Whether you're looking to perfectly chill your craft beer or you want a wine fridge for aging, the best beverage coolers provide the perfect climate for your collection. But, like so many appliances with higher price tags, it can be difficult to identify the ones worth the money from the ones that will ultimately leave you wanting. Let this guide help you find the perfect model for your needs.
Built-in vs. Freestanding
One of the most important things to consider is your space and how the fridge will fit into it. Like its name implies, a freestanding unit is designed to stand alone since it expels heat from the back, and requires space around the perimeter for ventilation. If you install a freestanding unit under a countertop space, the heat can't escape and you'll run into issues with overheating. Conversely, a built-in unit is designed to be an under-counter appliance, with the heat released from a front vent. With a built-in, you get the seamless look you want but you'll have to pay more for it.
Next up, determine what kind of beverage you'll be storing in your beverage cooler. For icy cold beer or sodas, you'll definitely want a compressor-based model since it can achieve significantly colder temperatures than a thermoelectric unit. However, compressor models can be a touch noisy. For wine storage, a thermoelectric model is the way to go. Not only are they quieter and more energy efficient, they'll also produce less vibrations that can disrupt the sediment in your wine.
With that in mind, it's time to shop for beverage centers. All of the options below are highly rated on Amazon and feature removable shelves for customization and LED lighting for viewing. Some even come with reversible doors and locks.
1. The Best Freestanding Beverage Fridge
The stainless steel-trimmed EdgeStar BWC120SSLT Beverage Cooler is a freestanding model that ticks a lot of boxes for its under-$300 price tag. Offering a temperature range from the low-30s to mid-50s (Fahrenheit), it's one of the coldest units out there, thanks to its powerful compressor-based cooling system. This sleek fridge hold 103 standard 12-ounce cans and five 750-milliliter bottles. It comes with six removable, slide-out chrome shelves that can be configured in several ways to store beer, white wine, and tall cans. Other nice features include the reversible tempered glass door, built-in lock, and cool blue LED interior lights to help you locate your desired drink.
However, it's worth noting that the unit has manual temperature controls, so if you're looking for a digital control panel, you might be interested in the next freestanding pick below.
Fans say: "Bought this as a beer fridge for our upper music room / bar. This thing keeps your beer ice cold! And I do mean ICE cold. Good purchase so far. Hoping it holds up well."
2. The Runner Up: A Freestanding Unit With A Digital Control Panel
The Phiestina Beverage Cooler is another solid choice if you're looking for a sleek freestanding unit. Slightly narrower than the Edgestar, it can hold a capacity of up to 106 standard-sized cans. The unit's temperature range is from 38 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so it doesn't get down quite as low as the Edgestar, but it does offer an advanced digital control panel that you can set in seconds and check with a glance of the LCD screen. There are also blue LED lights for easy viewing inside the fridge.
While this Phiestina unit uses compressor cooling, it runs quietly, with one reviewer even commenting, "My unit has been extremely quiet. Used for about a month and no noises yet." The beverage center comes with six slidable, adjustable, and removable wire shelves, so you can make room for taller cans or bottles. However, the door is right-hinged so it's not reversible like the Edgestar.
Fans say: "Has done amazing! Just realize that if you open the door for more than a couple of minutes you loose all your cool. Be prepared when you reorganize or refill. It looks great and no issues. Works well with a combo of tall and short beers to get the best visual effects."
2. The Best Built-In Beverage Cooler
If you're in the market for a built-in unit, the contemporary-looking Avallon ABR151SGRH Beverage Cooler is regularly among the top picks in the category. Not only does it offer a broad temperature range (34 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit), it uses both a compressor-based cooling system combined with powerful circulation fans to provide even cooling. The slim design can easily fit into your kitchen or living space and holds up to 86 standard sized soda or beer cans.
It comes with three glass-sanded shelves that can be adjusted to various pre-set heights, and the door features double-paned, Low-E glass, with Argon gas between the two panes in order to ensure maximum insulation. While the door is notably not reversible, it does come with a keyed lock. The touch control panel lets you monitor and adjust the internal temperature with precision. Plus, the unit's bright white or blue LED lights provide soft illumination for locating or admiring your favorite beverages.
Also worth noting: While the Avallon ABR151SGRH is designed to be a built-in unit, it also can be used a freestanding piece, according to the brand.
Fans say: "This beverage cooler works great and is attractive as well. Very easy to install, just make sure to follow the instruction to let the refrigerant settle for 24 hours before plugging in. Very quiet and accurate cooling. This unit was more expensive than the others we looked at, but the quality is worth it."
4. The Best Option For Wine
Not only was the Ivation Freestanding Refrigerator Wirecutter's pick for best wine fridge, it's also a best-seller on Amazon. The freestanding unit features six removable slide-out shelves that can hold up to 18 standard-size bottles of wine. With digital touch controls and LCD display, the unit has a temperature range from 54 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be adjusted in one degree increments to create the ideal climate for aging your wines.
The Ivation uses thermoelectric cooling system for a quiet, vibration-free environment that won't disturb sediment. Its Thermopane door is insulated with solid polyurethane foam to ensure an odor-free, moisture-controlled climate. Unlike the other models on this list, the door here is tempered smoked to protect the wine from harmful UV rays. But, there are still soft, cool interior lights that can be turned on for easy viewing.
Fans say: "I had a wine fridge for years that was just okay. It was compressor based so it tended to suck out the humidity, and it eventually started freezing the wine and malfunctioning so I got rid of it. This unit, while smaller than my old one, is far superior. The thermoelectric cooling is much quieter, and doesn't seem to affect performance. I keep a temp/humidity sensor in it [...] and I have noticed the temperature never fluctuates by more than a degree. And the temperature it maintains is in line with what I have it set to. [...]"
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