone capabilities, and some models even come in the attractive French style cabinet with dual doors opening in opposite directions.

10 Tips For Picking the Best Wine Storage Cooler For You

It doesn't matter if you're an amateur collector or a connoisseur, investing in the right wine cooler is a must. If you keep wine in the house, then you need to make sure that your bottles are stored at the correct temperature so that they age properly and maintain their body and flavor over the time.

You don't want to open that bottle you've been saving for months on end, only to find it has turned into vinegar!

So you know that you need one. But how do you know which one to choose, or why you should choose it? Here are 10 tips that will help you pick the best wine fridge for you.

#1 The Looks

Of course, anything you bring into your home will need to look good. Fortunately, wine fridges come in a range of styles to suit your home decor. Whether you want a small stainless steel cooler or one that has a wooden front, you can integrate the wine cooler into your house.

Wine fridges can be a valuable addition to your home appliances. However, they are a long term addition, so consider all aspects of your purchase before committing to one fridge. You'll be glad you did your research in the end!

#2 How much wine do you want to store?

If you generally have 10 or fewer bottles lying around at once, there's no point in buying the biggest storage cooler. Figure out how many bottles you'll likely store at one time, and choose a storage cooler that allows for between 5-10 bottles over that amount.

#3 The sort of cooling system you need

Wine storage coolers can either have a twin cooling system or pre-set temperature controls. For most people, pre-set controls are all you'll need. If you intend to store a large amount of wine, a collection perhaps, then a twin cooling system is a better option as it allows you to set two different temperatures in two different sections of the cooler. Regardless, make sure your cooler has an auto-defrost feature to keep your vintages frost-free.

#4 How energy efficient is it?

Energy efficiency ratings go from 'A' to 'G.' A rating of 'A' means that this model has the highest energy efficiency. Because your wine storage cooler will be constantly running, choosing a high efficiency model will keep your electric bills down.

#5 How much noise you can stand

All fridges will make some noise, but if you intend to keep it in or near a room you use frequently then make sure it has a quiet operation. Even if you're installing a basement model, you still want to ensure that you won't hear it rumbling when you're upstairs.

#6 How much room do you have?

One of the issues with some of the wine chillers and coolers is they are quite large, which of course may be a problem if you are limited on space, but again, many of the more wine coolers are made to be functional and small enough to fit in just about any room in your home. Of course, those that can chill 15 bottles or more at a time will indeed take up more space, so therefore, you will need to have the available space.

#7 How much wine are you planning on storing?

If you're building a collection, you probably want to aim for a model with 25-50% more capacity than the number of bottles you currently have. It's safer to have more space than you need and not use it than need it and not have it.

If, on the other hand, you tend to have a high turnover of bottles – buying and serving them within a few months of each other – capacity might be less of a consideration.

Most wine coolers you'll find at electrical appliance retailers on the high street won't have room for more than 50 bottles anyway. That should be enough for most people. But if you anticipate needing a lot more room than that, you will have to check out a specialist retailer to see a full range of high-capacity wine coolers and wine cabinets.

#8 Space for installation

You should opt for stand-alone or built-in coolers based on your choice of use and convenience.

Built-In Coolers are bit costly because they do not require ventilation and do not occupy floor space in your home. If you want to put it on the counter, then you need a compact model and avoid wine cellar with ventilation at the backside.

#9 Do you have budget limitations?

This is one of the important factors to be considered before buying wine refrigerators.

Wine coolers are available from below $100 to above $1,000. You have to pick the wine fridge based on your budget and drinking habits.

In general price of a wine cooler mainly depends on the size of the cooler, you can choose by balancing the budget, size, and features of the fridge.

The high end expensive wine chillers will have more add on features like changeable hinges, better quality shelves and locking doors with much larger cooler size.

And also other protective features like odor control, carbon filters, and UV rays protection control.

Except for the size of the cooler, other things like UV rays protection and odor can be taken care by keeping in dark room away from the kitchen.

#10 Your environmental conditions and protective features

You have to consider environmental factors before purchasing a wine fridge. If you live in extremely hot and humid areas, then some coolers could not keep wine cool for required temperature.

Because the wine refrigerator has to cool to lower temperatures to maintain the required temperature by managing up with external warm climate by few degrees. Then it is highly recommended to opt for wine chiller which has low temperature features.

If you place your cooler in ventilation nearby windows, your wine may get damaged by UV radiation from sunlight. Opt for a model which has tinted doors, or layered glass or keep it in the dark room.

Most wine chillers have LED lights inside the cooler to provide illumination without damaging rays.

If you want to go for built-in wine cooler models, check for wine fridge to have carbon filters to safeguard bottles from kitchen odor.

5 Tips to keep your wine fresh

You have just bought one or more beautiful bottles that you want to keep for a particular occasion. How to preserve your wine so that it is adorned with its finery the day you serve it?

  • The heat. The higher the temperature of a cellar, the faster the wine evolves. A harmonious rise in temperature, as in spring or summer will not cause irremediable damage (up to 64°F), it is the significant thermal shocks that will damage it. A diffuse and progressive heat will allow the wine to skate and live normally.
  • Darkness. Light is the enemy of wines. Especially whites! They can take what is called "a taste of light", which dilutes the aromas. Banish the neon lights in the cellars and make sure that the darkness is mistress (or almost).
  • Choose the right size. Half bottles oxidize more easily; magnums seem ideal for keeping more freshness than a conventional bottle. This is especially true for champagne! For a guard over 10 years, so prefer a magnum.
  • The shelf life. How to know if the wine is good to consume now or in a few years? Be aware that the life of wine depends primarily on its conditions of conservation, in addition to its initial potential. Three degrees are enough to see the difference: wine will age much faster in a cellar at 59°F and a little dry, rather than in a humid cellar at 53°F. It all depends on the aroma you prefer!
  • Moisture. This is the main factor of the good aging of your wine. If your cellar is not humid enough, it can have irremediable consequences on your bottles. The corks will dry up, the wine will evaporate, and the levels will drop. If the temperature is too high in the cellar, these phenomena will be accentuated. Note that it is better to have a humid cellar that is too dry, a humid cellar will only deteriorate the labels. Purchasing wine fridges is very exciting, you just need to make sure you purchase one that is suitable for your needs and includes the right features. Lastly, because wine coolers come in various sizes, the pricing will vary greatly depending on what your individual needs are and how you intend to use the cooler.

About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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