Every home needs a refrigerator, and if your home requires addition beverage storage, adding the best beverage center to your kitchen, basement or outdoor space is a practical option. There are, however, many features and benefits to consider, such as layout, design and bottles or cans storage capacity. You will need to choose between under counter, freestanding, and outdoor units, amidst numerous brands and models. Prices range from a couple of hundreds to a couple of thousand dollars, which will likely factor into your purchase decision. We’ve researched and narrowed down the options to eight of the top-rated beverage centers, as well as a couple you may want to avoid.
Reviews of the 8 Best Beverage Center, Plus the 2 Worst to Avoid
1. Danby 120 Can Beverage Center Stainless Steel DBC120BLS Review
While all Danby products are sturdy, high-tech, and practical, the DBC120BLS is definitely the best freestanding beverage center of average capacity, and one of the best selling appliances of its kind. It is perfect for large families, friend gatherings, weekend barbeques, dinners with guests, and anyone who wants to avoid running out of their favorite beverage or having to drink it at room temperature.
Offering 3.3 cubic feet of storage space, this Danby cooler can accommodate up to 120 cans. Organizing drinks is easy with the stylish and practical interior shelves made of 3.5 black wire. The tempered glass door blocks out ultraviolet rays, keeps the drinks cool, and enhances the appliance’s aesthetics with its stainless steel trim.
A mechanical thermostat incorporating the latest technology lets you program cooling temperature from 43°F to 57°F. The embedded lock and key are the perfect solution for preventing the access of children and teenagers to alcohol, and for ensuring your peace of mind if you decide to leave the beverage center in a high-traffic area.
An interior light activated by the opening of the door lets you use the beverage center at night without worrying that you may have grabbed soda instead of beer. No matter where you place the cooler or what hand you use to open it, you can adjust it to your convenience, due to the reversible door hinge.
2. Newair AB 1200 126 Can Beverage Cooler Review
If you hate buying beer and soda all the time, or having to refill the fridge every day, perhaps it is time to consider investing in a NewAir AB-1200. It may not be the best freestanding beverage center for small apartments and condos, but it will surely add style and convenience to a corner in your house, office, garage, B&B, game room, or vacation home, with its black and stainless steel design.
It can accommodate up to 126 cans, but storing oversized bottles and cartons won’t be an issue either, due to the large bin accompanying the five removable racks. Compared to its predecessor, it offers lower cooling temperatures, starting from 34o F, adjustable by choosing from the 7 temperature settings available.
The LED lighting ensures easy access to your drink of choice in the dark. The compressor cooling technology ensures silent operation. Add to that the low energy consumption, and you have several reasons to trust NewAir AB-1200 with chilling your favorite drinks.
3. Phiestina PH CBR100 106 Can Beverage Cooler Stainless Steel Door with Handle Review
When you’re the host, no matter the occasion, cold beverages are a must. You can’t expect your fridge to accommodate both the food and the drinks, so the best solution is to invest in a cooler like Phiestina PH-CBR100. Some claim it is the best freestanding beverage center available, so it should be worth a closer look.
Its compact stainless steel design and its lower dimensions compared to the above models make it easy to find a place for it. The compressor cooling technology makes it quiet and energy efficient. The blue LED lights add to its style and come in handy when you’re reaching out for a cold drink in the middle of the night.
It is up to you to decide how cold the drinks should be. You can easily adjust the temperature between 38oF and 50oF with the digital controls, and monitor it with the help of the LCD screen. PH-CBR100 has black wire shelves that let you fill it with ease and allow you to store anything you wish, from beer and soda cans to wine bottles.
4. Kalamera 15 Beverage Cooler 96 Can Built In Single Zone Touch Control Review
If you want a beverage center spacious enough to handle your needs on game nights and during weekend get-togethers, but compact and discreet enough to fit your kitchen furniture, this is probably the best built-in cooler you could get.
It is suitable for freestanding installation as well, so you won’t regret your acquisition if you change your mind about incorporating it in the kitchen furniture. With a footprint of just 22.4”x14.9”, it will fit anywhere, from mansions to small condos. Its stainless steel design and transparent glass door give it a stylish look that will compliment any environment.
It is so quiet that you can place it in the bedroom and still sleep peacefully through the night. You won’t have to turn on the light if you get thirsty, as it has its own blue LED light to help you find and grab your favorite drink. Filling it will be just as easy due to the six removable metal racks.
The door is reversible and comes with a security lock, to keep your beverages safe yet easily accessible to you. You can adjust the cooling temperature from 38 to 50°F, and check it on the incorporated digital LED display.
