Built In vs Freestanding Wine Coolers
Blog,  Wine Fridge Information

Built In vs Freestanding Wine Coolers

David J Sharp
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In this article we’re going to be discussing the differences between freestanding and built-in wine coolers.

It’s important to know the differences between these two main types of wine fridge, as they each have certain benefits and drawbacks.

With that being said, let’s dive in and discuss the topic!


Which one should I choose – Built In or Freestanding?

The answer to this question almost entirely depends on where you’re looking to place the wine cooler.


Freestanding wine coolers are units which have their ventilation fan located at the back of the unit (usually at the bottom).

This vent is essential in providing the unit with enough airflow to maintain a consistent chilled temperature.

Now the issue arises when this wine cooler is placed in an enclosed environment, as this restricts airflow and ultimately renders the fridge unable to do it’s job as it will overheat.

Therefore, freestanding wine coolers can only be placed in an enviroment which is open.


  • Very affordable


  • Cannot be used in enclosed environments (undercounter/built in)



On the other hand, Built-in wine coolers are units which have their ventilation fan located at the front of the unit (usually at the bottom).

Because of this, they can be placed in enclosed settings where freestanding units would simply not be able to function.


  • Versatile placement options (both built-in and freestanding)


  • Can often be more expensive than freestanding units



Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we’ll address all of the most common questions that we get asked on the topic. If you don’t see the question that you’re looking to get answered, leave it in the comments section and we’ll add it to the list, alongside an in-depth answer.

This helps us improve the article’s quality, helping other visitors looking to compare built-in vs freestanding wine fridges.

Can a freestanding wine cooler be built in?

No, a freestanding wine cooler cannot be built-in (i.e used within an enclosed setting, such as under your kitchen counter), but a built-in wine cooler can be used in a freestanding setting.

Can a built-in wine cooler be used in a freestanding environment?

Yes, both units are essentially freestanding in nature, but built-in units have a front-facing vent and therefore they’re versatile in where they can be placed.

What would happen if I installed a freestanding wine cooler under your counter?

As we talked about above, freestanding wine fridges cannot be installed within enclosed environments where airflow to the vent would be reduced.

Therefore, installing such a unit under your counter would not only jeoprodise the cooler itself, but your wine collection too.


In conclusion, built-in wine fridges are more versatile in their placement options, when compared against freestanding units.

However, this often comes with an additional cost.

None-the-less, we’ve identified some of the highest-quality undercounter and built-in wine coolers within our buyers guide here.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below, and if they’re particularly helpful, we’ll add them to this article.

David J Sharp is a wine equipment expert, having previously worked with some of the best wine cooler manufacturers within the USA. Today he works as a full-time wine cooler and wine cellar consultant for small and large clients alike. You can find out more about LoveCraftWines here.

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