You don’t need to be an oenophile or a wine collector to have the pressing need of buying the best built-in wine refrigerator. Loving your wine chilled to optimal temperature may be reason enough to buy a cooler. There are tens of brands with tens of the best built-in wine refrigerator models to choose from. This makes it very tiring for the average consumer to settle for the best choice for their needs. A built-in wine refrigerator is one of a plethora of options to choose from. Though it narrows down the range, it doesn’t make it any easier to make your choice; this article outlines all you need to know before making that worthwhile purchase.
Storage vs Serving temperature
They may come off as obvious and are often confused to be the same but they couldn’t be more different. Storage temperature is the ideal temperature at which wine can mature and age. Serving temperature is the temperature at which wine should be served: the temperature at which wine has the best flavor. One which makes the taster savor every drop of it. Most sweet wines are best served at no more than 45°F while dry ones at 50°F. Whites are stored at 55 °F while reds at 65°F.
Types of Wine Coolers
Wine coolers fall into two broad categories: compressor and thermoelectric. Compressor based coolers work synonymously to your standard refrigerator. They use a refrigerant to cool your reds and whites. Compressor coolers adapt to sporadic changes in temperature but have higher operational costs since there are a couple of mechanical moving parts absent in thermoelectric coolers. Thermoelectric coolers work by transferring heat, controlled by a cooling device from one point to another. They normally have a lower storage capacity than compressor-based coolers but are more environmentally friendly and quieter when in operation.
A common question asked by a majority of prospective wine cooler buyers is: Why should I buy a wine cooler when I can just store my wine in my kitchen refrigerator? One, your kitchen fridge doesn’t offer ideal temperature for wine storage. Secondly, your standard fridge has high humidity levels. Third, wine breath. Their taste may be affected by the strong aroma from foods and drinks stored in the fridge. Finally, there is often not too much space left in our fridges for wine storage after we store our food. Hope you are convinced.
Wine coolers come in different varieties: countertop, built-in, freestanding and the less known serving and multifunctional wine coolers.
Countertops as their name suggests are placed on counters. Mostly kitchen counters but can also sit pretty atop workstations and beneath office desks among other spaces. Countertop wine coolers are a perfect option for persons who are looking for a small wine cooler in which they can chill a few bottles; or are keen on learning the basics of wine storage and therefore, want to use it for experimental purposes. Call it a trial and error option. The latter reason is reason enough since it isn’t prudent to dent your wallet for learning purposes. Although some of the top selling brands can store up to 24 bottles, most hold not more than 12 bottles. You could also buy a countertop wine cooler if you have but limited space in your kitchen, workstation or storage area. Because of the need they address, most countertops implement thermoelectric technology as a method of cooling. Be sure to place them in a well-ventilated area for optimal functionality.
Serving Wine Cooler
Serving wine coolers aren’t as popular as the three that are the mainstay in wine cooling and for the right reason. (The three being countertops, built-in and freestanding.) Serving wine coolers serve the purpose of cooling wine to the right serving temperature. You may be tempted to purchase a serving wine cooler as a replacement to any of the three, please don’t. Serving wine coolers are not built for storage purposes.
Multi-functional Wine Coolers
Multifunctional wine coolers cater to both storage and serving needs. This is achieved by the use of more than a single cooling compartment. An ideal one would be one that has three compartments: one for your reds, another for your whites and the last for serving. All of which have different temperature control units.
Freestanding wine refrigerators
Freestanding wine coolers are commonly common in households that have free and adequate floor space. A rule of thumb is, like countertops, to place it in a well-ventilated area that caters for free flow of air. Installing or integrating them with cabinets is a no-no. Even when positioned in your area of choice, a 10 cm clearance should be allocated to allow for ventilation and ideal air flow.
Built-in Wine Coolers
Built-in wine refrigerators are usually installed under counters, office desks or fully integrated within the kitchen design. Built-in wine refrigerators’ popularity stems from the fact that some homes have adequate floor space. Secondly, most under counter spaces in your kitchen or workspace often go unused or underutilized, making them a perfect fit for built-in wine refrigerators.
Third and most importantly, when doing a kitchen redesign or are building your house from scratch, built-in wine refrigerators are an ideal option since you get to choose precisely what goes where and a refrigerator that blends in with your overall design, look and feel adds to the general design. Built-in wine coolers are perfect for homeowners who want to ensure there’s seamless integration between their wine cooler and the rest of the kitchen. To them continuity is paramount.
All these categories of coolers, in principal, operate either through thermoelectric cooling or compressor-based cooling.
Factors to Consider before Buying a Built-in Wine Refrigerator
Install your built-in refrigerator in your location of choice. A few things are necessary though: ventilation and a space with relatively cool temperature.
The best built-in refrigerators from some of the most trusted brands include, but are not limited to: EdgeStar, Avallon, Koldfront, Kalamera and Alavino.
