There are many benefits that can be accrued from owning a wine cooler. It is vital for your bottle of wine to always maintain the right temperature while keeping away from heat, light, humidity, and vibration. A wine cooler helps create the ideal environment for your wine collection for both short term and long term storage.
However, there are numerous wine cooler models in the market and finding the most suitable for your needs can be daunting. There are factors and features to keep in mind when scouting for the best wine cooler for your needs. Here are the factors to keep in mind.
1. Size and Bottle Capacity
Before you head out shopping for a wine cooler, see to it that you evaluate the space available. Of course, wine coolers come in many different sizes, therefore, you need to choose a model based on the space you have in mind and the depth of your collection. If you don’t have much space, built-in models would be a suitable choice.
Small wine coolers have a bottle capacity of about 6 wine bottles in the minimum while larger models can accommodate from about 100 to 200 bottles. Basically, you should choose a wine cooler that can hold your current collection and allow space in case you decide to add to your collection.
2. Type of Cooler
The first thing that you should decide is the type of cooler for your needs. Generally, wine coolers can be freestanding, built-in, integrated or counter-top.
Freestanding wine coolers have great flexibility and they can be placed anywhere. They are cheap and can accommodate up to 150 bottles of wine. However, these units require proper clearance in order to ensure air circulation and prevent overheating.
On the other hand, built-in wine coolers come with standardized dimensions to fit beneath the countertop or alongside cabinets. Although a built-in cooler is a stylish addition to any kitchen space, it can be quite expensive and has a limit to the number of bottles it can hold.
The other type is the integrated wine cooler which is usually fitted into a unit and has a small bottle capacity. It is therefore not a suitable choice if you have a growing wine collection. Lastly, is the counter-top wine cooler which works well for those with limited space.
3. Consider the Temperature
Wine should be served at the appropriate temperature in order to improve its flavor. Basically, the best temperature for storing both red and white wine is about 45-55 degrees F (7- 12 degrees Celsius).
When it comes to wine coolers, you have the option of choosing between single temperature zones vs. dual temperature zone. Single-zone coolers are designed with one temperature zone, making them an ideal choice for wine enthusiasts who take only one type of wine. So you can only store white or red wine but not both. This wine cooler also features one temperature control and is great for short term wine storage.
Dual-zone wine coolers, on the other hand, features two separate compartments for storing different wines at varying temperatures. This type of cooler is more expensive than the single zone cooler and is suitable for those with growing wine collection.
4. Type and Number of Doors
There is a wide range of door options for wine coolers that you can select from including reversible, self-closing, French doors, right or left hinged, sliding and others. Most wine coolers feature a reversible door that offers flexibility with regards to installation and conveniently opens depending on the available space. If energy efficiency is a vital factor for you, then a self-closing door would be a perfect choice.
Also, the number of doors in the unit matter depending on its size and capacity. For instance, there are models that feature a single door while others come with double or triple doors.
For most people, noise is an important factor to consider when choosing home appliances. Since most wine coolers use the same technology as that of kitchen fridges, you can expect them to make a similar noise. However, if what you are after is a quiet model, then you should opt for a thermoelectric wine cooler.
6. Cooling Technology
While this is usually assumed, the cooling technology of the wine cooler should be considered. Most wine coolers feature either a compressor or thermoelectric cooling technology.
A compressor is the most common type of technology used to operate wine coolers as it operates using a refrigerant like that of refrigerators. Another benefit of compressor wine coolers is that they are powerful and provide stable temperatures. On the downside, they are heavier, expensive and they vibrate and produce a loud noise.
On the other hand, thermoelectric wine coolers use the Peltier effect to bring about cooling in the unit. Though they tend to have fluctuations on the outside temperature and come in smaller sizes, they are cheap, energy-efficient, quiet and have minimal vibrations.
7. Energy Efficiency
Truth be told, running home appliances can be costly, and this is no exception for wine coolers. More often than not, the wine cooler needs to be powered on in order to keep the wine bottles at the right temperature. For this reason, it is a good idea to settle for energy-efficient models that will lower your energy bill.
Coolers that are Energy Star certified are a great choice since they consume 20-30% less energy. You may also want to look for energy-efficient features like LED lighting, triple-pane glass, and thermoelectric cooling technology.
You will need to compare the price of different wine cooler models so you can pick one that meets your budgetary needs. Just like most products, wine coolers have vast price ranges and it is easy to find one that fits your budget. Generally, the cost is determined by the capacity of the unit and its zone capability. For instance, single-zone wine coolers that have low capacity are on the lower end than multi-zone coolers which have a high capacity.
Although sticking to your budget is important, it is recommendable not to settle for cheaper models since they are less dependable. After all, you want an appliance that will preserve and protect the quality of your wine, not destroy it.
9. Additional Features
Other features to keep in mind when buying your wine cooler includes;
- Anti-vibration System
Some models are designed with an anti-vibration system in the compressor or cooler that minimizes vibrations and noise. Others have vibration-minimizing features such as wooden shelves, motor padding, and rubber feet.
These features are especially important for those who intend to store wine for a long period of time. This is because vibrations can negatively affect the wine’s flavor, color, and body.
- LED Lighting
It is true that bright light can agitate the wine. However, soft LED lighting is often preferred as it showcases the wine in the cooler without emitting harmful UV rays. Some coolers allow for the LED lights to be dimmed while others do not. So you should make your decision based on your preference.
- Carbon Filters
Wine and especially the corked one is prone to bad odors when stored in the cooler. This is where carbon filters come in handy to remove the odors and purify the air.
- Humidity Controls
When wine is exposed to low humidity levels, the cork is likely to dry out, allowing air to get into your wine and damage it. However, with humidity controls, it is possible to regulate the moisture of air in the cooler so as to keep the wine in the right conditions.
- Digital Thermostat
As mentioned earlier, it is important to keep maintain the right temperature for your type of wine. A digital thermostat is designed to help you check whether the temperature is where you desire it to be. If not, you can adjust it as required.
- Touch Control and Digital Displays
Wine coolers that have smart functions, touch controls, and digital displays are sleeker and classy than the traditional models. These functions render the unit easy to operate. In addition, there are some models that are smartphone-compatible.
- Tinted Glass
The flavor of wine can get damaged when it is exposed to sunlight. For this reason, tinted glass can help to add a layer of protection against damaging UV rays.
- Upright Storage Space
This is a rare feature that enables you to store opened bottles back in the cooler. With this, you can have the reassurance that your unfinished bottle will be safe inside the wine cooler.
- Secure Lock
This feature provides safety for your expensive bottles of wine from being stolen or accidentally opened. It acts as a good deterrent especially if you have children in the house.
- Power Reset
More often than not, the unit is likely to lose its memory when power is interrupted. To avoid this, opt for coolers that have the power reset function that allows it to reset itself to the previously programmed settings in the event of a blackout.
- Temperature Alarm
A temperature alarm will let you know when the temperature inside drops below the desired range. An alarm may also sound if the door is left open.
If you own a wine collection, you need to invest in a top-notch wine cooler that will ensure optimum storage conditions to protect the quality and integrity of your wine. This guide will help you find the perfect wine cooler for your specific needs. Make your selection based on your preference so you can enjoy your wine for longer.