Whether you’re an avid collector, or you just want a convenient place to keep your wine in the kitchen, then an under your counter wine cooler is a great option. These units are sleek and stylish, and tucking them out of the way under a counter makes them unobtrusive, but always there when you need them.
Built-in wine coolers are an important part of your wine gear and they are just like they sound. They are built into your existing cabinets in a bar or kitchen. They offer a streamlined look, rather than placing a bulky stand-alone unit on top or to the side of the counter.
You can replace an extra dishwasher in the basement kitchen, an old trash compactor, or rip out some extra cabinets simply to put in something more modern.
The wine cooler market is pretty crowded, but these options are some of the best, so I’ll review what I like best about them and include different types and sizes, so hopefully, everyone can find one that will work for them.
Buying Built-In Wine Coolers
The same benefits of buying a built-in wine cooler are the same benefits of buying a freestanding unit. However, there are some unique reasons why installing a built-in under-the-counter wine cooler might be the way to go.
Even in a crowded kitchen, tucking a built-in wine cooler under the counter means it’s never in the way. You’ll pass by it and never know it’s there until you need it, and then you’ll be glad you did it.
Every dinner party will have wine ready to drink without having to go to the basement fridge, store it in your regular refrigerator, or chill it in a bucket on top of the counter.
You’ll be able to avoid taking up room in your regular refrigerator, which isn’t good for your wine anyway, and the wine cooler will keep your wine at just the right temperature while regulating the humidity.
A wine cooler can keep a more consistent temperature for your wine, which means fewer fluctuations for the liquid inside, and it can maintain the appropriate humidity levels so it doesn’t spoil too quickly.
Even in small spaces, if you can find a way to work in a built-in wine cooler, you won’t have to be concerned with it overheating, because that’s what it’s built for. It is designed to be surrounded on all sides, so it has an air ducting system throughout that routes exhaust through a grill or a vent in the front.
Lack of circulation won’t be an issue at all, so you can squeeze them in tight for a sleek and seamless look in your kitchen remodel or appliance replacement job with no problems.
Types of Under the Counter Built-Ins
Built-in wine coolers operate using two different types of technology to keep your wine cool. Compressor technology is older but very effective. Thermoelectric technology is newer and can be less effective, but it’s much quieter.
This is how your kitchen refrigerator works. It will make a buzzing or a humming noise as the compressor runs. However, the compressor isn’t affected by outside temperature, so it’s effective no matter where you put it.
If you want to store a large collection for a longer period of time and the noise doesn’t bother you, this is probably the best choice.
This technology runs almost silently and there’s little to no vibration as well. The problem is that it can’t cool a large collection very efficiently, nor is it very effective when there are changes in the ambient temperature of the room.
It’s a very energy-efficient solution for a small collection in a room where the temperature remains steady all of the time, like a basement.
There are several things you should consider before buying a wine cooler. Not only do you have to consider what kind of wine cooler you want, but you have to take into account your personal collection and your space.
Where you put your built-in wine cooler is the primary consideration. If your space isn’t big enough to fit the appliance, you can’t buy it. You can narrow down your options and limit the number of models by determining where you want it to go and measure the area.
It could be an old trash compacter you ripped out, an unused cabinet you hate, or another old appliance that seems to be gathering dust. Whatever it is, get a better idea of what exactly will fit, and then you can shop smarter.
Capacity and dimensions
It’s important to find a balance between the capacity of the wine cooler and its dimensions. The total capacity of the cooler should meet your needs, but of course, it also has to fit into the space you selected.
If you’re deciding between two different sizes, always go with the bigger one when you can. It’s a good idea to purchase a wine cooler that will hold 50% more than you think you need.
Single-zone or dual-zone
If you only like one type of wine, a single-zone wine cooler will work just fine for you. If you like both reds and whites, you probably need a dual-zone option. However, if you’re storing both types long-term, you can chill them both to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes a single-zone option work just fine.
Think about how you’re going to be using it before deciding what will work best for you. Regular consumption of your favorite wines will demand the right wine cooler while long-term storage may not require something quite as fancy.
Some people don’t mind the extra noise if it means their wine cooler is working more efficiently. Others don’t need any added noise in the kitchen, because they already have a kitchen refrigerator and the hustle and bustle of activity.
