Best Beverage Coolers 2021: Reviews & Buying Guide

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best rated beverage cooler

Shopping for a Beverage Cooler?

You’ve come to the right place.

Who Needs a Beverage Cooler?

Any home where lots of canned or bottled drinks are consumed can benefit from a dedicated beverage cooler. You can set one up in the kitchen, the patio, game room, or den. Beverage coolers are also great for offices, dorm rooms, boats, and RVs.

You might think you don’t need a beverage cooler because you’ve already got a refrigerator. While a refrigerator will cool your drinks, it does so inefficiently.

If you are only chilling a few drinks, you can cool them in your kitchen fridge along with other foods. But if you have many cans and bottles, a beverage cooler uses less energy and lets you dial in the perfect temperature to cool drinks to.

Beverage coolers also have a great style. Most have stainless steel accents and a see-through glass door.


What’s in this Buying Guide?

In this buying guide, we review and compare the best beverage coolers. We also explain how beverage coolers work and how to choose the right one for your needs.

If you are also looking for a blender that makes frozen margaritas, cocktails, and smoothies, check out our reviews of the best blenders for making frozen drinks.


Best Beverage Coolers

  1. Best Overall Beverage Cooler: homeLabs 120-Can
  2. Best Compact/Countertop Beverage Cooler: Antarctic Star 1.6cu.ft
  3. Best Wine Cooler: Ivation 12 Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler
  4. Best Large Capacity Beverage Cooler: Kalamera 24-inch 154 Cans Capacity Beverage Cooler
  5. Best Value Beverage Cooler: NewAir AB-1200 126-Can Refrigerator Cooler
  6. Best Dual Temperature Control Wine and Beverage Cooler: Aobosi 24 Inch
  7. Best Portable Beverage Cooler: Coca-Cola KWC4
  8. Best Built-in/Undercounter Beverage Cooler: EdgeStar 142 Can

Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com

Beverage CoolersBest ForCapacitySizeWeightInstallationCooling rangeReversible doorLockableWarranty
homeLabs
best beverage coolers
Best overall
120 cans18.9” W x 33.3”H x 17.3” D68.3lbsFreestanding/built-in34-50FYesNo2yrs
Antarctic Star
best beverage coolers
Best compact/countertop1.6 CU. Ft17.4” W x 19”H x 17.7” D35.8lbsFreestanding40-61FYesNo1yr
Ivation
top rated beverage coolers
Best wine cooler12 bottles9.92” W x 31.18”H x 17.72” D37.5lbsFreestanding64F NoYes1yr
Kalamera
top rated beverage coolers
Best large capacity154 cans23.4” W x 33”H x 24.2” D104.5lbsFreestanding/built-in38-50FYesYes1yr
NewAir AB-1200
best wine and beverage cooler
Best value126 cans18.9” W x 32.4”H x 18.4” D65.9lbsFreestanding: 37-65FYesNo1yr
Aobosi
top rated beverage coolersr
Best dual-zone57 cans/18 bottles23.43” W x 34.25”H x 22.64” D134.5lbsFreestanding/built-in35.6-50F/41-64.4FNoYes1yr
Coca-Cola KWC4
best beverage coolers
Best portable6 cans9.2” W x 10.5”H x 7.2” D4.7lbsFreestanding32F below ambient tempNoYes90 days
EdgeStar CBR1501SLD
best beverage coolers
Best built-in/undercounter142 cans23.5” W x 33.5”H x 24.75” D97lbsFreestanding/built-in38-50FYesYes1yr

1. Best Overall Beverage Cooler: Homelabs 120-Can

best beverage cooler

Our top pick is the HomeLabs 120-can beverage cooler. It’s big enough to meet the needs of a large family, has a great style, and you can install it undercounter or freestanding.

Pros

  • Large capacity.
  • Built-in or freestanding installation.
  • Can cool up to 34F.
  • Easy temperature control.
  • Auto-defrost.
  • Reversible door.

Cons

  • Some wasted space is unusable.
  • Not lockable.

Our Review

Cooling Performance

The most impressive feature of the homelabs beverage cooler is its cooling capability. There are pricier beverage coolers that only go down to 38F.

The homeLabs cooler can chill your drinks down to 34F, and some customers have measured temperatures as low as 30 degrees.

The cooler’s even air circulation, and excellent insulation (including double glazed doors) ensure the cooler maintains a constant temperature.

