6 Best Wine Coolers Under $250 – 2021 Review Guide

Today, we’ll be focusing exclusively on wine coolers. Why is this?

It is true that the average kitchen refrigerator is too cold for wine. This leads to the cork drying out and possibly stunting the wine’s development.

The cork in the bottle needs to stay moist but regular fridges remove humidity which dries out the cork. Keep wine on its side in a regular fridge. In most regular fridges, this will be awkward.

While buying a new wine cooler might not be the most complex decision, there are still a handful of factors you should focus on:

  • Cooling zones: If you only need drinks storing at a single temperature, you only need a cooler with one zone. Anyone looking to store red and white wine at different temperatures should choose a dual-zone cooler. We feature several single zone models of today so you can assess your options.
  • Dimensions: Before even thinking about how many bottles the cooler will store, take a close look at the overall dimensions. Some of these units are pretty bulky so you should make certain you have the room for it before committing to purchase.
  • Capacity: To keep things simple, capacity is typically quoted in terms of bottles. This is an either/or deal so you won’t be able to store the maximum number of cans and the maximum number of bottles.
  • Shelving: Check that shelving is removable if you feel you might need to alter the configuration of the storage set-up.
  • Installation: Some wine coolers are designed to be left freestanding. Others can be built into existing units or placed under the counter.
  • Noise: Ensure that the cooler doesn’t make too much noise to disturb you or create so much vibration that your wine is impaired.

Today, we’ll be reviewing 6 of the leading models in an increasingly crowded market segment. We also tried to include fridges with varying capacity so there should be something for all tastes and budgets.

Types of Wine Coolers

Wine coolers can be put into two categories:

  • Compressor Wine Coolers
  • Thermoelectric Wine Coolers

Compressor Wine Coolers

A compressor wine cooler operates on the same principles as a household refrigerator, so it is able to deliver plenty of power despite the fact that it makes a lot of noise and draws a great deal of power to accomplish this.

These types of coolers do not adversely affect fluctuating outside temperatures, making them necessary for any facility with large temperature swings.

If you need to store a lot of wine bottles and don’t mind a bit of noise, a compressor wine cooler can work well.

Thermoelectric Wine Coolers

You can also consider a thermoelectric cooler. These wine refrigerators use a technology that allows them to operate very quietly. There’s not much vibration either. Vibration can agitate the sediment in wine bottles to the detriment of its flavor.

These thermoelectric coolers have the drawback of not being able to chill large quantities of bottles.

This energy-efficient and quiet cooler is an ideal solution for small collections.

Right, with that background in place, we’ll walk you through the best wine coolers under $250 in 2021.

6 Best Wine Coolers Under $250

#1 Choice: Schmecke 16” Wine Cooler 

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Features:

  • Single Zone
  • Compressor cooling
  • 24 Bottle capacity
  • Freestanding

Coming in first on our list is Schmecke’s wine cooler, our overall favorite wine cooler on the list. 

Schmecke offers an advanced compressor cooling system that delivers a consistent temperature to ensure the best conditions for your wine, no matter what the outside temperature is.

A feature that separates this from competing options is the efficient uniform air circulation system that has been perfected by Schmecke, maintaining constant circulation throughout the cooler.

Another unique feature includes the fast response temperature controls and the UV-resistant glass that protects your bottles from UV rays if stored outside.

Compared to older models, Schmecke has improved their overall frame quality, creating a much more durable and vibration-free operation, contributing to the overall quality and feel of the cooler.

We would recommend this cooler to anyone looking for a very cost-efficient and high-quality wine cooler that performs well inside or outside and has a frame that is built to last.  

Pros:

  • The advanced compressor works no matter the outside temperature 
  • UV-resistant glass makes a difference in the health of your bottles. 
  • Good air circulation system

Cons:

  • The compressor may need improvements over time

 

 Ivation 18 Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler

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Features:

  • Compressor cooling
  • Freestanding
  • 18 Bottle capacity
  • Single Zone

Ivation is a very reputable brand and one of the favorites we’ve tested out.

The main separator among the other options is their advanced cooling system using their compressor technology. Temperatures are not affected by outside heat sources and reach temperatures low enough so that sparkling white wines can be kept from 41°F to 64°F.

With a unique design, this cooler holds 18 bottles and is built using a very durable stainless steel frame, excellent for minimizing overall vibration and noise output.

A built-in fan circulates the air, maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the cabin and ensuring each wine bottle is kept in the best conditions.

Compared to older models Ivation has greatly improved the cooling compressor, creating a new overall vibration and noise-free experience that is sure to benefit your home or office.

We recommend this cooler for anyone looking for a quality 18 bottle cooler that has an efficient cooling system and comes from a very reputable brand.

