Chase Maser on September 26, 2016 1 Comment If you’re an avid wine drinker, then you’re most likely stockpiling new additions of reds and whites to your collection. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where your normal household refrigerator can no longer support your growing supply. When you find yourself stacking your Cabernets next to the 2% milk, it might be a good time to consider a new storage option. No matter what route you take, whether it be a built-in wine cooler or a freestanding wine cooler, Compact Appliance is here to provide a useful guide offering several key things to consider when making your decision. Click Here to View All Built-In Wine Coolers 1. Placement First and foremost, deciding on where to place your wine cooler will set the tone for the kind of unit you purchase. If you’re planning on filling an empty cabinet space in the kitchen, then it’s best to go with a built-in wine cooler unit because these appliances are designed to fit directly into small, under-the-counter spaces. On the other hand, if you’re looking to occupy a blank space in a room, then a freestanding cooler is your best bet because these units are moveable and can be as wide or as tall as necessary. It’s crucial to first designate an appropriate space that meets your wine storage needs before thinking about other factors. 2. Capacity Along with placement, knowing how much you need your cooler to hold reveals what options are available. What is limiting about built-in wine coolers is that these units tend to be more compact. They’re meant to be placed under the counter or within a cabinet—designed specifically to fit well into a kitchen’s structure – and their limited size results in a limited capacity of wines. To a modest consumer, a limited space may be perfect, but for someone who has a vast collection, a freestanding cooler will provide the room to maintain and expand a repertoire. Depending on the amount of space available to fill, some built-in units are capable of acting as freestanding units. For example, EdgeStar make a 166-bottle built-in wine cooler that is 24 inches wide and fits beautifully into any space. Its design is “built-in” in the sense that the ventilation is equipped on the front of the appliance (freestanding coolers have rear and side ventilation), but its size has the capability of performing like a refrigerator. EdgeStar offers a great selection of built-in wine coolers with bottle capacities ranging from 24-310, and freestanding cooler capacities can range anywhere from 20-315 bottles. With a wide range of options available, once you narrow it down to how much you need to hold and where to put it, Compact Appliance makes it simple to make the best purchase. 3. Temperature Zones Wine capacity is important, but what really makes all the difference between built-in and freestanding coolers is the amount of temperature zones each unit has. The most common wine coolers – freestanding or built-in – are single zone units. This means that the temperature within it is maintained throughout the entire appliance. A single zone unit is ideal for anyone who mainly drinks one kind of wine or variations of that kind; keeping everything chilled together. Basically, any brand will offer a single zone cooler in any style, so there isn’t much of a debate between built-in and freestanding appliances at this level. When you start adding different types of wines into the mix, then a cooler with dual or multiple zones is what you’ll want to shoot for. Dual zone units are the most popular choice among wine drinkers because it allows one to chill different types of wines at two different temperatures. Zinfandels can be stored at the top in a lightly chilled setting, and Champagnes can be stored at an even colder setting underneath! Multiple zone units provide even more room for a wide array of options because you can store several different types of wine at different temperatures throughout. Seeing as how more zones offer more capacity for wines, it’s safe to say that a larger appliance will be needed to accommodate the expanse. Built-in wine coolers are made to be small-scale and space-saving, so these units typically only offer single or dual zone capabilities. Freestanding units can have taller and wider dimensions, which allows for more space with more zones. The bottom line is that if you’re in need of more zones, then a freestanding unit is best. If you’re comfortable keeping all your wines at one temperature, or if you need two separate zones, then a built-in unit will do the trick. 4. Types of Cooling Something worth mentioning in respect to both types of wine appliances is the way that a unit is cooled. The two main methods of cooling for any built-in or freestanding appliance are compressor cooling and thermoelectric cooling. Compressor Cooling Compressor cooling is commonly found in larger appliances, meaning that it has the ability to cool a great number of bottles while keeping temperatures consistent regardless of outside environmental changes. Although they tend to consume more energy and produce more noise while operating, if you’re in the market for a freestanding unit then this is the method you’ll most likely choose. Click Here to View All Freestanding Wine Coolers Thermoelectric Cooling On the other hand, smaller capacity wine coolers, such as built-in units, utilize a method called thermoelectric cooling. This process is energy efficient and is more desirable for smaller households. Plus, its system’s operations are virtually soundless, which makes it a sleek, subtle option that won’t draw too much attention. The only negative to this method is that their inside temperatures are sometimes affected by the outside environment. Nonetheless, if you’re looking to fulfill a tight space, or you live in an apartment or small home, this type of cooling is ideal. Some freestanding units do contain thermoelectric cooling, such as with many of our Koldfront Wine Coolers, but you’ll notice that these exceptions are only for smaller bottle capacities. Air Cooled Technology A third method that many great products are leaning toward is air cooled technology. This process uses a series of powerful fans that evenly circulates air throughout the unit, which rids the appliance of overheating in isolated areas. EdgeStar makes several wine coolers with this style of cooling, but unfortunately, many of these appliances are solely built-in. 5. Price Once you’ve considered all the other factors, the last thing to contemplate is the price. On average, freestanding wine cooler units are lower in price, making them a bit more desirable. A freestanding appliance doesn’t require the same strict dimensions that a built-in unit does, and a consumer can easily find a brand and size that can be plugged in anywhere. Built-in wine coolers entail more diligence because you have to find one that fits perfectly into the cabinet or under the counter, while also having all the other features. To give you a frame of reference, and EdgeStar 34 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler, a freestanding unit with compressor-based cooling, costs $419; in comparison, the EdgeStar 30 Bottle Built-In Wine Cooler with air cooled technology runs at $599. With the freestanding unit, you’re getting a few more bottles at 34 and saving $170, but you’re utilizing compressor-based cooling. It all depends on the consumer’s preference, but overall, the differences are small in comparison to the price gap.