We are huge fans of having a wine fridge in your home. But, we understand that not everyone drinks as much wine as we do. The other option to keep beverages cold is to purchase a beverage cooler, which is normally meant to keep cans rather than wine bottles. In this post, we share our tips on how to choose the best beverage cooler for your home.
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What Is A Beverage Cooler
A beverage cooler or beverage refrigerator is a household appliance exclusively designed to provide temperature-controlled beverage storage. This storage includes both alcoholic (beer and wine) and non-alcoholic beverages.
Unlike typical kitchen refrigerators, beverage coolers do not include a freezer function. Beverage coolers come in three styles, built-in, freestanding, and outdoors. The versatility of beverage coolers allows them to be used in the kitchen as well as in basements, wet bars, and other areas of the home used for entertaining.
The Best Beverage Cooler For 2020
All of our recommendations for the best beverage refrigerator can be purchased on Amazon. We like Amazon for home appliance purchases for a few reasons.
First, they have one of the largest selections of quality home appliances, including beverage refrigerators. Second, we try to recommend products that are part of Amazon Prime, which provides purchasers with free and often super-fast delivery. (Get 30 days of Prime free here.)
For larger home appliances, including beverage coolers, it is possible that Prime members might still be charged shipping. In some cases, there is often free shipping but it might take a little longer than what many Amazon Prime members are used to. This just happens with larger appliance purchases.
If you are short on time, feel free to use the handy chart below to find our top recommendations and where to purchase them. Included below in this buying guide are full reviews for each of these listed beverage coolers.
Why Purchase A Beverage Cooler For The Home
From those who love to entertain to those with large families, there are several reasons to purchase a beverage cooler for the home. With built-in precise temperature controls, beverage fridges allow for beer, wine, and soft drinks to be stored at their ideal temperature.
Beverage refrigerators help free up vital space in kitchen refrigerators, especially for big families who tend to purchase in bulk. Beverage refrigerators keep beverages like sports drinks, water, and juices on hand for children. When entertaining, beverage coolers allow guests easy access to drinks.
What Types Of Beverage Coolers Are There
There are three types of beverage refrigerators; freestanding, built-in, and outdoor.
Free-Standing Beverage Refrigerators
Of the three types, freestanding beverage coolers are the most versatile. They range in capacity from fifty to more than one hundred cans.
As the name suggests, these beverage coolers can be placed anywhere in the home. Their self-supporting design allows them to be used in kitchens, basements, and wet bars. These beverage fridges tend to be less expensive than built-in beverage fridges.
Built-In Beverage Refrigerators
Built-in beverage refrigerators are designed to be installed under a kitchen countertop or wall. They are engineered with front-facing ventilation to prevent the compressor from overheating.
Ranging in size and bottle capacity, some built-in beverage coolers are the size of a typical kitchen refrigerator. More expensive than freestanding units, built-in beverage refrigerators can require professional installation.
Outdoor Beverage Refrigerators
Outdoor beverage coolers are the perfect additional for patios, decks, and other entertaining areas. These units eliminate the need to enter the house to retrieve drinks.
The outdoor coolers are designed to withstand the elements. Features like triple-paned glass doors protect the contents from harmful UV rays and heat. These coolers can also be used to briefly store non-beverage items like condiments.
How Do Under Counter Beverage Coolers Work
Built-in beverage coolers are also called under counter refrigerators.
There are a handful of important features to understand when using any built-in beverage fridge. Ensuring proper ventilation to prevent overheating is one. Cooling zone and cooling systems is another.
Beverage coolers are available with single and dual-zone cooling. Different beverages require different temperatures to achieve the right taste and consistency. In a single zone beverage fridge, all beverages are stored at the same temperature. This is the ideal set-up for storing a single common beverage such as beer or soft drinks.
With a dual-zone beverage cooler, it’s possible to store a variety of beverages each at their optimum temperatures. Under counter beverage coolers are available in both single and dual-zone versions.
This type of cooling is more common in dual zone wine fridges than beverage coolers.
For kitchen refrigerators, wine refrigerators, and beverage refrigerators, there are two main types of cooling systems used. A traditional compressor system or a thermoelectric cooling system.
The traditional compressor system is most common with kitchen and beverage refrigerators. Heat is removed from the inside of the refrigerator via condensing coils, pushing hot air out the back or front of the unit.
This system is capable of producing lower internal temperatures compared to the thermoelectric cooling system. The thermoelectric cooling system passes an electric current through two metal plates. The resulting charge creates a transference of heat and lowering internal temperatures.
Because wine does not need to be chilled as low as beer or other beverages, this system is commonly found in wine coolers. The thermoelectric cooling system is quieter and less agitating to the beverages compared to compressor systems.
What To Consider When Choosing A Beverage Cooler
There are several key factors to take into consideration when choosing a beverage cooler. Here are the most important.