Pros:

  • Removable racks are very helpful
  • Temperature stability control through the compressor
  • Excellent airtight seal

Cons: 

  • Does not offer dual-zone cooling

 

Schmecke 13” Wine Cooler 

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Features:

  • Single Zone
  • 18 Bottle capacity
  • Freestanding
  • Compressor cooling

Schmecke has done a great job with their 13” wine cooler with a capacity of 18 bottles, that are kept cool through their advanced compressor cooling system. 

Along with their advanced cooling system, Schmecke’s built-in fan keeps the air circulating to ensure each area in the cabin is kept at a consistent temperature to keep humidity levels in check. 

Our favorite feature on this cooler is their heavy UV-resistant glass door and reinforced seals that do an excellent job maintaining the temperature inside without any issues of air leaks.

The main separator among other brands is their temperature stability technology. After using this cooler, we were most impressed by the compressor’s ability to regulate temperature without any additional noise or vibration.

Compared to previous models, Schmecke has improved its digital display, offering quick-touch responses without any lag time.

This is recommended for anyone looking for an 18 bottle cooler that provides excellent compressor cooling and long-lasting hardware that can perform inside or outside.

Pros:

  • Great size for home
  • Airtight seals keep the door shut tight
  • The compressor is quiet and noise-free

Cons:

  • Bottles above 750ml may not fit unless shelves are rearranged 

 

Koolatron 21” Wine Cooler 

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Features:

  • Single Zone
  • 20 Bottle capacity
  • Freestanding
  • Thermoelectric cooling

Nothing is better than a high-quality thermoelectric cooling cooler, and Koolatron offers our favorite option for this category.

Thermoelectric cooling is different from a compressor in that there are fewer moving parts. This means there is less noise and vibration that is made, along with a much lower chance that you will need to repair a part.

This cooler also includes a fast-response digital display that includes a temperature gauge and quality LED light.

Our favorite feature on this cooler is to set it and leave it a digital temperature gauge that does an excellent job maintaining a constant temperature level, whether stored inside or outside. 

Comparing this to the previous model, Koolatron has improved the air circulation fan which creates less noise over long-term use. 

This model is great if you are looking to hold up to 20 bottles in a very simply designed, high-quality cooler that offers thermoelectric cooling throughout the cabin.

Pros:

  • Very durable build frame
  • An efficient cooling fan that circulates the air
  • Offers a sturdy glass door that closes tight

Cons:

  • The cooling fan is known to get louder over time

 

Wine Enthusiast Countertop Wine Cooler

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Features:

  • Single Zone
  • 6 Bottle capacity
  • Freestanding
  • Compressor cooling

Wine Enthusiast has done an excellent job with their countertop cooler which we always recommend if you have a small collection of wine.

This unit features a high-quality compressor cooling system that runs efficiently and quietly, ensuring more consistent temperatures.

With its LED lighting, it is easy to read the display, making it accessible at all times. The digital display buttons make setting the internal temperature easy.

Unlike many other options on the market, this cooler is energy efficient and certified by the U.S. Department of Energy.

A separator this brand offers compared to competing options is their long-lasting warranty and excellent customer support, making it easy to answer any of your questions that come up.

Compared to the previous model, Wine Enthusiast updated its energy features, making the overall cooler much more efficient. They do excellent work at keeping their products up to date.

Pros:

  • Perfect for small collections
  • High power compressor cooling 
  • Great warranty

Cons:

  • Durability is a known concern

 

Koolatron Urban Series Wine Cooler

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Features:

  • Single Zone
  • 10 Bottle capacity
  • Freestanding
  • Thermoelectric cooling

Our favorite feature on Koolatron Urban is the overall durability and quality of their thermoelectric cooling system.

A quality thermoelectric cooler is always an advantage, and Koolatron has done an excellent job offering low noise, an eco-friendly model that is the perfect size for any home and office.

You can store 10 bottles with Koolatron’s sturdy UV-protected door that protects against harmful UV rays while the LED interior lighting gives you the perfect amount of light to view your bottles.

A standout among other brands is Koolatorn’s Eco-friendly thermoelectric unit, which maintains air at a cooling temperature without extra vibration. 

Compared to previous models, the new model includes an updated digital display that is a fast-touch response without any lag time. 

This cooler is perfect for anyone looking for a 10 bottle capacity thermoelectric cooler, with the added benefit of eco-friendly cooling and low vibration at a very affordable price. 

Pros:

  • Low noise and vibration
  • Eco-Friendly cooling
  • Durable build and frame

Cons:

  • No Fahrenheit temperature gauge

 

Conclusion

You should have a full grasp of all elements of storing wine in a cooler at home by now.

There are plenty of options on the market for built-in coolers, so we’ve given you a wide range to choose from. We emphasized their limitations and crafted a broad range of models so you will have plenty of options.

Stay tuned for new wine guides. We’ll have a busy content calendar over the next few months, so return soon.

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