Thermoelectric Vs Compressor Wine Cooler: The Pros and Cons

Thermoelectric Vs Compressor Wine Cooler

Whether you are a sommelier or a wine aficionado, you must very well know the importance of storing wine properly. Since temperature changes and sun exposure can ruin a perfectly good wine regardless of its price, you may have considered getting a wine cooler to avoid such waste. Not sure what kind of wine cooler to get? Don’t fret! We will look closer into the battle of thermoelectric vs compressor wine cooler to help you decide which one will work for you.

Truthfully, not everyone has space or the budget to build an underground cellar. Thankfully, wine coolers are there to provide you with an alternative solution to preserve the taste and the aroma of your wine. There are, however, advantages and disadvantages to each type of wine cooler.

Thermoelectric Vs Compressor Wine Cooler

Thermoelectric Wine Coolers

Thermoelectric wine coolers use what we call in science as the Peltier effect. Jean Charles Peltier, for which Peltier effect was named after, discovered that running an electric current between the junctions of a dissimilar metal plate causes one side to turn electricity into heat while the other side turns heat into electricity. The imbalance then makes one side hot and the other cold.

In the case of the thermoelectric wine cooler that is attached to a heat pump, warm air is expelled from the wine cabinet and dispersed using a heat sink made of aluminum fins, which then release the heat to the surroundings.

How Could It Work for You?

  • Noiseless

With only a few internal parts involved, thermoelectric wine coolers afford you a quieter operation than those using a compression system. If you like keeping the quiet in your kitchen, then thermoelectric wine coolers are right for you.

  • Vibration-free

Apparently, it’s not only the sun and the sudden spike of temperature that can do a good bottle of wine in but also movement and vibration. They hasten the aging process, which depletes the aroma and flavor of the wine. Thankfully, with thermoelectric wine coolers, this problem is eliminated. It also makes them ideal storage for wine bottles that you intend to store for a long time.

  • Energy-saving

Thermoelectric wine coolers require less energy to operate. As such, this translates to savings for you and a more eco-friendly choice for the environment.

Why It May Not be for You?

  • Heat-sensitive

If you can remember, thermoelectric wine coolers simply draw out heat from the cabinet, providing a relatively cooler internal temperature. They don’t add significant coolness inside. In an unstable or sweltering environment, it does little to keep your wine cool.

Additionally, they don’t do well if you place them near a heat source such as a stove. And you will have to remember to at least give the unit 5-inch clearance on each side for it not to overheat since thermoelectric wine coolers release hot air through heatsinks on the back.

  • Energy-saving

Because the thermoelectric cooling system is not as powerful as its counterpart, it follows that its built is small and its storage capacity is limited. For people who have a wide collection of wines, one thermoelectric wine cooler may not be enough. So, it’s either you stick with this system and just buy more units, or you opt for a bigger compressor wine cooler.

Compressor Wine Coolers

Compressor wine coolers use the same system as refrigerators. So you’ll find condenser coils, an evaporator, a refrigerant, and of course, a compressor motor, in this cooler type. The compressor motor applies pressure on the refrigerant, converting it into gas. The gas travels through the condenser, where it releases heat on its way to a small hole at the end called an expansion valve.

In liquid form, the refrigerant enters the small diameter of the valve, creating a pressure imbalance on either side of the valve. The refrigerant boils and reverts to gas form, only cooler. It then absorbs the heat inside the cooler, resulting to a lower temperature. Then, it gets sucked back into the compressor and the cycle repeats.

How Could It Work for You?

  • Powerful cooling

Because a compression motor works actively and efficiently to produce cold air, it is not vulnerable to temperature changes in the exterior environment. While putting one near a heat source, like an oven, or you living in an area with hot weather will cause it to work double time, the temperature inside remains unaffected.

  • Space-saving

With most compressor wine coolers equipped with front venting motors, they can be placed in tight spaces without running the risk of overheating. Additionally, they can be placed below kitchen counters.

  • Big storage capacity

Owing to its powerful cooling system, a compression wine cooler can come in bigger and with greater storage capacity. If you have a large collection, say over 40 bottles, then you would need to get a compressor wine cooler so that you’ll just have a one-dedicated unit for all of them.

Why It May Not be for You?

  • Produces vibration

While the compressor motor gives the system its most significant advantage, it’s also the source of a major disadvantage. As the motor kicks, it causes the cooler to vibrate. The vibration is small, but the effect can be significant over time, causing lower acid levels, diminished aroma, and increased sweetness.

  • Greater electrical costs

Compressor wine coolers require more energy to operate than their thermoelectric counterparts. If you place them near ovens, stoves, and dishwasher, then expect your electric bill to run up.

  • Noisier operation

Just like your fridge, a compressor wine cooler emits a steady hum. This is a minor problem that some users usually learn to get used to.


In the battle between thermoelectric vs compressor wine cooler, which one wins depends on individual needs and situation. Thermoelectric wine coolers are ideal for wine aficionados who like to keep their stock for years and living in areas with fewer temperature spikes or that are not extremely hot.

Compressor wine coolers, on the other hand, are for oenophiles with an impressively large collection of wines meant to be consumed anytime soon. They are particularly helpful in hot places or areas with unpredictable temperatures.

If your situation is less than ideal, then you will have to choose which one can give you a more advantageous storage system for your bottles of wine, sacrificing one advantage for another or by making adjustments on how long you intend to keep each bottle.

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