You need to decide which type is right for you and what you prefer by reviewing the two different types of technology, how they work, and why one might be better than the other.
Some wine coolers come with a lot of features like child locks, auto-defrost, LED lights, touchscreen displays, removable shelves, and a lot more. All you really need is something that will keep your wine at the right temperature.
You can purchase extras if you want to, but it adds more complexity to the cooler, so keep in mind that some of these extras may not actually last as long as the cooler itself.
Many reviews you read will indicate that the display no longer accurately reports the temperature after only a year of use, but that the wine cooler still stays cold. It would seem that the wine coolers themselves are built well, but the features are not.
The Best Under Counter Wine Coolers
Now that you understand a little bit more about wine coolers, let’s look at some of the best options.
Kalamera 30-bottle wine cooler
This is one of my favorite wine cooler options because it’s so versatile. Kalamera offers several different options if this size won’t fit, but this is a really great standard option with which to start.
The company makes a lot of wine storage options for your collection, and this one is a single-zone fridge that you can set from 40 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. For storage of two different types of wines or short-term drinkability for one type, you’re good to go.
This unit was built to be either freestanding or built into cabinets, so you can do whatever you want with it now, and change your mind later. It’s compact, so it fits in smaller spaces, but still holds up to 30 bottles.
Rearranging the removable shelves will allow for storage or larger or irregular sized bottles, but it will reduce the capacity.
The cooler’s dimensions are 33.9 x 14.9 x 22.4 inches, just in case you feel the urge to go measure your space right now.
The stainless steel frame is durable, which helps to increase the lifespan, but also works to reduce fog on the double-layered door made of tempered glass. The entire unit is built solidly and sealed to maintain the perfect environment for your wine.
The only complaint people have against Kalamera is that their customer service could be better. However, with a quality wine cooler, you shouldn’t have to contact them at all.
- Durable stainless steel frame
- Double-layered tempered glass door
- Compact size with large capacity
- Customer service is lacking
Kalamera 46-bottle dual-zone wine cooler
This one is a little bit more expensive, and a little bit bigger, but for those with space, the money, and a growing collection, it is a great buy. You can keep reds and whites chilled, and the 46-bottle capacity means you won’t be short on space.
The upper zone can be set at 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit and the lower zone is perfect for reds at 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. You still have the option to put both zones at 50 degrees for temporary storage of the same types of wine.
All of the shelving is a beautiful beech and can be rearranged to store different-sized bottles. The capacity of the cooler will be reduced, but the stated capacity on all of these units typically means you have to cram your wine in there anyway, so always go bigger than you need.
This cooler doesn’t make a lot of noise and produces almost no vibration, so you won’t have any sediment or impact on the flavor.
Just like the other Kalamera cooler, this one has a stainless steel body for durability, but customer service with the company is still disappointing.
- Large capacity
- Elegant beech shelving
- Dual-zone capability
- No noise or vibration
Aobosi refrigerator and wine cooler
This cooler stores wine bottles and canned beverages and it’s the perfect solution for a busy family that needs consistent access to more than just wine. It can hold 18 bottles and more than 50 cans.
It also has two cooling zones, so every time your spouse comes to get a beer, you won’t have to worry about it impacting your wines. The left side can be set from 35-50 degrees Fahrenheit and the right can be set from 41-64 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can store reds, whites, sparkling wines, beer, soda, and a whole lot more. The whole family can enjoy this cooler with you. If you feel like you can share, that is.
Now that I’ve told you how much it can hold, I’m not really sure why I did that, because you can arrange it however you want, depending on what you’re going to put in it. You can also remove or adjust shelves to make more space.
The vent in the front is stainless steel, meaning that you don’t need to allow any room for the cooler to breathe when you install it. Simply tuck it in as tightly as you want and the air ducting system will take care of the rest.
This is truly a great multipurpose cooler solution for a busy kitchen or basement bar, and one of the best options for those who might have more people over for get-togethers than nights alone.
- Great for multipurpose use
- Sleek stainless steel construction
- Adjustable shelves for maximum versatility
- Can be loud
Aobosi 46-bottle dual-zone wine cooler
If you like the look of Aobosi, but you only want to store wine, not beer or soda, this wine cooler is a great option. It’s bulkier, but it can hold a growing wine collection or a lot of bottles for long-term storage.
