Wine coolers have been a staple in bars and restaurants for years, allowing sommeliers and bar staff to elegantly display and easily maintain the temperatures of their red and white wines. Until quite recently, wine coolers remained the preserve of professionals: anything grander than a regular refrigerator was simply out of the price range of most people.
Nowadays, things are different: the market is full of a wide variety of wine coolers, from simple single-bottle coolers to hulking freestanding units capable of storing tens if not hundreds of bottles – and a lot of them are surprisingly affordable. If you’re a wine enthusiast, you’ll want something more than your basic wine refrigerator.
Even dual zone wine coolers, which let you store two types of wine at different temperatures in the same fridge, are within the budget of many home wine enthusiasts. Below you’ll find wine cooler reviews on the top dual zone options.
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|Name||Bottle Capacity||Cooling System||Our Rating|
|Koolatron WC45||45||Compressor||9 / 10|
|Haier HVTEC16DABS||16||Thermoelectric||8.8 / 10|
|Wine Enthusiast Silent 18||18||Thermoelectric||8.8 / 10|
|Allavino VSWR56-2SSRN||56||Compressor||8.8 / 10|
|Koldfront TWR187ESS||18||Thermoelectric||8.4 / 10|
|AKDY WC0021||21||Thermoelectric||8.2 / 10|
1. Koolatron WC45
Koolatron are a brand who made their name with refrigerators but have since branched out into home and garden appliances more broadly. The WC45 certainly isn’t inexpensive, but it is a large cooler; compared to similarly-sized models, this is a relatively affordable option for a bar or a home wine enthusiast building a serious collection.
Like any wine cooler this size, it is a freestanding unit, and it’ll look sharp wherever you put it. A black and stainless steel body gives it a clean yet stylish appearance, and the simple wire rack shelving inside complements the overall layout nicely.
Unlike many dual zone wine coolers, this offering from Koolatron really lives up to the potential of the design: both zones have a temperature range of 41-64 Fahrenheit, allowing you to set the cooler up for any dual arrangement you care to think of.
If you’ve got a big enough collection, this Koolatron wine cooler might be what you’ve been looking for.
- The WC45 looks clean and professional, with a black and stainless steel design and interior LED lighting which softens and illuminates the cooler nicely.
- The temperature controls on this dual zone wine cooler are fully digital, giving you precision control over the temperature in either or both of the dual zones.
- Koolatron have used a compressor cooling system in the WC45, ensuring powerful and consistent cooling of the interior. For such a large wine cooler, this is even more important than it would be otherwise.
- The wire rack shelving works with the overall look of the cooler, takes up very little space on the inside (which means more room for wine), and can even be rearranged to make room for magnums of champagne or unwieldy port bottles.
- The door of the WC45 is made using dual glass. This provides added insulation, helping the cooler to keep your wines at the temperatures you want them.
- For such a large and well-made product, the WC45 is relatively inexpensive. It’s still going to cost you more than any small wine cooler would, but if you want something bigger, this will be one of the more affordable options available.
- Completely separated interior chambers mean that the dual zones in this Koolatron cooler are genuinely dual. Either zone can be set to a temperature between 41-64 degrees Fahrenheit, and there’s little to no temperature bleed from one zone to another.
2. Haier HVTEC16DABS
Haier manufacture a wide range of kitchen appliances, and their 16 bottle dual zone wine cooler is built to fit seamlessly into the modern kitchen.
This is a freestanding wine cooler with a thermoelectric cooling system, the aim being to cut down on noise while still providing the precision cooling people expect from a quality wine cooler.
On that count, the HVTEC16DABS doesn’t disappoint: with digital temperature display and controls, you can effectively manipulate the temperature across the upper and lower zones of the cooler.
With a temperature range of 46-66 Fahrenheit for the upper zone and 54-66 for the lower, this wine cooler gives you the flexibility you need to cool reds and whites simultaneously. It’s a good looking piece, too, with a sharp black exterior augmented by blue interior lighting and the 8 chrome storage racks inside.
- This is a smart-looking dual zone wine cooler. It’s got a black exterior and interior, with soft blue LED lighting giving the cooler a stylish overall appearance. The digital temperature display also uses blue light for a consistent look.
- The temperature controls are digital, allowing precise tuning of the temperature in each of the two zones.
- The thermoelectric cooling system used by Haier in this cooler provides much of the cooling capability of a compressor, while reducing the overall noise level.
