Our #1 pick as Editor’s Choice for the best wine fridge in 2019 is the Kalamera 15” Wine Refrigerator ($639). It’s a freestanding, or under-the-counter, compressor unit. It offers single-zone cooling, LED interior lighting and control, a double-layered glass door, and the model we reviewed offers a capacity of thirty bottles.
So, how does one determine what is the best rated wine fridge for 2019?
First, it’s important that you understand the best wine fridge or chiller is a short-term cooler designed to chill wine to proper serving temperatures between 49 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. A cellar or wine cabinet, on the other hand, is a long-term solution which is engineered to maintain conditions which are conducive to optimum aging. If you’re hunting for a long-term storage solution, “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
Next, you should know that wine refrigerators come in a wide variety of configurations, catering to casual and sophisticated wine connoisseurs alike. But what makes a wine fridge great? What is the best wine fridge? Not every wine cooler consumer is created equal, so this list was developed with a few assumptions:
- You’re a wine aficionado, but you’re not storing thousand-dollar bottles
- You’re storing wine to serve at proper temperatures – no long-term storage
- You’re on the hunt for something that will look good in your home – not in your garage.
Lastly, through research and testing, we developed a list of required minimum hard specifications. Any that didn’t meet one of the following criteria didn’t make the list and weren’t even considered for this list.
- Compressor-driven models required some form of noise reduction technology since standard compressors can often be loud (especially when defrosting)
- Tempered, tinted, and double-layered glass to ensure that ultraviolet light pollution wouldn’t damage wine
- Internal temperature variance no greater than four degrees – While a temperature set point can be configured through the control panel on each unit (i.e. 68 degrees), most smaller wine chillers aren’t sophisticated enough to maintain temperature within a degree (67-69). Our top picks don’t stray more than four degrees in either direction from the set point (64-72).
- UV absent internal lighting (blue LEDs are most common)
- 1 Top Wine Fridge Comparison Chart
- 2 How We Choose
- 3 Why You Should Buy a Wine Fridge
- 4 #1 Pick Kalamera 15″ Wine Refrigerator – Editor’s Choice for Best Wine Fridge
- 5 #2 Pick Vinotemp VT-18TEDS Thermo-Electric Digital 18-Bottle Wine Chiller – Best Under Counter Wine Fridge
- 6 #3 Pick Edgestar 34 Bottle Free Standing Dual Zone Wine Cooler – Best Dual Zone Wine Fridge
- 7 Honorable Mention Avanti 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Counter Top Wine Cooler – Best Small Wine Fridge
- 8 Key Factors Before Buying Your Next Wine Fridge
- 9 Features to Consider
- 10 Mistakes to Avoid
- 11 What Else You Should Think About
Top Wine Fridge Comparison Chart
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now
Kalamera 15'' Wine Refrigerator Vinotemp VT-18TEDS
Edgestar 34 Bottle Free Standing Dual Zone Wine Cooler
Rank #1 - Editor’s Choice for Best Wine Fridge #2 - Best Under Counter Wine Fridge #3 - Best Dual Zone Wine Fridge
Amazon Rating Thermoelectric Capacity 30 18 34
Price $639 $297 $398
How We Choose
Size, shape, and style were the first things we considered when developing this list. We wanted this list to reflect the very best, small to medium capacity, freestanding or under-the-counter wine refrigerators on the market.
Tempered, tinted, and double-pane glass was our ideal spec for blocking UV light and protecting wine while storing it in a wine fridge. Ultraviolet light can damage fine wine, accelerating deterioration and affecting taste. We also wanted to include units which careful design elements center around protection were included (like locking mechanisms and external control panels).
Noise was a critical concern for this review since these units are intended for display as well as functionality. Compressor-driven cooling can often be loud and disturbing, so we took the time to ensure the compressor-driven units that made the list were designed with noise reduction technology (this included application-specific compressors, vibration reduction mounts, or a combination of both). Alternatively, thermoelectric units use solid-state electronics to remove heat from one side of a plate and cool another side. They are an excellent choice for small to medium-sized wine refrigerators, as they’re virtually noiseless and maintain temperatures just as well as conventional chillers.
A zero-degree angle (horizontal) of storage has been considered the ideal orientation for wine preservation, and the flat storage racks in our top picks demonstrate that standard. Something to consider though: new research suggests that if you’re storing expensive wine for long periods of time you should angle bottles so that the air bubble and wine are both in contact with the cork, and you should rotate the bottle once every few months to ensure an even aging distribution.
An internal, non-UV emitting light source with an external on-off function was preferred. This feature wasn’t readily available in all our top picks, but it’s a very nice feature to have – both for finding the bottle you want without keeping the door open too long, and for showcasing your collection when you have guests.