The interior fan will make sure all the stored beverages reach the desired temperature. The embedded carbon filter will protect your wine bottles against odors and other outdoor impurities. It is true, these impressive features come at a price, but this is a long-term investment endorsed by numerous buyers.
5. Edgestar BWC70SS 62 Can Beverage Cooler Stainless Steel Review
It is one of the best built-in refrigerators for small families, convinced bachelors, and hotel rooms. It is a simple, compact, budget-friendly solution to a common need. You can place it anywhere, without worrying about noise, aspect, or accessibility. The BWC70SS allows both built-in and freestanding installation, and it is one of the smallest devices of its kind with a reversible door.
It comes with a simple yet stylish and compact design highlighted by a glass door with attractive stainless steel trim. It can store up to 62 – 12 oz. cans, 32 – 20 oz. bottles, 40 – 16 oz. beers or 20 oz. energy drinks, and various combinations of these, due to the smartly designed removable racks.
It relies on an energy-efficient compressor to cool beverages at temperatures between high 30s and mid 50s. It lets you adjust the temperature from a thermostat control knob placed on the back wall. It is not only convenient and energy efficient, but also affordable. If you want cold drinks on a budget, this cooler should be the answer to your needs.
6. Danby DWC172BL 18 Cu Ft 17 Bottle Counter Top Wine Cooler Review
Compact, affordable, and reliable, Danby’s DWC172BL is one of the best wine refrigerators you could place on your kitchen countertop. The all black cabinet lets it match any furniture and interior design. The tempered glass door ads style and functionality, letting you see when it needs refilling. Its hinges are reversible, ensuring easy access to it no matter where you place it or what hand you use.
You can’t help but fall in love with the scratch-resistant worktop and the chance to use it as additional storage space. The interior is conveniently organized with the help of three removable wire shelves coated in vinyl: two are full width, and one is staggered. You can store large bottles and beer and soda cans as well.
DWC172BL comes with three cooling levels: minimum, medium, and maximum. Temperatures vary between 400F and 580F. The lowest temperatures are reached on the bottom and middle shelves, so place your beer on the bottom shelf. When cooling wine, use the middle shelf for white wine, and the top one for red wine.
7. Kalamera 24 Beverage Refrigerator 175 Can Built In Review
Many label this Kalamera refrigerator as the best undercounter beverage center for those who are not on a tight budget, its 24’’ measurement being impressively small for its considerable capacity. It fits in almost any kitchen, entertainment area, hallway or dorm room, and it can store cans of various sizes, and beer and wine bottles as well.
The stainless steel design with triple-layered glass door is highlighted by blue LED lights that come in really handy when you’re reaching for a beer in the dark. The security lock helps you protect your reserve against children, teenagers, and unwanted drinking buddies.
The Kalamera 24″ Beverage Refrigerator comes with 6 sliding and removable metal shelves that let you organize its content as you see fit. For even easier access to your favorite drinks, the door is reversible. The built-in carbon filter ensures optimum air quality.
You won’t need to worry about noise or high-energy bills due to the compressor cooling technology it incorporates. As for cooling performance, you can adjust the temperature from 38 to 50°F with the digital controls, and monitor it on the incorporated LED display.
The Temperature Memory function ensures that, in case of power failure, the unit will memorize and bring your favorite drinks to the last set temperature. This may not be the most affordable unit in its capacity range, but its features and outstanding design make it worth it, and hundreds of buyer reviews confirm it.
8. Edgestar CBR1501SLD 5.49 Cu Ft Edgestar 142 Can Built In Stainless Steel Beverage Cooler Review
If you prefer to store your favorite drinks outdoors, near the pool, on a covered patio, in the garage or next to the barbecue, you need an appliance that will handle extreme temperatures and weather caprices. The EdgeStar CBR1501SSOD is the one.
What makes it the best outdoor beverage center? Its sturdy, stainless steel design underlines its ability to withstand harsh weather and protect your beverages against temperature differences and UV rays. Its capacity makes it suitable for pool parties and weekend barbecues.
Its sleek door made of stainless steel has a towel bar handle and factory installed lock. At the interior, you’ll find removable glass shelves, LED lights, and digital temperature controls and display. The cooling temperature can be adjusted from 38 to 50°F.
The unit runs on a powerful but quiet and energy-efficient compressor. A fan circulates the air and evens the temperature, so you won’t have to worry about rotating drinks or looking for cold spots. This is the most affordable and most efficient outdoor beverage center in its capacity range, so the investment should be well worth it.