- The glass door of the cooler is made from dual panes, providing an additional layer of insulation to help ensure the temperature in it stays exactly as you want it.
- The upper zone’s temperature range of 46-66 Fahrenheit is enough to cool almost any wine to its appropriate temperature. It should probably be used for whites, as the lower zone’s 54-66 Fahrenheit range is more suited for reds.
- For a 16-bottle cooler, the price Haier have placed is more than competitive. If you want a medium-sized cooler and are on a tight budget, this might be the place you want to start looking.
3. Wine Enthusiast Silent 18
Wine Enthusiast, as their name might suggest, are experts when it comes to wine and wine-related products. Their 18 bottle dual zone wine refrigerator is a freestanding wine cooler that’s almost half the width of comparable models, making it an easy fit even into relatively snug spaces.
Wine Enthusiast have designed the cooler to be especially quiet, making the most of the thermoelectric cooling system built into it.
This is not a cheap dual zone wine cooler, especially given its relatively small size compared to the more expensive models, but it’s a quality item built to high and discerning standards.
Just looking at this wine cooler gives an impression of Wine Enthusiast’s commitment to quality and attention to detail: its all-black design is eye-catching and cool, something only enhanced by the interior LED lighting you can use to show off your wine collection.
- This is a seriously high-quality product, and it looks and feels like it. The stylish all-black design draws the eye to strategically-placed LEDs, which softly light the interior to best display your wines.
- The slimline design of the cooler means it has got a much lower footprint than most comparable models, helping you position it in small nooks and crannies to make the most of your living space.
- The thermoelectric cooling system used by Wine Enthusiast in this cooler cuts down on noise generated while the cooler’s in use, minimizing background disruption and annoyance.
- Exterior digital touchscreen temperature controls give you the ability to simply manipulate the internal temperature across two separate zones; one with a temperature range of 46-66 Fahrenheit, and the other (more suitable for reds) ranging from 54-66 Fahrenheit.
- The glass used in this dual zone wine cooler’s door is made from smoked Thermoplane, providing additional insulation and protection from ultraviolet light.
4. Allavino VSWR56-2SSRN
This entry into Allavino’s FlexCount Series looks like it belongs in a bar or restaurant. Not just any bar or restaurant, either: the 56 cooler looks like it belongs somewhere classy – and expensive. It’s got a price tag to match, but is still more affordable than some similarly-sized wine coolers, and what you get for your money is seriously impressive.
The VSWR56-2SSRN is a gorgeous piece, all black metal and glass on the outside, and it’s been made with attention to detail that’s evident in every aspect of its design. The digital display and controls are more detailed than those on most coolers, including indicators to show whether the current temperature in a zone is suitable for red, white or sparkling wine.
Even the shelving has been designed with efficiency in mind, in order to minimize vibrations. The placement of the ventilation system, all at the front of the cooler, is another neat design touch that allows it to be built into a counter without having to worry about blocking the vents.
Whether you’re a restaurateur or an amateur enthusiast, this Allavino product has more than enough to meet your needs.
- This is a beautiful appliance, which will add style and grace to homes, restaurants and bars alike. Black metal and glass is a modern and attractive look, and the blue LED interior lighting and stainless steel shelf fronts only serve to further enhance it.
- Both the display and controls in this dual zone wine cooler are digital, allowing you to minutely control the temperature to get your wines just as you like them. Allavino have even included indicators on the display to let you know which wine each zone is most suited for.
- The metal shelving in the cooler’s interior has been designed with style and function in mind. The wooden strats help to minimize vibrations, which can affect a wine’s aging, and have a built-in roller-glide system to make using them a breeze. The stainless steel fronts, meanwhile, serve to match the shelves aesthetically with the refrigerator’s exterior.
- The front ventilation system built in near the base of the Dual-Zone Wine Refrigerator is another impressive marriage of looks and functionality. Well-designed, the vents complement the overall look of the product, while the fact that the ventilation is entirely front-facing makes this Allavino cooler simple to build into a counter setup. If you don’t want to build it in anywhere, it works just as well in a freestanding capacity.
- A 56-bottle capacity is sufficient to serve plenty of people, and the overall quality of this dual zone wine cooler is certainly up to that task. For any enthusiasts with big collections, this cooler is a sleek, high-end bit of kit which is well worth considering.