It’s spacious enough to hold up to 46 bottles, but you’ll have to cram them in there to get them to fit. It’s best to enjoy the deceptively small interior capacity by loading it on the lighter side.
You can leave it freestanding if you want to, but it looks sleek under your cabinets and it’s easy to install. The compressor-based system is efficient and relatively quiet, which is a feat considering its size.
The glass door is encased in stainless steel for extra durability and the beech shelves offer a nice contrast and contribute to the elegant interior. They’re adjustable so you can personalize the storage for your bottles.
This unit features a temperature memory function that automatically resets each zone to the last programmed temperature in case of a power outage. Whether it’s out for a few minutes or a few hours, this protects your wine, even when you’re not home to check on it yourself.
- Quiet operation
- Temperature memory function
- Large capacity
- Bulky design
Phiestina 46-bottle wine cooler
This wine cooler offers you the versatility of installing it under the counter or pulling it out to be freestanding. It’s so easy to pull in and out that you can change your mind as many times as you want.
It’s a dual-zone wine cooler for those who love both red and white. Some dual-zone wine coolers don’t offer much flexibility when it comes to their temperature settings, but this one does a better job than most.
The upper zone can be set to a pretty typical range of 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the lower zone’s expanded range of 50-66 degrees Fahrenheit gives you 6 extra degrees that many other refrigerators don’t. Those 6 degrees are critical for red wines that you don’t want to get too cold. You can change your display temperature to Celsius if you’d prefer.
Everything on this model is well-executed so you don’t have to compromise and you get a lot of flexibility when it comes to installation. The door hinge is reversible, so you can move it to the opposite side if you need it to open in the other direction. It makes cramped spaces more efficient and allows you to personalize your setup.
The shelves in this quiet wine cooler can be removed and rearranged so you can fit anything in it that you need. Coupled with its impressive capacity, excellent quality and performance, keen versatility, and surprising price point, you’ll love this wine cooler.
- Rearrangeable shelves and reversible door hinge mean incredible versatility
- Dual-zone large capacity
- Extra wide range of temperatures
- Quiet operation
- Customer service isn’t great
Lanbo 44-bottle dual-zone wine cooler
The dual-zone temperature ranges on this wine cooler are a bit different, so if you haven’t had much success storing your wines at the temperatures of other wine coolers due to their limited ranges, you could try this one.
The upper zone ranges from 41 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s a great option for those who don’t like their whites quite as cold. However, it still gives you the option for chilling sparkling white wines or ice wines rather aggressively if needed.
The lower zone ranges from 54 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, a range that’s 4 degrees warmer than a lot of other dual-zone wine coolers. You can keep your red wines slighter warmer as well.
The shelving is beech, which is durable, but elegant. They’re all adjustable, so you can customize your storage depending on your collection and bottle sizes.
The door is double-paned tempered glass to insulate and secure your wines so that they won’t be contaminated by UV rays. The interior lighting won’t damage your collection but will illuminate it so you can see everything without opening the door.
- Affordable quality
- Wide temperature range
- Elegant, versatile shelving
- Large capacity
- Low-quality customer service
Lanbo wine and drink center
If you like the idea of a family beverage center combined with how the Lanbo looks, here’s an option for you. This one is a slim, dual-zone refrigerator that will hold up to 18 bottles of wine on the left and 57 cans of soda or beer on the right. That’s impressive, considering its low profile.
It also gives you the flexibility to store two different types of wine if you’d prefer. The temperature ranges are also incredible! The left temperature ranges include 41-64 degrees Fahrenheit and the right zone ranges from 39-50 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s so much versatility here beyond a traditional dual-zone wine cooler.
The touch panel is responsive, making it easy to set each side, and the digital readout displays the current temperature so you can monitor your beverages closely.
It’s a compressor system, so it will remain consistent, but it’s not too noisy. The front vent enables you to install it under the counter without much breathing room, which is a plus in small spaces.
- Huge temperature range
- Plenty of versatility for beverage storage
- Compact size and large capacity
- Some users complained of a short lifespan
EdgeStar 38-bottle dual-zone wine cooler
This wine cooler has a smaller capacity, but it’s perfect for people with a small collection, or those who simply only keep bottles around that they plan to drink shortly. It’s still a dual-zone cooler, so you can keep two different kinds around, but consider 38 bottles to be your absolute upper limit.