Avoid – Magic Chef 44 Bottle Stainless Dual Zone Wine Beverage Cooler Review
We’ve seen some pretty-good Magic Chef products, especially wine coolers, but this one seems to disappoint everyone. From a $700 cooler, you expect both quality and functionality. When you see features like dual temperature zones, you expect to be able to enjoy your favorite drinks as cold as you like them.
Add to that a compact design with transparent glass door, stainless steel handle, and frame, removable kick-plate grill, digital temperature display, and user-friendly controls, and you have the image of a great product.
Unfortunately, high expectations bring about huge disappointments, and this seems to be the case with Magic Chef MCWBC77DZC. According to the available user reviews, it breaks down really fast, it doesn’t cool beverages as it should, and it is really noisy. Even if you can live with these faults, you are still better off buying a cheaper model of the same capacity.
Avoid – Uline U1024BEVS00A Built In Beverage Center 24 Stainless Steel Review
At first sight, this beverage center looks quite attractive. Its high storage capacity, its sleek black interior, and its impressive features help it appeal to anyone. Who wouldn’t want LED lighting, wine racks coated in black vinyl, tempered glass shelves, digital passive cooling technology and controls, temperatures ranging from 34 to 450 F, and the freedom to choose between built-in and freestanding installation?
Unfortunately, all of these come with a high price, too high in our opinion. If you check the recommendations above, you will see there are similar appliances at half its price. As if that were not enough, those who had the courage and the money to invest in U-Line U1024BEVS00A now regret their decision.
It appears the unit is very loud, and breaks down with ease. It does not live up to its promise to cool drinks up to 34-450 F, as it does not have an interior fan. The doors’ gasket seems to leave room for improvement as well, and we find that unacceptable in a beverage center that costs over $1300.
Top 3 Beverage Center Brands:
If you want a beverage center that will function flawlessly for years to come, keep your energy bills low, and rely on a responsive customer service, you should stick to a reputable brand. Which brands are more trustworthy? Our research led to the following three brands:
It is a Living Direct, Inc. brand of consumer appliances, indoor air quality systems, and garden and lawn products, with registered headquarters in Austin, Texas. Although the brand is American, and the design and development of the products takes place in America, the product manufacturing process takes place in China.
Edgestar beverage centers come in a variety of styles and sizes. You’ll find both home and commercial undercounter, freestanding, and outdoor beverage coolers of varying capacity, able to meet all needs and budgets. Most of them allow storing any type of beverage, but dual zone models are better for storing both beer and wine. They allow different temperature settings, and it is well known that wine usually needs higher temperatures than beer.
Edgestar coolers rely on compression cooling, interior fans ensuring even cooling in high-capacity models. They have user-friendly LED lights and control panels. They have compact designs and high-storage capacity. Their prices are very affordable, and they have predominantly positive customer reviews
Most beverage coolers have only 90 days warranty for labor and 1-year warranty for parts. To gain some peace of mind, it may be a good idea to choose the extended warranty option when buying a cooler. However, according to the available feedback, it is unlikely for a cooler to break down during the warranty period.
We noticed a few complaints about loud units and poor customer service. While the customer service has improved considerably, you may want to read the available buyer reviews on the model you wish to buy in order to assess the level of noise it makes.
The company was founded in 2002 and produces air quality control systems, icemakers, and wine and beverage coolers. NewAir use both compressor and thermoelectric cooling on their products, and they focus on portability, energy efficiency, and customer service quality.
They claim to produce luxury appliances, but their products have quite competitive prices. They range from small, portable coolers, to commercial grade refrigerators with capacity to store hundreds of cans and bottles and dual zone cooling.
Unlike Edgestar, they offer 1-year warranty for both labor and parts, only letting buyers worry about shipping removal and transportation costs. Other strengths include slide-out shelves, quiet operation, and low cooling temperatures (competitive beverage coolers offer temperatures between 38 and 580F, but NewAir coolers usually start from 340F).
Their weakest models seem to be the dual zone coolers. According to the available buyer reviews, one of the cooling zones ends up failing, and the displays occasionally break down. Also, their built-in units seem to need more ventilation space than other brands.
All in all, NewAir products are reliable, budget-friendly, have valuable features, and mostly positive feedback from buyers. They may not be perfect, but they remain among the best-rated beverage centers on the market, and that should count for something.
Believe it or not, the company behind this worldwide renowned brand is family-owned. Danby have been on the market for almost seven decades. Although they started in Canada, their products, refrigeration and specialty appliances, have conquered the U.S. market.
They now have manufacturing facilities in the US, Mexico, and China, and several other famous brands in their portfolio, like Silhouette, ColdTech, Breaking Bland, and Micro Fridge. They also have partnerships with BergHOFF, Whirlpool, Sunbeam, and Kenmore.
