Buyer’s guide to wine coolers
Welcome to the Crowdstorm guide to wine coolers. While on the whole we prefer drinking wine to cooling it, we recognise the importance of keeping our favourite tipple at the right temperature.
In the comparison table above you’ll find a great range of wine refrigerators and cabinets from the leading manufacturers (Caple, Baumatic, CDA) and available from your favourite online and high street stores. But before you can make an informed choice, you’ll need to get up to speed on the basics.
Types of wine cooler
Unfortunately, when it comes to terminology, wine storage isn’t an exact science. You’ll need to decide precisely what you want your unit to do and check the specs from the manufacturer. Here are what we’d expect each to do though:
- Storage cabinet: A storage cabinet is meant for the long haul: a place where your true wine lover stores wine for maturation if they don’t have a cellar they can keep at the correct temperature.
- Wine cooler: A wine cooler is designed as a much shorter term device, usually for keeping both red (16-18c) and white (8-10c) wine at serving temperature and then keeping it chilled. Over time these temperatures will preserve, rather than mature, wine.
- Cooling and storage combo: As you’ll see below, some wine coolers have a large range of temperatures at which you can store wine in separate sections of the cabinet – meaning you can both preserve and mature wine in the same unit.
- Wine refrigerator: You’ll find some cheaper models that are simply a small refrigerator; great for keeping white wine at serving temperature, but little else (although if that’s what you need, they’re of course perfect).
How to spot a great vintage
So how do the best wine coolers stand out from the pack? Apart from the price tag, there are several important considerations to think about before you set your heart on a particular cabinet.
First, think about the number of bottles you’ll need to store at once. You can get some elegant slim coolers that hold less than 10 bottles, right up to cabinets that will dwarf your fridge-freezer and hold up to 200.
Also vital are temperature zones. Don’t think that this is guided by size, particularly: the biggest wine coolers can have just a few temperature zones, while some smaller units can have up to six. However these often aren’t adjustable and simply rely on the level at which you put the wine, so keep a close eye on temperature range and adjustability.
For the wine connoisseur, humidity is as important as temperature. Too dry and your corks will dry out – but too moist and you can expect mould. The better wine coolers will have adjustable humidity controls, while some models will also have air filtration systems.
Noise can certainly be an issue – or a non-issue, depending on where in your home you’ll be keeping it. If it’s going to be somewhere you socialise or where noise could be an issue, be sure to check the decibel levels (less than 40dB is ideal). But this isn’t an exact science, of course.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention basics such as height and width too – as well as colour and finish. It can be easy to get carried away with all those shiny cabinets, but don’t forget to be practical: there is a hole with your wine cooler’s name on it, so make sure it will fit!
Beyond this, it’s personal choice: digital displays, interior lights, adjustable shelves, warranty length, frost free, anti-vibration: remember to read the small print and don’t take anything for granted!
Wine cooler energy efficiency
As you’d expect from a refrigeration device, many wine coolers and refrigerators aren’t great for energy efficiency. You’ll find ratings as bad as G, but you can commonly find B and even A-rated devices. In fact the Energy Rating sticker on a wine cooler is a great source of information, as it should also contain the capacity (in bottles) and the noise emission level (in dBs).
You’ve found a great deal: what next?
Once you’ve found your perfect wine cooler, it’s time to seal the deal – and it really couldn’t be simpler or safer to buy online. Simply click on the cabinet you’ve chosen to be taken to the official website of the retailer of your choice and away you go.
With Crowdstorm you can look at products from all the great online retailers, from AO to Appliances direct, alongside your favourite UK high street stores such as Tesco and Currys – and you’ll be dealing directly with them. We’re just a convenient conduit where you can compare the best products and prices. You’ll be raising a perfectly chilled glass in no time!