Freestanding vs. Built-in Wine Coolers: Making the Best Choice for Your Home

Freestanding vs. Built-in Wine Coolers: Making the Best Choice for Your Home

Although many forms of wine storage exist, one of the best options for small or rare collections of wine is undoubtedly a wine cooler. Wine coolers are designed to offer powerful temperature and humidity control while keeping your wines safe and secure from the elements.

The two main types of wine coolers are freestanding and built-in units. Each offers similar climate control features but differs significantly when it comes to cost, maintenance, size, and upkeep.

Interested in buying a wine cooler or fridge for your home but not sure which option to choose? This guide is for you.

Freestanding Wine Coolers

Freestanding vs. Built-in Wine Coolers

Also known as freestanding wine fridges, these units are typically standalone and completely self-contained. Most freestanding wine coolers feature glass doors so you can clearly see the bottles they hold, and they are easily portable, making them a great choice for a home where flexibility and change are prioritized.

Built-in Wine Coolers

With a similar appearance to freestanding wine fridges, built-in models or integrated wine coolers are not standalone units. Instead, they are often built into kitchen cabinets, under staircases, or even walls. Although not portable, built-in coolers offer a range of customization options and can often be much larger than a freestanding cooler, making space for a larger wine collection.

Factors to Consider

Considering the many subtle differences between these options, you should take several factors into account when choosing between a built-in or freestanding wine cooler.

Available Space

Freestanding wine fridges may be portable and convenient, but they certainly take up more floor space than a built-in option. As a standalone unit, a wine fridge will likely stand against a wall and take up as much space as a regular fridge. For larger collections, the space taken by the fridge can quickly become overwhelming.

Alternatively, built-in options can be designed to fit in unused cabinet space, under a staircase, below your kitchen counter, and even into a wall. For smaller homes or homes where design and aesthetics are important, a built-in option is the clear winner.

Cooling System

Although both types of wine coolers offer robust temperature and humidity control, built-in units often have more flexibility and customization options. In most cases, freestanding wine coolers offer only one temperature zone, making them ideal for only one type of wine. On the other hand, built-in units can be designed to provide a range of temperature zones, allowing you to store reds, whites, and Champagne in their ideal conditions in the same fridge.

Cost and Budget

Typically, the more standardized production of freestanding wine fridges makes them more affordable than their built-in counterparts. Since there’s no installation, adjustments, or customization, freestanding fridge prices can stay relatively low.

However, over time, maintaining and using a built-in wine fridge may work out cheaper. As they are installed into your existing furniture or structural elements, they have better insulation and are more energy efficient, saving you on your utility bills in the long run.

Long-Term Considerations

Freestanding Wine Cooling Systems

Before buying a wine cooler, it’s best not to just look at your initial issues like space and budget, but also take long-term factors into consideration like whether a wine fridge can improve your home’s value or be expanded if your collection grows.

Resale Value

Built-in wine coolers are likely the only type of wine fridge that will affect your property’s resale value should you ever choose to sell your home. With more and more people collecting fine wines, a built-in unit could be just the thing to seal the deal with a fellow wine enthusiast. On the other hand, opting for a freestanding unit will allow you to take your wine cooler with you should you wish to move—or even sell it separately if need be.


One of the most significant constraints of built-in wine fridges is that they are not particularly easy to expand or replace over time. Should your collection grow, or should you plan on expanding it in the near future, it may be best to opt for a freestanding option. That way, you can simply sell your existing fridge and buy a bigger one when you need it.

Freestanding coolers are also a great option for homes where design, layout, and aesthetic are changed often. Being able to move the fridge around as you wish can be a major pro for anyone who prefers not to have too many immovable appliances dictate the layout of their property.

Choose Wine Racks America

Wine Racks America offers a comprehensive list of wine storage and cooling products. From built-in and freestanding wine fridges to wine rooms and full wine cellars complete with state-of-the-art cooling systems, we have everything you need to safely and securely house your growing wine collection.

Want to learn more about our wine cooling options and whether they’ll work for your property and collection? Contact us today.