A built-in wine cooler is a great addition to your kitchen arsenal of appliances for those wine drinkers who enjoy a properly stored and chilled glass of wine in their own home. Those who want the ease of having their wine collection ready to pour will enjoy its convenience, while others who want to make sure that their valuable bottles are cared for in order to preserve their attributes will see the value in having them stored at the proper temperature.
With so many options on the market today, it is a bit overwhelming to try to decipher the best for your specific needs when it comes to wine refrigerators. In this article, we are focused on the built-in wine fridge that you can fit under your counter and right into your kitchen cabinetry. Unlike a wine fridge that is designed to be specifically a freestanding unit, the built-in models are vented in a way that allows them to be installed without the necessary space to the sides or behind it. This front ventilation is unique to this type of wine refrigerator, allowing the compressor to do its job in keeping your wine properly chilled without overheating.
Before making your purchase, it will benefit you to have a look at a number of options that are available so that you can make the best decision. We have done that work for you. The results of the best built-in wine coolers are below.
Carry on reading or jump straight to our number #1 pick on Amazon here.
What Should I Look For When Buying a Built-In Wine Cooler?
Criteria #1: Size
If you are on the market for a built-in wine fridge, chances are that you already have an idea as to where you plan to install it. Given the dimensions of that space, your shopping will be pretty specific. We have chosen a variety of sizes and capacities in this article so that you can choose the right fit for your home use.
Criteria #2: Features
Whether you are looking for a single zone wine cooler to hold your wine at one consistent temperature, or a dual-zone unit that can handle a couple of separate temperature settings for white and red wine, we have selections that will fit your needs. Beyond that, we will show you some models that have a reversible door and a unique temperature memory function that will protect your valuable wine collection.
Criteria #3: Price
As with any kitchen appliance, there is a wide range of prices you can expect to pay. In this article, we cover some higher-end selections, as well as some budget choices with several in between. The bottom line is that there are many options, some a bit more pared down than others, but you should be happy with your purchase, nevertheless.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Built-In Wine Cooler
Finding the best built-in wine cooler for your home takes so much consideration. In coming up with this list we took a couple of things into account to give you some sound advice.
First of all, we looked at the features that each model had to offer. Then, we looked at how consumers felt about their wine coolers once they set it up and put it to work. Here’s what we found.
#1: Aobosi 15 Inch Wine Cooler, 28 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Refrigerator (Best Value – All-Purpose)
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Our choice for the Best Value in an All-Purpose built-in wine cooler is the Aobosi 15 Inch Wine Cooler. This is a 28 bottle, dual-zone fridge that will fit nicely into your kitchen cabinetry without taking up much space.
It features dual cooling zones which chill your wine to two independent temperatures. The upper zone is good for white wine (41-54° F.) and the lower one is perfect for storing red wine (54-68° F.).
This model was recently updated with some new features, including a screen lock function that will ensure that your wine temperature does not get adjusted by unwanted hands, giving you better peace of mind that your valuable bottles will not undergo drastic temperature changes. It also features a temperature memory function. In the event of a power outage, this model will resume the proper temperature when power is restored.
Another recent update to this cooler is some added space between shelves for larger bottles. For those who like to keep a few pinot noirs on hand, this will certainly be helpful as standard shelving space will not accommodate these larger bottles.
Temperature consistency is due in large part to the fans that circulate air well. And, for protection against unwanted odors, it is equipped with a charcoal filter.
The appearance of this fridge is sleek with a stainless steel framed door that houses a double pane, tempered UV-resistant glass window, providing protection against unwanted light that can adversely affect your wine. The wooden shelves with rollers add a touch of warmth and style to the appearance, fitting in nicely into your kitchen decor.
Most reviewers felt that this was a rather quiet cooler, though you can expect to hear the compressor as it kicks in to maintain your cooler’s temperature. It isn’t silent, and a few reviewers commented on the sound being a bit louder than they had hoped, but overall it was noted that most users felt it was quieter than they expected.
For its price and size, we like this wine cooler and felt it had all of the key features of a well-reviewed dual-zone, built-in wine fridge. If you are looking for something reliable and reasonable in the 15-inch size, this machine will meet your needs very nicely.
