Can a Freestanding Wine Cooler be Built In: The Answer to This Frequently Asked Question

Can a Freestanding Wine Cooler be Built In

Wine coolers, as their name implies, are a great way to cool your wine at home and ensure that each type is stored properly to retain its quality. Those of us who have been drinking wine for years already know the right way of storing and chilling our wines at home, but those who are new to drinking wine and would like to have a nice selection at home might be shopping for a wine c00ler for the first time. The most frequently asked question we hear is “Can a freestanding wine cooler be built in?”

Such confusion actually lies in the fact that there are two kinds of wine coolers. It is either a freestanding one or a built-in one. First-time purchasers often wonder if the placement of the different types of wine coolers can be interchanged, which is, in a way, really logical. That is because a lot of wine coolers come in the right size to fit perfectly under counters. With this in mind, of course, a space-saving solution is for you to put it underneath the counter, right?

In order for us to accurately determine whether we can install freestanding types into a built-in application, and give some light to the confusion, we will provide you with a better understanding of the two types of wine coolers.

The Two Types of Wine Coolers

As we have mentioned, there are two types of wine coolers that you can find in the market. The difference between them is really not that complicated. That is because such does not lie on the cooling technology but with the design of their fans, vents, and heaters in line with their surroundings as well as where they should be customarily placed.

●    The Freestanding Wine Cooler

From the word “freestanding” itself, it can be denoted that this type of cooler should have its own place or space in your kitchen or home bar for it to be able to stand undisturbed. However, simply letting it stand would not be enough since there should be significant space between the wall and the cooler itself. The reason for this is that the vents of most freestanding models are at the back. Nonetheless, some models also have vents underneath them.

You might ask, “What are these vents for?” As similar to your vents in a house or those of your computer, they are the cooling mechanism of the appliance. Of course, the cooling process will eventually generate a lot of heat, and in order for the machine not to overheat, it should have a place where it can release its internal heat. Meaning, these vents are needed to ensure that air still circulates while the motor of the product runs.

Wine lovers know that it is a big no-no for a wine cooler to overheat. That is because it alters the temperature inside; thus interrupting the storing or chilling process of wine. This interruption might result in some changes in the wine, may it be flavor, sparkle, fizz, or consistency. Capacity-wise, a freestanding wine cooler can usually accommodate 20 to 50 wine bottles.

●    The Built-In Wine Cooler

These are wine coolers that have vents located at the front that is why they are specifically made to fit under counters, racks, and the likes. By doing so, there is still proper heat circulation within the storage area because the heat is directly pushed outside.

With that said, you should not have any kind of door or cabinet in the front of it that would restrict air flow from the area where the vents are located at the bottom, or else, you risk trapping the heat inside. To be safe, the place where you install this type should not have a door at all to ensure the proper release of the heat from the front vents.

Can a Freestanding Wine Cooler be Built In? Here are the Details

With regards to the question “Can a freestanding wine cooler be built in?” based on its placement, our answer would be a “Yes” and a “No.”

The Possibilities

The explanation to the “No” answer is in line with our discussion of the two types. As mentioned, if you put a freestanding wine cooler under the counter, you risk overheating the cooler. This is so since the heat cannot really escape that enclosed surface since this type has vents at the back. Therefore, if this cooler is in an enclosed space and the only way for the heat to escape is at the back, that heat wave will just keep on circulating at the back.

Here are the other things that can happen:

  • Your wine cooler will shut off which may require repairs or replacement.
  • It will not maintain the temperature that you set it.
  • The compressor will easily get destroyed because you are overworking it due to the extensive heat.
  • You are shortening the lifespan of the wine cooler because it is continuously running on high heat.
  • You also risk invalidating your warranty by placing a freestanding wine cooler in a built-in wine cooler’s space.

The Alternative

If you have already bought a freestanding wine cooler and do not have enough space, then you might have no choice and should consider putting it underneath the counter. You can do so, but you should give an allowance of at least five inches in all the sides of the wine cooler. For sure, it will look silly, but it is better to do that than risk having a fire, right? On the other hand, in case you have a freestanding unit wherein the vents are underneath, then all you need is a five-inch space between the floor and the bottom of the product.


As you can see from the above information, two types of wine coolers were made for a specific purpose, and that is precisely why you should not interchange their positions. The solution is simple, if you have under-counter space for a built-in wine cooler, then get that one. If you have extra space for a freestanding one, then opt for that type.

If you are stuck in the sticky situation wherein you have already bought a freestanding product and space is limited, you can consider the solution given, but it is still best to note that it is not ideal. Likewise, the allowance of space might still not be enough for your freestanding wine cooler to properly release its heat. So, really, it is safer just to put it somewhere else, where the heat can escape.

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