Temperature control is at the top. The two up and down touch buttons are easy to operate. There’s also a touch button for on/off, and another for turning the interior LED light on and off.

Storage

The homelabs has a volume of 3.2 cubic feet and can hold up to 120 standard-size beverage cans.

There are four storage compartments. As with most coolers, you can play around with the organization by adjusting the three shelves. This allows you to put in bigger beverage bottles.

Design & Installation

Overall, we love the design of the homelabs beverage cooler. It has a black plastic body with a stainless-steel frame at the front that matches well with the glass door.

Talking of the door, it’s reversible to accommodate your installation needs. Furthermore, you can opt to leave the cooler freestanding on the floor, or install it under the counter or in a cabinet.

For installation purposes, the homelabs cooler measures 18.9” wide, 33.3” high, and 17.3” deep.

Issues & Limitations

The main complaint from users is about the storage organization. No matter how you arrange your cans, there’s still some wasted space left that cannot fit additional cans, unless you have narrow cans.

The position of the fan also makes it a bit tricky to fit cans properly on the top shelf.

Another issue is that you cannot lock the door. There’s no way to keep kids and teenagers from getting into the cooler.

Bottom Line

The homelabs beverage refrigerator is a great choice if you are looking for a large capacity beverage cooler that is well built, reliable, and has good cooling performance.


2. Best Compact/Countertop Beverage Cooler: Antarctic Star 1. 6cu.ft

best beverage coolers

If you are looking for a small beverage cooler – whether because of limited space, or you want to chill only a few drinks – the Antarctic Star 1.6 cubic feet beverage cooler is the best choice.

It can hold both cans and wine bottles and fits perfectly on a countertop if you don’t have floor space to spare.

Pros

  • Compact – takes up little space.
  • Also holds wine bottles.
  • Adjustable temperature.
  • Reversible door.
  • Double-pane and UV-blocking door.

Cons

  • No precise temperature settings.
  • Only goes down to 40F.
  • A bit noisy.

Our Review

Cooling Performance

The Antarctic Star beverage cooler doesn’t manage the same super low temperature as homelabs. It goes down to 40F. But this is adequate for most beers, wine, and other beverages.

You can adjust how cold the cooler gets using a dial at the top.

Thick insulation, including a double-pane glass door, keeps the interior at a consistent temperature. The glass door is also UV-resistant. This ensures light doesn’t damage your wine.

Storage

The Antarctic Star cooler has a capacity of 1.6 cubic feet. It’s one of the smallest beverage coolers you’ll come across.

It’s perfect if you plan to store drinks for 1-2 people. It’s especially ideal for a man/woman cave, a home office, or a home theatre.

The interior is organized to hold both cans and bottles. You can adjust shelves depending on how many of each you have. Generally, you store about two dozen cans and several bottles of wine or water. Note that the bottles have to lie horizontally.

Design & Installation

The Antarctic Star cooler combines black plastic, a stainless-steel frame, and a glass door to create a beautiful contemporary style. The LED blue interior light adds to its cool modern look.

Its compact size makes installation easy. In fact, there’s no installation; you simply put it down in a corner in the room and plug it in. It’s also small enough to fit on a countertop or a small table.

Note that it’s designed to be freestanding only; DO NOT install it in a cabinet or under the counter.

Issues & Limitations

You can adjust the temperature for the Antarctic Star cooler, but the dial adjustment makes it difficult to set a precise temperature. Unless you have a thermometer, you have to do some trial and error until you find the perfect setting.

Also, keep in mind that the min temperature is 40F. If you like your beverages colder than that, this cooler’s not for you.

Many users have also complained about the gurgling noise and fairly loud hum the mini cooler makes. But most have gotten used to it.

Bottom Line

The Antarctic Star works great as a personal wine, beer, and soda cooler. It’s also a great choice if you don’t have space for a bigger cooler.


3. Best Wine Cooler: Ivation 12 Bottle Compressor Wine Cooler

best beverage cooler for beer bottles

If you want a beverage cooler specifically for wine, the Ivation wine cooler is the best choice. It holds 12 bottles of wine and you can set the temperature between 41F and 64F.

Pros

  • Optimized for wine storage.
  • UV-blocking glass door.
  • Adjustable racks.
  • Easy to use digital temperature control.
  • Lockable door.
  • Slim design takes up minimal space.