Two-zone cooling was another preference we wanted some of our top picks to offer. Dual-zone wine coolers help to regulate bottle temperatures more efficiently than single-zone refrigerators, but that doesn’t mean single-zone fridges should be disregarded – if you’re considering a single-zone fridge, make sure to store your reds on top and your whites on bottom, as there is typically a five to eight-degree difference between the two and you want your reds stored in the warmer part of the chiller. The ideal storing temperature for both is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, although some connoisseurs prefer to store their reds at a warmer temperature since the recommended serving temperature is between 62 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, versus a white serving temperature of between 49 and 55 degrees.
Why You Should Buy a Wine Fridge
Regularly entertaining guests whom prefer the finer things in life calls for a wine refrigerator that keeps bottles perfectly chilled and ready to serve. No one wants to wait for their wine to hit that perfect temperature, so investing in a quality chiller goes a long way toward achieving that perfect host status you might be vying for. Not to mention, these wine coolers compliment interior decor nicely – both as standalone and under-the-counter units.
If you’re storing bottles on a counter top rack, harmful UV light and poor temperature regulation could be degrading the quality of your wines – and if you’re not consuming them as intended by the wineries, you’re doing yourself and your guests a huge disservice. Wine refrigerators not only help regulate beverages to the proper serving temperature, but also ensure that the risk from UV damage is mitigated so that wine is preserved.
The average cost of a quality wine fridge doesn’t justify the replacement of major cooling components, so replacement makes sense – if you’re on the fence about buying a new fridge to replace an old one just do it. Compressors can become noisier, temperature regulation can become an issue, and parts can begin to fail.
#1 Pick Kalamera 15″ Wine Refrigerator – Editor’s Choice for Best Wine Fridge
Price: $639 | Cooling Tech: Compressor | Capacity: 3o Bottle| Dual-Zone: No
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Excellent mid-sized wine fridge that’s built to ensure optimal cooling.
The Kalamera is a very attractive wine refrigerator that maintains bottle temperatures between 41 and 64 degrees. A tinted, double-layer, glass window helps to protect wines from UV light, and tasteful, sliding, beech wood racks elegantly display wines.
A low-noise, reduced-vibration compressor helps to eliminate jostling of wine sediments that could otherwise reduce the quality of taste from your wines, and an embedded carbon filter helps to remove odors. The unit features a swappable hinge system so that owners can reorient the door as they need. Thirty bottle holding capacity, digital temperature controls, LED controls display, auto-defrost, and blue interior lighting make this unit a solid buy for those looking for a quality wine fridge.
The Kalamera also comes in 18, 46, and 157 bottle capacity models.
Note: Irregularly shaped bottles (such as seen in some Pinot Noir bottles) don’t fit in this wine fridge, so you should ensure this won’t present an issue for your budding wine collection before buying.
#2 Pick Vinotemp VT-18TEDS Thermo-Electric Digital 18-Bottle Wine Chiller – Best Under Counter Wine Fridge
Price: $297 | Cooling Tech: Thermoelectric | Capacity: 18 Bottle | Dual-Zone: No
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Low profile, super quiet, and affordable.
Another great looking wine cooler, the Vinotemp VT-18TEDS offers a great combination of wine cooling technology, while staying low-profile and whisper quiet. It keeps bottles between 54 and 66 degrees for easy serving, and exterior controls help to regulate temperature variations from opening and closing the door while looking for a specific bottle.
A thermoelectric cooling system keeps this machine extra quiet and energy-efficient. Dual-pane and tinted glass doors keep things well-insulated and protected from ultraviolet light. Eighteen bottle capacity, digital temperature controls, LED display, and blue interior lighting all come together with the Vinotemp to make a great small to medium, short-term wine storage solution.
The Vinotemp is also available as a 12 and 16 bottle model.
Note: Faulty electronics have been reported by some consumers, and we’re looking into this issue with the manufacturer for more information.
#3 Pick Edgestar 34 Bottle Free Standing Dual Zone Wine Cooler – Best Dual Zone Wine Fridge
Price: $398 | Cooling Tech: Compressor | Capacity: 34 Bottle| Dual-Zone: Yes
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Great capacity, dual-zone cooling, and awesome features.
A gorgeous, dual-zone wine cooler, the Edgestar wine cooler is an excellent choice for those looking for a high-performer that has some class. It features a stainless trim body, tinted glass, and nice wood accents on its wine drawers. The Edgestar keeps wine chilled between an available upper range of 41 and 54 degrees, and a lower range of 54 to 64 degrees.
