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If you’re serious about wine, investing in a wine fridge is essential for keeping your bottles safe and on display. “Wine needs to have a consistent storage temperature, and most places in your home cannot provide that,” says Holly Berrigan, founder of MYSA Natural Wine, a subscription club and online shop focused on natural wine. “Actual room temperature is far too warm for red wines, as they should be anywhere from 50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit,” she continues. When it comes to whites and other chilled wines, Berrigan says that these should be kept between 42 and 50 degrees, which is warmer than the average temperature of a household refrigerator. And generally speaking, average cellar temperature is around 55 degrees, according to Berrigan—which can be achieved with a fridge designed specifically for storing wine.
Marshal Tilden III, vice president of sales and wine education at Wine Enthusiast, recommends purchasing a fridge with at least twice the capacity of what you own to allow for growth. After size comes temperature: look at whether or not you want a single temperature or dual-zone model. Here are some of the best wine fridges available based on every kind of collector’s needs.
Best Overall: Ivation 31-Bottle Built-In Wine Cooler
A trusted name in home appliances, Ivation offers a wide variety of smartly-designed wine fridges. This particular built-in model has a range of 40 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit and features a heavyweight double-panel glass door to protect bottles from UV light. It also holds up to 31 bottles in its thermally-insulated single-zone chamber and is equipped with a heavy-duty compressor, chilling wines quickly and efficiently. Control each zone with ease using the digital LCD control panel, and turn the soft interior LED lighting on or off as you please. Though it packs power, this cooler is both energy-efficient and extremely quiet, with vibration-suppressing technology to help minimize sediment inside your bottles. A front-facing vent means you can place it anywhere––because it’s a built-in fridge, you can incorporate it into existing cabinetry to save space or achieve a streamlined appearance.
Best Built-In: Wine Enthusiast Vinotheque Café Wine Cellar
A built-in wine fridge, Tilden says, is ideal “if you plan on building the wine cellar into cabinetry.” This type of fridge features a unique vent system: the fan is located at the front, meaning it can be installed under a countertop or table as there’s no need for extra room at the back or sides for heat to escape from the unit. The dual-zone Vinotheque Café model from Wine Enthusiast features a front vent, beechwood racks, a touch screen complete with a hygrometer, and much more. It uses a high-performance inverter compressor system to control temperature and can hold up to 46 bottles, protecting them from light, humidity, vibration, and heat. This fridge is also energy-efficient, eliminates odors with a charcoal filter, and offers full-cabinet LED lighting as well as a commercial-grade locking stainless steel door with a UV-protected glass pane.
Best Single-Zone: Kalamera 18-Bottle Freestanding Wine Refrigerator
If your collection consists of mostly reds, then a single temperature fridge is your best bet. “Keep in mind that all wine––red, white, sparkling, and fortified––ages properly at the 53 to 57 temperature range,” notes Tilden. In other words, if aging is your priority versus serving temperature, then a single temperature fridge will do the job well. Kalamera’s 18-bottle single-zone fridge is sleek in design yet highly functional, featuring vibration-reducing advanced cooling technology, smart digital control, a double-pane locking glass door, and six adjustable beech wood shelves that won’t scratch your bottles. The fridge’s minimum temperature is 40 degrees with a maximum of 66 degrees. The front vent also gives you the flexibility to build it into your counters or keep it as a freestanding fixture.
Best Dual-Zone: Frigidaire 38-Bottle Stainless Steel Wine Cooler
Dual-zone fridges are Berrigan’s go-to, given her preference for consuming wines at serving temperature (meaning, she likes her whites to be cooler than her reds). She recommends Frigidaire’s 38-bottle cooler for its frostless, UV-protected tinted glass window, stainless steel frame, reversible door, LED lighting and display, and energy-efficient fan system. With its seven racks (five of which are sliding), you can store your bottles in one of two temperature zones: either a cooler range for whites of 41 to 54 degrees or a warmer range for reds of 55 to 64 degrees. This fridge is freestanding only.
Best Large: Lanbo 149-Bottle Triple Zone Wine Cooler
With enough space for 149 bottles, this spacious Lanbo wine cooler is top-of-the-line. “If I had a cellar, I would have enough space for a larger structure, and I love that this one has three zones,” says Berrigan. It also comes with a double-layered tinted glass door, removable burpless beechwood shelves, a large front vent, and a powerful internal fan. This fridge’s three temperature zones vary in range: the upper zone ranges from 41 to 72 degrees, the middle zone at 41 to 54 degrees, and the lower zone at 54 to 71 degrees.
When it particularly comes to larger fridges, Tilden explains why quality is important: “While all wine cellars keep proper temperature, the higher quality cellars will keep more consistent temps, maintain or control humidity, last longer, and are also quieter and more efficient.” Lanbo’s triple-zone fridge is 26.8 inches long, 23.4 inches wide, and 71.3 inches high. It can be built-in or freestanding.
Best Slim: EdgeStar 7-Bottle Single Zone Wine Refrigerator
Small but mighty, EdgeStar’s 7-bottle single zone wine fridge can live on any surface or tight floor space in your home or office thanks to its sleek, streamlined design. Plus, the front-facing vent system means that the fridge can be built-in or used as an under-counter fridge. It also features an easy-to-use digital temperature display (with a minimum temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and a max of 65 degrees), six slide-out metal racks, LED lighting to showcase bottles, an integrated lock system, and a reversible door to accommodate both left- and right-handed users.
Best Compact: NutriChef 12-Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler
“[Think about] your space––if you have a tiny apartment, having a giant fridge might not make sense, unless you work in wine,” says Berrigan. Opt for a compact, yet well-constructed wine fridge if you’re working with a smaller space. This 12-bottle NutriChef model boasts a high-precision thermoelectric system (one of the most effective cooling methods, which works by bouncing electricity between two separate junctions), a glass door with air-tight seal, touch-screen temperature control, LED lighting, and built-in circulation and ventilation. The single-zone fridge offers a 50 to 64-degree range. It’s also extremely quiet and comes with a one-year warranty. At 9.9 inches wide, 19.7 inches deep, and 25 inches tall, this is an ideal option for compact collections.
Best Value: Whynter 28-Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler
At a reasonable price point, Whynter’s thermoelectric 28-bottle wine fridge offers serious bang for your buck. A simple, silver exterior with straightforward adjustable metal racks, this freestanding fridge has plenty of space with all of the essentials: a locking double-paned door with an ergonomic handle, LED interior lighting and display, six shelves, and a thermoelectric system designed to cool quickly and effectively sans vibration. This single temperature fridge has a range of 52 to 65 degrees. All in all, it’s the perfect pick for the savvy shopper with a modest, yet growing wine collection.
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While wine doesn’t tend to last too long at Céline Bossart’s home, it never hurts to have smart storage. After spending the last seven years as a beverage writer, she’s seen her fair share of wine fridges.