- The two independent temperature zones have separate temperature ranges. The first, better suited for whites and sparkling wines, has a range of 41-64 Fahrenheit, while the second (for reds) ranges from 54-64 Fahrenheit.
5. Koldfront TWR187ESS
Koldfront’s TWR187ESS is an inexpensive dual zone cooler – one of the most affordable available with an 18-bottle capacity – that doesn’t skimp on features.
It’s a freestanding dual zone wine cooler, with a black cabinet and a stainless steel fronting which creates a relatively novel take on the black-and-steel design seen on many wine coolers.
The wooden slatted shelves on the interior minimize vibrations while offsetting the black exterior, resulting in an appliance which will complement and add a touch of glamor to most rooms. They’re fully detachable and removable, too, so you won’t have to store your bigger bottles elsewhere.
With interior LED lighting and an exterior touchpad to control the internal temperature, this is a budget medium-capacity dual zone wine cooler that certainly isn’t basic.
- The thermoelectric cooler in the TWR187ESS minimizes noise and vibrations, while still working to keep your wines at the right temperatures until it’s time to drink them.
- The stainless steel fronting on a black cabinet is a surprisingly effective look, managing to appear smart and stylish without dominating a room. With the wooden shelves inside, the wine cooler should complement most kitchen setups and furniture arrangements.
- The interior LED lighting works to soften the overall look of this steel-fronted wine cooler, while nicely illuminating the internal wooden shelves and showing off your collection.
- The wooden slat shelves don’t only look good, they serve to minimize vibrations which could have a negative effect on the wine inside. They can also be removed, either temporarily or permanently, if you need to store nonstandard bottles.
- Exterior touchpad controls allow you to easily manipulate the temperature in either or both of the dual zones. The top zone has a range of 54-66 Fahrenheit, making it a good choice for reds, while the bottom zone – with its range of 46-66 Fahrenheit – is suitable for chilling almost any type of wine.
6. AKDY WC0021
AKDY are a manufacturer of high-end home appliances, noted for the sleek and modern stylings of their products. Their WC0021 sticks with the program, with an impressive black and stainless steel body and elegant beech wood shelves adding class to the overall look. The shelves can be removed, making this dual zone wine cooler a great choice if you know you’ll be using it to store large or unusual bottles.
With dual zones governed independently by a digital touchpad control, you can simply set up AKDY’s WC0021 to chill reds and whites independently.
The UV-resistant glass used in the cooler’s door helps to protect your collection against the sun’s rays, making it a great choice for anyone looking to get serious about storing a collection.
This isn’t the cheapest dual zone wine cooler on the market, but neither is it the most expensive, and like many AKDY products, this is a stylish and effective home appliance
- The dual temperature zones in this AKDY wine cooler can be controlled independently, using a digital touchpad control. One zone is best suited for whites and sparkling wines, with a temperature range of 44-66 Fahrenheit, while the other zone has a restricted range of 50-66 Fahrenheit which makes it perfect for storing reds.
- The glass used in the door of the WC0021 is UV-resistant, protecting your wines from the damaging effects of sunlight and ensuring they continue to age well long into the future.
- This is a very attractive piece which will smarten up whatever location it’s placed in. The black and stainless steel exterior looks sharp and professional, while the interior beech wood shelves soften the overall look. The shelves themselves can be removed if you need to fit larger bottles; and the fact that they’re wooden means they also work to minimize vibrations inside the cooler.
- The thermoelectric cooling system makes this a surprisingly quiet electrical appliance, without sacrificing the ability to control internal temperature across two separate zones.
A brief guide to buying wine coolers
Wine cooler is a term which refers to any type of equipment used to chill and cool bottles of wine. While the earliest examples of wine coolers are distinctly low-tech – like the bucket of ice some bars and restaurants use to chill wine at the table – the options available on the home market today are high-powered digital devices which offer precision temperature control and a range of other attractive features. They look good, too, imparting a sense of style to whichever room they’re kept in.
Being electrical appliances, wine coolers are often sorted according to their cooling systems. In this case, there are two main systems used in wine coolers: compressor models, which work the same as a typical refrigerator, and the more modern thermoelectric design.
Thermoelectric coolers are much quieter than compressor coolers, which emit the same hum as other compressor-powered fridges, but they don’t do as well at temperature control (especially important if you’re interested in chilling white wines, which need to be kept at lower temperatures than red wines). This is because thermoelectric coolers work by removing hot air, as opposed to compressor coolers which actively cool the air inside the wine refrigerator.
