Beverage and Wine Centers have become some of the most popular refrigerators on the market but can be difficult products when it comes to deciding which to purchase. We’re going to review the types of Beverage Centers and Wine Units and the important differences between the two.
Freestanding vs. Built-In
Freestanding refrigerators have finished side panels and their condenser is located on the back of the unit so they cannot be placed between cabinets. They are usually made of plastic and can be nosier.
Built-in refrigerators can be placed between cabinets and under countertops because they have a static condenser that breathes through the front toe kick of the unit. These units tend to have unfinished steel instead of plastic cabinet exteriors as well as better shelves and thermostats.
Beverage centers are undercounter refrigerators with the ability to store wine as well as soda, water, beer and/or food. Their internal temperature can range from 35 to 65 degrees. They come in Freestanding or Built-In styles. Their size is pretty standard with a height of 24” or 35” and a width of 15” or 24”.
Beverage Center Brands you should look for:
Depending on the model you are looking at Jenn-Air beverage centers offers two separate temperature control zones that range from 32 to 54 degrees. They can hold 14 to 22 bottles of wine and have a flat door design with a door ajar/open alarm.
U-Line beverage centers can maintain temperature to within 1 degree of the set point to maximize preservation with a temperature range from 34 to 70 degrees. Their combination of adjustable glass shelves and wine racks make it easy to accommodate a wide range of beverage sizes. Depending on the model you are looking at you can have 4.9 to 7 cubic feet for storage.
Sub-Zero beverage centers feature a pullout wine rack with an 8 bottle capacity and a unique see-though crisper drawer at the bottom to provide storage to lemons, limes or any other items needed for your mixed drinks. They also have a touch screen panel that allows you to control your temperature from 34 to 45 degrees.
Wine Storage Refrigerators
If you are looking for a wine storage unit for your home you are probably looking to entertain guests or store your wine collection. A very important question to ask before you start shopping for a wine fridge is, “Do you store your wine for an extended amount of time, or do you drink them faster than you can put them in?” If you are looking to store your wines you then should also consider if you’re going to be storing multiple types or not.
Wine refrigerators provide a temperature-controlled environment for your wine and have special vibration absorption systems to reduce the impact of tremors and noise that normal refrigerators compressors can create. You can find single or dual zone temperature wine refrigerators. Single zones only have one cooling area and one temperature control. These are perfect for starters and people who prefer only reds or only whites. Dual zones are for those who have a growing collection and/or like both reds and white. These can be a little more expensive.
Single Zone Wine Refrigerator
Dual Zone Wine Refrigerator
Once you know if a single or dual zone fridge is what you need, you then have to figure out what size you need. Generally you should aim for a unit with at least 25% more space than the amount of bottles you currently have, to allow for growth or room for parties.
If you are about to buy your first wine cooler, we would recommend you choose a small single zone unit. They are a perfect way to determine if you’re serious about cooling wine appropriately. Here are a few good brands you should look at.
U-line has been manufacturing undercounter refrigerators for 50 years and they are considered to have very good wine refrigerators. They have many models and prices you can choose from. Their refrigerators have bronze tinted designs to keep harmful UV from damaging the tannis of the wine. They have single and double zone options with digital thermostats. They do have lighting that is placed on the top of each zone. These lights produce a hot source, which is not a good idea for the longevity of the wine.
Marvel’s refrigeration is known for their powerful compressors with microprocessor-controlled thermostats to provide accurate constant temperature. They have a selection of models from 15” to 24” with single or double zone options. Some of its top features include roller-glide shelves, a vibration neutralization system, dynamic cooling technology, and audible or visual alarms signaling when door is left ajar.
These undercounter wine units are hand crafted with wine in mind and have a commercial look to them. Each bottle is cradled on a full-extension wine shelf that glides on stainless-steel ball-bearing for smooth movement of the shelves. The rapid cool forced air refrigeration system provides a precise, consistent temperature throughout the cabinet and the temperature range available is from 40-68 degrees.
The True 24” Wine Cabinet is a dual zone storage system. The independent climate zones provide precise control, offering separate temperature ranges from 40 to 65 degree, and glide-out, vibration-dampening racks protect your favorite vintage, ensuring that it tastes the way wine in intended to taste.
Sub-Zero is one of the best options out there. They have 2 models of undercounter wine storage refrigerators ranging in size from 15” and 24”. They have a low-E door to eliminate UV light and hidden lighting within the unit, so light will not harm the tannins in the wine. There are also two separate digitally controlled thermostats for better temperature control and a gasket to eliminate any cross over. Lastly, the compressor is on rubber grommets to prevent vibration.
If you are a more of a wine connoisseur or collector we recommend you look into dual zone, column wine refrigerators. Here are a few good options to consider:
The U-Line Dual Zone Wine Captain is a 36” refrigerator that can hold up to 62 bottles of wine. Their convection cooling system rapidly and efficiently sets wine to the ideal temperature and can maintain that temperature within 1 degree of the set point to maximize preservation. It also provides a U-Select Control that has three distinct modes: Sparkling Wine: 38-50 degrees, White Wine: 45-55 degrees and Red Wine: 55-65 degrees. Their rubber-mounted compressor also virtually eliminates vibration in the fridge.
Thermador Freedom comes in two sizes, 18” and 24”. They are seamlessly integrated into the design of your kitchen and the panels are flush to the cabinetry along with a concealed venting grill. Some of it’s top features are the full extension racks made from exotic wood, dual temperature and humidity control, Carbon air filter to keep air clean and fresh and a UV protective glass door.
The Sub-Zero columns come in two different sizes,18”, 27” and 30”. If you are a big wine drinker or collector then this is the way to go. Sub-Zero was the first company to introduce the built-in refrigeration system. Some of their top features include sturdy rust proof wire shelves, roller glide shelves faced with natural cherry wood, dual temperature zone, and soft low voltage lighting.