16 Best Under-Counter Wine Coolers in 2020: Buying Guide and Reviews

With a cultured appreciation for wine, adding a high-end wine cooler to your bar has become a luxury for even the most contemporary drinkers – as it such a modern way of storing the famed alcohol. It has become a popular impulse purchase for new wine collectors - which may end up to their disappointment if not contemplated thoroughly. With that, this article will walk you through a few important points and product recommendations to guide your purchase!

Before reading any further, sign up to our free VIP club to avail of our exclusive rebate program as a way of thanking you for checking this article. 

Buying Guide

Wine coolers are essentially specialty refrigerators for storing your wine collection under optimum conditions. Not only will you be able to serve it slightly chilled as soon as guests come over, but it is guaranteed to better preserve the crisp taste and aroma of your rich reds and sparkling whites. For this guide, we shall focus on under-counter coolers, as these are the most convenient to have in the kitchen. We implore you to consider the following factors before selecting your purchase:

Type

Wine coolers are produced in a variety of types, which may seem overwhelming to the new collector. Here are the six basic types of wine coolers explained based on their placement and cooling system, to help you get clear on your specific expectations for it:

  • Freestanding: This type of cooler is designed to stand on its own and can be placed nearly anywhere; its exhaust is typically located at the back.
  • Built-in: These coolers are smaller compared to the previous, and are meant to be installed under a counter or between cabinets in the kitchen; it consists of front ventilation.
  • Thermoelectric: Without getting too technical, this cooler works according to the Peltier effect – wherein a current flows through the junctions of two conductors and heat dissipates via one junction, causing it to cool. It is more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly.
  • Compressor: A compressor cooling system operates as a refrigerator, with the use of a compressor and refrigerant. It is a good choice for larger collections and warmer rooms.
  • Single-zone: This type of cooler has only one temperature configuration – keeping the temperature uniform in all parts of the cooler.
  • Dual-zone: Unlike a single-zone cooler, this can maintain two temperatures within the cooler, suitable for storing two kinds of wine simultaneously.

Noise and vibration

These two factors are often neglected by entry-level buyers, although they are equally as important to consider. How much noise the cooler generates can be a major turn-off especially when guests are around as it ruins the ambiance. As for vibration, this can disturb the wine sediments and deteriorate its quality and taste.

Position of air vent

If you plan on installing the cooler under the counter, you must be wary of where the air vent is positioned. Front ventilation is heavily advised for a cooler that you intend on boxing in, as it dissipates the heat with no problem. Back ventilation, on the other hand, may cause the cooler to overwork and die faster, as the heat is unable to flow out.

Storage capacity

Look over your current wine collection - observing the different sized bottles and all. Be realistic when determining how much space you’ll cooler will need to fit each one comfortably – overestimating this may result in a waste of space and power consumption. Standard under-counter coolers fit 10-30 bottles.

Specialty features

Depending on your preferences, there are tons of special features companies offer in their products. Some examples of these are adjustable racks, UV protected glass doors, built-in locks, charcoal air purifiers, and automatic defrost functions – whatever you fancy. Don’t miss out on these by remembering to carefully read each product’s description first! 

Top Picks

  • Best Price: NutriChef 12-Bottle Wine Cooler 
  • Best Splurge: Wine Enthusiast N’FINITY PRO HDX Wine & Beverage Center
  • Most Stylish:  Ivation 18-Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler
  • Most Durable: Phiestina 15-Inch Dual Zone Wine Cooler
  • Most Storage: KUPPET Compressor 36-Bottle Wine Cooler

  • 16 Best Under-Counter Wine Coolers

    1. NutriChef 15-Bottle Wine Cooler Refrigerator– Entry-level cooler for new wine collectors

    Pros

    • Easy set-up
    • Quiet operation
    • Maintains steady temperature
    • Has upright racks for opened bottles

    Cons

    • Poor quality control
    • Stops working in months
    • Temperature controls might not work

    What customers are saying about the product:

    Following the first four days of her purchase, Ronnie (left photo) comments how quietly the cooler runs, as she can only hear it if she listens closely. Mark (center photo) said that after turning it to its initial temperature of 75º, it automatically cooled down to 53º. Another Amazon customer, Ashley (right photo) says it’s a perfect size, minimal, and looks sweet in their bar. 

    Why we think this is a great product: 

    How could you possibly resist its contoured, polished chrome wine racks? Its sleek design is not only versatile, but it also contains a child safety auto-lock – to prevent kids from tampering with the temperature controls. 

