Finding The Best Wine Coolers: Thermoelectric Vs Compressor

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You don’t need me to tell you that wine’s better when it’s properly chilled. 

Nine times out of ten, the out-of-the-cabinet stuff doesn’t really hit the spot. If you’re like I am, however, you probably don’t have a wine cellar under the house. That’s why I decided to look into wine coolers.

First, let's talk about thermoelectrical wine coolers.

What is a thermoelectric wine cooler? Specifically, this cooler uses electrical currents to remove heat from the interior of the cooler and chill wine through a process known as the Peltier effect.

Coming up, I’ll review exactly how these coolers work and stack them up against compressor models so you can find out which one is best for you. 

Keep reading to find out more about these awesome devices!

Top 7 Wine Coolers Compared

The following table shows our top picks with the estimated price range and our final rating. There is also a link placed on each option so it will be easier for you to find the product (Amazon links).

The following table is ranked from the most affordable product first to the most premium choice at the bottom.

NamePrice Range

Homebrew Rating

1. Koolatron WC06 Thermoelectric Cooler$4/5
2. Antarctic Star Wine Cooler$4/5
3. Schmecke 12 Bottle$$4,5/5
4. Merax 24 Bottle Wine Cooler$$4,75/5
5. WIE 18 Bottle Wine Chiller$$4,5/5
6. Nictemaw Dual Zone Wine Cooler $$$4,5/5
7. Kalamera 45 Bottle Dual Zone$$$4/5

 Our #1 Pick

Merax 24 Bottle Wine Cooler

Stylish and solid cooler that doesn't take up much space despite its capacity. Perfect for small spaces or office setups.

Check it on Amazon

Now, we are going to explain the difference between compressor wine coolers and thermoelectric wine coolers and  some factors you should consider before choosing your own. You can also skip it and jump to the products review at the end of the post.

Cheers!

How Do Thermoelectric Wine Coolers Work? Process Explained

Thermoelectric wine coolers allow you to chill your wine to the optimal temperature by using electrical currents and metal sheets to expel heat from the machine. 

Don’t worry—it’s not as complicated as it sounds. 

In a nutshell, the machines work by passing an electrical current through two sheets of different metals that have been stuck together. 

This process will help transfer heat from one sheet of metal to the other, leaving one side cold and the other hot. 

The cold side is stuck inside the interior of the cooler, while the hot side is put in an aluminum device known as a “heat sink,” which allows the heat to be expelled into the air outside of the machine.

What Is the Difference Between Compressor and Thermoelectric Wine Coolers?

If you’re familiar with how a refrigerator works, you already know the difference between thermoelectric and compressor coolers. Still, let’s go over a quick rundown to show just how these two devices differ from one another.

At the core, what separates compressor and thermoelectric wine coolers is the technology that cools them. Different from the thermoelectric models, compressor wine coolers use—you guessed it—the vapor compression system, which relies on refrigerants to carry heat from inside to outside the systems.

Are Thermoelectric Wine Coolers Any Good?

Now that you’ve got an understanding of how the two machines work, it’s time to answer the important question: are thermoelectric wine coolers even good? 

If you’re reticent about shelling out money for one of these new-age machines, don’t be. While there are some downfalls to these devices, which I’ll cover here, they offer a safe and environmentally friendly option for most wine chilling.

    Pros

    This is what I love about thermoelectric wine coolers:

    - Environmentally friendly

    Thermoelectric coolers don’t use any sort of chemical coolant to operate. Even the most modern of coolants emit greenhouse gases and are considered hazardous waste. 

    Thermoelectric coolers help you fulfill your civic duty to the planet while enjoying your crisp wine.

    - Silent

    They also don’t make as much noise as compressor coolers. For those of us who don’t find the mechanical rumble of compressor models comforting, this can be a big boost.

    Cons

    There is one major con to thermoelectric coolers, however, that you’ll want to take note of:

    - Temperature

    Thermoelectric coolers aren’t the best option for all wines, as these models tend to reach maximum chill at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (the generally accepted ideal temperature for most wines is 55 degrees F, but some sparkling wines and other options must be chilled at lower temperatures). 

    Added to this, they don’t operate well in hot climates, so they have to be stored somewhere that’s already quite chill.

    Ultimately, whether a thermoelectric wine cooler suits your needs can only be decided by you.

