This article provides an overview of the 10 best small wine refrigerators and coolers in 2023. From compact countertop designs to full-size units, find out which models are right for all your wine cooling needs. Each of these wine refrigerators offer quality cooling, energy-saving features, and stylish design elements. Let’s get started!
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What Is The Difference Between A Wine Cooler And A Wine Refrigerator?
There are a few subtle differences between wine coolers and wine fridges. Contrary to popular belief, the temperature isn’t one of them because wine should never be stored below approximately 45oF. The differences are:
- Wine coolers (also referred to as wine cellars) tend to be smaller than wine refrigerators since wine coolers are more for display and wine fridges are for long-term storage.
- Wine refrigerators use compression cooling like regular refrigerators, which is noisy but relatively energy efficient. Wine coolers use thermoelectric cooling, which doesn’t make as much noise but uses more electricity.
- Wine coolers are intended for display, often with glass doors and always-on internal lighting. Wine refrigerators, like regular refrigerators, mostly have steel doors that you cannot see through.
Criteria For The Best Small Wine Refrigerator Or Cooler
To determine which small wine refrigerator or cooler is the best, we will compare them based on the following criteria:
- Capacity. It must be small enough to count as “small” while still being able to hold as much of your wine as possible.
- Single or Dual Zone. Single-zone wine fridges have one temperature overall, whereas dual zone fridges can cool red wines and white wines at different temperatures.
- Price and value. We will look at different price ranges since your budget could be small or large, but the best value for money will always win.
- Additional features. Some wine coolers and fridges go beyond the standard set of features, and those will count extra.
10 Best Small Wine Refrigerators And Coolers
Let’s look at the ten best small wine refrigerators and coolers a wine enthusiast can buy today.
Thermomate is not the most well-known brand, but those who have used Thermomate products are impressed with the value for money, and the same goes for this Thermomate 15-Bottle wine fridge.
This fridge is on the larger side of “small” fridges since it can store 15 bottles, but it’s still considerably smaller than others. It has a 1.5 cubic feet capacity and a thin profile that will fit neatly into most spaces. The compressor is also optimized to cause as little noise and vibration as possible, ensuring smooth operation.
The temperature range is between 41oF and 64oF, and one of its most remarkable features is the simple touch control and temperature indicator at the top of the fridge. It’s easy to use and looks elegant when combined with the matte black finish and glass door of the refrigerator.
The only negative experience that some users have is that the digital temperature controls and display could fail after a while. However, these cases don’t happen often; if they do, Thermomate offers a great warranty and can repair or replace it.
With its sleek looks, plenty of capacity, easy controls, and very reasonable price point, the Thermomate 15-bottle easily deserves to be the top pick on this list of the best small wine fridges.
The Koolatron 6-bottle is on the opposite side of the range from the Thermomate. This small, compact wine cooler features a 0.64 cubic feet capacity that can only hold six bottles of wine at a time, but this makes the cooler small enough to conveniently fit on a shelf in a small apartment kitchen, a condo, or even your R.V.
The matte black finish and external touch-screen controls make it easy to use, with a glass door and interior light to add elegance and make wine selection easy. It can be the perfect centerpiece on a table or a counter for easy access to your favorite vintage.
The Koolatron is thermoelectrically powered and will use more electricity than compressor-based models. Still, the tradeoff is that it’s quieter than compressor-based fridges, making it even more ideal for your dining room or entertainment area.
On the downside, the temperatures don’t always go as low as advertised. Even though the cooler is marked with a low temperature of 46oF, it can occasionally struggle to go below 55oF. It’s not necessarily a problem since most people wouldn’t want their wine to be colder than 55 degrees, but it is a deviation from what’s advertised.
It’s also not as quiet as you would imagine, as the unit has a cooling fan, so don’t expect a perfectly silent wine cooler. However, this is about as small as they get, and at this price point, it might be the perfect wine cooler if you need to keep it in a small space.
Schmecke is a young brand, only established in 2018, but the company has already carved out a big name for itself in the cooling and refrigeration industry. Originally known as a manufacturer of cigar coolers and humidors, the brand’s popularity is only expanding with its introduction of the Schmecke 12-bottle wine refrigerator.
The Schmecke is similar in appearance and size to the Thermomate, with some subtle differences. First is the fact that it’s smaller, with only a 1.2 cubic feet capacity. It comes in two colors, namely matte black and stainless steel. The steel variant has a stylish handle on the doorframe, giving it a more modern and polished look.
It is energy-efficient with its compressor-based cooling, and the temperatures can range from 41oF to 64oF. You can easily adjust the ideal temperature using touch controls. An added benefit is that it comes with a lock, so if you don’t want anyone to touch your wine without you knowing about it, you can choose to do so.
Its racks are also removable and adjustable to suit different bottle sizes and capacities. Its interior light is soft; there are no harsh fluorescent bulbs to affect your wine labels.
On the downside, the thermostat might be a bit too lenient with the temperature since it often allows a slight deviation. If you set it to 55 degrees, it may occasionally go up to 58 before the thermostat activates the compressor. But this is a minor issue you can quickly solve by setting the temperature slightly lower than you usually would.
