The Key Differences Between Built In And Fully Integrated Wine Coolers

  • 2021-10-27

No matter how big or small your wine collection is, it deserves to be stored in the best possible way. Wine coolers are a great way to store your wine - they protect your wine from UV light, humidity, and of course, maintain a cool temperature.

There are three main types of wine cooler - freestanding, built-in, and fully integrated. Built-in and fully integrated wine coolers are pretty similar, but what are the key differences between built-in and fully integrated wine coolers? Keep reading to find out.


What Is A Wine Cooler?

A wine cooler is one of the best ways you can store your wine. Wine should be stored at temperatures between 11°C and 14°C in order to remain fresh and drinkable for longer. Most wine coolers will store your wine in this temperature range, but some wine coolers allow you to store your wine in two or even three separate zones as opposed to just one.

Smaller wine coolers will typically offer just one temperature zone which is perfect for long-term wine storage. Wine coolers with dual temperature zones or multiple temperature zones maintain different temperatures throughout the unit - which means you can store your whites, reds, and sparkling wines at different temperatures, as well as storing wine for serving and for ageing.

Most quality wine coolers will also regulate humidity levels. Humidity can negatively affect wine as it ages, as well as destroy the label - which is the last thing you want if you’re ageing your wine. The optimal humidity levels for storing wine are between 55% and 75% - anything less may cause the cork to lose moisture, which can lead to the cork slipping out of place.

The cork needs the right level of moisture to stay in place to prevent oxygen from coming into contact with the wine. Too much humidity can have the same effect - the cork can become overmoist and cause the cork to slip out of place.

A wine cooler should also protect your wine from UV light. UV light can not only heat up your wine but cause premature ageing. As wine ages, it undergoes chemical changes - and sunlight exposure can speed up the chemical reactions.

This can leave a wine tasting acidic, unfresh, and generally unpleasant - so most wine coolers with glass doors will feature UV protection. Other wine coolers will store wine in complete darkness, and use lighting that won’t impact the way the wine ages.

Wine coolers are typically designed to accommodate standard Bordeaux bottles - but many wine coolers will have removable or adjustable shelves so you can store larger bottles (e.g Champagne or Prosecco).

Wine is best stored horizontally, so most wine coolers will allow you to store wine horizontally and stack them on top of each other for optimal storage space. However, others will allow you to store your wine at an angle, which is great for preventing oxidation.

You can also find wine coolers with helpful features such as door alarms, digital controls, locks, handless doors, and interior lighting. There are three types of wine cooler - freestanding, built-in, and fully integrated. Read on to learn more about the three types of wine coolers, including the key differences between built-in and fully integrated wine coolers.


Built-In VS Fully Integrated Wine Coolers

Built-in and fully integrated wine coolers are pretty similar. They’re popular designs of wine coolers and are certain to look great in any kitchen.

However, both built-in wine coolers and fully integrated wine coolers need to fit into certain space requirements. You can’t just buy any size and hope for the best - you’ll need to ensure that the measurements of the cooler match the size of the space you plan on placing the cooler.

Built-in wine coolers are designed to be installed under counter space or inside cabinets, and fully integrated wine coolers are designed to fit into cabinet space - for example, next to your fridge or underneath a countertop.

Both are designed to seamlessly fit into the interior of your kitchen space. However, the key difference between built-in and fully integrated wine coolers is that fully integrated wine coolers are designed to be fully enclosed by cabinet space. Built-in wine coolers, on the other hand, are designed to be built into kitchen space but with the wine cooler door accessible and not enclosed.

Built-in wine coolers need a couple of centimetres of space around the unit to prevent overheating and to allow the air to flow freely - but the space requirements vary from brand to brand, so always check with the manufacturer if you want the warranty to remain valid.

Fully integrated wine coolers are typically more expensive than built-in wine coolers as they’re designed to fit seamlessly into your home - so more work needs to be done to integrate the unit.

Both are great options, but if you want a super seamless look for your kitchen, then a fully-integrated wine cooler is your best bet. However, if you want to show off your wine cooler, then opt for a built-in or freestanding unit.


What About Freestanding Wine Coolers?

We’ve talked about built-in and fully integrated wine coolers, so it’s only fair that you learn a bit about freestanding wine coolers. Freestanding wine coolers are one of the most popular types of wine coolers. They’re called freestanding as they stand freely, and aren’t integrated into kitchen space unlike built-in and fully integrated wine coolers.

This means that you have plenty of freedom when it comes to placing a freestanding wine cooler, and it’s a quick and easy process to get the cooler placed and ready to store your wine.

There is one thing you need to consider when placing freestanding wine coolers, however. You should always leave around 3 inches of space around the unit for optimal airflow and to prevent the unit from overheating. You should also ensure there is enough space on top of the cooler for the air to escape - around 12 inches of space.