If you know the noise will bother you, a thermoelectric wine cooler would be the way to go. But if you’re going to be storing your wine chiller in the same room as your fridge, you probably won’t notice another compressor in the room.
Besides this, there’s one big question any wine enthusiast shopping for a wine cooler needs to ask themselves before looking at individual models: the distinction between single zone and dual zone wine coolers.
The difference is a simple one: dual zone wine coolers can maintain two distinct temperature zones, enabling you to chill red and white wines in the same fridge.
For reference, white wines are typically served between 45 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit, while reds are best at higher temperatures of around 50 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the wine. You should also be aware that for lengthier storage, the difference between whites and reds is not so pronounced: for the truly long term, any bottle of wine should be stored at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are other decisions to be made when considering which wine cooler refrigerator to purchase, but by starting with the cooling system and the number of zones, you’ll be able to narrow down your search and focus on other features, such as LED lighting and storage.
If aesthetics are important to you, there’s certainly a wide enough range of stylistic options available: whether you want slide-out shelves inside the cooler, or a stainless steel or chic black exterior, there are companies and products out there looking to meet your needs.
Why buy a dual zone wine cooler?
A dual zone wine cooler has all the benefits of a single zone wine cooler, with the added benefit of cooling two different wines simultaneously. Here are the best reasons to take the next step with your wine collection and invest in a dual zone wine chiller:
- Take care of your wine bottles. A good quality wine cooler will protect your wines from the effects of heat and humidity, whether you’re chilling bottles for after dinner or long term storage. If wine gets too cold, deposits form. On the other hand, it it gets too warm, it ages too quickly. Similarly, an excessively dry environment will cause corks to wither and crack, while damp or moist surroundings will cause mould to grow on the cork and label of the bottle. A good dual zone wine cooler can control both temperature and humidity, keeping your wines in the best possible condition.
- Look to the long term. For storing wines over a number of years, a decent wine chiller is essential. Wines are sensitive, and if they are stored long-term in wine cabinets or a room temperature cupboards, they will be badly aged and degraded by the time you get around to drinking them. 55 degrees Fahrenheit is the perfect temperature for long-term wine storage, and a dual zone wine cooler can maintain that in one zone while reserving another for chilling other bottles. If you have a cellar, be sure the temperature is ideal, otherwise you’ll have to invest in a beverage fridge specifically for your wine.
- Appear sophisticated. Some people may be more impressed by a wine cooler than others, but there’s no denying the style and charm they bring to a room when on display. The associations of restaurant dining and fine living are uplifting in themselves, and a well-stocked wine cooler is both a status symbol and a great conversation piece.
- Organize your collection. If you’re considering a wine cooler, chances are good that you’ve already got something of a wine collection underway, but no cellar to store it in. If you’re starting to get serious about your wine, a wine cooler is an ideal way to organize and keep track of all those bottles you’ve picked up over the years.
- Free up fridge space. If you’ve got a lot of whites in the house, you might be getting close to the point where your home refrigerator has become storage for your wine and beverage collection rather than for food . Purchasing a decent wine cooler will allow you to free up a chunk of fridge space for general use. If you were considering buying a second fridge, the wine cooler will be the cheaper (and cooler) option.
- Get in the zone. Dual zone wine coolers have a significant advantage over their single zone cousins in that they can store wine at two different temperatures. This can used in a number of ways: one zone can be used for storage while the other is used for chilling, or one can be the red zone while the other holds the whites. The flexibility offered by a high-quality dual zone wine cooler is almost as valuable as its chilling power.
Things to consider
If you’re interested in buying a dual zone wine cooler, there are a number of things to consider when comparing the different models on the market.
- Temperature range. Different wines need to be stored at different temperatures, and all wines will accumulate deposits or age quickly if kept too warm. A range of 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit will allow you to store most reds and whites at their optimal temperatures, while a wider range will offer greater versatility. Even if you have a wine cellar, a cooler might be something to consider if you are storing multiple varieties of red and white wines.
- Temperature control. Is the temperature control on the cooler digital or mechanical? Does it offer thermoelectric cooling? Digital controls are clearer to read and more precise to use, and so they win out over the mechanical alternative in this case.