This is a compressor-based, dual-zone cooling unit. Tinted glass and LED interior lighting help protect wines from UV light. Thirty-four standard bottle capacity, digital temperature controls with LED display, blue interior lighting, switchable hinges on the door, and a security lock help make this unit something special.
Note: This unit should only be used as a freestanding chiller. Installation in an under-the-counter fashion without proper ventilation could damage the compressor.
Honorable Mention Avanti 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Counter Top Wine Cooler – Best Small Wine Fridge
Price: $134 | Cooling Tech: Thermoelectric | Capacity: 12 Bottle| Dual-Zone: No
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Avanti is an epic little countertop unit.
Looking for something a bit smaller? Maybe something for your countertop? The Avanti is an awesome little chiller that performs well and looks sharp. Sleek black accents coupled with a curved glass door makes this unit a real head-turner.
Twelve bottle storage either vertically or horizontally, low-noise, exterior temperature controls, and tinted glass are some highlights of this tiny machine. It’s a great little machine, but if you’re a serious wine consumer it probably isn’t for you.
Note: This unit is ambient room temperature-dependent, and can only cool within a twenty to twenty-five-degree difference of its surrounding environment’s temperature.
Key Factors Before Buying Your Next Wine Fridge
- Size: Although many of our top picks have available capacity options which exceed thirty-four bottles, our review only considered refrigerators under the thirty-four-capacity due to the expected average consumer’s need for a wine chiller.
- Thermoelectric vs Compressor Unit: Compressor-driven units use refrigerant to regulate chiller temperature. They’re often louder than thermoelectric units and require adequate ventilation to ensure the compressor and refrigerant pump aren’t overheating. Compressor units are also typically the workhorses…they run cooler, regulate temperature more thoroughly, and the technology utilized is older and thus manufacturing processes for components are more routine. Thermoelectric units, on the other hand, use solid-state electronics (Peltier effect), to achieve desired temperatures without any moving parts or fluids. These devices often are significantly quieter than conventional compressor chillers, require little-to-no maintenance due to the lack of moving parts, and consume less energy overall. That said, they often can’t cool as well as compressor models, and failures (while statistically extremely low) could completely ruin stored wine. TLDR: Thermoelectric – Efficient, might lack a bit of umph; Compressor – Not efficient typically, powerful;
- Dual-Zone Chilling: Dual-zone refrigerators are self-explanatory; they regulate temperature in two distinct internal spaces. This allows for serving reds and whites at optimal temps, without having to store reds at the top of a single-zone fridge and whites at the bottom. It’s a nice convenience for consumers that prefer to control temps independently
Features to Consider
- Lighting: Ultraviolet light and wine don’t get along, and a well-designed wine fridge should account for both internal light and external light. Internal lighting should be provided by a non-UV emitting source (such as LEDs), and external light pollution should be blocked by tinted glass. Another nice feature is external lighting controls to illuminate bottles while the cooler is still closed.
- Locking: If you’re concerned about access control, a wine refrigerator with a locking mechanism is a nice feature to protect your bottles when you’re away.
- Capacity: Wine refrigerators accommodating thirty, or fewer bottles were selected for our review due to an average market demand – our top picks all offer larger capacity models if you have a need to store more wine.
- Glass: Ideally you want to look for units that have double-pane, tinted glass.
- Temperature Control: External controls are a best-practice design for manufacturers as they allow users to monitor and regulate temps without opening the wine environment. Internal controls demonstrate a lack of forethought on the manufacturer’s part – which could be indicative of other shortcomings.
Mistakes to Avoid
Remember, a wine fridge is a short-term storage solution meant to prepare wine for consumption at ideal serving temperatures. Don’t make the mistake of storing wine for longer than one year in a wine chiller, as the wine can degrade due to vibration, wide temperature fluctuations, poor humidity control (if any), and exposure to UV light. Another thing to avoid is a compressor-driven cooler that’s too loud and placed in an area that’s often occupied – the added noise can become irritating, especially if it’s unexpected.
What Else You Should Think About
Remember, most freestanding wine chillers should be placed somewhere with adequate ventilation. Ensure natural light sources aren’t shining directly toward your wine fridge, and never store wine in a wine chiller for longer than a year – these are for short-term storage and serving only.
The Kalamera 15″ Wine Refrigerator is a great choice for those looking to store a moderate amount of wine ready to be served. It offers a good combination of features, and has historically performed very well with consumers. We highly recommend this unit for your next best wine fridge of 2019!
Looking to create the perfect environment for entertaining with the help of your fancy new wine fridge? Consider checking out our blender comparison. On a health kick? Check out our list of the best juicers.