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The well-prepared host knows that there's nothing more uncouth than handing one's guest an insufficiently-chilled beer. But if you're a frequent entertainer, you may find your kitchen fridge overflowing with cans and bottles. A separate beer fridge can solve that problem: you can keep your favorite beers (and wines, sodas, and beyond) at the perfect temperature, ready to be cracked open when expected or unexpected guests stop by.
If you think a beer fridge is merely a mini-fridge, however, think again—there are fridges that lock (if you have little ones running around) and fridges that chill to specific temperatures that can be adjusted to pair with the beer inside. There are even slim coolers that fit under counters or moveable fridges for roving parties.
Keep your favorite brews cool and happy with some of the best beer fridges on the market right now.
Best Overall: NewAir 126 Can Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler
Customizable thermostat settings
Door is difficult to reverse
This NewAir cooler is roomy and large enough to hold up to 126 cans. Measuring 18.4 x 18.9 x 32.9 inches, the freestanding fridge boasts a classic stainless steel design and four storage racks that are removable to make space for larger bottles and cans.
For those looking for chillier drinks or drinks cooled down quickly, this refrigerator chills down to a frigid 37 degrees Fahrenheit—far cooler than most standard beer fridges. Or, choose from one of the seven customizable settings the thermostat offers. A 35dB compressor runs at a whisper level, making this a great option for offices or shared spaces.
Best for Beer and Wine: Lanbo Wine and Beverage Cooler
Can set two different temperatures at once
Lanbo’s Dual-Zone Wine and Beverage Cooler offers 5.93 cubic feet of storage space and can hold up to 70 cans of your favorite drinks or 33 standard Bordeaux bottles. Featuring an extra-wide design (29.5 x 23.6 x 34.5 inches), the fridge's two zones and double doors let you chill beverages to two different temperatures at once—use one for icy cold beers and the other for slightly chilled wines.
The left zone chills between 41 and 64 degrees and the right zone chills contents to 39 and 50 degrees. The cooling system also uses front vents to better achieve heat dissipation and prevents frost from building up on the outside of bottles. Even more, two large windows showcase your favorite bottles and beers.
A dual-temperature fridge is a big draw for Erin Grey, a cicerone from Ecliptic Brewing in Portland, Ore. “If I had to buy a new beer fridge, I would install two fridges: one for cellaring beer at 50 degrees and the other for cans of beer I want to drink fresh at 40 degrees.”
Best Budget: Kismile Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler
Protects from UV rays
Can be loud
At 1.6 cubic feet, this compact Kismile cooler is perfect for discreet locations—think tucked under a home bar or office desk. The 18.6 x 17.5 x 19.6-inch cooler is roomy enough for 60 standard cans, or 17 bottles of red, white, or sparkling wine. It's also outfitted with a high-tech advanced temperature control that can be programmed from anywhere between 39 and 61 degrees.
A removable shelf makes it easy to repurpose the fridge for various size beverages, and a soft blue LED light allows you to find your favorite chilled drink in the dark. Thick, double-paned glass protects beverages from UV rays and helps the fridge keep its ideal humidity level.
Good to Know:
Grey found the customizable temperature a key factor when buying a beer fridge: “I keep my beer fridge warmer than my food fridge so my beers come out at perfect drinking temperature." He explains, "I keep mine around 45 degrees, and if I am taking out something really big, like a barrel-aged barley wine, I will let it warm up on the counter for a little bit before I open it.”
Related: The Best Beer Glasses
Best Compact: Danby Free-Standing Wine Cooler
Protects from UV rays
Generous temperature range
Doesn't have a temperature display
Danby’s compact beer fridge design is ideal for those in small spaces. At a slim 23.6 x 15 x 34.4 inches, the freestanding fridge can hold an impressive 36 bottles of wine, with 3.3 feet of cooling space. The metal shelves can be removed and reconfigured for wine bottles, soda bottles, or tall cans.
The double-paned glass door protects the fridge's contents from harmful UV rays, plus the fridge’s light and temperature levels can be controlled via a sensitive digital control panel. The temperature range is an impressive 43 to 57℉.
Note stylish design features such as an energy-efficient, blue LED light that illuminates your favorite beverage, attractive black wire shelving, and a recessed, pocket-style door handle. This fridge caters to both lefties and righties, as the reversible door hinge can be adjusted to both right- and left-handed opening (which is also convenient if you need to match the fridge door to your cabinets).
Best for Garages: Frigidaire Mini Fridge
Multiple temperature modes
Doesn't include a light inside
This Frigidaire is by far one of the most versatile fridges on the market: at 3.3 cubic feet (19 x 18 x 33 inches), it holds dozens of beers, while a small freezer allows the fridge to quickly chill down beers or store frozen food items, and removable glass shelves give you space to store and chill down glasses.
To boot, a stainless steel door protects the contents, making this an ideal and durable fridge for a garage or an outside space. The small cooler can be adjusted to three temperatures: Max, Med, and Min. While it doesn't boast many high-tech features, it’s a low-budget beer fridge that gets the job done.
Good to Know:
What's the ideal serving temperature for beer? It depends on who you ask. Arlene Roldan, co-owner of The Mermaid in Los Angeles, notes that “as a craft beer advocate, we serve beer between 38 to 40 degrees. Served too cold, the layers of flavor will be lost.“ Meanwhile, Patrick Bisch, certified cicerone at Illinois' The Open Bottle, suggests that “beer tastes better between 40 to 50 degrees and not ice-cold."