In real estate they say, “location, location, location” is the key. When it comes to things to consider when storing beverages at home, bottle capacity is paramount. Beverage coolers range in bottle capacity from 24 to over 100 can capacity.
Beverage coolers with lower can capacity tend to be more compact and suitable for countertop use. Larger capacity beverage fridges require more available space for both the unit and for opening the door.
Measurements And Size
For built-in beverage coolers, measurements and size are the most important part of the purchasing process. With different installation requirements than freestanding models, a built-in beverage fridge needs to fit properly into an existing or designed space.
Most built-in beverage coolers are installed in spaces previously occupied by another kitchen appliance such as a dishwasher. If self-installing, accurate width, height, and depth measurements are important.
Mainly for built-in beverage refrigerators, but also important for freestanding models is the door hinge. Some beverage coolers have doors that open to the left, some to the right. Depending on the model, the direction of the opening may be reversible. It is important to ensure the beverage cooler is free of obstructions and not blocked by a wall or corner space.
Quietness And Vibration
If you are using a beverage cooler for entertaining, look for units that are on the quiet side. Thankfully, most beverage coolers today are designed to be quieter. That said, there’s no need to purchase a beverage cooler that will add to the background noise.
Compressor Versus Thermoelectric Cooling
These two systems are very different. How the beverage cooler will be used can help determine which type of cooling system to consider. A traditional compressor set-up will more quickly cool beverages. This system can also reach lower temperatures (30°F) compared to Thermoelectric Cooling.
Using an electrical charge and fewer moving parts, Thermoelectric Cooling is ideal for cooling wine. The system reduces the amount of vibration which can have an effect on wine.
Security And Locks
Increasingly beverage coolers are coming equipped with built-in security. The most common type of security being a lock and key. For users with underaged children who plan to keep a lot of beer in the fridge, a beverage cooler with security is worthwhile.
Style And Design
Similar to purchasing other kitchen appliances or furniture, style and design are important when considering a beverage cooler. Beverage coolers are available in a wide range of styles and designs. It’s easy to match your home or kitchen decor with a similarly styled beverage cooler.
Some other features you might see on beverage coolers include touchscreen temperature displays. This allows users to see exactly what temperature the beverage cooler is set to. Adjustable shelving allows for increasing or decreasing the storage capacity.
Best Beverage Cooler Reviews
Where Will You Place Your Beverage Cooler – Location Location Location
Where to put a beverage cooler in your home is an important factor to consider. Beverage coolers are commonly found in kitchens, dining rooms, in-home bars or wet bars, as well as basements and outdoor patios. Understanding how accessible the beverage cooler needs to be and how often the beverage cooler will be used can help determine which is the ideal location.
Beverage Cooler Temperature Guidelines
Different beverages require different temperatures. For example, wines don’t need to be as cold as beer or water. Even with wine, red wine should not be chilled as cool as white wine.
The taste and aroma of wine will be affected if it’s chilled too cold. All beverage refrigerators have built-in temperature controls that allow them to be set to the right temperature for the beverage it is storing.
What Is The ideal Iemperature For beverages?
Ideal Temperature For Beer
Beer is a durable beverage that can stand up to lower temperatures. Ideally, beers with lower alcohol content should be stored between 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Beers with higher alcohol content between 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ideal Temperature For Non-alcoholic Beverages
For non-alcoholic beverages including soda, sports drinks and juices, and water, the ideal temperature setting is between 30 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ideal Temperature For Wine
Of all the beverages, wine requires more precious temperature settings. Each of the three, sparkling, red, and white wine require different temperatures to maximize their flavors and aromas. For sparkling wines, they should be kept between 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Reds, 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit and whites, 45 – 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check out our guide to the best Single Bottle Wine Chillers.
Choosing The Best Beverage Cooler For Home – FAQs
What is the difference between a wine cooler and a beverage cooler?
The function of both a wine cooler and beverage cooler is the same; to cool or chill beverages. However, the main difference between a wine cooler and beverage cooler is that wine coolers can’t cool beverages as low as beverage coolers. The main reason for this is that wine shouldn’t be chilled as cold as other beverages such as beer or soda. Therefore, the cooling system of a wine cooler isn’t as capable as the cooling system of a beverage cooler.
Can a beverage cooler be used as a refrigerator?
Beverage refrigerators are essentially smaller versions of traditional kitchen refrigerators. They come equipped with the same cooling system as a kitchen refrigerator. Beverage coolers lack the shelving and overall storage capacity as the kitchen version. Beverage coolers can be used for the temporary storage of condiments, party snacks, and other food items. However, they are not designed to be used as a refrigerator.
Why are beverage refrigerators so expensive?
Like any kitchen appliance, beverage coolers range is price. It’s possible to purchase a small capacity kitchen top beverage cooler for between $100-200. Larger capacity models from reputable brands can be expensive. This expense comes from the design and capabilities (dual-zone, LCD display, locks) of the beverage cooler. Built-in beverage coolers that require front ventilation are generally more expensive to freestanding beverage coolers.