The top section ranges from 40-54 degrees Fahrenheit while the bottom section can chill from 54-64 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a sizable range compared to others, which is a nice feature in a smaller cooler.
The door can hang on either the right or the left, making it a great option for any small space, and this particular brand is known for customer care with expert knowledge of the space.
- Wide temperature range
- Compact and versatile
- Great customer care
- Can be loud
EdgeStar 101-bottle dual-zone wine cooler
This EdgeStar wine cooler is perhaps one of the best wine storage solutions on the market when it comes to flexibility of temperature. It’s tall, slim, and sleek with a huge capacity for bottles.
Next to Kalamera, the EdgeStar brand is one of the best. When placed side-by-side, you’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite in terms of quality, durability, and design.
The cabinet is black, which contrasts with the stainless steel frame, and the wooden shelving makes for a gorgeous utilitarian look. It’s a functional and beautiful addition to any kitchen.
This unit is 94 pounds, so once you get it installed, you may not want to move it again. However, it will fit nicely under or to the side of your existing cabinets. Don’t skip the planning stages here or you’ll regret it, because this unit is also a bit taller than some others.
One zone ranges from 36-43 degrees Fahrenheit which is quite a bit lower than other coolers but is perfect for sparkling whites or icewine. The other zone ranges from 41-68 degrees Fahrenheit. This range is huge, so it could work for whites or reds. The versatility here is almost endless, but it still might not work for everyone.
- Wide temperature ranges
- Beautiful design
- Quality product
If you’re a wine-lover extraordinaire, like me, you’re likely almost dying for a wine cooler. But you don’t want to buy just any wine cooler. These frequently asked questions may help you understand a bit more about which wine cooler is right for you.
Answer: If you’re storing white wine to drink in the next few weeks, the ideal temperature is 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a large range, so only you can decide at what temperature you like it best.
It may take some experimenting, and you may find that you like Chardonnay at 58 degrees, but you prefer Moscato at 52 degrees. However, if you’re storing it long-term, you can keep it at a consistent 55 degrees.
Answer: You should serve red wine at room temperature, but depending on the room, that may be too warm. It should be between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why you need a wine cooler, because it’s nearly impossible to maintain an ambient temperature like that for your wines, unless you have a cellar.
Answer: While you need a dual-zone wine cooler for storing your reds and whites separately for serving, if you’re simply storing them long-term, you can actually keep them together. They can both be stored at a consistent temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit for several years.
Simply adjust the temperature of the wines as you get ready to serve them. As long as they don’t experience frequent fluctuations in temperature, it’s fine to store them this way and change the temperature later.
Answer: By now you have realized that red and white wines need to be served at different temperatures. And that’s a very broad statement. True oenophiles know that even within the class of white, different varietals will be best served at different temperatures.
A dual-zone wine cooler will keep your wines stored at just the right temperatures until they’re ready to serve.
Answer: While you can do this, it’s not optimal. Your kitchen refrigerator is a high-traffic area. You’re in and out of it several times a day. The temperature fluctuates, your wine will be susceptible to UV rays, and there’s no reliable way to control the humidity.
In addition, if you don’t have a way to store your bottles on their sides, the corks could dry out. You need a consistent environment instead, so a wine cooler is a much better solution for preserving the quality of your wine until you want to drink it.
Answer: If you feel comfortable doing the project yourself, you don’t need to hire a professional. There’s no reason why you need to hire a contractor if you have the time and the tools. However, if you’re not really sure what to do, they’ll probably make fast, cheap work of it.
Answer: There are several different purposes for installing LED lights on the inside of your wine cooler.
• They are energy-efficient because they give you visibility to your wine without always opening and closing the doors.
• They protect your wines and the labels from UV rays, because when you open the doors, you expose the bottles to outside light.
• They protect your wines from fluctuations in temperature, because you don’t have to open and close the doors to see anything.
A built-in wine cooler is one of the most efficient, versatile, and elegant ways to store your wine collection. If you’re torn, Kalamera and EdgeStar are the best options, but it all depends on your budget and the size of your collection as well as the space you have available.
Don’t skip the planning, or you’ll be disappointed with what you get. Make sure you figure out exactly what you need first, that way you can narrow down your choices and pick the one that will work best for you.