Black & Decker, as a well-known tool manufacturer, is entering the appliance market slowly but steadily, and this 6-bottle wine fridge offers exceptional quality at a startlingly low price.
It uses thermoelectric cooling, so it’s not the most energy-efficient, and it doesn’t look as polished and modern as the others on this list. However, it is still an excellent wine fridge, especially if you’re looking for something small and budget-friendly that’s still reliable.
The Whynter WC-201 TDa is a wine fridge with some surprises up its sleeve. Even though it’s not much bigger than the Black & Decker and the Koolatron, it allows you to rearrange its chrome shelves to allow space for up to 20 standard 750ml wine bottles. And yet, it’s still small enough to fit in a condo or on a yacht.
The digital display and touch controls are easy to use, but despite its polished metal look, it doesn’t look as modern and sleek as the others. It’s also thermoelectric, so it’s quiet but uses quite a lot of power.
The Koolatron 10-bottle is the slightly larger sibling of the 6-bottle model we saw earlier. It offers many of the same benefits and disadvantages since it is the same wine cooler with a higher capacity. If you liked the Koolatron but found its 6-bottle capacity slightly too limiting, this is the perfect wine cooler for you.
Ivation is arguably the most famous name in wine coolers, so you know you get quality, even though they tend to be priced accordingly. The Ivation 12-bottle is a great, high-quality wine refrigerator with a modern stainless-steel finish, adjustable shelves, digital controls, and a built-in lock to keep your wines safe while you’re keeping them cool.
The system is compressor-based, but it runs surprisingly quietly if you correctly adjust the fridge’s stability. The interior light is provided by a soft LED lamp, giving ample light to display your wine selection without ruining the labels and flavor of the wine.
By far the largest of the best small wine refrigerators, the Zephyr Presrv can hold up to 27 standard 750ml wine bottles while fitting under the counter or standing comfortably on top. It has a capacity of 3.4 cubic feet with three-color interior LED lighting to give your wine the hue of your choice.
The fridge is also compressor-based, and despite its high capacity, it isn’t large, so it is pretty energy-efficient. Its price is considerably higher than the others on this list, but the build quality is incredible; it comes with a great warranty, and the capacity is unbeatable in a fridge of this size.
Rovsun isn’t a well-known brand at all, but this wine refrigerator is surprisingly good, not to mention affordable. The Rovsun can comfortably cool up to 18 bottles of wine with its compressor-based cooling system, and it also looks clean and modern with a shiny metallic outer finish.
On the downside, the Rovsun is loud and possibly the loudest of all the fridges on this list. If you’re looking for a wine fridge for your kitchen, maybe skip this one. It’s made to keep somewhere out of the way.
NutriChef is a brand many people are familiar with, and this 12-bottle compressor-based wine fridge holds up to the hype. Though it’s a simple device with no bells and whistles, it does what it’s supposed to with fantastic build quality. It’s also extremely quiet despite its compressor-based design, so that it will work well in any kitchen or small room with limited space.
On the downside, NutriChef’s support and customer care aren’t always up to scratch. If you run into any problems with your fridge, you may have difficulty resolving the issue.
What Is The Difference Between A Wine Fridge And A Beverage Fridge?
The main difference between a wine fridge and a beverage fridge is that they have different temperature requirements. Regular fridges can be set to much lower temperatures than wine fridges because people generally consume other beverages at far lower temperatures than wine.
Wine fridges generally won’t allow temperatures below 45oF since that’s the lowest temperature at which wine should be stored. Beverage coolers can go much lower, sometimes even close to freezing temperature, because most people enjoy other beverages as cold as they can get.
Which Brand Is Good For A Wine Fridge?
The brand that tends to get the highest ratings and the most recommendations in wine fridges is Ivation. There are many other popular ones, like Koolatron and Zephyr, and it’s also worth mentioning that Schmecke’s marketing, sales, and support in the United States are also run by Ivation, which puts the newcomer Schmecke on that same high level.
Who Makes The Most Reliable Wine Cooler?
Ivation has a reputation for making the most reliable wine coolers, even though that’s not necessarily true. Comparing the number of client complaints, most of the brands on this list are reliable. We can give a special mention to Zephyr, which justifies its higher price by offering incredible reliability.
Do Wine Refrigerators Use A Lot Of Electricity?
Wine fridges mostly use compressors to cool their contents, and it’s the same technology that regular fridges use. With this in mind, the power use will be similar to that of a standard fridge, which is less than an equivalent wine cooler using thermoelectric cooling.
Smaller wine fridges will use less power than larger wine fridges. Another crucial point is that a refrigerator uses less power when it can simply maintain its temperature rather than cool its contents. It’s wise to open the wine fridge’s door only when absolutely necessary and close it again as soon as possible to save some electricity.
Verdict: What’s The Best Small Wine Refrigerator?
The best wine refrigerator overall is the Thermomate 15-bottle because it offers exceptional value for money. However, if you have limited space, you may consider the Koolatron 6-bottle a more favorable option. If we combine value with an excellent, high-quality brand, the best wine refrigerator for you is the Schmecke 12 bottle.
Which one of these options do you think is the best small wine refrigerator and/or cooler? Are there other ones we should include in this guide? Please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear!!
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