There’s rarely a bad time for a glass of wine.
If you started exploring the great big world of wine recently, you’ve probably noticed that most sommeliers recommend that you chill wine before drinking it.
However, the temperatures most wine professionals recommend are warmer than most refrigerators but cooler than room temperature. SO what are you supposed to do?
Well, the easiest answer for people who want to enjoy wine for years to come is to buy a wine cooler. And not just any wine cooler – a thermoelectric wine cooler.
I did some research on these unique appliances, and I found the six best thermoelectric coolers out there. These coolers will keep your wine at the right temperature without any hassle. In this article, I’ll explain the advantages of thermoelectric coolers, I’ll review the top six coolers out there, and I’ll explain what to look for in a great wine cooler.
Ready to learn more? Then let’s dive in.
Advantages of Thermoelectric Coolers
Thermoelectric wine coolers are unique in the cooling world. Unlike just about every other cooling device out there (except for propane fridges), they don’t use a compressor system. Instead, they use a special phenomenon known as the Peltier Effect to stay cool.
The Peltier Effect is an electrical effect that occurs when you run a current through sheets of metal sandwiched together. Two sheets of different metal are pasted together, and then an electric current flows through them. This current does something interesting: it causes one sheet of metal to lose heat, and the other sheet to gain heat. Basically, the current causes one sheet of metal to suck excess heat out of the other sheet. This makes the Peltier Effect a great way to cool things down without vibration.
Vibration is important when it comes to wine. More specifically, avoiding vibration is important when it comes to wine. Many high-quality wines contain small amounts of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Normally, this sediment doesn’t affect the wine at all. However, vibration can stir it up and lead to bitter flavors seeping into your drink.
The complete lack of vibration also has another benefit: thermoelectric coolers are silent.
There’s no motor to hum or cause rattling noises. Anyone who’s been annoyed by the sounds their refrigerator makes understand how big a draw this is.
Best Thermoelectric Wine Coolers
This sleek-looking wine cooler is about the size of a microwave tipped on its side – 14 inches tall by 10 inches wide.
It’s the perfect size to fit on any counter, and runs off a standard 110 volt outlet. It has a flush back design, allowing you to keep it snug against the wall without risking overheating.
The Koolatron 6-Bottle model also comes with a dark interior and a double-paned door to allow you to see the wine without exposing it to damaging UV light. Combined with the reflective black exterior, this makes the cooler an interesting visual addition to your fridge. It’s not just effective, it’s elegant.
This model is a single-zone cooler, so the entire cooler remains at a single temperature. This is great for keeping a handful of your favorite reds or whites cooled at the same time. However, it does mean that you should either keep the cooler dedicated to a single type of wine or prepare to take reds out of the cooler a little before you want to drink them.
|Compact size||Single-zone only|
|Sleek, attractive exterior||Only 6 bottles|
|Electronic touch thermostat|
|Flush back design|
The Koolatron 6-Bottle thermoelectric cooler is perfect for small kitchens or basement bars, or as an auxiliary cooler in larger wine cellars.
If you need a little more space, the Koolatron 10 bottle thermoelectric cooler is the 6 bottle model’s bigger brother. It’s 22 inches high, or about eight inches taller to make room for the additional bottles, but the overall look and design is similar.
One benefit offered by the 10 bottle model that’s not found on the 6 bottle model is the ability to swap the thermostat between Fahrenheit and Celsius. This makes it a great choice for people on either side of the Pond.
The mirrored glass door gives you a view of your wines without risking UV damage. It also adds a classy touch to any kitchen when combined with the elegant black exterior. The gentle interior light can be turned on at a touch, giving you the chance to decide on a bottle before you ever open the door.
Like the smaller Koolatron model, this is also a single-zone cooler. It’s excellent at maintaining a single temperature, but if reds and whites are being stored together, you’ll need to take out reds an hour before serving to warm up.
|Narrow, perfect for tight spaces||Single-zone only|
|Moderate capacity for home bars and kitchens||Tall - may not fit between countertops and cabinets.|
|Easy-touch buttons for quick temperature changes||A little more expensive than some other models|
For people who need a moderate amount of storage or a narrow cooler, the Koolatron 10 bottle wine cooler is an excellent thermoelectric option.
One step up from the 10 bottle model, the Ivation 12 Bottle Thermoelectric Wine Cooler is another great option.
It comes in at just over two feet tall, only three inches taller than the Koolatron. It’s equally narrow, making it a great option to fit in a small space.
The Ivation’s glossy black and silver exterior is an elegant tough to any kitchen or bar. The blue light inside the cooler adds a touch of distinction when seen through the smoked double-pane glass door. It’s excellent for use in a home setting or for dinner parties.
The Ivation model comes with one additional, helpful feature: it locks. In homes where kids might be interested in opening doors, this is a big benefit. You can lock your wine cooler and know for sure that no one will be getting into things that they shouldn’t.