Cons

  • Included door handle screws are too small.

Our Review

Cooling Performance

The Ivation wine cooler’s temperature range is between 41F and 64F. It doesn’t get as cold as some beverage coolers, but that range is adequate for most wines.

In fact, most wines don’t need to be kept colder than 45F, and others chill best at 55F. Adjusting the temperature is easy; just press the up or down touch controls at the top.

A fan distributes cool air evenly throughout the cooler, while the double-pane glass door keeps the interior insulated and prevents UV from damaging your wine.

Storage

The Ivation wine cooler holds up to a dozen 750ml wine bottles. You place the bottles horizontally on wire racks. The racks are removable, so you can fit bigger bottles if you need to.

A soft LED interior light turns your wine cooler into a beautiful showpiece. You can turn off the light if you want.

Design & Installation

The tall and skinny design of the Ivation wine cooler is unique among beverage coolers. It also comes with a big advantage – a small footprint that’s perfect for space limited homes.

If you only have a small corner in your kitchen or basement for a wine cooler, the Ivation cooler is the best choice. Measurements are 9.92” W by 31.18” H by 17.72” D.

The manufacturer says it is a freestanding model. If you want to build it into a cabinet, call customer support to check if it’s safe and what amount of clearance you need.

Something else to note is that the door is lockable, making it easy to keep your collection out of reach of kids.

Issues & Limitations

The main complaint from customers is that the screws provided to install the door handle are too short. But you can easily get longer ones from a local store.

Also, note that the door is not reversible. Hinges are on the right side, so plan your installation accordingly.

Bottom Line

Want to chill just a couple or so bottles of wine? Get an ordinary beverage cooler and chill your wine alongside cans of soda or beer.

But if you have a big collection, we recommend the dedicated Ivation wine cooler.


4. Best Large Capacity Beverage Cooler: Kalamera 24-inch 154 Cans Capacity Beverage Cooler

top rated beverage coolers

Looking for a big beverage cooler that can hold plenty of cans and bottles? We recommend the Kalamera 154-can beverage cooler. It’s perfect for large families, as well as small businesses such as a bar or restaurant. It’s also a great choice if you often host large parties.

  • Large capacity.
  • Sturdy and durable.
  • Lots of thoughtful features including lock and lipped racks.
  • Freestanding or undercounter installation.
  • Easy temperature control.
  • Super quiet.

Cons

  • Pricey.
  • Big and heavy.

Our Review

Cooling Performance

The Kalamera beverage cooler’s temperature range runs from 38F to 50F. It doesn’t get as cold as some beverage coolers, but 38F is chilly enough for most drinks.

The control panel is located along with the top of the cooler and consists of easy-to-use touch buttons, plus a temperature display.

You can adjust the temperature, set the temperature memory function (the cooler will restore the set temperature after unplugging or a power loss), and turn the soft blue interior LED light on or off.

As with other coolers, the door is a double pane to ensure proper insulation. The glass is also UV-resistant to protect your drinks, and especially wine, from UV damage.

Storage

The 154-can capacity of the Kalamera cooler is plenty big for any size of the family. In fact, it’s big enough to serve the needs of a small bar or restaurant.

The large capacity also makes Kalamera a great choice for a home bar. You can chill different kinds of beverages including beer, soda, water, and wine.

There are four full-size compartments where you can store standard-size cans upright. A fifth smaller compartment at the bottom is only tall enough to store cans or wine bottles on their side.

But since the shelves are removable, you can arrange your drinks however you want. For instance, you can remove some racks to store wine or water bottles upright.

We really love the build quality of the racks. They are made from metal and feel very sturdy – no bowing at all in the middle when fully loaded.

Each rack has a lip at the front to keep drinks from sliding out when you pull out the rack.

Design & Installation

It’s not just the wire racks we are impressed with. The entire cooler feels well-made and looks like it’ll last a long time.

We love the steel-framed door, which by the way is lockable.

Vents are located at the front, giving you the freedom to install the Kalamera cooler freestanding or under the counter. Measurements without the handle are 23.4” W by 33” H by 22.4” D. Adding the handle increases depth to 24.2”.

One thing many customers love about the Kalamera cooler is just how quiet it is. Unless you are right next to it, you can’t hear it running.

Issues & Limitations

For its capacity and build quality, it’s not surprising that the Kalamera beverage cooler is expensive. If you are shopping on a budget, it’s probably not what you are looking for.

