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We purchased the Frigidaire 38-Bottle Two-Zone Wine Cooler so our reviewer could put it to the test in their home bar. Read on for the full review.
The Bottom Line: Though it does have some minor design flaws, bartenders and beverage enthusiasts will find a lot to love about the Frigidaire 38-Bottle Two-Zone Wine Cooler. The dual temperature zones accurately and consistently chilled reds and whites, and the price is right, particularly for beginner collectors.
Temperature is accurate
Dual-zone temperature for reds and whites
Price is accessible to new collectors
Designed to fit in a kitchen set-up
Excellent for beer cans
Wood shelves don’t pull out seamlessly
Unit has a constant humming noise
Stores 26 bottles, not 38
Buy on Home Depot, $512
Installation: This fridge arrives ready to use. Just remove the styrofoam packaging and protective stickers, plug in the unit, and attach the handle with the included Allen key.
Capacity: It holds 38 bottles between both zones, making it far more spacious than your standard entry-level wine fridge (many smaller units hold around 20 bottles).
Design: Sleek stainless steel finishings and natural wood shelves make this unit look far more expensive than its entry-level price may suggest. There’s also a UV-protected tinted glass window to protect bottles from sun damage and an energy-efficient fan system.
Temperature Zones: A section for sparkling wines and whites can be programmed between 45 and 54°F while a lower zone for red wines chills between 55 and 64°F.
Cleaning: Removable shelves make it simple to scrub the fridge clean if something spills. The interior wipes clean with soap and water.
Price: Sitting at under $500, Frigidaire’s 38-bottle wine cooler is an approachable option for an entry-level wine collector (or a beer and drinks enthusiast looking to save space in their standard fridge) considering that most wine fridges start at $300.
If you’re starting to accumulate a robust collection of wine and fortified wines, you’re going to need a proper home base for your bottles. That’s where Frigidaire 38-Bottle Two-Zone Wine Cooler comes in. The dual-zone, freestanding wine cooler provides plenty of space to store your bottles and cans while protecting them from heat, temperature changes, and damaging UV rays.
What’s the appeal of a dual-zone fridge? Room temperature is far too warm to keep red wines at for an extended period of time, while a standard fridge is far too chilly for whites. Ideally, red wines should be kept at 55°F, while whites and sparkling wines should sit between 42 and 50°F. A dual-zone wine fridge gives you space for reds, whites, and bubblies by dividing the fridge into two different temperatures.
Setting up this fridge was quick and easy. The only thing that would take additional time is if you need to reinstall the reversible door to fit your kitchen or bar setup. This seamless process meant that my entire collection of wine was chilling in just 20 minutes.
Fill the bottom with age-worthy reds—I keep mine at a 55°F and reserve the bottom for my costly cellaring bottles. The top section I set to a steady low temperature of 44°F and saved the space for serve-now wines: whites, bubbles, beers, and mixers. This allowed me to free up space in my actual fridge.
“The dual-zone, freestanding wine cooler provides plenty of space to store your bottles and cans while protecting them from heat, temperature changes, and damaging UV rays.”
The aesthetics of the fridge skew modern and minimalistic. Five of the seven racks slide out, making it painless to remove the shelves and clean the fridge in the event of slips or spills. However, these shelves sit atop small ledges within the walls, meaning they have no glides or guides to ensure they slide out smoothly—if you don’t pull them out carefully, the shelves jerk from side to side as they slide out, with the bottles rattling around with them.
Note that most racks are only 3 inches high—too narrow to fit many larger, broad-shoulder bottles, including chardonnay, rhone, pinot noir, Champagne, and even Bordeaux. These will only fit on three of the seven shelves, so unless your wine collection consists of entirely Alsatian or Germanic bottles or if you’re using this fridge for beers, you’re likely getting a maximum of 26 bottles, not 38, in this fridge. The shelves are also tightly spaced, making it tough to see the labels without pulling out the entire shelf which, as mentioned, is rickety.
