Anyone who’s ever had the misfortune of tasting a warm white wine (yuck) knows the importance of a quality chiller. Room-temp reds also aren’t great—they should be colder than you think. Chillers come in different shapes and sizes, with different features for different kinds of vino drinkers. Are you looking for something small to keep your tableside wine cool, or are you in the market for a wine fridge, to make sure all those expensive bottles you invested in don’t fluctuate in temperature? Those changes can damage your wine, and once you pop the cork, the clock is ticking on that particular bottle.
If you happen to be a brand loyalist, you’re in luck: Loads of favorites make wine chillers, so you can opt for a Frigidaire wine cooler, a Vinglacé wine chiller, a VacuVin wine saver, and more. Read on to learn the pros and cons of each wine-chiller type, and figure out which option is best to help your liquid grapes chill, baby, chill.
- Best wine bucket: Oggi Insulated Ice Bucket
- Best wine chiller sleeve: Vinglacé Original Wine Chiller
- Best thermoelectric wine cooler: TOOCA 28 Wine Mini Refrigerator
- Best dual-zone wine cooler: NewAir Compressor Wine Refrigerator
- Best wine chiller on a budget: Oggi Wine Cooler, Stainless Steel
What to consider when shopping for the best wine chiller
Every imbiber is different. Perhaps you’re an oenophile with an extensive collection but no cellar space, so you’re in the market for a dual-temp fridge for your reds and whites. Or maybe you just prefer to relax when you sit down for pizza night and want an insulated bucket to keep on the table. Whatever your wine needs, there’s a chiller option that’s right for you—and your wallet.
Do you want a wine fridge?
Thermoelectric and compressor wine coolers are fancy ways to say “refrigerator.” By drawing in and dispersing warm air, a thermoelectric style ensures your wine stays at the perfect temperature and features slates and shelves specifically made to fit bottles. Compression options are cheaper and noisier, but typically get colder than thermoelectric wine coolers. Both options include dual-zone wine coolers, meaning you can store bottles in the same fridge at two different temps (so you won’t need separate coolers for your reds and whites).
Are you looking for something small and portable?
If so, then simplicity is the name of the game. Look for classic wine buckets and wine chiller sleeves, like the kind you see in restaurants, to keep your vino close and cold. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of functionality and price points to choose from. You can get a standard stainless bucket that gets the job done for under 10 bucks, or spring for a vacuum-insulated design-forward style that doesn’t require the addition of ice for close to $100. Put it this way: If you have wine that needs chilling, there’s an option for you.
Is money no object?
So, you don’t have a wine cave or cellar—that doesn’t mean you can’t be a fancypants. If you want to spend a bundle on a wine chiller, you can! Shelling out a few grand can get you extras like a third temperature zone (hello, prosecco and champs), a display rack, drawers for non-alcoholic beverages like water and soda, and a special chip to guarantee temperature stability.
Best wine bucket: Oggi Insulated Ice Bucket
Classic & Simple
This double-insulated carrier can hold up to four quarts, making it perfect for wine, beer, and other assorted cocktails. A clear acrylic flip-top lid and scoop keep your cubes contamination-free, so you can actually use it if you want them in your drink. Oggi
A convenient, soft-grip handle makes this wine bucket easy to transport from kitchen to backyard to dining room. Polypropylene not only keeps contents chilly but also reduces condensation buildup, so you won’t have to worry about unsightly sweat.
Best wine-chiller sleeve: Vinglacé Original Wine Chiller
This vacuum-insulated, spill-proof option, which keeps your drink chilled for hours without refrigeration and staves off condensation, comes in a rainbow of colors. Vinglacé
First and foremost, this one looks super cool! More importantly, it comes with an adjustable screw top that fits most bottles, making it perfect for picnics in the park and other wine-fueled day trips. (It’s also less than three pounds empty, so it’s nice and light.)