Another issue arising from its large capacity is that it’s big and heavy. Weighing over 100lbs, you’ll need help moving it inside the house and setting it in place. If you plan to build it under the counter, check that you have adequate cabinet space.

Bottom Line

Big, heavy, and expensive – the Kalamera beverage cooler is for serious beer and wine enthusiasts who need plenty of space to chill their beverages.


5. Best Value Beverage Cooler: NewAir AB-1200 126-Can Refrigerator Cooler

best wine and beverage cooler

Looking for a large capacity beverage cooler that doesn’t cost too much? We recommend the NewAir 126-can cooler.

In addition to its large capacity, it has good cooling performance and solid build quality.

Pros

  • Good value for money.
  • Large capacity.
  • Wide temperature range.
  • Adjustable shelves.

Cons

  • No digital temperature control.
  • Gurgling noises.
  • Filling it to the stated capacity (126 cans) limits cooling performance.

Our Review

Cooling Performance

The NewAir AB-1200 beverage cooler achieves temperatures as low as 37F and can go as high as 65F. The wide temperature range gives you the flexibility to set the optimal temperature for whichever drinks you want to chill.

Though the thermostat dial is not as easy to operate as the touch buttons on other coolers, it works well enough.

Storage

The NewAir AB-1200 is big enough for a large family. It holds up to 126 cans of beer or soda. By adjusting the shelves, you can also store wine and water bottles.

The wire shelves are sturdy and easily slide in and out of their slots.

Design & Installation

The NewAir AB-1200 beverage cooler is designed for freestanding installation only. Remember to let it sit upright for at least 24 hours before you plug it in.

Styling and construction are pretty similar to other beverage coolers. It consists of a black plastic body and a heavy glass door with steel framing. The door is double-paned for insulation and is reversible as well. Unfortunately, it does not lock.

The interior is lit up by a soft LED light that you can turn on or off with a button at the top of the cooler.

Issues & Limitations

There are several reasons why the NewAir AB-1200 is cheaper than other beverage coolers in the same class.

One, its temperature control is not as straightforward as in other coolers. Instead of digital temperature settings, you spin a dial with markings from 1 to 7. Unless you have a thermometer, you can’t know the precise temperature of the cooler.

Two, the NewAir AB-1200 is noisier than other coolers. It makes an annoying gurgling sound.

Another issue raised by customers is that the stated 126-can capacity actually limits cooling performance if you fill the cooler to the brim. It prevents airflow. For best performance, you have to put in fewer beverages.

Bottom Line

While not as sleek and modern as other beverage coolers, the NewAir AB-1200 is a great choice for anyone looking for a good bargain.


6. Best Dual Temperature Control Wine and Beverage Cooler: Aobosi 24-Inch

best rated beverage cooler

A dual-zone beverage cooler is necessary if you want to store wine and other beverages like beer at different temperatures.

The Aobosi cooler has two separate zones side by side, one for beverage cans and the other for wine bottles. You can set different temperatures for each zone.

Pros

  • Separate wine and beverage storage with dual temperature controls.
  • Wide temperature range for both zones.
  • Large capacity overall.
  • Freestanding or undercounter installation.
  • Lockable door.

Cons

  • Big and heavy.

Our Review

Cooling Performance

The cooling range for the Aobosi cooler is pretty good. On the beverage side (left), you can adjust the temperature from 35.6F to 50F. On the wine side, the range is 41F to 64.4F, which is adequate for wine.

Each side has its own temperature controls, so you can set a different temperature for each type of beverage. You can even completely turn off one of the sides while leaving the other on.

The Aobosi cooler also works great as a wine-only cooler. It’s handy if you have different types of wines that require different temperatures.

Storage

The beverage side has four compartments that can hold up to 57 standard cans of beer or soda. The wine side has six shelves that hold up to 18 bottles of wine.

Of course, you can remove and adjust racks on either side to meet your unique storage needs.

Design & Installation

We love how the Aobosi cooler combines different materials and colors to create a cool overall style.

The exterior is black on the sides with steel-framed glass doors at the front. This gives the cooler a beautiful modern look.

Inside, the shelves are made from wire and wood, adding a nice warmth and coziness to the cooler. Soft blue interior lighting complements the contemporary exterior style.

