What’s the Difference Between Thermoelectric & Compressor Wine Coolers?

What’s the Difference Between Thermoelectric & Compressor Wine Coolers?


With all of the wine refrigerators on the market today, it can be confusing as to which is best for your particular needs. Some of the smaller units utilize thermoelectric cooling (which is technically the cooling effect that occurs as a result of current flowing between two different conductors) while others are run by a compressor. But which is better?

Thermoelectric units are extremely quiet and efficient, making them perfect for smaller spaces or living areas. While they will protect your wine and are great for short term storage, they need a decent amount of clearance and may not function all that well in warmer ambient temperature environments.

Compressor units use refrigerant, much like your standard refrigerator. They can get down to lower temperatures (if keeping white wine at really cold), can handle higher ambient temperatures and may last a bit longer than the thermoelectric wine coolers. However compressor units can be louder and heavier than their thermoelectric counter parts.

So as you can see, it is not really a matter of which style of cooling is better in a wine cooler. It is more a matter of what factors are most important for your particular wine storage needs.

Shop this Article

From his first sips of wicker basket Chianti at his grandfather’s dinner table to a 1986 Premier Cru Gevrey-Chambertin, Tilden knew that there was something magical about wine. He earned his Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators. Having been with Wine Enthusiast catalog since 2005, when he is not writing about wine he also runs the wine storage division and is head of W.E.’s in-house education program.