Wine Refrigerator Types

Types of Wine Refrigerators

Freestanding Wine Refrigerators

Freestanding Wine RefrigeratorFreestanding wine coolers are a great choice for many wine enthusiasts. They offer flexibility in that they can be placed virtually anywhere in the home, whether it's in a corner in the basement or in a spot more suited to showing off your collection. All freestanding wine coolers offer either a single or dual temperature control zone. Other common features are a safety lock and auto defrost, although these are not available on all wine refrigerators.

We don't recommend using freestanding coolers in a built-in enclosure area since these wine coolers vent from the back, causing heat to be trapped in the enclosure. The subsequent overheating will noticeably decrease the wine cooler's ability to maintain its internal temperature and cool your wine, shortening its lifespan as the compressor is continually overworked. You can install a freestanding wine refrigerator into an enclosure as long as you leave 2-4 inches on each side, but this type of installation won't give the clean look of a wine cooler that's designed to be built in.

The Most Common Freestanding Refrigerators are:

  • Freestanding Wine Refrigerator
    Freestanding on the Floor:

    These wine coolers can stand in any interior space around your home near an electrical outlet. They come in different sizes and in single or multiple temperature control zones.

  • Countertop Wine Refrigerator Model
    Countertop Wine Refrigerators:

    Countertop wine refrigerators are great for those who don't have the floor space or an area under their countertop for a wine refrigerator. Most can store multiple bottles.

  • Wine Chiller Model
    Wine Chillers:

    Wine chillers can chill a bottle in as fast as 5 minutes. They can sit on a table during dinner for easy access without being in the way, and moved back to the counter for storage afterward. Some models even come with a 12 Volt cigarette lighter plug for camping or tailgating.

Built-In Wine Refrigerators

Built-In Wine RefrigeratorBuilt-in wine refrigerators are a good replacement for outdated trash compactors or any other older undercounter appliance in a kitchen or wet bar. They are designed to allow for flush installation under your counter, and they feature a front vent to dissipate compressor heat during operation.

Built-in wine coolers come in a variety of widths, colors, and sizes to accommodate anything from 15 to over 150 bottles. Many built-in units offer stainless steel or wood trim and doors to complement the look of your kitchen or wet bar. We recommend positioning your built-in wine refrigerator away from direct sunlight or any heat-producing sources, like a dishwasher, as this will force the refrigerator to work harder to keep cool. Placement near an appliance that may cause vibration such a trash compactor can also agitate wines, which can be harmful to the aging process.

Built-In Wine Refrigerator

Single Zone Wine Refrigerators

A single zone wine refrigerator is a unit with only one thermostat control and cooling zone. If you typically drink mostly red or mostly white wines, a single zone wine cooler is probably right for you. Nonetheless, reds and whites can be stored together in a single zone cooler - place red wines on the upper shelves of the cooler where it's 5 to 8 degrees warmer.

Dual or Triple Zone Wine Refrigerators

Single Zone Wine Refrigerator ModelA multiple zone wine refrigerator refers to a wine refrigerator with 2 or more thermostat controls and cooling zones. Most wine coolers of this type feature digital controls on the front of the cooler to adjust the different temperature zones.

The best way to accommodate both red and white wines within the same wine refrigerator is to purchase a dual or triple zone wine cooler. Typically, white wines should be stored in the temperature range of 50ºF to 62ºF and red wines will be stored between 58ºF to 68ºF. A multiple zone cooler will allow you to maintain distinct and separate temperature zones within the same cooler. Many times these units will offer a larger storage capacity for one style of wine over the other so be sure to purchase the unit that best suits your individual drinking preference. For triple zone coolers, you can keep your ready-to-serve whites and reds at their appropriate temperatures and in the middle zone keep wines that are still aging at their correct temperature (50-60º F).

Compressor-Based Wine Refrigerators

Compressor-based wine refrigerators use the same compressor technology as standard refrigerators to provide cooling. Compressor cooling is best for large wine collections because the powerful cooling capabilities of a compressor unit help keep your wines at a constant temperature and easily handle variations in external room temperature. Built-in wine coolers are typically compressor-based, as are many freestanding units, especially larger models.

Thermoelectric Wine Refrigerators

Thermoelectric wine refrigerators offer an alternative to compressor-based cooling. Thermoelectric cooling works by passing electric current through a ceramic tile, causing the interior side of the tile to cool while the exterior side collects and dissipates heat to the outside of the wine cooler. Thermoelectric wine fridges tend to consume less energy and produce less noise than compressor-based models, but they have their limitations, including weaker cooling power (typically they can produce temperatures about 20°F cooler than the ambient temperature outside the unit).

Thermoelectric coolers are best for those with smaller wine collections, a consistently cool place to keep the cooler, and anyone concerned about minimizing noise. This technology is most readily available on freestanding wine refrigerators, especially countertop models.