    Who should buy it: 

    This sophisticated mini-fridge is particularly a wine-saver around the restless hands of toddlers, but its impressive black color deserves a place in all modern-day households.

     

    2. Kalamera 15-Inch Wine Refrigerator Cooler– Spacious wine fridge with the double-layered glass door

    Pros

    • Consistent temperature control
    • Well-packaged
    • Minimal assembly
    • Silent
    • Holds up to 30 bottles

    Cons

  • The temperature may go haywire
  • Dies easily
  • What are customers saying about this product: 

    1. Colander (left photo) comments that the company actually cares, and how the cooler fit their former trash compactor exactly. Anna (center photo) says it is very quiet and works perfectly for storing her red and white wines. Anqi (right photo) on the other hand says that the shelves are too close to fit anything but the slimmest bottles. 

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Aside from its notably low noise and low vibrations features, this product boasts a large storage capacity. It’s double-layered temperature glass doors prevent it from fogging up, to keep that perfect view of your prized alcohol collection.

    Who should buy it:

    As advised the fellow customers, it is probably best that your wine collection consists of slimmer bottles, and less of the Pinot and Champagne type, as these are too big to fit. 

     

    3. Antarctic Star 15-Inch Wine Cooler– Active charcoal air purifier keeps corks fresh

    Pros

    • Dual-zone options
    • Pull-out shelves
    • Fits a variety of bottle sizes
    • Runs quietly
    • Holds up to 28 bottles

    Cons

    • The unit may not cool down upon arrival
    • Poorly written instructional manual 

    What the customers are saying about this product:

    One Amazon customer, Mercedes (left photo) stated that its craftsmanship was worth noting, and the unit easily slid in place in her home and ran like a champ. Moreover, Michael (right photo) commented that this cooler looked extremely attractive with its removable shelves – plus, the customer service was excellent.

    Why we think this is a great product: 

    This wine cooler is an absolute dream! Its pull-out shelves hold up different sizes, giving that cabinet impression. Not to mention its wooden shelves could nicely match matches your furniture. But the most premium feature of all is its active charcoal filter to ensure air purity for your corks.

    Who should buy it: 

    Given its amazing features, this cooler packs a punch and is a MUST for any wine aficionado. Nevertheless, this would certainly delight those who prioritize its space-saving size and energy-efficient system.

     

    4. Aobosi 24-Inch Beverage and Wine Cooler– Multi-purpose refreshment storage

    Pros

    • 2-in-1 cooler
    • Dual-zone temperature controls
    • Adjustable shelves
    • Holds up to 18 bottles and 57 cans

    Cons

    • The air-conditioning plug is straight – not at an angle

    What are the customers saying about this product:

    As a wine enthusiast, Nick (left photo) loves the cooler. He is impressed by how quietly it runs and adores its dual temperature control bays – allowing him to store both his wine and other drinks. Meanwhile, Cindy (right photo) shares that the product looks well-designed and feels sturdy. Albeit, she found a sharp edge inside the cooler and had to hammer it down.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Despite its hefty price tag, this product boasts one of the most advanced temperature controls in the market. Its dual-zone feature and adjustable shelves can personally be tailored to your drinks for premium quality.

    Who should buy it:

    This 2-in-1 beverage and wine cooler would be a great investment for small-time convenience owners. Or if you invite people in for game night frequently, or stock up a variety of refreshments per usual – you’ll the get the most of this splurge.

     

    5. KUPPET 27-Bottle Wine Cooler– Modern, black matte finish cooler

    Pros

    • Runs quietly
    • Removable shelves
    • Consistent temperature controls
    • Energy-efficient
    • No assembly required

    Cons

  • May be damaged upon arrival
  • Wrong dimensions in the description

  • What customers say about this product:

    Becky (left photo) is convinced that this cooler is of amazing value. She likes that it looks modern and sleek, and how the shelves can be adjusted based on your need. An Amazon user who goes by account name of Sanacom Corp (left photo), simply commented that it worked well after it had been boxed in the counter.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Its exquisite matte black finish matches any kitchen environment or bar. Notice that its door handle isn’t visible in the front, which adds to its modern aesthetic. Best of all, several customers highlight its easy controls for ensuring consistent temperatures.

    Who should buy it: 

    Its sophisticated design earns a spot in any contemporary wine connoisseurs’ home – chilling his or her stash to perfection.

