Wine chillers that protect your investment

The best keep temperatures even and are energy efficient

Published: January 13, 2015 12:00 PM

Sales of wine chillers, also known as wine refrigerators, wine coolers, and wine cellars, have been growing as Americans drink more vino. To find the best for your bottles, Consumer Reports tested 10 undercounter and four freestanding models with capacities of 28 to 60 standard bottles. Despite their small size—undercounter wine chillers are generally 34 inches high by 24 inches wide; freestanding models are narrower—some cost about as much as a full-sized refrigerator. And some of them consume a lot of power. But most excelled at maintaining uniform temperatures, which is essential for keeping your favorite wine in tip-top condition. Here’s how to choose.

Pay attention to uniformity
Uniform temperatures are essential for wine storage because wine can degrade if it’s stored in a place with wide temperature swings.

Take a close look at shelving
The most convenient models have wire-coated racks and fully extendable shelves. Some also have removable shelves that allow you to create storage compartments for larger bottles.

Weigh noise and energy use
A noisy wine chiller can be a concern if it’s placed near living areas. And wine chillers aren’t particularly efficient; they’re not in the federal government’s Energy Star program. The most efficient model we tested cost about $9.61 to run a year based on an average cost of 11.84 cents per kilowatt-hour in the U.S. The least efficient model used more energy than twice as much as some other models—almost as much as an 18-cu.-ft. refrigerator.

Consider conveniences
Many models offer digital temperature controls that you can access without opening the door, which helps keep temperatures consistent. And look for integrated locks to prevent theft, tinted glass doors that filter UV light, and interior lighting. Some models have wooden shelf edges you can stain to match your cabinets; others accept a custom frame.

Top wine chillers from Consumer Reports’ tests

Frigidaire FFWC42F5LS, $400, sold at Lowe’s
Type: Freestanding
Capacity: 45 750-ml wine bottles
A one-zone model, this very quiet unit provides good temperature performance and energy efficiency, and cost $17 a year to run. It has tinted glass and a door lock.
But: It lacks pullout shelves.

Electrolux IQ-Touch EI24WC65GS, $1,530
Type: Undercounter
Capacity: 46 750-ml bottles
This one-zone model provides very good temperature performance and energy efficiency; noise was rated good. It cost about $7 a year in energy. Temperature controls are on the front of the unit, and it features tinted glass, full-extension ball-bearing glides, and shelf stops.
But: It lacks a door lock.

Haier WC200GS
, $980, a CR Best Buy
Type: Undercounter
Capacity: 42 750-ml bottles
A two-zone model with tinted glass, it provides very good temperature performance but only fair energy efficiency. Noise was rated good. It cost about $14 a year in energy. It has shelf stops and partial-extension ball-bearing guides.
But: It lacks a door lock.

Vinotemp VT-46TS-2Z, $1,000
Type: Undercounter
Capacity: 46 750-ml bottles
This two-zone model provides very good temperature performance. Noise was rated good but energy efficiency was only fair. It cost $27 a year to run. It has tinted glass, shelf stops, a door lock, and a child lock for the controls, which are on the front of the unit.

For more choices see our full wine chiller Ratings and recommendations.

—Adapted from The Best for Your Kitchen + Home

Find Ratings

Wine Chillers Ratings

View and compare all Wine Chillers ratings.

Refrigerators Ratings

View and compare all Refrigerators ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Appliances News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more