As expected, the Aobosi double beverage cooler is big. It measures 23.43” W by 34.25” H by 22.64” D, and weighs a whopping 134.5lbs.

Vents are at the front, so you can leave the cooler freestanding or install it under the counter for a cleaner look.

Issues & Limitations

You are essentially getting two coolers in one, so it’s not surprising that the price tag of the Aobosi cooler is high. If you are on a budget, this is probably not what you are looking for.

It’s also bulky and heavy, making it less than ideal for small homes.

Some customers also say it’s a bit noisy, though this is not a problem if you install it under the counter. But even when freestanding, the noise is not too bad and you only hear it when the compressor turns on. It’s as loud as the average kitchen refrigerator.

Bottom Line

The Aobosi dual-zone cooler is a great choice if you are looking for a beverage cooler that will let you store your beer or soda and wine separately at different temperatures.


7. Best Portable Beverage Cooler: Coca-Cola KWC4

best rated beverage cooler

Looking for a lightweight and compact cooler you can take on the road? We recommend the Coca-Cola KWC4, a portable 6-can thermoelectric cooler that can chill drinks to 32F below ambient temp.

Pros

  • Portable – great for RVs, boats, camping, road trips, and picnics.
  • Can be plugged into an AC or DC outlet.
  • Versatile – can be used as a beverage cooler or food mini-fridge.
  • Uses very little power.
  • Almost silent.

Cons

  • Only suitable as a personal beverage cooler.
  • Doesn’t cool as much as a compressor cooler.

Our Review

Cooling Performance

Thermoelectric coolers don’t cool to a preset temperature like compressor coolers. Instead, their cooling performance depends on ambient temperature.

The Coca-Cola KWC4 can cool beverages to 32F below ambient temperature. If it’s 71 degrees outside, the cooler will keep drinks at about 39 degrees.

That’s why it’s important to keep the cooler out of direct sunlight and hot environments like a locked car in the sun. The hotter it gets outside, the warmer your drinks will be.

In most circumstances, many users were able to chill their drinks between the high 30s and low 40s. It’s not as cold as a compressor cooler, but drinks get cold enough to quench your thirst.

Storage

Because it’s designed to be easily portable, the Coca-Cola KWC4 cooler holds a max of 6 standard-size cans. Four cans in the tall shelf below and two cans on their side on the smaller rack above.

The divider rack is removable, allowing you to put in taller bottles. The thermoelectric cooler also works great for storing foods when going on road trips, picnics, and camping. Just remember to put in foods or drinks pre-chilled for best cooling performance.

Design & Installation

The Coca-Cola KWC4 thermoelectric cooler doesn’t need any setup or installation. Just plug it into an AC or DC outlet (both types of plugs are included).

Design-wise, we love the classic Coca-Cola styling. If you want a portable beverage cooler that stands out, this is a great choice.

The Coca-Cola KWC4 cooler is all plastic, but it’s a tough plastic that will last a long time. Because the cooler doesn’t have a compressor and the only moving part is a fan, it’s far more reliable and likely to last longer than pricy compressor coolers.

Issues & Limitations

Because of its small capacity, the Coca-Cola KWC4 cooler is most suitable as a personal cooler. At most, it’s ideal for two people. If you want a cooler big enough for your entire family’s drinks, you’ll have to go with a traditional compressor beverage cooler.

Like other thermoelectric coolers, the cooling performance of the Coca-Cola KWC4 is limited by ambient temperature. In most cases, you’ll achieve minimum temperatures in the low 40s. If you want icy cold beverages, the Coca-Cola KWC4 is not the best choice.

Bottom Line

Small enough to fit on the seat of a car, and light enough to carry to picnics and camping, the Coca-Cola KWC4 beverage cooler is a great choice for outdoors and folks that spend a lot of time on the road.


8. Best Built-in/Undercounter Beverage Cooler: EdgeStar 142 Can

best beverage cooler reviews

If you are looking for a large beverage cooler you can install under the counter, we recommend the EdgeStar 142-can beverage cooler. Its stainless-steel door blends in great with other kitchen appliances.

Pros

  • Large capacity.
  • Lockable stainless-steel door.
  • Interior lighting.
  • Adjustable shelves.
  • Built-in carbon filters keep out odors.

Cons

  • Pricey.
  • Not suitable for those who want to display their beverages.