I thought the solution to the size issue would be to adjust the shelves, but the ledges are built directly into the side of the fridge. The only way the shelves can be reconfigured is if you remove one entirely. While a pedigreed oenophile may find these design flaws annoying, the fridge is ideal for someone with a stocked home bar. Save two rows for wines, two rows for beer, and stock sodas, vermouths, infusions, and other bar fridge-essentials in the tighter shelves.
One of the big draws of this unit is the two temperature zones: 45 and 54°F for sparkling and whites and 55 and 64°F for reds. For optimal performance, the brand recommends keeping your unit where the ambient temperature is between 70 and 78°F. I noticed the temperature would fluctuate a few degrees, but the fridge largely kept wines at the exact temperature I programmed. (My home is rather sunny, which may account for the fluctuation.) I especially appreciated the ability to keep one zone at serving temperature—pull out a beer or a bottle of white and drink on a whim—and one at a cellaring temperature.
“I especially appreciated the ability to keep one zone at serving temperature—pull out a beer or a bottle of white and drink on a whim—and one at a cellaring temperature.”
The unit is on the louder side thanks to a high-efficiency compressor and eco-conscious fan system. I don’t love that I could hear the buzzing of the unit when there was complete silence. This may not be an issue if you’re looking for a fridge for a louder bar, but for home use, the fridge’s sound was very noticeable.
This fridge features a small blue interior light in both temperature zones, making it easy to scope out bottles in the low light. The unit door is outfitted with frostless, UV-protected glass to ensure outside light and UV rays don’t harm or alter your wine.
The fridge will beep if you leave the door open for longer than 15 seconds. In my experience, the fridge door does not shut tightly automatically—if you swing it shut, it tends to bounce back open—so the beeping will help flag if your door is ajar. I found this a bit annoying when loading the fridge, but for the most part, it’s a useful feature.
The unit also comes with two keys to lock the fridge if you’re heading away on holiday or if you’re protective of your collection. That said, the key is a universal Allen key rather than a key unique to your fridge—if you’re worried about security, this is not a foolproof lock.
- Wine Enthusiast VinoView 155-Bottle Wine Cellar: If you are looking for a unit that lets you scan your labels with ease before pulling out a shelf, the VinoView (view at Wine Enthusiast) stores bottles with labels facing outwards. That said, owners of this unit have noted it is also quite noisy. It can be either built-in or freestanding.
- Wine Enthusiast Vinotheque Café: While Frigidaire’s unit is freestanding, Wine Enthusiast’s small-but-mighty Vinotheque unit (view at Houzz) can be built into a kitchen or bar. It features a unique front vent system that allows you to back the unit into cabinetry. It’s double the price of Frigidaire’s offering, but this unit holds 46 bottles and features a charcoal filter that eliminates any unwanted odors.
- NutriChef 15-Bottle Refrigerator: While this NutriChef (view at Amazon) is a far smaller unit—securely holding just 15 bottles—it’s almost silent thanks to a vibration-free cooling system. It also boasts a slate of other appealing features: an auto-lock, digital control panel to adjust temperature and lights, plus four high-quality chrome racks and an additional standing rack. Place it on your floor, or the unit is small enough (at 27.2 inches high) to sit on a counter.
The Final Verdict
A frostless, UV-protected tinted glass window, stainless steel frame, reversible door, LED lighting and display, and energy-efficient fan system makes Frigidaire's 38-bottle two-zone cooler (view at Home Depot) an impressive first wine fridge. But there are a few design quirks that may deter a more seasoned wine collector.
- Product Brand: Frigidaire
- Product Name: 38-Bottle Two-Zone Wine Cooler
- Product Number/UPC/SKU: 4282200
- Price: $489.99
- Product Dimensions: 33.875 x 21.5 x 22.375 inches
- Temperature Range: 41-54°F and 55-64°F
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Warranty: 1, 2, and 4-year warranties available for purchase
Why Trust Liquor.com?
Kate Dingwall is a seasoned wine and spirits writer and sommelier with an award-winning restaurant group. She has been using the dual-zone wine cooler to store her favorite bottles for two months. She's happy to report that she has bottles cellaring at the ideal temperature in the bottom portion, though notes that having perfectly pre-chilled bottles of Costadila prosecco and Marcel Lapierre Beaujolais at all times has proven dangerous (mainly, for her wallet).