Bottle Storage Capacity
The number of bottles a wine refrigerator can store is based on the standard “Bordeaux 75cl tradition” which is 750 milliliters. Obviously, wine bottles come in different sizes. Some, if you’ve been watching popular hit series, Shark Tank, are now packaged in custom made proprietary wine glasses. The best wine refrigerators are capable of storing different sizes of wine bottles.
Thermoelectric wine coolers produce little to no noise when operational. Compressor wine coolers, like your standard refrigerator, do produce some noise but it doesn’t go beyond the normal hum and vibration. If your home is well ventilated and doesn’t experience fluctuations in temperature especially during the summer, a thermoelectric cooler should work. If not, there are no two ways about it, you just have to settle for the compressor variant. The best built-in wine refrigerator should have minimal noise when operational.
Does the design of your built-in wine refrigerator blend in with the overall look and feel of your kitchen? If not, don’t settle for less. Secondly, backlit LED wine refrigerators are a welcome addition to styling your kitchen. Some are multicolored while others offer only one.
Other features to look into are availability of locks which may be useful if you have children in your house and the location of the temperature control unit. Some are internal but the best built-in wine refrigerators have them placed externally which means you won’t need to open the cooler every time you want to change the temperature settings if need be.
Generally, anything that makes you feel an exciting sensation is good enough: touchscreen temperature control units, tempered and tinted glass doors for protection from UV rays and extension shelves among others.
The best built-in wine refrigerators will last you a couple of years give or take. At least those that are listed in this article will. You have our assurance. That said, do a thorough background research on the model you wish to purchase before buying it. Read about the reputation of the brand and customer reviews from different sites. That should give you a rough idea of the durability of the cooler in question.
The structural integrity and build quality of the shelves, whether they be slide-in or compact is crucial. This is where all your bottles will sit. The best built-in wine refrigerators with slide-in shelves have ball bearings that work efficiently over the years with no need for extra lubrication. Additionally, they need to be sturdy enough when being drawn out especially if they are inclined when drawn out.
Even the best built-in wine refrigerators for your home will have an impact on your electricity bill, model and brand notwithstanding. More bottle storage capacity directly translates to more use of energy. A key feature to look for is energy efficiency.
You don’t want to break the bank on your first purchase particularly if you merely want to experiment your way to connoisseur-ism. Secondly, value for money with regards to design, bottle storage capacity and the amount of money you are willing to spend should all be in mind.
If you’ve bought premium wine, you need to buy a cooler that matches. One that will operate consistently and optimally.
- Single cooling zones are great for storing one of either white or red wine since they can only be at a specific temperature range at any given time.
- Dual cooling compartments are perfect for storage of both reds and whites because they have different temperatures. Each conducive for the two different types of wine.
- Triple and Quadruple are rare for home use but can be used to store both reds and white while the rest is used for serving temperatures.
When dealing with factors to consider before purchasing a built-in wine refrigerator, it’s hard to offer a one fits all solution. Making the necessary trade-offs will be ideal for every customer.
How to install a wine cooler-location
We are an exciting age where you get to do most of the stuff all by yourself. Particularly since it saves you’re a couple of bucks. So here is the DIY installation guide for built-in wine refrigerators. Before going too far, check the manufacturer’s guide to ascertain that your wine refrigerator is fit and safe for either undercounter or full integration. Inspect the back and front of your wine cooler to see if it has a provision for ventilation. It’s simple. Just examine the presence or absence of tiny vents on either side.
Since most wine coolers have them, you’ll need to buy a ventilation unit from your local electrical store of supplies if it’s absent. Installing the ventilation unit is quite straightforward: attach it as per the installation instructions if it comes with. Don’t worry you don’t need to be a master craftsman to successfully install it.
Measure the dimensions of your wine cooler and make an objective comparison with the planned area for installation. In case of a bigger clearance than is necessary and for perfect fitting, nail perfectly finished filler strips with a nail gun in the installation area. Ensure that your filler strips are similar in color to your wine cooler or at least, the adjacent cabinets.
Taking consideration of tension, jamming and clearance, drill a hole in the rear side of the cabinet that will easily fit in the cooler’s power cable. Again, this is straightforward stuff that requires only common sense. As is normally the case, your point of installation may be a considerable distance from the power source. In which case, you can simply buy an extension cable that matches in length with the distance to the power source/switch. The downside to this is that you may have a cable running in plain sight which may disrupt the overall design. Ask for assistance for hidden cable management.
Gingerly fit in your wine cooler in the installation area. Place the mounting plates and the extension cords in place and power it up. While using a spirit level to ensure your cooler is level may be too much to ask, a great workaround would be to perfectly position the coolers feet. To ensure it’s fully functional, give it a grace period of a few minutes to begin the cooling process. Most coolers are set between 45-65°F for optimal cooling and 70% humidity. Check that this has been achieved. Install a finish trim around the periphery of the cabinet and position the cooler perfectly to it. For built-in undercounter coolers, repeat the same process only remove the cabinet doors if any are present.
