Beverage Refrigerators Buying Guide 2023
Our buying guide will cover exactly what you should look for in a beverage cooler. We will cover everything from energy efficiency to the types of drinks to the dimensions of the fridge.
The energy rating of your beverage fridge is an often overlooked specification when purchasing a beverage refrigerator.
However, it’s one of the more important specs to look at before making your purchase. We strongly recommend purchasing a beverage refrigerator that is Energy Star rated, which means that the refrigerator is about 10% more efficient than the ratings recommended by the federal government.
Most of the beverage refrigerators on the market have an Energy Star rating, so this should not be too difficult of a spec to meet. We consider this a minimum requirement.
Types of Drinks
The types of drinks you plan on putting in the beverage refrigerator will determine the type of refrigerator you should purchase.
Do you plan on cooling wine in your beverage fridge?
You should purchase a fridge specifically meant for wine. These fridges are typically a little wider and have a higher temperature range to accommodate the ideal higher temperature (~60F) wine is often served at for drinking.
Do you plan on cooling beer and other drinks?
A standard beer fridge will work fine. These fridges are typically a little narrower and have a lower temperature range because most people prefer drinking cold beer.
Do you plan on cooling beer and wine?
Look for a beverage fridge with two doors or cooling zones. One zone is a little warmer to accommodate wine while the other zone is colder for the beer.
As they say, it’s the best of both worlds.
The design of your drink fridge is very important. This mostly comes down to personal preference, but we do recommend purchasing a beverage fridge with a glass door because they tend to look better.
However, if you plan on placing the fridge in your garage or out of eyesight, then the appearance isn’t nearly as important compared to the appearance when the fridge is in your kitchen or family room.
This is a huge thing to look for when purchasing a drink fridge. How big is the fridge? How much space do you have in the area?
Thankfully, beverage fridges are fairly small and often have reversible doors, which means less problems when searching for a place to put your fridge.
Carrying capacity refers to the amount of drinks that you can store the fridge. These fridges are meant only for beverages, so you can store a lot of drinks in them if necessary.
Again, this comes down to your needs. Not everyone needs a drink fridge that can hold 126 cans of beer and 33 bottles of wine, but it is an option.
The smaller fridges will usually have a capacity around 60 cans of beer, which is plenty of beer for most people. Be sure to check our best beer fridge roundup.
Do you plan on using the fridge to freeze your drinks?
This might sound strange, but placing vodka (or other high alcohol percentage beverages) in below freezing temperatures cools them down quickly without the risk of freezing.
You can also use the freezer portion for meat or other items you place in the freezer long-term.
If you do want a freezer, then that limits your drink fridge options to mostly mini-fridges, which are perfectly fine.
Just keep in mind that it’s primarily a refrigerator with a small freezer section. The freezer on a drink cooler will not replace your regular freezer.
Drink fridges will set you back a few hundred dollars to about a thousand dollars for a nice one. Bigger fridges with more temperature controls will always cost more than smaller ones with fewer temperature controls.
If you’re looking for the best budget choice, then you should expect to pay around a hundred dollars for your fridge.
Maintenance and Repairs
Fortunately, the maintenance and repairs on drink fridges are not that frequent. The fridges just don’t break that much.
However, we still recommend purchasing a fridge with a one year warranty at the very least. Some fridges have warranties of a few years, and those fridges will give you the least amount of maintenance problems.
The overall dimensions are a very important thing to consider if you plan on purchasing a built-in drink fridge. This is because a built-in fridge goes directly into your counter (usually under it). If it’s smaller than the cut-out, then you will have some problems.
It’s also important to note the depth of the drink fridge. Most owners prefer having a drink fridge that is flush with the rest of the counter because it just looks better that way. You don’t want to have the door of your fridge jutting out past the counter – that looks ugly.
Storage compartments are most often found on mini-fridges, which can be considered a beverage fridge.
A storage compartment is particularly useful if you plan on storing anything other than beverages in the fridge. Though there are some storage compartments that automatically dispense drinks.