From the very first products, Danby showed particular interest in portability and compact size, two features of utmost importance in appliances for home use. These features are still present in their products, along with affordability, quality, functionality, innovative technology, and attractive design.
The Danby beverage centers offer includes both built-in and freestanding units, relying mostly on compressor cooling. You’ll find coolers for all needs and budgets, ranging from small, home-use models to professional, commercial grade, dual-zone units.
The most appreciated features of Danby beverage coolers seem to be the LED display and digital controls, the tinted glass offering UV protection, and the warranty going up to 36 months for both labor and parts on some products.
2018 Buyers Guide to the Best Beverage Center:
Now that you know more about the products available to you, it is time to focus on finding the best one for your particular needs. What worked for others could not work for you, so you may want to begin by assessing your needs, setting your priorities straight, and considering a few aspects.
What to Consider Before Adding a Beverage Center in Your Home
What is more important to you: saving space, cooling more beverages, impressing your guests, keeping your energy bills low, or paying the lowest price possible? Depending on your priorities, you should consider several factors before choosing one beverage cooler over another.
Some prefer to incorporate their beverage center into their kitchen furniture. Others turn it into the centerpiece of their living room, man cave, entertainment room, or garage. There is also the option to keep it outdoors, on your patio, next to the pool, or on the terrace.
Depending on the location, you’ll have a certain amount of space available, so you may need to pay special attention to measurements and design, to make sure it fits the existing furniture. The installation place will also influence your choice of door type (stainless steel, transparent, mirror, or tinted glass door), and the need for lights.
There are hundreds of beverage centers available, able to accommodate from tens to hundreds of beverages. Before you start your hunt for the best appliance, you need to assess how many cans and bottles you want it to cool.
Don’t forget to correlate the cooler’s capacity with its dimensions! You would not be the first buyer to want high capacity at small dimensions. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, so don’t forget to check dimensions, and compromise, if necessary.
3. Single Zone vs. Dual Zone Cooling
If you’ve ever browsed an online store for beverage coolers, you’ve probably come across dual zone models. They basically let you have two coolers in one, and they come in handy when you want to cool both wine and beer, or when someone in your family has different temperature preferences. They are also more expensive than single-zone coolers.
Single-zone coolers are better for beer and soda, and more affordable. If you want different temperatures for different beverages, but you can’t afford a dual-zone cooler, check out models without an interior fan. The cooling temperature usually varies between the top and the bottom rows, or between the front and the back area.
4. Cooling Mechanism
The most popular beverage centers on the market use thermo-electric or compressor cooling mechanisms. Each option has its pros and cons. Compressor coolers offer lower temperatures, perform better in high temperature environments, and have longer life spans. However, they are louder and heavier than thermo-electric ones.
Thermo-electric coolers, on the other hand, are extremely quiet, lightweight, and compact, and they make great alternatives for storing beverages on short term. Unfortunately, they are not that powerful, and they often fail to provide the desired temperatures in hot environments.
Different Types of Centers: Undercounter vs. Freestanding vs. Outdoor
Depending on where you want to install your new beverage center, you’ll have to choose between three main types. What are the differences between them, and why does the place of installation matter so much? Let’s see:
1. Undercounter Coolers
They are designed to be integrated into the kitchen furniture, usually under the counter, hence the name. They could replace an older appliance, while providing utility and discretion. Their exterior fan is usually placed in the front, to allow better airflow.
However, some coolers, especially those designed to allow both freestanding and built-in installation, have back fans. If you settle for a back fan model and you wish to place it under the counter, remember to leave up to 5’’ all around it.
Consider choosing a built-in cooler with reversible door hinges and lights, to make sure nothing prevents your access to it, especially if you live in a small home, or have poor interior lighting. It shouldn’t be that hard, judging by the features of the above-reviewed models.
2. Freestanding Coolers
Although they are slightly bulkier and heavier than undercounter units, freestanding coolers allow greater flexibility. You can install them anywhere, from the kitchen countertop to a game room, man cave, and even bedroom.
They are easier to access than built-in units, perhaps a little more attractive in design, but they also require more space. This can be a problem, especially in small apartments, condos, and studios, so it is important to consider the installation space and conditions in advance.
Some freestanding units can be incorporated into the existing furniture. However, they will require a significant amount of free space on the sides, top, and bottom. This may compromise the overall look of the room and prove inefficient when it comes to storage space.
3. Outdoor Coolers
Outdoor refrigerators work harder than their indoor counterparts. They need to cool beverages to the same temperatures, but while dealing with extreme and shifting temperatures. This calls for better insulation, and more powerful components.