#2: Kalamera 24” Wine Cooler Refrigerator 46 Bottle Dual Zone Built-in or Freestanding Fridge (Best Cooler Overall)
Our choice for Best Cooler Overall is the Kalamera 24” Wine Cooler Refrigerator. This is a considerably larger model than our Best Value wine cooler, perfect for those who have a larger collection, who need more space, and who have a bigger budget.
You can expect some similar features, like the dual zones, wooden shelves, and temperature lock function, but beyond that, we really like this cooler for a few additional reasons.
Reason #1: Reversible Glass Door
We love this feature and feel that it really adds to the value of this cooler. If you have a specific space in mind that is fit for this fridge it is likely that the door will open one way better than the other. The Kalamera 24-inch wine cooler rises to the occasion, giving you the flexibility of adjusting the door as it pleases you.
Reason #2: Triple Pane Glass
The people at Kalamera have taken UV protection very seriously with this triple-pane glass door to filter out damaging light. An added bonus is superior insulation, making it a solid choice for better energy efficiency.
Reason #3: Soft Wooden Shelves
Not only are the beechwood shelves nice looking, but they are also strong enough to hold your wine bottles, and soft enough to protect your wine labels without being scratched. We really like the look and feel of this feature.
#3: N’FINITY PRO HDX 30″ Wine and Beverage Center (Best Side-By-Side Fridge)
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Our selection for the Best Side-By-Side Wine Cooler is the N’FINITY PRO HDX 30″ Wine and Beverage Center. This is a rather unique storage system that allowed you to keep a wide variety of beverages in one attractive refrigerator.
What makes this cooler unique is that it has two separate side-by-side doors that are cooled independently. The left side has a seamless stainless steel trimmed glass door, while the right side has an all-clad stainless steel door. Each door has its own stainless steel handles and its own locks.
The left side is for wine storage. It offers sturdy, removable metal shelves that have an attractive wooden front that is visible through the glass door, while the right side can store any beverages of your choosing, including white wines, beer, soft drinks, or water, as well as any bottles you would like to store vertically. This feature really makes this a breeze when entertaining as it will allow you to have a wide range of drinks on hand to suit your guests’ needs.
The general consensus among reviewers is that they are really happy with the style and design of this cooler. A few comments suggested that this unit tended to be a bit noisy, while others expressed that programming the temperature settings was a bit confusing.
Overall, this wine and beverage cooler is a fine option for larger spaces, especially for wine drinkers who wish to have a variety of beverages chilled to their liking. It is an especially good choice for those who like to entertain, delivering a wide range of beverages at a couple of temperatures to satisfy the needs of your guests.
This model is more than twice the price of our best-value, all-purpose wine cooler, but it also accommodates a great deal more in terms of capacity.
#4: Bodega 15” 31 Bottle Wine Cooler (Best Low Cost)
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Our choice forthe Best Low-Cost Built-in wine fridge is the Bodega 15” 31 Bottle Wine Cooler. This is perhaps a lesser-known company that has focused specifically on providing high-quality products for customers who are committed to the taste and collection of red wine.
This single zone fridge boasts advanced cooling technology which claims to keep wines at the desired temperature with limited vibration. It also has a double-layered, tempered glass door which helps protect against sunlight and UV rays, keeping the temperature constant and your wine protected against oxidation.
Like most fridges of this type, you can expect to keep up to 31 bottles of standard Bordeaux style wine, though larger bottles will affect that number. The shelves slide out for loading and unloading, though this will require that the door be fully opened to do so. It is equipped with a safety lock to protect the door from unwanted opening.
Reviews largely reflected satisfied customers. Many commented that this wine fridge is actually quieter than many others of its kind. Generally, most were really pleased with the look and style of this built-in wine fridge with its stainless door and wooden shelves, features that one may come to expect from a higher priced model.
#5: Whynter BWR-1642DZ 164 (Best Large Capacity)
Our choice for the Best Large Capacity Built-In wine cooler is the Whynter BWR-1642DZ 164. It is a dual-zone fridge that can accommodate up to 164 standard 750ml wine bottles, up to 86 in the upper zone and 78 in the lower. It is equipped with an optional display shelf in the upper zone which is nice for showcasing special bottles or just holding bottles that are opened. If you do opt for the display shelf when setting up this wine cooler, you can expect this to affect the storage capacity.
Housed in a black cabinet with a stainless steel-framed door, it has a tempered double-pane, smoked glass window for UV protection. This will help filter out sunlight which may affect temperature or UV rays which can lead to undesirable oxidation.