- Capacity. Most simply measured by the number of standard 750 ml bottles the wine cooler can hold. But judging how much capacity you need will depend on how much wine you have and their bottle sizes. If you’re getting serious about wine, try to plan ahead when it comes to capacity: don’t buy something big enough for what you’ve got now, but instead plan for what you’ll have in a few years’ time. On the lowest end of capacity, single and double-bottler coolers are available, with small coolers typically holding 6 or more bottles. The largest wine coolers can hold more than 100 bottles, so a wine enthusiast should be able to find something suitable for their needs.
- Size. Directly linked to capacity, the size of your dual zone wine cooler will affect where and how it is stored. Small-capacity coolers are typically placed on a counter or tabletop, whereas larger coolers tend to be freestanding – like a standard refrigerator – or even built-in.
- Shelf configuration. How the shelves are laid out inside the cooler can make a difference to how you use the dual zones and how many bottles you can store. If you don’t like the shelf array as it’s presented, find out whether the shelves can be easily removed or adjusted.
- Materials. This is particularly important with regard to the material used in the wine cooler’s door. As this will usually be glass and stainless steel, to better display the wine and distinguish a cooler from a standard fridge, the use of tinted or UV-resistant glass in the door will make a big difference. Wines react to sunlight, and a clear glass door will provide no protection. The materials used on the cooler’s exterior will have a cosmetic effect, while those used on the interior can make a difference when it comes to temperature control.
- Humidity reduction. Inadequate humidity will cause corks to dry out and crack. Conversely, an excess of humidity creates moisture, which will enable mould to grow on the corks and labels of bottles. Any features or mechanisms to reduce or control humidity – such as humidity adjustment controls, or ventilation systems – will have a real impact on your wine cooler’s efficiency.
- Special features. Does the dual zone wine cooler have any special extras or features which improve its effectiveness? Anti-vibration systems are one example which may be found in more expensive models, preventing damage to the wine caused by usual and unusual vibrations. If you keep your wine at a low temperature, an automatic defroster will help prevent the build-up of frost and allow you to avoid the onerous chore of defrosting by hand.
- Appearance. Will the wine cooler look good where you plan on putting it? Does it look smart? Would you prefer a metallic exterior, or one in color? Does it offer any interior lighting? Aesthetics are the most subjective part of most consumer purchases, but with the range of choice on offer in the dual zone wine cooler market, you’re likely to find something that fits your style.
- Door lock. This will likely only be important if you’re buying the cooler for commercial premises, but added security is never a bad thing. If your dual zone wine cooler comes complete with a lock, you can rest safe knowing that your wine is protected.
- Price. Although a dual zone wine refrigerator is more affordable than they’ve ever been, there are certainly still luxury models available for those with the funds to spare. As always, your price range will depend on your circumstances and budget, so plan accordingly and have an idea of how much you’d like to spend before you start shopping in earnest. Expect to pay at least $100 for a small dual zone wine cooler (less for the single and double-bottle models) and upwards of $200 for a good-quality medium-capacity model. The largest coolers can cost as much as $1000 or more, with the luxury brands sending the price shooting up from there. While you should spend within your means, remember that a high-quality cooler will most likely last a lot longer than the cheapest option, meaning it might offer better value-for-money in the long run.
Risks and warnings
Dual zone wine coolers are relatively safe home appliances. There are, however, some points to be noted for safe and efficient use, and to make sure you get the most out of your cooler.
- The temperature you keep your wine at will affect it. Although the function of a dual zone wine cooler is to keep your wine cool, it can’t choose the temperature for you, so do your research and make sure you store wines at their appropriate temperatures. If you don’t do this, you’re missing out on the unique benefit of wine coolers, and will get similar results compared to storing your wine in a cupboard or a fridge.
- Unavoidably, your wine cooler will be affected by the room temperature around it. Try to place yours in one of the cooler rooms of the house, but avoid anywhere the temperature will change during the day. Garages and conservatories are particularly infamous for this, so be sure to place your dual zone wine cooler in more stable conditions.
- As with any beverage refrigerator, large wine coolers are electrical appliances with a shutting door, making them potentially dangerous to children and animals. Take care to locate your wine cooler so that any wires and electrical components are neither on display nor easy to access, and be sure to educate any children about the dangers of messing around with a fridge or cooler. You should also take care when cleaning your dual zone wine cooler, to avoid exposing any electrical parts to water.