Waterproofing is important as well, since appliances installed outdoors often put up with rain, splashes, and moisture. If the components are affected by moisture, they break down, or the risk of electrocution increases.
Finally, since exposure to the elements involves dust and debris, not to mention high winds and accidental hitting with stones or fallen branches, most outdoor units have stainless steel, scratch resistant doors. Unfortunately, all these extra features come at a cost – outdoor units are two, even three times more expensive than indoor ones.
Tips to Install a Beer Fridge or Center
- The installation of any appliance should begin with reading the manufacturer’s instructions. They will tell you exactly where and how you should install your cooler, in order to avoid breaking warranty terms.
- As far as the location is concerned, you need to make sure it is free of moisture, far from any open heat sources and direct sunlight. The surface should be even and firm, to allow proper fixation of the unit.
- If that’s set, you need to make sure the cord will reach the closest power supply, or find some other solution to power the unit. Manufacturers recommend individual circuits at standard electrical supplies and adequate grounding.
- Before plugging in the appliance, you should wait for 24 hours, or until the compressor oil settles down. After plugging in the appliance, you should let it cool down to the desired temperature before filling it with beverages. Some manufacturers recommend letting it run empty for 24 hours. This means you’ll be able to enjoy your first cold drink from your new beverage center after 48-50 hours from receiving it.
- It is also important to leave the recommended space clearance for the ventilation system. This space varies from one brand to another, and from built-in to freestanding units, starting at 1.5’’ for built-in units, and reaching 5’’ for freestanding ones.
- Most units should be kept away from direct sunlight, as the heat may affect their efficiency and spoil the drinks. If this is not possible, some models have tinted glass doors, with UV protection, or plain stainless steel doors.
- Avoid installing appliances designed for indoor use in outdoor kitchens, bars, or garages, as this may void their warranty and they will probably break down after being forced to work harder, and in improper conditions.
Tips to Clean a Beverage Cooler
Cleaning your beverage center should not be any more difficult than cleaning your fridge. Just in case you have doubts, here are the steps you should follow:
- Unplug the unit and remove all the beverages from it. Take out any racks, bins, shelves, or plastic holders.
- Make your own cleaning solution by mixing baking soda or vinegar with warm water in a bottle spray. Of course, you can use a mild detergent if that’s what you want. Toothpaste works miracles on persistent, dry stains.
- Spray the homemade or store-bought detergent on the interior walls of the appliance, wipe them clean, and polish them with a dry cloth. Don’t forget to clean the door gaskets as well, as they are usually the most vulnerable to dust, debris, spills, and moisture. Applying some petroleum jelly on the gaskets will improve their elasticity and ensure proper sealing.
- Wash or wipe clean the parts you removed one by one, and place them on an old newspaper or cloth to dry at room temperature. When they are dry, put them back in place, paying attention not to scratch the cooler’s walls or break any glass parts.
- Close the unit’s door, and clean and polish the exterior using the same solution you used at the interior.
- Once or twice a year, vacuum or brush the condenser to prevent overheating.
- When you are done cleaning, and all parts are dry and back in place, turn the beverage center back on.
What You Need to Know About Undercounter Refrigeration (Video):
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Beverage Center:
Finding the best beverage center may seem difficult due to the huge number of appliances available, in all sizes, types, and capacities. However, it all comes down to assessing your needs and finding the unit that meets them. You know better than anyone what your needs are, and the above lines provide all the information you need to identify the device that meets them.
You can free up space in the refrigerator, and save energy if you’re only using the main refrigerator to cool beverages. You can save kitchen space, and have your favorite drinks within reach, by installing the appliance where you need it the most. You can enjoy your wine, beer, or soda at your favorite temperature around the clock, without worrying about replacing bottles or finding room for them.
Whether you need a cheap and compact cooler to fit under your kitchen countertop, or a spacious, imposing cooler to impress your guests, we suggest sticking to popular and reliable brands and models like the ones reviewed above.
Why? They have been tested and deemed worthwhile by hundreds, if not thousands of buyers worldwide. Spare parts are cheaper and easier to come by. Authorized repair centers are everywhere, and provide prompt and affordable service.
Of course, the final decision is yours. We hope you found the above advice and information useful, and your new acquisition will help you enjoy your favorite drinks at your preferred temperatures for years to come.
It is difficult to name one product as the best. Some buyers care more about the price, others focus on capacity, performance, or aesthetics. The perfect beverage center will combine the best of everything, but it remains only a concept.
After thorough research and extensive comparisons, we’ve managed to put together a list of products that should answer most needs and expectations. They have affordable prices, reasonable capacity, and predominantly positive buyer reviews.