Decibel level of wine fridges

What are the key features to look for when choose a wine fridge?

When searching for a wine fridge on the coolersomm website one of the filtering trees offered is 'features'. Recently we looked into the data behind what our customers were searching for when looking for a wine fridge and the results were interesting.

Aside from price, which 46% of searchers filter for immediately, the most commonly selected features of a wine fridge search were i) number of zones ii) decibel level iii) carbon filter iv) winter system and v) reversible door.

Over the next 2-3 weeks we're going to deep-dive into each of these features and discuss why each are important, under what circumstances may they be necessary and whether these features are also applicable to your wine fridge search. So whether you're looking for a freestanding wine fridge, a built-in, integrated, dual zone or a wine fridge cabinet, today we're going to discuss the important of the decibel level.

How loud are wine fridges?

Understanding Decibels: Before delving into the specifics of wine fridge noise levels, it's crucial to grasp the concept of decibels (dB). Decibels measure sound intensity and are logarithmic, meaning each increase of 10 dB represents a tenfold increase in sound intensity. For reference, a whisper typically registers around 30 dB, while a normal conversation hovers around 60dB. We typically recommend a decibel level of 40dB or less for an appliance in a kitchen setting.

When it comes to wine fridges, many users prefer minimal noise disruption, especially if the unit is placed in a living area or kitchen. Fortunately, most modern wine fridges are engineered with noise reduction in mind, employing advanced insulation and compressor technologies to minimise operational sound.

Typical Decibel Levels: On average, wine fridges produce noise levels ranging from 35 to 45 dB during regular operation. This puts them on par with background noise in a quiet suburb or a library. However, the actual noise output can vary depending on factors such as the fridge's size, design, and compressor type.

Factors Influencing Noise Levels:

  1. Compressor Type: Wine fridges generally utilise either a compressor-based cooling system or a thermoelectric cooling system. Compressor models tend to produce slightly more noise during operation, though advancements in compressor technology have significantly reduced this difference.

  2. Size and Design: Larger wine fridges with more storage capacity may require larger compressors, potentially leading to increased noise levels. Additionally, the design of the unit, including the quality of insulation and airflow mechanisms, can influence overall noise output. Dual zone wine fridges are typically slightly noisier than single zone wine fridges.

  3. Location: Placement plays a crucial role in perceived noise levels. Placing the wine fridge on a stable, level surface away from walls and obstructions can help minimise vibrations and reverberations that contribute to noise. Placing your wine fridge in an alcove will amplify the sounds it makes.

  4. Maintenance: Regular maintenance, such as cleaning condenser coils and ensuring proper ventilation, can prevent the buildup of dust and debris that may exacerbate noise levels over time.

How many decibels is a wine fridge?

The typical wine fridge will range anywhere from 35dB (very quiet for a wine fridge) up to 45dB, the below table shows real life examples of that noise level.

Decibel Level (dB) Real-Life Examples
35 dB Quiet bedroom at night
Background noise in a rural area
Soft music playing at a low volume
40 dB Library environment
Light traffic noise from a distance
Soft conversation
45 dB Quiet office environment
Refrigerator hum at a distance
Moderate rainfall


Which wine fridge brands are the quietest?

A wine fridge manufacturer R&D budget will typically go towards energy efficiency and decibel level improvements so it makes sense that companies dedicated to wine fridge manufacture on the premium end would produce the quietest wine fridges. Typically and as you'd expect, Liebherr, EuroCave and Swisscave are quiet but also the newest models from Climadiff, La Sommeliere and mQuvee can come in under 36dB, beating out their bigger and more prestigious rivals.

How can I make my wine fridge quieter?

  1. Choose Wisely: When purchasing a wine fridge, opt for models specifically designed for quiet operation. Look for units with advanced insulation, vibration dampening features, and low-noise compressors. Thermoelectric wine fridges, which use a different cooling mechanism than traditional compressor models, tend to produce less noise overall.

  2. Optimal Placement: Where you place your wine fridge can significantly impact its noise levels. Avoid positioning it next to sources of heat, such as ovens or radiators, as this can cause the compressor to work harder and generate more noise. Instead, place the fridge on a stable, level surface away from walls and obstructions to minimise vibrations.

  3. Maintain Proper Ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial for the efficient operation of your wine fridge and can also help reduce noise. Ensure there is adequate space around the unit for airflow, as restricted airflow can cause the compressor to work harder and produce more noise. Regularly clean the condenser coils to prevent dust buildup, which can impede airflow and increase noise levels.

  4. Insulate and Dampen: To further quiet your wine fridge, consider adding additional insulation and vibration dampening materials. Apply adhesive foam or rubber insulation to the sides and back of the unit to absorb sound and reduce vibrations. Place rubber or silicone pads under the feet of the fridge to minimise contact with the floor and prevent vibrations from transmitting through the ground.

  5. Address Internal Vibrations: Internal components, such as bottles rattling against each other or the shelves, can contribute to noise levels. To mitigate this, ensure that bottles are securely stored and tightly packed to minimise movement. Consider investing in wooden shelves or racks, which can help absorb vibrations more effectively than metal or wire shelving.

  6. Regular Maintenance: Like any appliance, regular maintenance is key to keeping your wine fridge running smoothly and quietly. Clean the interior regularly to remove any dust or debris that may accumulate and cause unnecessary noise. Check for loose components and tighten any screws or bolts as needed to eliminate rattling or vibrations.

Why is a wine fridge noisier than a normal household fridge?

In the world of refrigeration, not all fridges are created equal. While your standard kitchen refrigerator hums along quietly, its cousin, the wine fridge, often sings a louder tune. But why the discord? 

Unique Cooling Requirements: To understand the difference in noise levels, we must first recognise the distinct cooling requirements of wine fridges compared to traditional refrigerators. While both appliances aim to maintain a consistent temperature, wine fridges operate within narrower temperature ranges, typically between 45°F and 65°F (7°C and 18°C). This precision is essential for preserving the delicate flavours and aromas of wine.

Compressor Cycling: One of the primary sources of noise in refrigeration appliances is the compressor, which circulates refrigerant to cool the interior. In wine fridges, the compressor often cycles more frequently than in standard refrigerators to maintain the precise temperature range required for wine storage. This increased cycling can result in more frequent bursts of noise as the compressor kicks in to regulate the temperature.

Smaller Size, Larger Workload: Another factor contributing to the noise disparity is the size and design of wine fridges. Compared to traditional refrigerators, wine fridges are typically smaller in size and may lack the same level of insulation and soundproofing. Additionally, wine fridges often have more densely packed interiors to accommodate wine bottles, which can amplify noise from internal components such as fans and motors.

Thermoelectric vs. Compressor Models: Wine fridges come in two primary cooling configurations: thermoelectric and compressor-based. Thermoelectric wine fridges, which utilise a solid-state cooling mechanism, tend to produce less noise overall compared to compressor models. However, they may struggle to maintain consistent temperatures in warmer environments or when subjected to heavy usage.

Environmental Factors: External factors such as ambient temperature and humidity can also influence the noise levels emitted by wine fridges. In warmer climates, the compressor may need to work harder to maintain the desired temperature, resulting in increased noise output. Additionally, poor ventilation or placement in a confined space can exacerbate noise levels by restricting airflow and causing the compressor to work overtime.

If you need help choosing a quiet wine fridge then why not visit us in our London store or speak to us on live chat?

Sarah newton

Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.