Related: The Best Kegerators
Best for Portability: Cooluli Classic Mini Fridge
EcoMode helps save power
Comes in various colors and sizes
Cannot adjust temperature
For on-the-go adventures, this portable Cooluli cooler is an excellent option. The lightweight fridge (measuring 9.75 x 12 x 14 inches) can be hauled anywhere thanks to a dual-voltage (100-240V/12V) construction that adapts to any plug around the world, so you can use it at campsites, bedrooms, dorm rooms, and beyond.
The 100 percent EcoMax technology is installed to prevent frosting and keep energy use to a minimum—when the maximum energy is used, the fridge goes into EcoMode to save power. Additionally, the fridge is equipped with two adjustable and removable shelves and a two-container basket. It also comes in an array of colors, including green-on-white, pink-on-white, and black-on-white.
Best for Camping: Iceco Portable Refrigerator
Chills drinks quickly
Generous temperature range
Rainproof and shockproof
Have frosty beverages ready wherever you're headed with Iceco's portable refrigerator. All the 45-liter fridge (27.4 x 15.8 x 19.2 inches in dimensions) needs is a place to plug in the two power cables (12/24V DC and 110 to 240V AC) and it works just as efficiently as a standard beer fridge.
This system is designed to chill drinks quickly, with a range that spans 0 to 50 degrees (keep an eye on your beers if you set the unit below 32!). Ideal for camping and outdoor adventures, the tough design will run on slopes of up to 40 degrees, and the rainproof and shockproof construction will withstand whatever environment you’re facing. Better yet, the spacious unit can hold up to 20 six-packs of beer or a week’s worth of food.
Related: The Best Coolers
Best for Parties: EdgeStar 30-Inch Wide 26 Bottle 80 Can Side-by-Side Wine and Beverage Center
Generous temperature range
Has a security lock
This isn’t your tiny, compact beer fridge. Edgestar’s beer fridge is heavy-duty, ready to be stocked with any and every beverage in your arsenal. On one side, store your cellar-worthy wines, customize the temperature and keep them at the perfect slightly-chilled temperature for cellaring. On the other side, store your cans of brew at a frostier temperature so they’re ice cold when you pull them out. On the bottom shelf, the brand recommends keeping large bottles of bubbly water or other oversized bottles. The beer side cools between 38 and 50°F while the wine side hits between 54 and 65°F. The bottom zone, meanwhile, chills out between 40 and 54°F.
Other features include a tinted glass door, a security lock, and touch temperature controls. Note that you do have to screw together the doors when it arrives.
NewAir’s (view at Amazon) cooling unit reigns as the best overall beer fridge thanks to its large interior, affordable price, and customizable settings. If you’re looking for an all-encompassing beverage fridge, Lanbo’s (view at Amazon) combo wine and beer fridge’s extra wide design earns top marks.
What to Look For in a Beer Fridge
One of the biggest considerations when looking for a beer fridge is size. There are compact beer fridges for dorms and small spaces, and massive beer fridges for more spacious home bars. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what space you have to work with. One rule of thumb when considering size is to think of what beers you like. If you prefer cans, opt for a shelving situation designed for storing your beers. If you prefer larger bottles of lambics, big bottles of bubbly water, or wine, look for a beer fridge with removable shelves to fit all your bottles.
While it may seem like the price on these fridges range wildly, the cooling system is largely to blame: smaller, inexpensive units use a thermoelectric system while pricier options utilize compressors, just like a regular-sized fridge. What’s the difference? Compressor coolers get way cooler than a thermoelectric unit—thermoelectric coolers can only chill contents to 50°F and are less energy efficient, making them more expensive to operate.
While you may operate under the idea that colder is better, beer’s optimal temperature is actually far above freezing! Different beverages have different drinking temperatures: stouts should be slightly below room temperature while lagers are best sipped icy-cold. Red wines should be stored at cellar temperature, while barrel-aged beers need a slightly chillier temperature. Keep your favorite beer in mind when picking out your beer fridge.
How long does beer last in the fridge?
You may be surprised to hear that beer actually has a shelf life! Take a peek at the expiration date on the package, but as a rule of thumb, beer lasts between six to nine months. Craft beer has a shorter lifespan (even as short as three months after bottling), while more mass-produced beers will last for longer.
How do you store beer bottles?
Keep your beer upright in a cool (but not freezing) dry place. Note that light kills beer—even a cup of beer can start going bad when you’re drinking in the sun. A great beer fridge will protect your cans and bottles from rays.
What temperature should a beer fridge be set at?
Elongate a beer’s lifespan by placing it in the fridge as soon as you get it. Think of it like any produce item. It will age regardless, but when you store it cold, that aging process is slowed down.
With that in mind, you may be inclined to crank your fridge down to the lowest possible setting. But keep in mind that the recommended serving temperature for stouts is 50 to 55 degrees, pale ales at 45 to 55 degrees, and lagers at between 40 to 45.
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This roundup was edited by Jesse Porter, whose "desert island" beer would depend entirely on the island: a crisp pilsner if we're talking somewhere in the Bahamas, but a hearty stout if it's some desolate rock off the north coast of Scotland.
Kate Dingwall has been writing about wine and spirits for six years. Outside of writing, she is a trained sommelier and working bartender.
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