So, it’s time to step up your wine storage game. Perhaps you already have a wine rack that is always loaded to the brim. Or, you’re tired of storing several bottles of wine in your refrigerator, taking up valuable space. Or, do you find yourself always trying to stick a bottle into a single wine chiller to get the wine cold at the last minute? If you don’t have the opportunity to build an entire wine celler in your home, or if space is at a premium, a small wine cooler might be your stepping stone.
In fact, it’s not necessary to have a wine room in your home (unless you want to). By choosing the right wine refrigerator, it’s possible to store both red and white wine, at the perfect temperature, making it always ready to drink. Or, if you travel for wine, you will have the perfect spot to store all of your wine souvenirs.
Looking For The Top Small Wine Cooler?
Here are our recommendations for the best wine coolers that are on the smaller size. We identify “small” as under 36 bottles. There is one that is 38 bottles, but it’s such a great wine bottle chiller I had to include it!
We also offer our wine cooler reviews scale, rating each wine cooler on a scale of 1-5. This rating is based on our research of each wine cooler and their specs.
|Cooler||Brand||Size||Type||Our Rating |
|Vinotemp||6 Bottle||Single |
|Magic Chef||12 Bottle||Single |
|Wine Enthusiast||12 Bottle||Single |
|NutriChef||18 Bottle||Single |
|EdgeStar||34 Bottle||Dual |
|Danby||38 Bottle||Dual |
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.
THE PERFECT WINE COOLER BUYING GUIDE
Not ready to take the leap to a wine fridge? Check out our review of top wine racks.
When choosing a wine cooler, it’s important to think about the type of wine refrigerator you want to purchase. There are single zone cooling refrigerators, dual zone cooling refrigerators, and built-in wine coolers. And, there are some other wine storage refrigerator terms that you should be familiar with when shopping for the best wine chiller options out there.
Single Zone Wine Cooler
A wine refrigerator with only one cooling temperature is considered a single zone wine cooler. There is one temperature control. And the wine is all kept at the same temperature. This is a perfect small wine cooler for first time purchasers. Or, it works for wine drinkers that only tend to drink red wine or white wine. But, it is possible to keep both red and white wine in a single zone, it just means your red wine would be kept a little chilled as well. This is not a bad thing for long term wine storage. But if you don’t generally refrigerate red wine to drink, you would want to remove the red from the wine bottle cooler a little before serving, to get it to room temperature.
Benefits of a Single Zone Small Wine Cooler
- Perfect for a first time wine cooler refrigerator purchase
- Can be less expensive than dual zone wine coolers
- Often come as countertop wine fridge options
Dual Zone Wine Cooler
Dual zone wine refrigerators have two sections to them, generally with one section kept slightly cooler than the other. This is a good wine fridge for people who store both red and white wine. It’s possible to keep the white wine cooler than the red by adjusting the wine storage temperature. And, just because it is a dual zone, it doesn’t mean you are limited to larger wine storage options. It’s possible to have a small wine fridge that is still dual zone, but they tend to be a little more expensive than a single zone wine fridge.
Benefits of a Dual Zone Wine Fridge
- A dual wine cooler works for a budding wine connoisseur
- A dual zone wine cooler keeps both reds and whites at their optimal temperature
Which is the Best Wine Refrigerator Option – Single or Dual Zone?
There are pros and cons to both single and dual zone wine refrigerators. But, to break it down to the simplest terms, are you a wine drinker or a wine collector? If you are a wine drinker, a single zone wine cooler is probably sufficient and can be a good value. You will most likely only chill white wine or sparkling wine anyway.
But, if you are a wine collector, and you have both red and white wines that you want to lay down, to store, for months or even years, than a dual zone wine fridge might be worth the investment. More expensive red wines are happiest in a controlled temperature environment, one that doesn’t deviate much between the highs and the lows. That’s what makes a dual zone wine fridge a great option for a budding wine connoisseur. Is it worth it to spend a few hundred dollars more on a quality wine cooler in order to make the most of your wine investments? This is the best way to control the temperature to approximate a more professional wine celler temperature.
