Every wine lover knows the importance of proper storage. When kept in ideal conditions, wines age well and taste much better. Whether you are a wine collector or running a business in the wine industry, you cannot underestimate the importance of having a wine cooler. Furthermore, when your premises don’t have enough space, built in wine chillers become the best option.
Which is the Best Under Counter Wine Cooler?
The answer to this question depends on your specific needs. Are you looking for one that keeps wine chilled for long while consuming minimal power? Perhaps your priority is more on saving up storage space. You could also be keen on getting a panel ready one or a freestanding design that’s easy to fix. When going through under counter wine cooler reviews, you will notice that there is a cooler for every need. Here is everything you need to know before buying a wine cooler.
Option to Make Quick Choice
This undercounter wine cooler is the best overall if you need a stylish and functional gadget for your big wine collection. It has two zone for aging different types of wines. It’s easy to install in every kitchen because of two options of the door which can be opened left or right. And it’s a really quiet and low vibration fridge.
Best Undercounter Wine Cooler
Best Undercounter Dual Zone Wine Cooler
Best Small Built-in Wine Cooler
Best Panel Ready Under Counter Wine Cooler
Best Slim Under Counter Wine Cooler
Freestanding Wine Cooler Under Cabinet
Types of Undercounter Wine Coolers
Undercounter wine coolers are often classified according to:
- Size (dimension width) – wine coolers come in various widths but are often of the same 36-inch height to fit under a standard countertop. 24-inch wide coolers are the most popular. However, coolers can also be 12-inch, 15-inch,18-inch and 30-inch wide.
- Cooling zones – a cooler can either be single-zone or dual- zone. This is because of red and white wines each store in different cooling temperatures. Lovers of a single wine type would go with single zone cooling, while those who store both types opt for dual zone wine cooler undercounter.
- Cooling systems – this can either be thermoelectric or compressor based. A built in thermoelectric wine cooler uses a combination of cooling nodes and small fans to maintain low temperatures. They have fewer vibrations hence suitable when looking for a quiet built in wine cooler. They also consume less energy. However, they are limited to 20℉as their coolest temperature. Compressor based coolers have more vibrations which may upset sediments in wine. They are noisier and consumer more energy. However, they do not have a cooling limit.
What to Look Out for When Choosing a Built-in Wine Cooler
There are a number of considerations you must make while choosing which wine cooler to buy.
- Dimensions of your under-counter space – Most undercounter wine coolers are made to fit a standard 36-inch counter. You have to measure your space and compare the dimensions with that of the built in under counter wine cooler. The exterior dimensions of the cooler, including the door handle, must also be considered.
- Cooler vent position – all under-counter wine coolers must be front venting to prevent overheating.
- Doors – most cooler models come with a fixed hinge and non-reversible door. You should choose a right or left hinge depending on how you want the door to open. If you would like to change the swing of the cooler door at some point, you should go for a cooler with a reversible door.
You also have to choose between single and double doors. Ultimately, your choice should be determined by the amount of space you have in front of the door.
- Cooling zones – which wines are you storing? If you are storing both white and red wines, you should opt for a dual cooling zone type. If you are storing only one wine color, you should opt for an under counter wine cooler fridge with a single cooling zone.
- Number of bottles you need to store – this influences the cooler width you should go for.
- Cooler style – if you want to match the cooler with the rest of your appliances, you will have to make a choice between stainless steel, black and any other color options out there. There are other styling features such as the type of shelves and door lock, interior lighting, frost free design and many more. These have no effect on the working of the cooler and are a matter of personal preference.
- Temperature range – different wine types require different temperature range
- Ease of use – the controls should be easy to use.
10 Top Rated Undercounter Wine Coolers
Check out our in-depth reviews for the most rated options on the market:
The Kalamera 24-inch cooler is the best built in wine cooler you can buy. This is because of its dual functionality as a freestanding and built-in cooler. The outer glass is made of tinted glass and circumvented by stainless steel. It is also easy to operate, with doors that can be adjusted to open to the right and left. It has lots of other features that make it a perfect buy
- 46 bottle capacity – large enough for wine lovers who have many bottles
- Dual cooling zones – the upper and lower zones cool at 40 - 50℉ and 50 - 60℉ respectively, allowing storage of different types of wine
- Quiet operation – the vibration from the compressor is so low that you will not hear any noise coming from the cooler
- Temperature memory function – in case of a power outage, the cooler automatically resets itself back to your preferred temperature as soon as it turns back on.
Low vibration ensures quiet operation and does not disturb wine sediments
- Door opens 90 degrees to allow easy removal of the shelves to accommodate larger bottles
- Simple, elegant look
- Sturdy shelves
- Handle screw goes through a glass panel and can cause breakage if torqued excessively while fixing the unit
The Aobosi undercounter wine cooler comes in second place with an elegant design, quick and simple set up process and an overall sturdy build. Its stainless-steel design adds to the stylish look and makes it a great accessory that compliments most households.
