What to look for when buying a wine fridge?

If you're in the market for a wine fridge chances are you're either a passionate wine lover with a wine collection you wish to protect or, alternatively, a kitchen designer or homeowner who wants to choose a reliable but attractive wine fridge to fit into your kitchen design. These two customer types are quite different but yet knowing clearly why you want to buy a wine fridge will certainly help you choose the right one for you. Today we're going to run through the most important things to look for when buying a wine fridge, some may seem obvious and some less so.

So; what should you look for when buying a wine fridge?

Here are the 15 most important factors to consider when buying a wine fridge.

Energy efficiency

With the cost of living soaring it's sensible to not only think about the cost of your wine fridge to buy but also the cost of running your wine fridge. All appliances come with energy efficiency certificates and wine fridges, in 99% of cases get a G, the lowest mark you can get, for energy efficiency. But why? Wine fridges have a very specific job to do trying to keep your wines held between a narrow band of temperature ranges and are a constantly readjusting themselves to hit that mark. If you've chosen a dual zone it will have two zones to keep at temperature.

The most energy efficient wine fridges are wine cabinets. They hold a large amount of bottles for a relatively low kilowatts per annum and therefore make the most sense from an energy perspective for the wine collector. 

Brand reputation

Brand reputation matters more than you'd think. Some brands are superb with aftercare and will offer regular servicing of your wine fridge, some brands, like Liebherr or Swisscave or Eurocave are simply so good in build that things rarely go wrong with the units. If you choose a wine fridge from a manufacturer that has a poor brand reputation or poor Trustpilot score then you open yourself up to a poor warranty experience if and when anything goes wrong.

Although premium brands cost more in the short term, in the longer term you'll have a more reliable wine fridge that lasts many more years and should you run into any problem, they're far more likely to have longer warranties and helpful service.

Warranty and service

Most wine fridges come with warranties of some length and all wine fridges on our website do, the longer the warranty, the longer you are covered, but what does the warranty cover and can it be extended?

Warranties tend to cover parts and labour, ie, should something go wrong with your wine fridge then not only will replacement parts be sent but an engineer will also be sent to fix your wine fridge and should neither be possible a replacement is sent. This isn't always the case though and it's worth checking what kind of warranty the wine fridge comes with.

Warranty extensions often come in two kinds, a full extension for a couple of years that would cover you for the above situation or a partial extension of just the parts whereby only the spare parts would be sent to cover any issues.

Wine Fridge Dimensions


The size of the space you have allocated for your wine fridge is one of the most important considerations when choosing a wine fridge. It may be natural to assume that because wine bottles are generally 30cm tall that a wine fridge need only be 30cm deep. Of course when you think about it that's not the case. The door itself will add several cms, the compressor and internal tech add another 10cm, the narrowest depth wine fridge is around 43cm and large wine cabinets can be over 70cm deep allowing for the stacking, neck to neck, of two bottles on the shelf.

Freestanding wine fridges range from around 60cm in height to over two meters with the very largest units, wine cabinets, usually for wine collectors. Built in wine fridges are generally 82cm or full height at around 170cm and meant to be built into kitchen carpentry and integrated wine fridges are raised off the floor and meant to fit into specific standard height apertures. Undercounter wine fridges range from 15cm wide, to 30cm wide, to 40cm, 50cm and then most commonly 60cm wide wine fridges.

Ventilation requirements

Relating to the space you have for your wine fridge, it's critical to know how your wine fridge vents (cools down) as this is the most common reason why wine fridges develop faults is that their ventilation is blocked and they can not cool. Freestanding wine fridges should never be built into carpentry or be placed up against walls or bookcases as all freestanding wine fridges need 2-3 inches of space around them to vent, and ideally nothing should be placed on top of them either as they vent from all around.

Built in wine fridges tend to vent from a grille at the bottom front of the wine fridge which must not be obstructed but a plinth can be placed in front of it with ventilation holes to better fit your kitchen design.

Lastly, there are now some built in and integrated wine fridges that are self ventilating and as such require no additional space around them anywhere, these units are currently only from Dunavox.

Temperature zones

To dual zone or not to dual zone, that is the question! And for wine collectors who want to mature their wines, the answer is most frequently not. However if you want to use some of your wine fridge for wine service then it can be a handy feature. Wine collectors should look for carbon filters or humidity controls in their wine fridges over dual zones if the whole purpose of the fridge is to mature the wine.

If your wine fridge is for your kitchen then dual zone wine fridges are excellent as you're able to keep both reds and then whites and sparkling at service temperature.

Bottle Capacity

Bottle capacity

The number one mistake made when ordering a wine fridge is not taking into the account the width of your bottles in your collection. Frequently customers buy a 50 bottle wine fridge for their 50 bottles of wine and soon realise that that wide base Champagne bottle takes up a lot more space than their Bordeaux shaped bottle, or that they had all Burgundy wines and those wide bottles also take up more space than Bordeaux shaped bottles. 