Best Built-in Wine Refrigerators
Having gone through everything you need to know about wine refrigerators, here’s a list of the best of them to get you started.
It is not uncommon to find home appliances with smart features and this 121-can Whytner doesn’t fall too far from this tree. I’ll tell you why. The wine refrigerator features a touch screen control that gives you easy access to the amazing features packed with it. It obviously wouldn’t miss basic features like powerful compressor cooling, tempered double pane glass for enhanced UV protection and a lock else, it wouldn’t be on the list of the best built-in wine refrigerators
Why would you need a temperature memory function, you ask? After a power outage, the cooler will reinstate the initial set temperature. Its sleek design will definitely fit in with most spaces.
- Powerful compressor cooling
- Digital LED temperature control
- Double-pane tempered glass door
- Cylinder lock
- LED lighting
- Fahrenheit and Celsius degree temperature indicators
NutriChef has been designing the best wine coolers for years and one from their many top wine coolers wouldn’t have missed in the list of the best built-in wine refrigerators. This 15-bottle model comes in a stainless steel finish, which won’t be visible anyways but will be useful as you think about where to place it, is complemented by a stainless-steel edge on its front.
Perhaps what’s most amazing about this wine cooler is its dual-zone design, with the upper compartment dealing with whites and cooler blushes between 41 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit while the lower compartment handles red and blush wine. It has a blue LED lighting that will brighten and liven up any room you place it in and an internal fan easier circulation of air. Additionally, its door can be reversed to open on either side. How cool is that?
- Adjustable temperature
- Compact and decorative design
- Dual-zone design
- Digital touch button
- Temperature alarm
- Ultra quiet operation
- Interior light
Another that is one of the best built-in wine refrigerators yet undone by its price and the fact that it only has a single cooling zone. You’d expect that with a 50-bottle storage capacity, it would have at least had dual cooling zones. But it makes up for it by having a safety lock, a digital temperature control unit and a see-through, the glass is filled with argon to protect the bottles from UV rays and external heat. Better yet, the ventilation on its front saves you the trouble of buying an external ventilator. One of its main undoings is that it isn’t the most silent of coolers but takes nothing from it, it gives you value for money.
- Dual temperature zones
- Safety lock with key
- Blue interior LED light
- Reversible door swing
- Tempered glass door
- Electronic thermostat with LED display
- Frist free operations
- Stainless steel trimmed shelves
This Avanti built-in wine cooler is packed with great features that include backlit blue LED light for perfect viewing when you draw out your favorite bottle, a touchscreen-based temperature control unit, an internal fan for maximum circulation of air and a reversible door. What’s even better, a feature that lacks in many wine coolers: auto-defrost. I think it’s unnecessary since you won’t be defrosting your wine anyway. But it’ll come in handy if you choose to store beverages.
- Stainless steel handle and door frame
- Reversible door
- Automatic defrost
- LED light
- ADA compliant
- Security lock with key
- 6 wine racks
- Dual temperature zones
- Shelves with wooden fronts
- Digital temperature display
- Compressor cooling
Many of you may not be familiar with this brand but the Vinotemp brand is good at what they do to earn a place on our list. The wine cooler is packed with great features like the other units on this list and they include dual zone and compressor cooling among many others. A LED backlight brightens up whichever room you’ll place it in. A front ventilation saves you the headache of where to place the cooler and a couple of dollars on a detachable ventilator.
- Multi-zone unit
- Front exhaust wine cellar
- Supports freestanding application
- Wire shelves
- Safety lock with light
- Single glass door design
- Push button operation
- Digital display
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can a freestanding wine cooler be installed as built-in?
Don’t ever make the mistake of installing your freestanding wine fridge under your counter. Built-in wine coolers are built with vents in front of them such that even when they’re installed under the counter, they are able to produce heat to the air, causing them to function properly and without issues।
- Where can I place my built-in wine refrigerator?
You can always find vents on the front side of built-in wine coolers so they can basically be positioned anywhere in the house, as long as it’s an appropriate place for you.
- What are the things I should look out for when purchasing a wine refrigerator?
The things you should consider before deciding to buy a wine refrigerator include the bottle capacity, type (freestanding or built-in), defrost option, price, size, and many more.
Choosing the best wine refrigerator is hard enough. This article will go a long way in helping you make the right decision and get value for money for your purchase. You can also take your time to make proper research on every product featured on this list so you can be fully sure of what you’re exchanging your money for. We are confident these wine refrigerators are the best you can get in the market, but do not also forget to put into consideration some of the factors we’ve listed above before making a purchase decision. Happy shopping!