- 28 bottle capacity – this space is big enough to store many bottles of big sizes
- Three-dimensional cooling system – the cooler has a fan that circulates cool air on the inside. The cooling system has three dimensions to ensure uniform temperatures and prevent fluctuations
- Auto lock screen – the control panel locks automatically after 3 minutes of inactivity to prevent accidental disruptions
- Safety lock – to prevent warm air entering the cooler due to frequent opening, the safety lock ensures the cooler stays locked when not in use. The door open alarm alerts you when the cooler is opened.
Easy to set up
- Sturdy build with racks that glide in and out smoothly
- Too heavy for one person to install without assistance
This unique wine cooler is a combination of two separate coolers which use individual power plugs. Apart from the large storage capacity for 56 bottles, there is plenty to like about the Edgestar 30-inch cooler
- 4 cooling zones – each of these zones can be set to a different temperature to match the wine type placed in it. The temperature ranges from 41 - 64℉ to accommodate a variety of wines
- Temperature display panel – each cooling zone has its own display panel with intuitive controls
- Tinted glass – protects the wine from UV rays that would disrupt the aging process
- Reversible doors – you can arrange these to have a stylish French door design.
Compact with large capacity
- Quiet operation
- Unique appearance
- French door design not easy to create
If you are looking for a cooler that is not only portable but also compact, this is the best choice for you. It has removable shelves that are shaped to provide the maximum storage space. When you have bottles that are too big, you can always remove one shelf to make room. Other unique features that make it one of the best tall wine coolers built in are:
- Advanced cooling system – it has a quiet compressor for cooling and a kick plate that is designed to fit seamlessly under the counter
- Reversible door hinge – you can change which way the door opens by reversing the hinges. This makes the cooler fit for a variety of spaces
- 1 year warranty – this is proof that you will get value for your money.
- Compact size that takes up less space
- Can also be used as a freestanding cooler
- Lights have to be switched on and off, are not automatic
Do you have limited space for installing a narrow wine cooler undercounter? EdgeStar has a 7-bottle cooler that is great for small spaces. It looks stylish and works just as well as other coolers with bigger capacity.
- Slim fit for cramped spaces – can be installed into the tiniest spaces in your kitchen. This small built in wine cooler is perfect for apartments that are not very spacious
- UV resistant glass door – despite its small size, it can age your wine perfectly and keep it away from harmful UV rays
- Compressor cooling aided by fans – ensures cool even temperatures for the wine.
- Can be used in small spaces
- Looks stylish
- Easy to install
Looking for a cheap built in wine cooler? This Kalamera 15-inch cooler will give you the best returns at an affordable price.
- 30 bottle capacity – can hold up to 30 bottles at a time
- Adjustable height – the bottom of the cooler can be raised or lowered to fit under your counter, giving it the ultimate built-in look
- Single zone cooling – with temperatures ranging from 41-60℉, this wine cooler can be set to cool one wine type at a go
- Tempered glass door – ensures temperatures in the cooler remain stable at all times, regardless of the outside temperature.
Safety lock prevents unwarranted access
- Tempered glass door ensures stable temperatures
- Temperature memory ensures continued cooling after a power outage
- Does not have dual zone cooling, therefore, can only contain specific wine types at a go
This highly efficient wine cooler has independently controlled temperature compartments at the top and bottom as past of dual cooling zones. It is a panel ready undercounter wine cooler that fits seamlessly into a kitchen layout to look like part of the cupboards. It also has soft hinges that ensure a flush fit with cabinetry. One can opt for stainless steel or black finishes as well.
- 40 bottle capacity
- Rapid cool down technology – ensures the temperature stays stable, cooling wines without compromising integrity
- Vibration neutralization – prevents wine from becoming agitated and ensures it ages well
- Touchpad temperature controls – easy to operate and use for temperature adjustment.
