The cooling unit you choose for your wine cellar will depend on a number of factors including the size and needs of your wine storage space, as well as your budget. If you have a large wine collection filled with collectable wines that you plan to age for many years, then having a wine cellar with built-in refrigeration may be your most cost-effective option on a price per bottle basis.
Three Types of Wine Cellar Cooling Systems
There are three primary types of wine cellar cooling systems. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Self-Contained (Non-Ducted) Systems
Self-contained systems are like installing a window unit air-conditioner in your wine cellar. These are self-contained, single units that are mounted through a wall and maintain the appropriate temperature within the wine cellar. These units are the most affordable and convenient of the wine cellar cooling systems, and they have temperature and humidity control built in. However, they also have some disadvantages.
- Many units are designed to be mounted on an interior wall. Therefore, they vent heat and exhaust into an interior room, which needs to be a well-ventilated room about twice the size of your wine cellar where users won't be bothered by fan noise and excess warm air. Because of this, these often work well in a basement with a utility room next to it.
- Those units that can be mounted on an outside wall need to be efficient to up to 105°F (or higher if you live in a very hot location).
- The units can be noisy.
- They work best in small cellars - larger cellars need a different solution. The more square footage they chill, the more expensive the units tend to be.
- They stick out of the wall, so they aren't the most attractive solution.
- Repairs may require you to uninstall the unit and ship it to the manufacturer.
Ductless Split Cooling Systems
With a wine cellar refrigeration split system, it's ductless split cooling system. The evaporator and condenser are split. The evaporator is placed nearby, and the condenser is a free-standing unit outdoors. The two are connected by copper piping (which can be concealed) and the air is forced into the wine cellar. For larger wine cellars, this is a cost-effective option, it doesn't require much in-the-wall work, and it's quieter than a self-contained system. Repair work can be carried out with the unit in place. This type of system has disadvantages as well:
- It's a more expensive system if you only have a small cellar.
- It's louder than a ducted unit.
- It doesn't control humidity.
Ducted Wine Cellar Cooling Systems
Ducted wine cooling systems can cool even the largest wine cellar. These systems have the evaporator and condenser outside of the house, and ducting carries the cooled air into the wine cellar. This means there's no need to handle or vent exhaust and hot air, and the systems are extremely quiet. They are the quietest of all systems. The air is forced through the ducting into your wine cellar. These are best for people with large cellars filled with highly collectible fine wines that they plan to hold for many years. Of course, these have disadvantages, as well.
- Requires extensive in-wall installation of ductwork through the house.
- Installation is expensive and requires professional HVAC work.
- This is the most expensive solution for wine cellar cooling.
Some Wine Cellar Cooling Systems to Try
If you're looking for a wine cellar cooling system, consider some of the following options.
WhisperKOOL Slimline 2500 Self-Contained Cooling System
Wine cellar reviews suggest the WhisperKool Slimline 2500 is one of the quietest self-contained wine cellar cooling systems you can find. The low profile makes it space-efficient, and it is effective for a wine cellar of up to 300 cubic feet. The cost is under $2,000 as well.
N'Finity 3000 Wine Cellar Self-Contained Cooling Unit
This is Wine Enthusiast's top rated wine cellar cooling unit. It's a through-the-wall self-contained unit that cools up to 650 cubic feet. At under $1,800, people like the size and price; it's a good value for the price. However, they do mention it's a very loud unit, which is typical with through-the-wall wine cooling units.
WhisperKOOL Platinum Mini Split
WhisperKOOL's Platinum Mini Split is a ductless split system that generally receives good reader ratings. It has the capacity to cool a 500 cubic foot wine cellar. Reviewers note the unit is quiet, compact, and efficient. Expect to pay around $3,500 for this unit.
EuroCave INOA 600 Wine Cellar Cooling Unit
This unit is unique in that it can be an in-wall unit or you can use ducted installation with it, giving you multiple options for how you chill your wine. It cools 850 cubic feet, so it's good for larger wine cellars. Reviewers like the versatility, which gives them more options when designing their wine cellars. They also report it is quiet and reliable.
Cooling Units for Wine Cellars
Building a wine cellar is a major undertaking, but if you purchase collectable fine wines meant to be aged, then a wine cellar is your best option for maintaining your wine at the optimal storage temperature and humidity. A wine cellar cooling unit allows you to keep aging wines under ideal conditions.