     

    6. Most Durable: Phiestina 15-Inch Dual Zone Wine Cooler

    Pros

    • Durable
    • Fits large bottles
    • Adjustable shelves
    • Holds up to 29 bottles

    Cons 

    • Faulty temperature controls
    • Cheap shelve material
    • May arrive in bad condition

    What customers say about this product:

    One Amazon customer (left photo) claimed that the product fitted perfectly between two cabinets. This customer was impressed by the unit’s general durability, as well as the weight of the door. George (right photo), another pleased customer, was glad that his purchase arrived promptly, and mentioned that the cooler had a very solid feel.  

    Why we think this is a great product:

    With its adjustable shelves, there are no limitations. You can fit virtually any type of drink – from wines, colas, champagnes, and sparkling waters at dual temperatures! Also, its front vent prevents heat from building up in the cooler and is disguised in a kick plate design. 

    Who should buy it:

    This LED light show of a cooler is a great product for wine collectors who own a majority of red and white wines - to fully maximize its dual-zone controls.

     

    7. Best Splurge: Wine Enthusiast N’FINITY PRO HDX Wine & Beverage Center

    Pros

    • Well-packaged
    • Pull-out shelves
    •  Dual-zone temperature 
    • Holds up to 90 cans and 35 bottles

    Cons

  • Loud
  • Light does not turn on upon opening

  • What customers say about this product:

    While no customers uploaded pictures, H. Skowronski shared that the unit is attractive and certainly comprises of multiple shelves, as the product images show. As for its con, he says the cooler tends to be loud and make strange noises. Furthermore, Dave reviewed that the dimensions listed were precise (important for any online purchase), but, one must aware that he or she needs a dedicated 15 amp power outlet for it to function.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Given away by its name, the N’FINITY PRO HDX encapsulates professional quality in its entire operational system. Aside from its massive storage capacity, this “center” houses an energy-efficient compressor certified by the ETL – saving 25% less energy than its competition. 

    Who should buy it:

    This wine refrigerator retails for over $1000, a splurge not everyone is keen on. If you’re way serious about the ambiance of your home bar or game room – then look no further. This product is all the luxury you need to take it to the next level. 

     

    8. Best Price: NutriChef 12-Bottle Wine Cooler 

    Pros

    • Runs quietly 
    • Inexpensive
    • Compact
    • Has an upright compartment
    • Well-packaged

    Cons 

  • No dual-zone option
  • Does not ship to California
  • Dies easily

  • What customers say about this product:

    A satisfied buyer, under the account name of The Dave 3000 (left photo), commends its compact build and brings up the fact that its stainless steel features match the rest of his kitchen appliances.  For a reasonable price point, R. Larson (center photo) says the product maintains an accurate temperature, although, fits only traditionally sized 750ml bottles. Lastly, Jenner (left photo) adds that it was well-packaged. 

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Complete with its compact structure, this product is a great entry-level cooler for any new wine enthusiast. Its smooth, glossy, and contoured chrome shelves add a decorative touch and elegance to the monochrome scheme.

    Who should buy it: 

    If you’re hesitant in investing in a costly wine cooler, this is probably your safest option. As the reviews speak for themselves, this product delivers excellent quality for a fair price point. 

     

    9. Whynter 20-Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler – UV-protection, tinted door design

    Pros

    • Quiet compressor
    • Removable shelves
    • Lightweight
    • Well-packaged

    Cons 

  • No lock
  • May leak water
  • Won’t accommodate irregular sized bottles
  • Problematic temperature
  •  

    What customers say about this product:

    Even after a year, Bertholamu (left photo) reports that the fridge is still going strong! Another customer, Fran (center photo) seems to be in love with the product, highlighting its simple and classy features as it situates in her kitchen pantry. To the dismay of Howie (right photo), bigger bottle brands hardly fit – if he somehow manages to squeeze it in, retrieving it is the difficult part.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    No other cooler in this list flaunts a stylish black-tinted mirror glass door as this does. This feature claims to protect it from the external UV rays – preserving the bold, fruity tastes of your wines better. 

    Who should buy it: 

    The obscurity of the tinted door isn’t for displaying your collection proudly. Rather, this cooler is perfect for customers who plan to store their wine in more enclosed spaces like the pantry - especially since it has no lock to prevent the kids from accessing it. 

     

    10. Kalamera 24-Inch Wine Fridge – Bestseller with dual-zone controls

    Pros

    • Bestseller
    • Quiet operation
    • Maintains steady temperature
    • Holds up to 46 bottles
    • Accommodates big bottles

    Cons

  • Faulty packaging
  • Delayed shipping
  • Won’t last long

  • What customers say about this product:

    Nancy (left photo) was happy with her purchase, as she thought the cooler had great value for its price. A second Amazon customer (center photo) noted that its blue LED lighting imbues a cool effect on the wine fridge and that the unit functions silently – as compared to the customer’s previous cooler. Randy (right photo) reported that its dual-zone temperature was spot on, after having checked with a thermometer.  

