A Simple Guide to Choosing the Best Wine Fridge

Proper wine storage keeps your wine fresh and maximizes the flavor over time. But with different requirements for both reds and whites and so many wine fridge options, knowing which one you need can be difficult. But don’t worry! This guide helps break down the basics about what to look for in the right wine refrigerator.

Is it worth getting a wine fridge?

To maintain their flavor and freshness, wines require proper storage. Wine fridges protect the wine from extreme temperatures, light, and vibrations, which can all cause the taste of the wine to change. If you drink a lot of wine, storing it the right way keeps it fresher and better tasting. A casual wine drinker may not need a dedicated wine fridge, but if you plan to age the wine or require longer term storage for a few bottles, then a wine fridge is a cheaper alternative to installing a cellar.

What is the difference between a regular fridge and a wine fridge?

A regular refrigerator maintains a temperature between 33-40 degrees Fahrenheit, about 0-4 degrees Celsius. This keeps perishable food fresh. But storing wine requires a higher temperature with the ideal range between 40-65 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4-16 degrees Celsius. This helps slow the aging process and keep the wine tasting the way it should.

A regular fridge also gets rid of humidity, which helps preserve food. But removing humidity can damage wine, which requires some humidity to prevent the cork from drying out. If the cork dries out, it allows oxygen to pass through. Although oxygen can enhance the flavors of certain wine, too much exposure can oxidize the wine. Once oxidized, it can make the wine taste more like vinegar. However, a wine fridge maintains some humidity to prevent this from happening.

Built-in vs. Freestanding:

When choosing a wine fridge, consider whether you prefer a built-in or freestanding fridge.

Built-in wine coolers offer a nearly seamless and compact design as they install into the existing cabinetry. Built-in units require a vent in the front to avoid overheating. Though designed for built-in installation, some manufacturers offer built-in wine fridges that can also standalone. This means that, although they may install in a freestanding position, they still feature a vent in the front to allow for built-in installation if needed. However, because they feature a more compact size to match existing cabinetry, they usually come with a smaller capacity than freestanding units.

Freestanding wine fridges do not require built-in installation. They feature vents on the side or rear of the unit. Freestanding wine coolers can offer a larger bottle capacity than built-in unit so, if you plan to store a lot of wine, a freestanding option may work best.

Consider the bottle capacity and zones:

You can get the most out of your wine collection when you choose the right bottle capacity. A casual wine drinker needs a smaller capacity than a wine enthusiast. You can find small bottle capacities, like this 17-bottle wine cooler or larger capacities, like this 92-bottle option.

If you plan to store different types, you also want to consider how many zones you need. A single zone unit works great if you plan to store one type of wine. But if you prefer different types, like reds and whites, a dual-zone wine cooler works better as each wine type needs a different temperature to store properly.

  • Red wine – 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit
  • White wine – 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Sparkling – 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit

Dual-zone units allow you to store two types, whether red wine, white wine, champagne, or other sparkling wines, at different temperatures. You can also find dual beverage and wine coolers that allow you to keep other drinks, such as soda, cool on one side while chilling the wine on the other.

Thermoelectric vs Compressor:

Another thing to consider: the type of cooling system you prefer. Wine coolers use either thermoelectric or compressor systems to cool. Thermoelectric units rely on a heat flux generated when it sends an electric charge through two joined pieces of metal. Heat flows from one side to the other, meaning one side gets hot while the other gets cold. The cold side installs inside the cooling cabinet while the hot side attaches to a heat sink to dissipate the heat. Compressor systems work in the same way as a regular refrigerator. Using a compressor, the unit circulates a liquid refrigerant which pulls the warm air from inside and expels it outside, cooling the space down.

Each system brings its own pros and cons. Thermoelectric systems offer a quieter operation and lightweight design compared to compressor systems. A more environmentally friendly option, thermoelectric units do not rely on refrigerants. However, they take longer to cool the wine down, have a lower bottle capacity, and cannot reach the cold temperatures of compressor coolers. Many thermoelectric fridges can only reach temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) though some manufacturers do make options that can go slightly lower. The ambient temperature outside can affect these units, meaning that, in too hot or too cold conditions, they can’t regulate the internal temperature of the fridge very well.

Compressor systems can provide cooler temperatures than thermoelectric units, with some brands able to cool as low as 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3.9 degrees Celsius). However, they generate more noise, about as loud as a regular refrigerator, and can create more vibrations. Additionally, they are heavier than thermoelectric units.


Store your wine with ease when you find the perfect wine fridge for your space! Shop HomElectrical today to discover a wide variety of beverage and wine coolers from brands like Whynter.

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Avery Dietzen
Avery Dietzen

Originally from Wisconsin, Avery earned her degree in English before making the trip down to the Atlanta, GA area. Writer by day, reader by night, she prides herself on having a creative outlook and tries to instill that in everything she writes. As a content writer for HomElectrical, she uses her skills to share tips and tricks about lighting, HVAC, and going green. If she’s not writing, she’s reading, painting, hanging out with her dog, or spending time with family and friends.

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