Our Review

Cooling Performance

With a min temperature of 38F, the EdgeStar cooler doesn’t get as chilly as some other beverage coolers. But 38F is cold enough for most beverages. Most customers are satisfied with how cold their drinks are.

Temperature controls are digital, so you can set a precise temperature.

A fan circulates cool air to keep the cooler at an even temperature, and circulation holes in the shelves ensure every part of the cooler is at the same temp.

The thick stainless-steel door does a pretty good job insulating the cooler. Even after switching it off or in case there’s a power loss, it’ll keep drinks chilled for several hours.

Storage

The EdgeStar cooler has an impressive capacity of 142 cans. Unlike some other coolers, you can fill it to the max without affecting the cooling performance.

The glass shelves are adjustable, letting you store bottles of wine or beer.

Design & Installation

The EdgeStar CBR1501SLD is a great choice if you want a beverage cooler that blends in with other kitchen appliances. It has a stainless-steel door, similar to most fridges and dishwashers.

The cooler is designed primarily for built-in/undercounter installation. Vents are at the front and it has a standard cabinet width of about 24”. But if you want, you can also leave it freestanding on the floor.

The door is reversible, and lockable as well.

Issues & Limitations

If you are looking for a budget beverage cooler, this is probably not it. The EdgeStar CBR1501SLD is pricey, which is expected considering its solid construction and large capacity.

It’s also not the best choice if you’d like to display your beverages via a see-through glass door. Unlike most beverage coolers, the EdgeStar CBR1501SLD has a stainless-steel door.

Bottom Line

The EdgeStar CBR1501SLD is a great choice if you are looking for a large capacity and well-made undercounter beverage cooler with good cooling performance.


Beverage Cooler Buying Guide

best beverage cooler for beer bottles

How do Beverage Coolers Work?

The working mechanism of beverage coolers is similar to that of an ordinary kitchen refrigerator. A compressor carries heat away from the interior of the cooler using a refrigerant, thus keeping the beverages inside cold.

The exception is thermoelectric wine and beverage coolers. These do not have a compressor. Instead, they contain a small heat pump that transfers heat from the inside of the cooler to the outside using the Peltier effect.

Beverage Coolers vs. Refrigerators

A compressor beverage cooler is essentially a refrigerator. However, beverage coolers tend to have a more limited temperature range compared to kitchen refrigerators.

That’s primarily why it’s not a good idea to store food in beverage coolers unless you are sure it’s cold enough to keep food safe.

Another big difference between beverage coolers and refrigerators is size. Coolers are smaller and the interior is tightly packed to maximize storage space for cans and bottles.

This makes beverage coolers more efficient than refrigerators. That’s why it’s worth it to invest in a beverage cooler for your beverages, rather than chilling them in a refrigerator or mini-fridge.

What to Look for in a Beverage Cooler

Here are the most important features and factors to consider when shopping for a beverage cooler.

1. Capacity

The first thing to decide is how big of a cooler you need. This will depend on how many drinks you plan to store.

If you like having lots of beer around, have a large wine collection, or want to chill drinks for the entire family, get a large capacity cooler.

If the cooler is just for your drinks, a smaller capacity unit will do.

Check the number of standard-size cans the cooler can hold. No. of cans is a more helpful measurement than cubic feet.

2. Wine vs. Beverage Cooler (or Both)

best beverage cooler for beer bottles

Next, decide what kind of cooler you want depending on the types of drinks you’ll keep inside.

If you are a wine-only person, we recommend a dedicated wine cooler. Wine coolers have storage racks and temperature settings designed specifically for proper wine storage.

If you plan to store a mixture of drinks – wine, beer, water, soda, milk, and so on – get an ordinary beverage cooler. You can adjust the racks to fit different types of cans and bottles.

Alternatively, get a 2-in-1 beverage and wine cooler with dual temperature control zones.

3. Cooling Range and Temperature Settings

How cold do you want your drinks to be? Most beverage coolers achieve a minimum temperature of about 37F or 38F, though a few can go as low as 34F. The upper limit is usually 50F.

Wine coolers tend to have a higher minimum temperature, usually 40F or 41F.

As you check the cooling range, check what kind of temperature controls the cooler has. Digital controls are the best and easiest to use. They allow you to set a precise temperature.

Cheaper coolers have a thermostat dial that’s calibrated with numbers such as 1-7. You need to do some trial and error, or use an external thermometer, to find the perfect setting for your drinks.

