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A wine cooler is also a great place to stow half-empty bottles that might otherwise clutter your countertops or fill your refrigerator. These special types of coolers have racks to organize your wines at your discretion; some even offer pull-out drawers, so you can see their labels without moving bottles around.
If you consider yourself a wine connoisseur, a wine cooler is a must-have. Keep reading our buying guide to learn more. Our top pick is the Whynter 24-Bottle Dual Zone Touch Control, which offers plenty of space and a sleek look.
Considerations when choosing wine coolers
Cooler size: Before you purchase a wine cooler, you should determine how many bottles of wine you'll need your cooler to hold. Options on the market range from four-bottle models to 100-bottle models. Different-sized coolers will store bottles in different ways — usually vertically in smaller models and horizontally in larger models.
Freestanding vs. under-counter design: Consider where you usually store your wine and where you usually drink your wine. Freestanding coolers can be installed almost anywhere in your house, whether you find it most useful in the den, the basement, or the kitchen. Under-counter designs can be installed directly beneath a kitchen counter, which frees up counter space.
Compressor cooling vs. thermoelectric cooling: A compressor cooling system uses a technology similar to that of a refrigerator. It's a powerful mode of cooling usually found in larger wine coolers. A thermoelectric cooling system uses a ceramic tile cooling node that hosts an electric current. The current heats one side of the tile while the other inward-facing side cools. They are less noisy and more energy efficient than compressor systems.
Required maintenance: Keep the temperature stable and avoid temperature extremes. Keep your wine cooler out of the sunlight or purchase one that has an ultraviolet tint on the door window. Humidity levels need to be controlled and kept between 50% and 70%.
Single- vs. dual-zone coolers: Each are manufactured for different purposes. A single-zone cooler is ideal for storing a single wine variety. The entire cooler will remain at the same temperature. A dual-zone cooler is for multiple wine varieties. There are two distinct zones that can be set at two different temperatures.
Wine cooler prices
If you're looking to store between 12 and 24 bottles of wine, you'll be purchasing a cooler for somewhere between $100 and $400. As the price increases, so does the amount of bottles that the appliance can store. Higher prices also mean additional features.
Q. Can I stow other alcoholic beverages in a wine cooler?
A. Yes, you can. Beer can be kept in a wine cooler because it requires the same average temperature setting. Likewise, nonalcoholic mixers can also be stored in a wine cooler.
Q. Can I keep open wine bottles in a wine cooler?
A. Yes, absolutely. The purpose of a wine cooler is to keep wine fresher for longer. Open bottles will stay ready to drink much longer when stored in a wine cooler. Just be sure to tightly fasten the cork.
Wine coolers we recommend
Best of the best: Whynter 24-Bottle Dual Zone Touch Control
Our take: For those who enjoy sampling many wines, this cooler has a maximum capacity of 24 bottles and an elegant, sleek look.
What we like: The cooler uses thermoelectric cooling and boasts dual zones for storing both reds and whites.
What we dislike: This freestanding cooler is rather tall. You will need at least four feet of space available for its height.
Best bang for your buck: Avanti 12-Bottle Countertop
Our take: For the budding wine lover, this countertop special holds a dozen bottles.
What we like: There's a curved glass door, which adds dimension to the cooler. The thermoelectric cooling system, coupled with an automatic defrost system, ensures your wine will always be at the perfect temperature.
What we dislike: Customers have reported that the temperature gauge is finicky.
Choice 3: Wine Enthusiast 18-Bottle Touchscreen
Our take: A great gift for the avid wine drinker, this wine cooler holds as many as 18 bottles.
What we like: The controls on the wine cooler are touchscreen. Besides being extra simple to operate, the controls also lend the wine cooler a sophisticated look.
What we dislike: Storing larger bottles decreases the potential storage capacity.
Samantha Loomis is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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