    Why we think this is a great product:

    This particular Kalamera model is the #1 Bestseller under the Built-in Wine cellars category. Perhaps, it has its seamless stainless steel door to thank for – as logos and descriptions shall no longer clutter the tinted view of your delectable content.  Best of all, this cooler is super energy efficient.

    Who should buy it: 

    This elegant, state-of-the-art wine cooler earns the right to be in every wine lover’s home bar. Its advanced temperature controls do what it does best – crisping your rich alcohol collection. 

     

    11. hOmelabs 18-Bottle Wine Cooler – Sophisticatedly contoured racks

    Pros

    • Inexpensive
    • The light switch is installed
    • Slide-out racks 
    • Runs quietly
    • Maintains steady temperature

    Cons

  • Does not ship to California
  • Doesn’t accommodate larger bottles
  • Poor quality control
  • Wrong dimensions listed

  • What customers say about this product:

    Practically in love with the product, Monya (left photo) adores its sleek but cute design, and how easy it is to navigate the controls. Amber (center photo) however, wished that the light was brighter on the inside – nevertheless, she’s happy with her purchase. A third Amazon customer, Joe (right photo), says it is silent and has zero problems with it.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    It’s simple, attractive, inexpensive, has easy-to-use controls and slide-out racks. Seems like the Californians are missing out on such a sweet deal!  The beauty of this artisan wine cooler lies in its simplicity. Visually, it takes the cake for its style and ergonomics. 

    Who should buy it:

    For fuss-free controls and straightforward wine retrieval, this bad boy will certainly grab attention in any contemporary wine connoisseur’s home. 

     

    12. NewAir Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler – Space-saving cooler

      Pros

    • Multi-functional storage
    • Budget option
    • Compact
    • Holds up around 24-30 bottles

    Cons

  • Temperature gauge located at the back
  • Can’t be positioned over the carpet
  • Does not come with an automatic light feature

  • What customers say about this product:

    Based on its price point, one buyer by the account name B. Kim (left photo) is pleased with the product, and its ability to maintain cool temperature levels. As for the noise, he addresses, it won’t run completely silent. Similarly, Gianna (center photo) highly recommends it – highlighting its decent size and easily adjustable shelves. Michael (left photo) mentioned it is best for compact areas.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Wine aside, stock up on all your favorite refreshments with this cooler! Its multi-functional purpose is backed up with seven custom thermostat settings - chilling as low as 37º.

    Who should buy it:

    The New Air Beverage Refrigerator is essentially a mini-fridge not limited to wine collectors alone. It’s a space-saving cooler that will perfectly suit anyone living in small offices, small kitchens, small bars – and even under small budgets! Ha! 

     

    13. Antarctic Star 26-Bottle Wine Cooler - Sleek bestseller with futuristic purple glare

    Pros

    • Bestseller
    • Runs quietly
    • Adjustable racks
    • Easy set-up
    • Comes with superb customer service

    Cons

  • Some vibration noticeable
  • Inaccurate product description
  • Freezing or frosting may occur

  • What customers say about this product:

    Contrary to the product description, Caron (left photo) reviews that the cooler does not offer an LED touch temperature or light controls on the front door. On the other hand, Elise (center photo), is attracted to its elegant look, as it compliments their home bar. Annette (right photo) reveals that it has lots of shelving options, suitable for storing beers, sodas, and water too.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Boasting its #1 Bestseller title under the freestanding wine cellar category on Amazon, this product’s subtle purple light display is mesmerizing and soft on the eyes.  Also, several customers claimed that it keeps a consistently cool temperature – not heating up – amidst the summer heat. Now, that’s impressive!

    Who should buy it:

    It is worth pointing out that this product works as a freestanding unit only. Otherwise, it’s an incredible cooler overall – especially for those scorching hot summer days. 

     

    14. Most Stylish: Ivation 18-Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler 

    Pros

    • Adjustable racks
    • Accommodates a variety of bottles
    • Maintains stable temperature
    • Cools down quickly

    Cons

  • Poor quality control

  • What customers say about this product:

    One Amazon customer is very pleased with the product. The only complaint brought up was that its interior light stays on for a maximum of ten minutes – thus, won’t be able to showcase the bottles inside. Several more reviews complimented its sleek and minimal aesthetic.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Unlike other built-in locks, this product comes with not one, but TWO actual keys to secure your cooler. Even better, non-American buyers will no longer have trouble configuring its temperature controls as it can be set in both Fahrenheit and Celsius! It just proves how international this cooler can be. 

