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Before you buy a wine cooler, there are a few things that you’re going to need to think about. Most importantly you need to buy a wine cooler refrigerator that will best suits your needs and budget as and because there are so many different models on the market you’re going to need to do some research.
Price is a very important factor and one that you need to consider when buying any wine cooler or even the wine that goes inside your wine cooler. Its often a better investment to buy a high quality, well-built wine refrigerator that will last for the long term even though this will come with a larger price tag in the first place. Its also important to remember the old phrase, buy cheap and you often find yourself buying twice. In our case, we first bought a massive 166 Bottle wine cooler for the restaurant, however in never held the correct temperature for longer than a few hours and dam it was noisy. Honestly, you could not hear yourself think when you stood next to it, however that what’s we got for a cheap chineze important. In the end we opted for a top of the range brand name which has looked after us for the last 10 years.
Why Should you Buy and Wine Cooler?
Wine coolers or refrigerators have the simple advantage of being able to maintain a constant temperature for your wines to ensure that when its ready to serve, the temperature is perfect. Wine refrigerators/coolers have been designed to store wines for a maximum 1 year, however the reality is that they can store wines for much longer, however after you started to factor in the price of running a wine refrigerator, if you want to start keeping wine for the longer term, then you should really invest in a more sophisticated wine cellar
What’s the Capacity of a Wine Cooler Refrigerator
Wine coolers come in all shapes and sizes from those that store bottle vertically to those that store bottles horizontally, however typically, wine refrigerators come in three main sizes as shown below. Which one is best for you it really up to your personal choice, however we would recommend that you buy a wine cooler that can hold at least twice as many bottles as you currently have. Storage gets filled up quickly, especially when you pop into your local wine store and few a couple of the special offers that are on. Do note that when we talk about bottle count, its calculated for storing standard sized wine bottles (750 ml, Bordeaux-style). Long or wide bottles aren’t likely to fit in a moderately priced wine storage unit.
- Small Wine Coolers – 6-to-20 Wine Bottle Capacity
- Medium Wine Coolers 20-to-80 Wine Bottle Capacity
- Large Wine Coolers – 100+ Wine Bottle Capacity
How Do you Want To Cool Your Wine Cooler
Generally speaking with all these wine refrigerators you have four main cooling types to go with your Wine cooler.
- Compressor – very similar to that that is used in kitchen fridges, its an effective way to cool your wine cooler, however its quite nosey, but most importantly it cheap to produce.
- Thermoelectric Cooling – this does not use a compressor and is therefore much quieter and comes with much less vibration, however its much more expensive as the cooler uses a fan that drives the hot air out of the cabinet. This cooler is also much safer and there is much less of a chance for it to break down as there are very few moving parts.
- Hybrid Cooling – this combines a compressor and thermolectric fan for very quiet effective cooling.
- Absorption Cooling – This is a new type of cooling that some electroluz wine cellars use. This works in a very similar way to thermoelectric cooling, however because its quite a new technology, its very expensive.
Wine Cooler Types
After you have decided on the size of the wine cooler that you intend to buy, your next decision is the type of wine refrigerator that you’re looking for as they come in a range of designs. Do you want a countertop wine cooler which is a great way to keep wine and means that you don’t have to bend down to pick up your wine, but unless you have a really large kitchen, it does limit the size of the wine chiller that you’re going to buy to at best the lower end of the Medium wine coolers. Obviously, if you want a larger wine storage facility, you’re going to need to get yourself either an under counter unit that you can build-in the existing kitchen cabinetry, or you can buy a freestanding wine cooler model.
What Features Do You Want?
After you have decided on the size of the wine chiller that you plan to buy, i would then recommend that you compare wine coolers for their key features or benefits.
Single Zone OR Dual Zone – The other key feature that we would recommend that you look at especially on larger models, is a dual-zone wine cooler refrigerator that comes with two separate compartments with independent temperature controls. This now means that you can store both red and white wine at different temperatures which is great especially during those extremely hot summers.
Mechanical or Digital Temperature Control – Digital control is much easier to use and is considered to be more precise, however in our experience, its often the digital LED screen that is the first thing to go wrong either because it cannot handle the temperature or because the cold temperature has created condensation which has leaked into the LED and cause it to shortcut.
Glass Door or Plain Door – Yes those insulated glass doors look fantastic and allow you see your wine whilst it’s sat in your chiller, but they door also let in a lot of heat especially if you chiller is in direct sunlight. Its much more efficient to have a plain door which will help with energy efficiency.
Humidity Control – Wine storage experts have expressed that for proper aging of wine, the area requires a 60-70% humidity level and the minute it either becomes too dry or too humid, your wine starts to feel the effects. This is particualry important if you live in either a very dry environment where you need to increase the humidity otherwise the cork will dry out and develop cracks which let in air which will destroy your wine. If its too humid, mold will develop which can also destroy your wine.
Cheaper wine refrigerators are unlikely to have a humidity control functions meaning that if you want to keep you wine in a safe environment then its a great idea to leave a wet sponge inside the cabinet. More expensive models should come with evaporators that help to maintain a constant state of (60-70%) humidity.
Wine Racks – People often forget to even consider wine racks when considering which the best for them, however it’s something that can be the difference between a great cooler and an average cooler. Wire racks are great, however they have the disadvantage of bending under the weight of bottles after some time, whilst wooden shelves take up more space which means that there is less room for wine bottles. Probably the best type of wine racks are metal wine racks that come with automatic defrost enabled. This helps to stop built-up frost from accumulating around the racks or unit.
Warranty Period – The last point you need to consider when buying a wine cooler is to look at the length of warranty offered by the manufacturer. A 5-year warranty is pretty standard across the industry, however if you’re planning to buy a larger wine refrigerator then you should really try to find a cooler with an 8-10 year warranty.