Best thermoelectric wine cooler: TOOCA Wine Mini Refrigerator
The tempered-mirror inner door and transparent outer of this free-standing model work in tandem to preserve heat and resist UV rays, storing your bottles from 54 degrees to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. FYI: It’s best for reds. TOOCA
A semiconductor model promises low vibration and noise (just 38 dB), as well as an adjustable-light feature. Compared with compressor wine coolers, thermoelectric models are quieter and more environmentally friendly. However, they’re typically more expensive and don’t get as cold. At 20 inches by 18 inches by 29 inches, this thermoelectric wine cooler features seven removable racks, which can each support up to 137 pounds. Note: This model was not designed to be built-in, so only choose this one if you have room for a standalone wine fridge.
Best dual-zone wine cooler: NewAir Compressor Wine Refrigerator
Worth the Splurge
Two zones of compressed air make sure temps don’t fluctuate, which keeps your collection safe, even if you’re storing for a long time. NewAir
This one comes in multiple sizes, so if you’re a serious collector and not averse to dropping some dough, you can go all the way up to 98-bottle capacity for a cool thousand bucks. A convenient touch screen, slide-out racks, double-pane UV-resistant glass doors, and an LED light to look inside the fridge without disturbing the inside climate make this one a top pick. (The racks are removable, in case you’ve got a jeroboam or two you need extra room for.) Store your whites from 40 degrees to 55 Fahrenheit and your reds at 50 degrees to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Or, you know, do whatever you want—it’s your wine!
Best wine chiller on a budget: Oggi Wine Cooler
No Bells or Whistles
Food-grade, BPA-free, double-insulated, and sweat-proof material makes this the best drink chiller to set on your table and forget. Oggi
If all you need is a place to store a 750 mL bottle during a long lunch or dinner party, this wine bottle chiller gets the job done. It’s sleek-looking (especially considering the price tag). And Oggi makes coordinating accessories (shakers, stirrers, strainers) easy if you want to add a few more mixology tools to your home bar.
The best wine chiller for you depends on your particular needs, wants, habits, and preferred price point. That’s good news, because it means you have options. Comparing an ice bucket to a wine fridge is apples and oranges (in fact, you might need both), so start small and buy bigger as your needs become clearer. For example, maybe you don’t need a vacuum-sealed wine sleeve right now but you do like to picnic with a glass of rosé during balmier months. It’ll surely come in handy then!
If it’s the tableside variety, like a bucket, yes. If it’s a wine fridge or vacuum-sealed sleeve, no. Whether or not you want to deal with ice is a great way to decide what kind of chiller is right for you. If your collection of bottles is your pride and joy, a wine fridge that doesn’t require ice is likely a wise investment. If your primary goal in buying a chiller is the ability to travel (for example, to bring a cold bottle to a friend’s apartment or keep wine chilled during a hot day outside), a vacuum-insulated sleeve is your best bet. If all you’re looking for is something simple to throw on the kitchen table that won’t sweat and will keep your bottle cold, a simple bucket with ice will do.
The FDA recommends that your regular fridge stay at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. White wine should be between 46 degrees and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, red between 62 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. So, the short answer is: Yes, if you want to drink your wine at optimal temp, get a wine chiller. The question of how major a wine chiller you get (say, a bucket vs. a freestanding fridge) depends on the kind of investment you want to make, what kind of drinker you are, and how quickly you plan to consume the bottles in your fridge. Consider how beer can skunk—the same thing can happen to wine. Your wine bottle temperature fluctuates more than you realize: You buy it (chilled or room temp), store it (in your fridge or on the counter), then drink it (likely chilling it again or to a different temperature). A wine chiller, especially the fridge variety, cuts down on the number of times the temp of your bottle changes, thus preserving the flavor and quality of your vino.
The final word on shopping for the best wine chiller
Choosing the best wine chiller comes down to what you want to accomplish. If you’re trying to temperature-control a large collection of bottles, a wine fridge is perfect. If you’re more concerned about a tableside bottle not getting warm or sweating, an old-fashioned bucket will do just fine. And if you want to take your vino on the go, a vacuum-sealed option is perfect. Maybe you’re all of the above, in which case you may want one of each! !>