    In general, more traditional compressor coolers may be better for serious wine enthusiasts, while a thermoelectric model will certainly get the job done for the average wine drinker.

    4 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Thermoelectric Wine Cooler

    We’ve covered a lot, but we’re still not all set. 

    Before you purchase your thermoelectric wine cooler, make sure to review the following information:

    #1 They are cheaper to purchase...

    Thermoelectric wine coolers are cheaper to purchase than their compressor counterparts, particularly if you’re going for a smaller model. This means that you can save money at the outset for one of these machines.

    #2 But more expensive to run

    Despite this, even the smaller thermoelectric coolers are more expensive to run. This is because they use more electricity (even with smaller output).

    #3 They must be used indoors

    We’ve already seen how these coolers must be kept away from direct sunlight and other heat, but that’s only part of the equation. 

    Thermoelectric coolers also have no method for heating their interior cabinet, which means they’re not fit for outdoor use in the wintertime, either. 

    Without an effective mechanism to regulate extreme temperature, these machines could have your wine frozen. For this reason, make sure to use them indoors only in a temperature-controlled environment.

    #4 They come with different functions

    Not all thermoelectric wine coolers are created equally, and I’m not just talking about the brand.

    In general, there are three main classifications of wine cooler that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with before making your purchase:

    - Single zone

    As the name implies, these coolers are generally smaller and have only one section, or “zone,” in which you can chill your wines. If you’re a beginner, I recommend starting with one of these.

    - Dual zone

    Dual zone thermoelectric wine coolers offer more space to chill your wines and more than one temperature control, offering flexibility in how you store and cool your alcohol.

    - Built-in wine coolers

    These coolers are literally built into your cabinets to add an elegant look to your home (with added convenience, as well!).

    Is a Wine Fridge Worth It?

    If you’re passionate about your wine (and I’m assuming you are), a wine fridge can definitely be worth it. 

    Specifically, your decision will come down to a few factors:

    - The type of wine you have

    You won’t need to store or age your wine if you’re not buying relatively expensive stuff to start with. If you’re going with cheaper alcohol, you may simply end up losing money with a wine fridge.

    - The size of your collection

    Even if you have the good stuff, you will most likely need a sizeable amount of it before a wine fridge is worth your money. Remember, you’re paying not just for the outright purchasing fee but also the operation and maintenance fees, as well.

    - Where you live

    If you live somewhere with relatively mild temperatures to begin with, a wine fridge may not be necessary. Most wines reach their best taste and texture at just above 50 degrees F, so colder locales may do the trick on their own.

    Should Red Wine Be Stored in a Wine Fridge?

    Despite what some may say, red wine can be stored in a wine fridge without detriment, though this wine is often simply stored at room temperature. 

    TIP: By sealing an opened bottle of red wine and placing it in a wine fridge, you can even extend its shelf life by a few days.

    List of 7 Best Wine Coolers 

    After days of research, we could come up with a list of 7 coolers that we think are the best options.

    1. Best Thermoelectric Wine Cooler on a Budget

    Price Range: $

    Homebrew Rating:
    4/5

    The Koolatron is a small and efficient cooler that’s perfect to sit on countertops or bar tops. 

    The racks are wire is easy to remove to make cleaning and up-keep a simple process. 

    The temperature controls are digital which makes keeping the temperature at a consistent level easy enough to do.

    It’s designed to be small and minimalist so it can sit anywhere you want it to, and it will blend in. 

    Since it doesn’t vibrate when running you won’t even notice it’s there. The interior is dark to keep harmful outside lights from affecting your wines and it keeps them chilled with consistency. 

    The Koolatron is an overall nice addition for wine collectors or even those who only dabble in the occasional bottle. The cooler can also be used to store beer, and with the smaller cans and bottles will fit even more.

    Pros

    • Small and sleek so it can fit on countertops nicely.
    • Vibration-free makes it a low noise cooler so as not to disturb your daily life.
    • Double pane doors to keep outside light from aging your wine.

    Cons

    • Only holds up to six bottles.
    • Not dual temperature controlled so only one type of wine can be stored at optimal temperature.

    Koolatron WC06 Thermoelectric Cooler

    Small and sleek thermoelectric cooler perfect for small apartments.