This tall unit, measuring 69 inches tall, is a great option for collectors of red and white wines. The zones are nearly the same size, giving you an abundance of space.
For those spaces that require a bit more flexibility, the door is reversible opening either way to make it most convenient for you.
Overall, reviewers were pleased with this wine cooler, commenting that it does a nice job keeping the temperatures consistent. At 3 times the cost of our choice for best overall wine cooler, it is notable that Whynter cooler has the capacity to hold three times as many bottles, justifying the jump in price.
If you are looking for a large quantity, dual-zone built-in wine cooler, and you have the space to store it, this is a great choice.
There are built-in wine coolers out there for a wide range of budgets. In this next section, we will look at three solid choices under $500. Keep in mind that budget may mean these coolers may not deliver all of the features of their higher-end counterparts and, in some instances, may sacrifice some of the quality. The point is that there is a wine cooler out there that will still keep your wine in an optimal temperature range, and it will fit nicely beneath your counter and in your cabinetry.
Our first budget selection is from Kalamera, a really well-rated name in wine coolers. This 12 inch, 18 bottle wine cooler can be used as a built-in under-counter wine cooler or freestanding fridge.
This single zone model is easy to operate with one-touch temperature control. It features an attractive design with a stainless steel framed door and a frost-free, double-paned glass window.
The sliding shelves are made of sustainable bamboo which adds a nice look to this wine cooler and reduces the likelihood of damaging the labels of your valuable wine collection. This is a step up from some of the metal or chrome shelving of some coolers.
This single zone fridge does not sacrifice quality, though it is a bit smaller than our previous mentions. Keeping 18 bottles cooled in a single zone fridge makes it a perfect fit for smaller spaces. At just 12 inches wide, this under-counter wine fridge will not take up a lot of space. Many reviewers said it fit perfectly into their cabinetry where an obsolete trash contractor used to sit, making it a nice way to update your kitchen while adding something functional and attractive.
Our next budget option is the EdgeStar CWR70SZ. This wine cooler is the smallest of our selections with a 7 bottle capacity and slender, vertical design.
It features a stainless steel framed door with UV-resistant glass and a digital control panel, much like our other selections. It has a sleek, modern look that will fit nicely into your kitchen cabinetry.
At less than six inches wide, this is an ideal wine storage solution for those who don’t have a lot of room to give up. Apartment dwellers may find that this is a great fit for their needs, creating a small wine nook out of just a tiny bit of space.
This wine cooler is a perfect size for the casual wine drinker who plans to keep a small quantity of properly chilled wines on hand.
#3 Best Budget: Whynter 18-Bottle Built-In Wine Refrigerator
Our final budget selection is the Whynter 18-Bottle Built-In Wine Refrigerator. This is another single zone wine cooler with a stainless steel framed door with tempered, double pane, gray-smoked glass providing UV protection.
This fridge claims to hold up to 18 standard bottles, though expect to keep fewer larger bottles in this fridge if you are more of a pinot noir drinker.
This wine cooler is just 12 inches across and reviewers said that it fit really nicely into a space in their kitchen where a trash compactor used to be. Most found it quite easy to install and program.
While this may be a bit of a no-frills model, it is a good value considering its size. Most similar in size to the Kalamera 12-inch wine fridge that made our number one budget selection, this 18 bottle wine cooler will deliver similar features at a more reasonable cost which is good news for your wallet.
What You Need to Know About Installation
Once you have decided that a built-in wine cooler is right for you, it is important to install it properly so that you get the best results and longest life out of your purchase. You can start by making sure you are getting the right cooler for your space, with a front vent model for proper cooling. This will allow the compressor to function efficiently.
Keep Away from Heat
Next, we recommend placing your wine fridge in a space that is away from a heat source. This includes harsh lights, an oven, or direct sunlight. While your fridge is designed to compensate for a warmer ambient temperature and adjust accordingly, you will give your compressor a better chance of reaching your desired temperatures and keeping it there for the longevity of your cooler as well as optimal wine storage by keeping it away from anything that will cause the temperature to fluctuate.
Give It Some Space
While your wine fridge is designed to fit into your kitchen cabinetry, it is optimal to give it a couple of inches between it and the wall behind it for airflow. These coolers are designed with the compressor and ventilation to the front of the cooler. It is best to allow some air to circulate around them. Placing it so that the back is touching a wall hinders that circulation. Two inches of space behind your cooler can help considerably.
