After reviewing many of the top coolers available to commercial and residential homes, we recommend the hOmeLabs Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler because of its versatility, capacity and industry-leading performance.
Can you imagine how convenient it would be to always have a perfectly chilled beverage close at hand? When you add a compact beverage cooler to your home or workplace, you won’t have to imagine anymore.
These small appliances, designed for keeping drinks at the perfect temperature, make it easy to grab your favorite refreshing drinks. With the best beverage cooler, you’ll have an ideal spot to store beer, soda, juice and water.
In this post, we’ll explore the different types of beverage coolers, how to pick the best beverage cooler, and our top rated beverage coolers of 2021. Let’s get started!
Types of Beverage Coolers
Before you purchase a beverage cooler, think about where you plan to put it. There are a few different types of coolers, and you need to get the right kind for your space.
These mini refrigerators can go nearly anywhere in your home or office. They have finished sides, so they’ll look nice wherever you plug them in. You might choose to set a small one on a counter or leave a larger unit on the floor.
The one place that you shouldn’t put a freestanding refrigerator is tucked between your cabinets. These units need proper ventilation, so they require several inches of clearance all around them. Improper placement could cause a freestanding beverage cooler to overheat.
For beverage coolers that will be a permanent addition to your cabinetry design, you need an undercounter fridge, which is also known as a built-in cooler. These use a different ventilation system than freestanding units, so it’s okay for them to sit close to cabinets, counters and walls.
Like a freestanding cooler, a built-in cooler may have finished sides. Therefore, this style affords you the most flexibility. You can use it out in the open now and later move it to a built-in position when you remodel your kitchen.
These drink refrigerators are extremely compact units that are designed for you to take wherever you go. You can set a portable cooler on a counter or use it in your vehicle.
How to Select a Beverage Cooler
When you’re shopping for the best beverage refrigerator 2020, look for a unit that has many of the following features.
The shelves in a beverage refrigerator are usually made of glass or wire. Some units have metal shelving. No matter what material is used for your shelves, it can be handy for them to have a raised edge to keep drinks from toppling forward.
It’s helpful if the refrigerator has shelves that can be removed or rearranged. That allows you to fit many small cans or make space for tall bottles of wine. The best beverage cooler for beer bottles has pull-out shelves so you can see all your drink options, no matter where they are in the fridge.
Most mini drink refrigerators have a compressor system for cooling. This is the same system that most full-size refrigerators use, so you’re probably familiar with it.
A newer technology involving ceramic plates is thermodynamic cooling. Although you won’t find this system on as many beverage coolers, it’s worthwhile to seek it out because:
- It uses less energy than a compressor system.
- It’s a safe technology.
- It reduces the need for several inches of clearance around the cooler for air circulation.
- It can increase the lifespan of a mini fridge.
You want your drinks to be cold but not frozen, of course. Beverage coolers are usually capable of maintaining temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and they often go up to 50 degrees.
Many coolers have digital displays that show the unit’s temperature. These usually have buttons that you push to control the temperature. Other coolers have dial controls.
Many coolers have glass windows. These let you see the contents of a fridge, but they may not blend into your decor as well as opaque doors would. If a door is made of glass, it should be tempered. It’s a good idea if it also blocks UV rays, which could otherwise degrade the quality of your drinks.
Doors may open to the right or the left. Some have reversible doors, so you can set them up to open whichever way you prefer.
Beverage coolers for home use plug into a wall outlet. Small units meant for portability may instead plug into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter and run on 12-volt power.
Refrigerators can accumulate a buildup of frost. If a cooler comes with an auto-defrost capability, you won’t have to worry about regularly unplugging your fridge and cleaning it out to deal with this problem. Instead, the unit will continually work to combat frost accumulation.
When you want to grab a drink in the dark or see what’s in the furthest corners of your fridge, lighting can help. Some beverage centers have built-in LED lighting to illuminate your drinks. Blue light is nice because it’s gentle on your eyes in the night.
If you don’t want your kids to have access to your alcoholic beverages, you might want a unit with a lock. This can also be helpful if you use your cooler to display drinks for sale in a public place.
The Best Beverage Coolers of 2021
Your home or office deserves the best beverage cooler. The mini fridges on the following list have the features you’re looking for in a drink cooler.
1. hOmeLabs Beverage Refrigerator and Cooler
For those who like drink variety, this built-in beverage center is a great choice. It has adjustable shelves that you can move around to accommodate cans of soda, bottles of beer and bottles of wine. It has space for 60 large bottles or 120 cans.
This cooler runs on a compressor, and it can bring drinks all the way down to 33 degrees. There’s a digital keypad for setting the temperature, and the fridge remembers its last setting.
For convenience, there’s a glass door and a blue LED light. The cooler can auto-defrost, so maintenance is easy.
2. EdgeStar CBR1501SLD Built-in Stainless Steel Beverage Cooler
Are you looking for a beverage cooler that will match the look of your full-size refrigerator? This EdgeStar beverage center has a stainless steel door that will blend seamlessly with your other kitchen appliances.
You can build this cooler into your cabinets, or you can use it as a freestanding appliance. Its sleek glass shelves hold 142 drink cans. There’s a lock to keep greedy hands out of your supply.
A digital thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature between 38 and 50 degrees, and the cooler self-defrosts. Another convenient feature is its reversible door.
3. Antarctic Star Wine and Beer Cooler
If you don’t care about undercabinet capabilities, you might want to check out this freestanding mini fridge from Antarctic Star. It has adjustable shelves made of black wire.
The temperature range goes from 40 to 61 degrees, so you can use the cooler to hold beer and wine. Just keep in mind that this is a bit warmer than some beer coolers, so it’s best for those who don’t require nearly frozen beverages.