    Check it on Amazon

    2. Great Cooler for Limited Spaces 

    Price Range: $

    Homebrew Rating:
    4/5

    The Antarctic Star Wine Cooler is a small, compact, and sleek cooler. Perfect for an office space or as an additional smaller cooler to hold your most used wines.

    The fans inside the cooler evenly circulate to keep the air cold and at a consistent temperature throughout the cooler. 

    This cooler has nice and sturdy shelves that are removable to make cleaning and keeping it in top shape an easy task. 

    Compared to other wine coolers, the Antarctic Star is affordable making it a great choice for those on a budget. 

    It can fit in almost any area and is sleek enough to look good as a free standing unit. Because it’s a smaller cooler, it’s not heavy and can be moved around easily when you want to relocate it.

    Pros

    • Dual pane glass doors keep outside temperatures from affecting your wine.
    • Energy efficient and low noise. Doesn’t disturb the environment.
    • Compact so it can fit nearly anywhere.

    Cons

    • The cooler is small so it has limited storage.
    • The temperature gauge is not digital, may be hard for some to read at a glance.
    • The drip tray is in the back of the cooler so removing it can be a pain.

    Antarctic Star Wine Cooler

    Quiet unit, that can fit almost anywhere thanks to its size.

    Check it on Amazon

    3. Popular Choice

    Price Range: $$

    Homebrew Rating:
    4,5/5

    The Schmecke cooler has a nice and simple design.

    It’s tall, but slim and looks good sitting in your home, and has a lock on the door allowing you to keep your wines safe and secure. 

    It can house 12 bottles and the shelves can be adjusted for different sizes. 

    The temperature control panel is a touch screen and also features a lock mode. The double-pane glass is UV-resistant and has a rubber gasket to keep your wine tasting as it should. 

    The fan system is an inventive design that provides silence while keeping the air inside the cooler circulating and fresh so that your wine keeps the flavor you love. 

    The blue LED light has an auto-off feature so that it doesn’t stay on and run more power than needed.

    Pros

    • Has a lock system to keep unwanted hands out of the cooler.
    • Shelving is adjustable to accommodate different wine bottle sizes.
    • Double pane glass doors to keep outside light and temperature from affecting wine.

      Cons

      • Only holds 12 standard size, 750ml, wine bottles.
      • Not dual temperature controlled so only one type of wine can be optimally cooled.
      • A tall cooler so it needs ample height to store it.

      Schmecke 12 Bottle

      Simple cooler, yet very popular. It's one of the best rounded units on the list.

      Check it on Amazon

      4. Our Favorite

      Price Range: $$

      Homebrew Rating:
      4,75/5

      Main features:

      The Merax has a pleasing design and looks sophisticated in your home or office space.

      The design is round and smooth and looks more up-scale than most other coolers. The cooler can store up to 24 bottles and has an adjustable temperature gauge to allow wine storage at the temperature you desire. The cooling unit for the cooler is consistent and stable and keeps all the bottles at the same temperature.

      The door has a lock on it so you can keep kids out of the cooler.

      Overall, this is a nice cooler for those who want something that won’t take up much space, has a sleek and pleasing look, and the cooler is boasted as keeping its noise to a minimum.

      Pros

        • Small and compact so it can fit pretty much anywhere you want.
        • Features a lock so that it can’t be opened by anyone who shouldn’t be getting into it.
        • Can be a free-standing unit or built-in.

        Cons

        • Temperature settings are inside the cooler, so you have to open it to change or adjust them.
        • The shelving is not adjustable.
        • A bit pricey compared to other coolers that do all the same things.

        Merax 24 Bottle Wine Cooler

        Stylish and solid cooler that doesn't take up much space despite its capacity. Perfect for small spaces or office setups.

        Check it on Amazon

        5. Perfect for Red Wines

        Price Range: $$

        Homebrew Rating:
        4/5

        The WIE has dual temperature controls that allow the cooler to hold varying types of wine and keep them cooled to the appropriate temperatures. 

        The double-pane glass makes the cooler portion of the WIE unaffected by outside light and temperature disruptions. The design is simple and pleasing. The control panel is touch-based and can be adjusted easily. The shelving is removable and you can store different sizes of bottles if you need to. 

        Because it has humidity control, the WIE is better suited to store red wines than most other coolers.

        The WIE has auto-defrost so it can sense when it needs to cool down or heat the unit. A pretty nifty design choice that isn’t often seen. 