Built-in Wine Cooler
A built-in wine cooler fridge is one that slides into your kitchen cabinets. It’s often best to purchase an under counter wine fridge when remodeling a kitchen, but it’s not necessary. The under counter wine refrigerators have special ventilation that allow them to be installed within a cabinet.
Although built-in wine refrigerators can be super cool (sorry for the pun), they tend to be more expensive because of the ventilation needed. It’s also important to only buy a built-in wine cooler that specifically says it is built in. It’s not a good idea to take any old wine refrigerator and install it into a cabinet. It must specifically be a built in wine refrigerator. And built in wine coolers can also be a wine and beverage fridge, allowing options to store more than just wine.
Free-Standing Wine Fridges
The opposite of a built-in wine fridge is one that is free standing. These wine coolers can include either single zone or dual zone wine refrigerators. The benefit is that they do not need to be installed, and can be placed anywhere in your home that has the space and an electric outlet. And, a free-standing home wine cooler doesn’t necessarily mean big. There are different wine cooler dimensions and a slim wine fridge or a tall wine fridge might be the best small wine fridge for you.
Countertop Wine Refrigerator
Most small wine refrigerators are made to sit directly on the floor, or are an under counter wine cooler. But, it is possible to purchase a wine and beverage cooler that actually sits on top of a counter. Generally, a countertop wine cooler is smaller, maybe 6 bottles or so, although larger countertop wine coolers do exist. They would most likely be single zone. And, they are a great idea for someone who wants to keep wine cool, more than store wine for the long haul.
Check out this Great Countertop Wine Enthusiast Small Wine Cooler
Other Considerations When Buying a Wine Refrigerator
- Size: One of the most important considerations when purchasing a wine cooler. If you have a lot of wine bottles to store, then choose a larger option. But, obviously space is generally a concern. Just remember, in the future your collection may grow. Is it worth it to make a bigger investment today? And, be sure to measure the space where you plan to store your wine beverage cooler before purchasing.
- Appearance: Obviously your number one goal is to chill wine, but you also might want to consider how the wine cooler will blend with your kitchen or other furnishings. Do you want something that is black? Or a stainless steel wine cooler, or even wood to match your counters.
- Versatility: Do you want a wine cooler that is only made for wine or a wine and beverage cooler, that can also be used for soda or beer as well? It’s becoming a lot more common to see options that offer a beer and wine refrigerator combo.
- Security: If you have small children, or curious teenagers, perhaps choose a refrigerator with a safety lock.
Looking for the perfect wine gift for the wine lover on your list? Check out our wine gift buying guide.
SMALL WINE COOLER REVIEWS
There are many different wine cooler brands, including Danby, Vinotemp, and KingsBottle. But other, lesser known brands, may also offer great opportunities for a lesser expensive, entry level small wine refrigerator or a mini wine cooler. Here are our wine refrigerator reviews, with a focus on smaller wine coolers.
Magic Chef 12-Bottle Wine Cooler – Review
Magic Chef offers a slick, contemporary looking 12 bottle wine refrigerator that is a good starter option. It is a single zone with thermoelectric cooling, ranging from 54-66 degrees. And, it’s pretty cool looking in all black, with sculpted chrome shelving.
The Magic Chef wine cooler is fairly quiet, and offers an electronic control panel with an LED display. Pricing starts at only $115, making it a good bang for your buck in terms of price to size ratio. They also offer this option for 6 bottles and 24 bottles too. Typical red and white bottles fit well, but some champagne bottles might be more difficult to fit in.
Our Pick For: A contemporary looking wine fridge
Another great 12 bottle wine refrigerator option from Wine Enthusiast. Wine Enthusiast’s version is stainless steel, and more horizontal than the Magic Chef. It’s a cool looking counter top wine fridge option, and includes sliding shelves for easy access. They shelf spacing allows storage for champagne bottles as well.