Panel ready finish complements kitchen cabinetry
- Has technology that ensures temperature stabilization
- Has dual zones for cooling a variety of wine
- Does not have reversible doors, hinges are on the right. This limits the spaces it can be used in
Best Slim Under Counter Wine Cooler: Kalamera 12-inch
This Kalamari 18 bottle cooler provides a combination of space saving and large storage capacity. It’s a slim undercounter wine cooler with a design that ensures it takes up minimal space while giving you room for 18 bottles. Its design has a premium, luxurious feel with beach wood removable shelving and soft blue LED lights. Other unique features include:
- Quiet, vibration-free operation - the wine cooler is noiseless such that it can run without creating disturbance
- Digital temperature control with LED display – the temperature is easy to read
- Tempered glass door with reversible hinges – the tempered glass on the door helps maintain a stable internal temperature, regardless of the outer temperature. The reversible hinges allow the door to open to the right or left depending on your preference
- Offers large storage capacity for its size
- Stylish design
- Single cooling zone limits the type of wine that can be stored in the wine at the same time
Nutrichef is a modest size thermoelectric cooler that uses up less energy, makes very little noise and keeps your wine at a standard, pre-selected temperature. It has digital temperature control, with the controls being on the exterior. This prevents cool air from escaping when u open the door to adjust the temperature. To achieve a maximum capacity of 12 bottles, you will place 8 bottles on the rack and 4 standing upright. This is great to avoid spillage of opened wine.
- Single zone cooling – the entire cooler maintains the same temperature
- Touch screen control – allows you to turn the LED light on and off, or adjust temperature settings without opening the fridge to let cold air out
- 1-year warranty – this is a clear indicator that the cooler is of decent quality. Any poor performance guarantees a replacement.
Uses less electricity than most compressor-powered coolers
- Has genuine stainless-steel doors
- Fan runs quietly
- Spacing must be adjusted for under-cabinet use
A wine-only cooler may not be ideal for other beverages. This is because beverages like beer need much cooler temperatures than that used for wine. Lanbo offers a combination of temperatures to serve both wine and other beverages. It has dual cooling zones on the left and right that can be used in different settings. Despite having such a capacity, it is compact in size and does not take up much space. Other unique features of this beverage center are:
- Can be used as freestanding or under counter unit – it has front vents that make it appropriate for use under your counter, but can also work as a free-standing unit
- LED interior lights – they light up automatically and help discern the drink flavors inside to avoid any confusion. The screen allows you to read the labels too
- Separate safety locks for each refrigerator side – you can lock up your wines, and leave out other beverages for your family especially when you have kids. This feature is important to avoid frequent opening of the door and letting out cold air from the wine compartment.
Offers lots of space for beverages without taking up too much floor space
- Easy set up process
- Has carbon filter which prevents odors from accumulating in the cooler
- Makes low sound while working
How to Use a Built-in Wine Cooler for Best Aging Results
Aging wine goes through a series of complex chemical reactions. These reactions require a stable temperature of 55℉, 70% relative humidity and protection from direct light. Even the slightest exposure to unfavorable conditions will upset the chemical balance and cause your wine to age poorly. To achieve the best aging results while using a wine cooler, you should:
- Keep the temperature stable at 55℉;
- buy a cooler with UV-tinted glass that prevents light penetration to the wine;
- store the cooler in a dark place;
- buy a cooler that has humidity control.
You should also clean your cooler once in a while. Although most coolers come with a carbon filter to absorb odors, you should unplug the machine and wipe it down to maintain hygiene. Use a soft cloth with mild detergent that does not have a strong scent. You should clean from the inside to the outside, and return your wine as soon as the optimum temperature has been established after plugging in.
Frequently Asked Questions About Built-in Wine Coolers
- What is a built-in wine cooler?
It is a wine cooler designed to fit in existing counters and cabinets. It has a front vent that directs heat away from the unit.
- Can you put a freestanding wine cooler under a counter?
No. Freestanding wine coolers do not have front vents; they emit heat from the back. Putting a freestanding wine cooler under cabinet creates overheating risk. Eventually, the cooler will be unable to maintain cool temperatures. Your wine will be exposed to unsuitable temperatures. The compressor may also burn out as it tries to deal with the overheating. Using a freestanding cooler under the counter will shorten its life span and invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.
- What is the best under counter wine refrigerator?
The best under counter wine refrigerator is one that uses minimal energy and keeps optimal temperatures with minimum vibrations. The specific brand you settle for is a matter of personal choice.
- What is the standard size of a wine fridge?
Most wine fridges can fit under a 36-inch counter. The width varies from 12-inch, 15-inch, 18-inch, 24-inch,and 30-inch. For the accurate fitting, you should measure the space intended for the cooler before your purchase.
Final Thoughts on Built-in Wine Coolers
Aging wine is a delicate process that can easily go wrong. When left in optimal temperatures, wine acquires rich flavors that most wine lovers often desire. You could age your wine in a cellar, or get a built-in wine cooler that is efficient and stylish. Then, you should follow steps outlined in this guide to ensure your wine ages well in the best conditions.
There is a wine cooler for every need. If you are looking to save on space, you can go for slim designs that have your desired capacity. In need of storage for different wine types? Opt for those with dual zone cooling to ensure your wine is kept at the right temperature. While there may not be a wine cooler under $100, there is definitely one that gives you great value for money. Having read this review of 10 best under counter wine coolers, you are best informed to make the right purchase.