To help you see your cooler’s contents, the unit has blue LED lighting and a glass door with UV protection.
4. Kalamera Beverage Cooler and Fridge
If you want a large capacity mini fridge, this is the unit for you. This Kalamera drink cooler holds 154 cans on five removable shelves with raised edges to hold the drinks in place. There’s a glass door, so you can see what’s inside without opening the cooler.
This compressor-style cooler works as a built-in fridge or a freestanding one. Its temperature range goes from 33 to 50 degrees, and after a power loss, it remembers its previous temperature setting.
The inside of the fridge has blue LED lighting. A cylindrical lock keeps your drinks safe.
5. Bull Outdoor Rated Compact Refrigerator Series Ii – 13700
You can’t use just any beverage refrigerator outside, so this Bull unit is your best choice for a patio fridge. It is constructed of stainless steel and has a locking door so no one will steal your beers. The handle runs horizontally across the door, which can be set to swing in either direction.
The cooler has three strong wire shelves. Two of them can be removed or adjusted for accommodating drinks of different sizes. In fact, since the temperature range goes from 23 to 68 degrees, you can even use it for chilling wine.
6. Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer
When you’re on the road, there’s nothing better than having a cold soda in your hand, and this mini beverage cooler from Cooluli can help with that. With the capacity to hold six 12-ounce cans, it’s the best drink cooler for your car.
The mini refrigerator plugs into a cigarette lighter in your car, and you can also connect it to a wall outlet at home. There’s even an option to plug it into a USB power bank.
Keeping drinks cold isn’t all that this cooler can do. This versatile unit also has the ability to keep food warm.
7. Avallon ABR241SGLH Built-in Beverage Cooler
Most beverage coolers have hinges on the right side, but for space issues or handedness reasons, you might prefer the hinges to be on the left. For people looking for a left-hinged door, this Avallon unit is a good contender for the best undercounter beverage center 2020.
It can hold 152 cans, and they sit on three glass shelves. The door has a glass panel, and it locks for security. Thanks to a carbon filter, odors in the fridge are not an issue. A digital control panel allows you to move the temperature between 34 and 50 degrees.
8. Kegco VSCB-24SSRN Craft Beer Center
If craft beers are your thing, you can’t go wrong with this beverage cooler from Kegco. Its two shelves are just the right height to make it the best beverage cooler for beer bottles. To accommodate the weight of the bottles, the shelves are made of sturdy metal. They slide out of the fridge so you can easily access a bottle that’s at the back of the pack.
To accommodate different types of beer, the digital temperature control goes between 39 and 64 degrees. There’s a glass door that resists UV light, and it locks to prevent unauthorized access.
9. Koldfront BBR900BL Built-in Beverage Cooler
For homes that have only a slim space available for drink storage, the Koldfront unit is the best undercounter beverage center 2020. It measures just 15 inches wide but can hold 80 drink cans. The reversible door is another feature that will help this fridge suit your space.
Inside, there’s a blue light to help you see the contents. The compressor cools drinks to temperatures between 38 and 50 degrees, and you control this through a digital display panel. The current temperature is always visible through the glass-panel door.
For easy maintenance, this fridge is self-defrosting.
10. NutriChef PKTEWBC240 Wine Cooler and Mini Fridge
Do you want a cooler with thermoelectric technology? This unit from NutriChef offers it, and you can place it in your counter arrangement.
It also offers two different cooling zones. The top portion of the fridge, which has a glass door, is designed to hold wine bottles, and its temperature range goes from 46 to 64 degrees. The bottom portion is better for other drinks, and it can be set from 38 to 50 degrees. It holds six bottles on top and 16 cans underneath.
Other features on this unit include digital push-buttons, LED lighting and in-door shelving.
Where to Use a Beverage Cooler
Nearly anywhere that you spend a lot of time can be a great place for a beverage cooler. Of course, the kitchen is one popular spot, and built-in units are often placed amidst the cabinetry. By installing a drink cooler in the kitchen, you can leave your regular refrigerator dedicated to food. If you don’t cook at home, you may be able to install one of these small units instead of a standard fridge.
A game room or a t.v. room is another great place to put a drink station. When your favorite beers or sodas are right at hand, you won’t have to wait for a commercial break to grab another cold one. When friends come over for a board game night, drink refills will always be close at hand.
Don’t forget to put a beverage cooler at your workplace. It’s nice to have a cold soda nearby to help you through a long day of work. You can also use a cooler to display drinks for sale.
Of course, beverage coolers aren’t just for indoor use. A unit rated for outdoor installation can be an integral part of your patio kitchen. You can even take a portable fridge along on your car trips!
Beverage Coolers Versus Wine Coolers
The main difference between beverage centers and wine coolers is that the ones designed for wine usually maintain higher temperatures. While many beverage centers keep drinks in the 30s or 40s range, a common temperature range for a wine refrigerator is between 40 to 64 degrees. Some wine coolers even have dual zones so that reds and whites can be held at different temperatures.
Another distinction is that wine coolers sometimes have scalloped shelves. These are ideal for securely holding bottles of wine in a horizontal position.
Of course, although they aren’t designed solely for wine, many beverage coolers will accommodate bottles of wine alongside the canned drinks.
Final Thoughts on the Best Beverage Coolers of 2021
Whether you’re looking for the best beverage cooler for bottles of water, cans of soda, your favorite craft beers or your kids’ juice boxes, one of these top 10 choices is sure to do the trick for you. The best units feature easy temperature controls, sturdy shelves, and a style that blends well with your decor. When you add a beverage refrigerator to your home or office, you’ll always have a refreshingly cold drink close at hand.