This small wine fridge temperature range is from 50-66, making it a little cooler for white wines than the Magic Chef. And, it is a single zone cooling fridge. The temperature controls are on the outside. It’s not necessary to open the fridge to adjust the temperature. They also offer a black version, which still has the wooden shelves.
Our Pick For: One of the top wine refrigerators from one of the most reputable wine product producers on the market – Wine Enthusiast
Nutrichef’s 18 bottle wine cooler incorporates some features that didn’t exist in personal wine coolers in years past – room for standing bottles! This is perfect for champagne bottles, or taller bottles like Rieslings. What a great solution to maximize space. There is space for 14 horizontal bottles, and 4 standing bottles, although that could be only 3 if the space is used for large champagne bottles.
Although still single zone, the Nutrichef wine cooler can be placed on a counter top, or offers better ventilation to also be inserted within a wine cabinet in the kitchen. This slim wine cooler comes with thermoelectric cooling, adjustable temperature control, and LED lighting. It’s also ultra-quiet, so it can be used anywhere in the house.
Our Pick For: When you want a wine fridge with stand up bottles
EdgeStar 34 Bottle Wine Cooler – Review
This Edgestar 34 bottle wine cooler offers a great value for a dual zone, stand alone wine refrigerator. It’s got a nice, classic look to it, with a stainless steel reversible door, a towel bar handle, and a security lock to keep the kids out. The reversible door is great because you can open it to the left or right, depending on where the wine fridge is placed. And, the wooden shelves give the wine fridge a very classic, more professional look.
The dual zone allows the top part to be chilled as low as 41 degrees, and is made for white wine. The lower part can be chilled between 54-64 degrees and is best for red wines. Although hovering around $400, the quality really shows through in the finish, and the sturdiness of the fridge. The Edgestar wine cooler is a good value for the quality.
Our Pick For: A great mid-price, mid-range wine fridge, something that is more than entry level
Okay, so this might not fit into the definition of “small” wine coolers under 36 bottles, but Danby offers some top quality wine refrigerators. This one must squeeze into the list, it offers a great bang for the buck, and it not a large wine fridge. Danby has been making refrigerators and appliances for over 65 years, and have a speciality in offering some of the best wine coolers for sale on the market.
This 38 bottle Danby wine cooler is dual zone, with wine cooler temperature ranges from 39-64 degrees. The white interior light showcases the wine without the heat of an incandescent light bulb. And, the doors are not only reversible, but the tempered glass helps to protect the wine from sun light. Finally, it looks pretty slick, with stainless stell trimmed shelves to match the stainless steel exterior. This Danby wine fridge is the perfect entry level wine refrigerator for people who take their wine serious. It’s like having a small wine cellar in your living room!
Our Pick For: A top wine fridge from one of the first, and most reputable, wine refrigerator companies, Danby
Vinotemp 6-Bottle Open Wine Cooler – Review
Vinotemp is another brand that specializes in wine coolers and wine fridges. This Vinotemp 6-Bottle Open Wine Cooler is a great alternative to a basic 6 bottle wine cooler, with an added twist. This Vinotemp is an open wine cooler, which means you can store open bottles while keeping them cold. This was once only an option for bars, hotels, and restaurants. But, now you can store your open bottles at home the same way!
Our Pick For: One of the coolest wine storage options for the home!
The Most Frequently Purchased Wine Fridge By Our Readers
I felt as though I was “squeezing” in the Danby 38 bottle wine fridge under our “small wine cooler review.” But it seems our readers love wine as much as we do! So far, the most frequently purchased wine cooler has been a 46 bottle wine fridge! So, if our readers like it, I figured I had to include it.
The Kalamera wine cooler is dual zone, and is quiet with reduced vibration. The reduced vibration is important because it doesn’t disturb the sediment as the bottle ages. Because it’s dual zone, it holds both red and white wine bottles, and has space for larger champagne bottles too. And, it cane be used as a free standing wine fridge, or be installed as a built-in wine fridge, so this Kalamera kind of does it all! Thanks to our readers for pointing this one out!
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.