Give It Time to Settle
Another thing to consider when installing your brand new wine cooler is that you should give it some time to settle before plugging it in and using it. The manual that accompanies your cooler will provide specific details, but generally, it is best to leave the fridge standing upright for several hours to prevent the compressor oil from running into the refrigerant lines. This could potentially damage your compressor. Optimally, give it up to 12 hours to stand upright before planning to turn it on.
Maintain It Properly
Finally, make sure you are keeping up with the maintenance of your new under-counter wine cooler. Again, consult any manuals that come with your fridge for the specifics. Keep in mind that you will want to keep the vents clean and change any necessary filters on a regular basis. This will extend the life of your fridge and provide the best possible storage unit for your wine.
In the end, you want an under-counter wine cooler that will serve you well for an extended period of time. Following these suggestions will give your cooler a better chance of lasting a long time keeping your wine chilled to your liking.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Difference Between Built-In and Freestanding Wine Coolers?
In this article, we focused specifically on built-in wine coolers, also called zero clearance or under-counter wine coolers, which are those that are designed to fit below your counter, right into your cabinetry. What makes them unique is that they all have a vent on the front of the fridge that allows them to properly cool the compressor by drawing heat away from the unit.
While many built-in wine coolers can be used as a freestanding wine cooler, it isn’t necessarily the case that freestanding coolers can be built-in, and here’s why.
Freestanding wine coolers are built with a vent at the back of the fridge. This placement requires space behind it so that the heat can dissipate, allowing the compressor to function properly. If the heat can not escape, it will begin to build up and affect the temperature inside the cooler. This could cause the unit to overheat and may cause it to stop working. In turn, this can adversely affect your wine with temperature fluctuation. In the end, you may sacrifice not only the refrigerator itself but its contents as well, which is everything you are trying to preserve in the first place.
Can a Freestanding Wine Cooler Be Built-In?
Coolers that are specifically designed to be freestanding must have plenty of room on the sides and behind them so that they do not overheat. In the event that a freestanding wine cooler is used in a built-in setting, you can risk the chance of overheating your compressor. This will not only result in inefficient cooling, but it will also cause the temperature of your wine cooler to fluctuate leading to less than ideal wine storage conditions, as well as a shortened life span for your cooler.
For those reasons, freestanding wine coolers should never be used as a built-in fridge. With so many built-in wine coolers available these days, our advice is to consider where you will fit your wine fridge into your cabinetry and measure carefully. There are options for a great many situations and finding the right one will chill better and last longer than a misused freestanding wine fridge.
Is a Built-In Wine Cooler Essential?
How do you know when it is time to invest in a wine fridge? If you are the type of wine drinker who tends to keep several bottles on hand for extended periods of time that you do not plan to drink within a month’s time, then a wine cooler is probably a good investment. Because it can provide a constant and proper temperature and humidity, you can count on your fridge to keep your wine in optimal conditions.
One other factor is the temperature of your house or apartment if you are a wine drinker who tends to keep your wine at room temperature. If you live in a climate that is warm or fluctuates and is not air-conditioned it could be negatively affecting your wine. Under these circumstances, too-warm storage space can cause your wine to age too rapidly causing it to peak early and begin to decline rather than allow it to age properly.
If you are a wine enthusiast who is committed to protecting your wine collection, a wine fridge is an essential purchase. Keeping your bottles chilled conveniently stored in an under-counter cooler is a matter of preference. There are some great options out there that will accommodate a wide range of wine drinkers. We are confident that one will suit your tastes and desires.
Verdict: Your Best Built-In Wine Cooler
If you want the best value for your money, try the Aobosi 15 Inch Wine Cooler, 28 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Refrigerator.
If you are looking for the best side-by-side beverage cooler, check out the N’FINITY PRO HDX 30″ Wine and Beverage Center.
If you want to keep your spending under $500, consider the Kalamera 12 inch Wine Cooler Refrigerator 18 Bottle Built-in or Freestanding.
The search for the best under-counter wine coolers begins with determining exactly where you will fit it into your space. From there, you can begin to sort through the wide variety of features, sizes, and zones. This guide should have helped you pick the best option for properly storing your wine collection at the right temperature so you can get down to the unparalleled enjoyment of wine drinking in the comfort of your own home.