In order to avoid disappointment, if you know you have a certain percentage of Champagne or Burgundy shaped bottles then order a larger capacity wine fridge and as a rule of thumb, know that for 3 Burgundy bottles take up the same width as 4 Bordeaux bottles. If you thought you needed a 50 bottle wine fridge but have a lot of Champagne and Burgundy, go for a 75 bottle wine fridge to be safe.

Internal lighting

We rarely think about the lighting in a wine fridge until the night you get it home. Almost all wine fridges have LED lighting these days that can be switched off, but some units come with blue or amber LED lighting and if this is going to ruin the ambience of your kitchen it's best to check ahead.

Some wine fridges also allow you to cycle the colour in the lights and match them to your mood!

Humidity management

Most wine fridges take care of their own humidity management as the fridge adjusts its internal humidity as ambient changes occur. However, some wine fridges, like the new Liebherr wine cabinet range, have humidity management which means that you can set the humidity levels in the fridge. If you live in a particularly humid area or you wish to keep your bottles at a different humidity for label or other reasons then you have the ability to do so.

Climate classification

Wine Fridges are primarily kept in he home, and if you're buying a built-in or integrated wine fridge you don't need to worry about climate classification as your home (in most cases) should be at a fairly consistent temperature.

However, if you want to place a wine fridge or wine cabinet into a garage, cellar or outbuilding then it's worth checking the climate classification but also checking that the appliance has a winter system. A winter system basically means that the wine fridge will warm as well as cool the internal space. 

Imagine for example the wine fridge is placed in a room that is 8°C but it is set at 12°C, how can it keep that temperature if all it can do is cool? It can't. Therefore if your wine fridge is kept in a space that may get colder than the temperature you set the wine fridge at, you need a winter system, which will warm your wine up to temperature.

Quality to price ratio

Is the wine fridge you're buying good value for money? How would you know? The things that add cost to a wine fridge are the internal technology within the wine fridge and the number of shelves. If the wine fridge you're looking at has lots of shelves but is still relatively cheap vs the other wine fridges, probably the internal technology isn't as good, the temperatures wont be as accurate, the compressor of a lower quality, probably it doesn't have a winter system or carbon filters. We know this because shelving is expensive and so the manufacturer must be saving money elsewhere.

Consider the price of the wine fridge and then consider i) how many shelves does it have ii) how much internal technology does it have (alarms/carbon filters etc) iii) how noisy and energy efficient is it? 

When you have a listed out these comparable features together with price, you'll be able to understand if the wine fridge you're interested in has a good quality to price ratio.

Wine Fridge Shelving

Shelving type

Shelving is expensive in a wine fridge and is often a clever way for the manufacturer to save money with tricks like wooden fronted wire shelves a cost saver. However, wine shelves are more important than you'd think. Not only does beech or mahogany wood looks so much nicer than wire shelves, it's also a vibration dampener which helps your wine last longer and taste better!

Wine fridge shelving then comes with fixed, sliding or telescopic shelves in wire, partial wire and wooden front, beech and mahogany and these are listed in order of expense.

Some wine fridges come with MIX shelving meaning they are optimised to both Bordeaux or Burgundy shaped bottles and some wine fridges come with display shelves, meaning the wines are angled up to show off the labels. A few wine fridges are designed to have the bottles laid down label facing out.

Noise decibel level

No one thinks about noise until the appliance is at home and the kids are in bed and then suddenly the compressor kicks on and they hear a buzzing. This can be especially annoying if you're living in the same room as your wine fridge and its in your kitchen or living room.

If you are planning to put your wine fridge in a living space, we highly recommend opting for a wine fridge whose decibel range is under 40dB. Mot kitchen wine fridges are already under this level for this very reason but freestanding wine fridges can range from 36dB all the way to 44dB so its important to check that our before buying if noise disturbs you.

Adjustable to your home

Can the door be changed to open from the other side? Are there adjustable feet to bring the wine fridge up to your countertop height? If you need a change made to the wine fridge it's best to ask us in live chat if that change can be made however most wine fridges, apart from the two examples mentioned, are typically fairly static and bought as seen.

Security and alarms

Lastly, if you have an expensive wine collection it's probable you'd like it neither stolen nor spoiled and security and alarms will ensure those things don't happen. 

Around half of our wine fridges come with a lock and key. This ensures that younger family members can't get at the alcohol nor intruders. Temperature alarms are standard in nearly all wine fridges, they will beep if the internal temperatures start to stray too far from their set point. Some smart appliances will even send you a push notification to alert you of this if you are not at home.

A lock and key will give extra piece of mind to the collector with fine wines.


There you have it. Who would have thought there were 15 crucial things to look out for when buying a wine fridge. To avoid buyers remorse ensure you check through this list before your purchase, alternatively call us, visit us in store or use the live chat function for more wine fridge help.

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.