    Who should buy it:

    With its unprecedented compressor system, this product is will satisfy owners of special vintage wines, preserving its aged flavors and aromas with optimal grace.

     

    15. Aobosi 15-Inch Wine Cooler - Advanced temperature controls restore after power loss

    Pros

    • Quiet system
    • Cools down quickly
    • Slide-out and versatile shelves
    • Holds up to 28 bottles
    • Well-packaged

    Cons

  • Dies easily
  • Shelves can be stained

  • What customers say about this product:

    Julia (left photo) reviewed that the product is just as advertised – cools down quickly, runs quietly and that the shelves slide out to smoothly for your perusal. Another Amazon customer under the account name “RichLucky” (center photo) describes it as beautiful and well-made, especially with the LED light. Similarly, “phyto” (right photo) mentioned that you could get it running immediately.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Its energy-saving feature and temperature controls restore after power loss! Plus, its dual-zone configurations create a home for both wines  – the upper compartment for sweet white wine or sparkling champagne, and the lower compartment for rich, red wine.

    Who should buy it:

    This industrial-inspired piece of machinery can be the focal point in any wine lover’s bar. It will fancy red and white wine collectors due to its dual-zone temperature.

    16. Most Storage: KUPPET Compressor 36-Bottle Wine Cooler 

    Pros

    • Holds temperature steady
    • Well-packaged
    • Accommodates a variety of bottles
    • Easy set-up

    Cons

  • Bright LED light may be annoying
  • Not thermo-electric
  • May be noisy

  • What customers say about this product:

    Jamey (left and center photo), an enthusiastic customer, confessed that he is in love with the product as it looks super sleek in his kitchen and stays incredibly chilled at all times. Alice (right photo) adds that it stores almost any bottle of wine.

    Why we think this is a great product:

    Interestingly, this wine cooler claims to have an environmentally-friendly compressor. Its removable eucalyptus shelves give off such a rustic touch as well, in addition to its large storage capacity – one of the most spacious on this list.

    Who should buy it:

    Its compressor is worth checking out by environmentally conscious wine enthusiasts. However, this product is probably not advisable to those living in studios or small apartments, as its blue LED light is reported to be not easy on the eyes.

     

    FAQs

    Q1. Why are wine coolers so expensive?

    It is perhaps that the wine cooling market is so niche, that it doesn't retain much competition to lower its prices. Many view this as a hindrance to the product's innovation.

    Q2. Can you put a freestanding wine cooler under a counter?

    No. A freestanding wine cooler typically has its air vent in the back to dissipate the heat. Installing it under a counter, between cabinets, or directly against a wall causes it to overwork its system to maintain the cool temperature. However, this can be possible if you allow enough space around the unit for the heat to flow out - consider a gap of 2-3 inches at all sides. It may not provide a built-in effect, yet, it should allow you to save your space and money.

    Q3. How do you install an under-counter wine cooler?

    Before the installation, check for the cooler's dimensions and power requirements to ensure compatibility. Don't forget to consider the maximum depth with the door open or else it'll be completely useless! To install the cooler - gather your tools and follow these instructions:

    • Disassemble the cabinet door
    • Saw cabinet based on required measurements of the cabinet
    • Double check measurements with a measuring tape
    • Sand rough edges of the cabinet
    • Ensure floor is clean and dry
    • Position the cooler inside the cabinet and make sure it is leveled (use shims or leveling feet if needed)
    • Arrange racks in the cooler as desired
    • Wait for at least 2 hours before plugging it in

    Q4. Where do you put wine coolers?

    Depending on the position of its exhaust, wine coolers can typically be placed anywhere for as long as it isn't exposed to direct sunlight or extreme heat. Most commonly, wine coolers are put in the kitchen, entertainment room, cellar, dining room, and basement. Wherever makes sense to you, put it there. 

    Q5. Do under-counter coolers need ventilation?

    Provided that the cooler is designed to be built-in or installed, most under-counter coolers would not need ventilation as its exhaust is located at the front - allowing the air to flow out freely. This will prevent the cooler from overheating and ruining your wines.

    Conclusion

    Not all wine coolers are made the same, so be sure to do your research to get the best bang for your buck. To further enhance your wine-drinking experience, you may also like to check out our shop for our collection of wine accessories. 

    Don’t forget to sign up for our free VIP club to avail of our exclusive rebate program. No credit cards are required. No need to purchase anything. We just want to thank you.


    Older Post Newer Post


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    Related Posts