This is another single-zone cooler. It doesn’t get quite as cold as other models, but it still reaches a low of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than enough for most wines. It uses its internal space efficiently, but you may need to remove a shelf to store bottles larger than standard.
|Convenient lock to keep kids from getting into anything||Shelves are relatively close together|
|Sleek appearance||Only gets down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Uses space efficiently|
The lockable nature of the Ivation model makes it a great choice for anyone with kids or pets.
The Whynter is a 4-by-4 wine cooler that’s an excellent choice to replace small minifridges in yourbar or kitchen.
This cooler comes in at a convenient size – 17” by 19.5” – that’s perfect for fitting under a counter or between a countertop and overhead cabinet. It’s also another flush-fit model, with a convenient power cord configuration that allows you to keep it just an inch from the wall.
The Whynter 16 bottle model has a clean stainless steel finish with a smoked glass, double-pane door. Like many wine coolers, it’s a visually-appealing addition to your kitchen, bar, office, or wine cellar. It’s also simple to use – just plug in and go. The simple interface lets you choose between Celsius and Fahrenheit and set your temperature with ease.
The Whynter is a single-zone wine cooler, like other coolers on this list. It can only get down to 52 degrees Fahrenheit, so it may not be your preferred choice for cooling sparkling wines or other very light wines. However, it’s still a great choice for reds and heavier whites.
|Moderate capacity||Only chills to 52 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Only 19.5 inches tall||Wider than other models|
|Stainless steel exterior|
Anyone who’s upgrading from a minifridge to a wine cooler should consider the Whynter 16 bottle model as an excellent option.
Not everyone wants to see their wines at all times.
If you have particularly delicate vintages, getting a wine cooler with a solid front may be important to you. The Whynter 20 bottle model has a mirrored door that keeps light away from your wines effectively without permanently blocking your view. Just turn on the interior light and you’ll be able to check your stock.
The Whynter 20 bottle model also has an important benefit: it can chill wine all the way down to 46 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the perfect temperature for sparkling wines and particularly delicate whites. If you’re interested in exploring lighter wines, this wine cooler is a great choice.
Like other wine coolers on this list, it’s a single-zone model. Unlike other models, it’s only available in Fahrenheit, so make sure you know your conversions if you’re used to Celsius.
|Mirrored door to keep out light||A little more expensive than other models|
|Can cool wine down to 46 degrees Fahrenheit||Only reads in Fahrenheit|
|20 bottle capacity||No flush fit|
This is a great choice for keeping delicate wines cooled to perfection.
Finally, if you need some serious storage capacity but you want to stick with thermoelectric cooling, the Whynter 28 bottle cooler is excellent.
It’s positively shiny, with a sleek and modern completely stainless steel exterior. This lets it blend into modern kitchens and adds a touch of professionalism to home bars.
The front-mounted handle stands out from a field of flush handles, making it easier to open. The larger size – 29” tall by 18” wide – makes it a little large to place on a countertop, but excellent to leave under a counter or on its own against a wall. Finally, it has a lock, keeping curious kids from getting into things they shouldn’t.
This is also a single-zone cooler, which may not appeal to people storing large amounts of wine. Furthermore, it can only cool down to 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping multiple types of wine is possible if you remember to pull reds an hour before it’s time to drink, though.
|Lock for security||Single-zone|
|Unique completely stainless steel finish||Only gets down to 52 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Reads in both Celsius and Fahrenheit|
This is an excellent choice for anyone who’s a real love of wine and has built up a collection.
Other Considerations When Buying a Wine Cooler
Beyond the cooling method, there are a few other considerations for choosing a wine cooler. Once you’ve decided on a thermoelectric cooler, it’s time to pay attention to the other aspects of the appliance, like:
Number of Cooling Zones
Depending on the type of wine, you need to keep your wine cooler at different temperatures. Red wines are best drunk warmer than whites or sparkling wines, for example. Wine coolers can be single-zone or dual-zone, which determines whether you can easily store more than one type of wine in the fridge:
- Single-zone wine coolers keep the entire interior a uniform temperature. This is perfect for storing a single type of wine – just whites or just reds, for example.
- Dual-zone coolers, on the other hand, keep part of the fridge at a lower temperature than the rest. This allows you to store reds and whites in the same appliance.
Larger appliances are more likely to be dual-zone than smaller appliances, just because there’s more room for a temperature differential.
Dual-zone coolers are more expensive than single zone coolers, but if you regularly drink both red and white wine, it can be worth it.
Number of Bottles
The size of your wine cooler will determine how many bottles you can store at once. The size that works for you will depend on how much wine you drink and how many bottles you have on hand.
In general, smaller coolers are less expensive, but the price difference isn’t as large as you’d expect. A very small cooler might work if you plan on drinking wine casually. However, if you think you’re going to start collecting wines more seriously, it might be worth investing in a larger model.
Wine is a perfect complement to everything from quiet nights in to dinner parties with friends. Keeping your wine properly chilled can help you enjoy your wine as much as possible.
I hope this guide has helped you understand thermoelectric wine coolers and choose the cooler that’s right for you.
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