4. Auto Defrost

Most modern beverage coolers have automatic defrost, but you should still check to be sure. Auto defrost automatically removes any frost that has built up in the cooler and prevents drinks from freezing.

If a cooler lacks auto defrost, you have to defrost it manually now and then.

5. Size & Installation

Next, check the size of the cooler. Usually, a bigger capacity means a larger cooler. So, make sure you have adequate space if you want a cooler with a spacious interior.

If you want a large capacity cooler with a small footprint, look for one of those tall and slim models.

You also need to decide how you want to install the cooler – freestanding or built-in.

If you love the clean style of built-in appliances, make sure the cooler you buy is designed for built-in/under-counter installation. Such coolers typically have their vents at the front, so you don’t need any clearance on the sides or back.

Check if the door is reversible; it’ll give you the freedom to install it on the side that works best for your situation.

Also, check if the door is lockable especially if you have kids or teens in the house.

6. Style

Most beverage coolers have the same modern style: a black plastic body and a see-through glass door with stainless steel framing.

Soft LED lighting lights up the interior, beautifully displaying your drinks. Most coolers come with either blue or white LED lighting.

If you don’t want to display your beverages, you can find some coolers with a solid stainless-steel door.

7. Noise

Finally, check what customers are saying regarding how noisy a particular beverage cooler is.

Some noise is normal. Most coolers will produce a low hum, similar to a fridge when the compressor is on.

But some coolers can be too loud, and some produce an annoying gurgling sound.


Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Beverage coolers use less power than refrigerators. If you need to store a lot of drinks, a beverage cooler is a more efficient choice.
  • Beverage coolers are compact, thus taking up minimal space. This gives you the flexibility of setting one up anywhere whether it’s the kitchen, home office, basement bar, or patio.
  • Beverage coolers are optimized for storing drinks. They don’t have gazillion nooks and pockets like refrigerators. You can pack a surprising amount of drinks in a small cooler.
  • All beverage coolers have adjustable racks, so you can organize the inside to meet your needs. For instance, you can remove some shelves to fit bottles inside.

The Not so Good

  • Most beverage coolers are not suitable for food storage. You can put in milk and other beverages, but not meats, cheese, and other foods.
  • Beverage coolers are pricey compared to similar capacity refrigerators.

Cleaning and Maintaining

best beverage cooler

Maintaining a beverage cooler is easy. Occasionally wiping the shelves and interior is enough.

If you have a beverage cooler without auto defrost, you’ll need to defrost it manually after some time. This typically involves shutting off the cooler for 24 hours to let the built-up frost thaw away.


Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between a Beverage Cooler and a Refrigerator?

Beverage coolers are smaller and the interior is optimized for storing cans or bottles. Beverage coolers also tend to have a smaller cooling range compared to a refrigerator.

What’s the Difference Between a Beverage Cooler and a Wine Cooler?

A dedicated wine cooler will typically have a higher minimum temperature (usually 40 or 41F compared to 34-38F for beverage coolers). Also, the racks in a wine cooler are designed to hold wine bottles, not cans.

Some coolers are both beverage coolers and wine coolers. You simply rearrange the shelves to store whichever drink you want.

Can I Store Food in a Beverage Cooler?

In a pinch, yes you can store food in a beverage cooler. But only temporarily. Most coolers cannot maintain a low enough temperature to keep food safe over a long period.

But you can store drinks like milk, yogurt, juices, and smoothies in a beverage cooler. These will keep well in the cooler for a few days.

Why are Beverage Coolers Expensive For Their Size?

Because most use compressor cooling, similar to a kitchen refrigerator.

Most beverage coolers are also high-end appliances with high-quality materials such as stainless steel and double pane glass.

If you want a cheaper beverage cooler, look for one that runs on thermoelectric cooling, rather than compressor cooling.

What is a Thermoelectric Wine Cooler?

Thermoelectric coolers work based on the Peltier effect. Instead of a compressor, they have a small heat pump that moves heat away from the cooler’s interior.

Because they have very few moving parts (usually, just a fan), thermoelectric wine coolers are quieter and more reliable. They are also smaller and lighter, making them a great choice for someone looking for a portable beverage cooler.


Final Verdict: What is the best Beverage Cooler?

The homelabs 120-Can Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler is the best beverage cooler. It has a large capacity, the price is not too bad, customer feedback is very positive, and the cooling range is one of the best in the market.

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