        This cooler is a great option for those who need a free-standing unit that can store different wines and keep them at the proper temperatures for each type.

        Pros

        • The racks are removable so you can store larger wine bottles.
        • Dual temperature-controlled allowing you to keep more types of wine inside.
        • The wine cooler compressor will automatically heat in cold places.

        Cons

        • The wine cabinet can be susceptible to outside temperatures and disrupt the wine.
        • The WIE cooler is rather tall and cannot be built-in.

        WIE 18 Bottle Wine Chiller

        Unique design 18 bottle cooler with dual zone technology. Perfect to store red wines due to its humidity control.

        Check it on Amazon

        6. Compact & Silent Dual Zone

        Price Range: $$$

        Homebrew Rating:
        4/5

        This cooler features handy stoppers to keep your bottles safely secured and two different temperature zones to keep your wines just right. Double-layer glass doors keep the cooler sturdy.

        This cooler has a child lock which is important to ensure no kiddos get into your stash. Features a clear and easy to read touch panel that makes adjusting temperatures a breeze and is easy to read.

        The compact design is perfect for someone without a lot of space, but that still needs storage for their wine collection. 

        The cooler has a nice carbon filter that keeps the air inside the cooler fresh and free of unwanted smells. Individually adjustable footings allow the cooler to be placed on uneven flooring if necessary.

        Overall, the cooler is great for those who don’t have much space, and it has a lot of nice and simple features.

        Pros

        • Can be placed freestanding or built-in.
        • Removable wood shelves to allow storage of bitter bottles.
        • Powerful, but quiet compressor so it’s not noisy.

        Cons

        • Shelves are only fitted for one size, 750ml, so it holds fewer large bottles.
        • A heavy-duty unit that requires a sturdy enough floor to compensate for the weight.

        Nictemaw Dual Zone Wine Cooler

        Compact dual zone wine cooler with surprisingly quiet compressor. Space for 32 bottles. 

        Check it on Amazon

        7. Premium Wine Cooler: Enthusiasts Only

        Price Range: $$$

        Homebrew Rating:
        4,5/5

        The Kalamera is a beast of a wine cooler that can hold up to 45 wine bottles. 

        The cooler is basically silent when running and since it doesn’t vibrate, the wine stored inside is not disturbed and is allowed to keep the intended flavor. 

        This cooler has dual-zone temperature settings so you can store different types of wines and keep them chilled at their optimal temperatures. 

        The temperature panel is also digital making it easy to read and adjust when needed. The Kalamera cooler is black with stainless steel framing which makes it a pleasing design that will fit in amongst your other furniture. 

        The Kalamera can be built-in or used as a stand-in so you have your options.

        Pros

        • The stainless steel frame makes it a sturdy cooler.
        • The cooler can hold an impressive 45 bottles of wine.
        • The shelves pull out to make getting to your wines easier.

                Cons

                • This cooler is a bit on the bigger side which will require a little more space to store.
                • Shelves are not adjustable and are fairly flimsy.
                • The temperature control panel is inside instead of outside, so you have to open it to adjust it.

                Kalamera 45 Bottle Dual Zone

                Perfect for those who have space, need large capacity -45 bottles- and money is no object.

                Check it on Amazon

                Conclusion

                With the right wine cooler, you’ll be able to perfectly store and chill your precious wines. 

                A thermoelectric wine cooler gives you the chance to do this in an environmentally friendly and convenient way. While the models aren’t the best for serious wine enthusiasts, they make a great addition to any casual drinking household.

                In the other hand, traditional compressor models are fit for more wine enthusiasts.

                Because I consider myself a wine enthusiast and because there's much more offer to choose from, I've chosen the compressor model Merax 24 Bottle Wine Cooler (Amazon link). I am currently building my new office, and this model suits perfectly with the space: small and sophisticated. 

                Also, despite its size, this compact unit has a decent capacity, which it is exactly what I was looking for.

                So, what's going to be: thermoelectric or compressor? 

                Use the information in this guide to make the best decision!

                About HomeBrewAdvice

                Hello, my name is Simon. Together with a group of writers I write about brewing beer and making wine. We all share a passion for the great things in life, such as making stuff from scratch.

                The business of HomeBrewAdvice is to bring you great information, stories and product reviews from brewing at home, and making wine