Not everyone is prepared to spend more than $1,500 on a wine chiller. But if you're into the finest wines, chances are you'll also want the best storage money can buy. Based on Consumer Reports' tests of more than a dozen models, that distinction belongs to the Electrolux IQ-Touch EI24WC65GS, which outscored the competition by a sizable margin.
The $1,530 Electrolux IQ-Touch is an undercounter wine chiller, meaning it's designed to be built into your cabinetry. (We also tested freestanding models, whose clearance requirements prevent built-in applications.) The Electrolux offers very good temperature control, which is key to preserving the flavor of quality wine. It's also one of the most energy-efficient models we tested, costing just $7 per year to operate, compared with $40 and up for other models. (Hey, that's another nice bottle of wine, right?)
In terms of features, the Electrolux IQ-Touch has a lot of what we look for, including racks with full-extension ball-bearing glides for easy access and tinted glass to keep out harmful light. It has only a single temperature zone (unlike the increasingly common dual-zone chillers), but most wines store well at 55° F. A second zone, like that found on our recommended Haier WC200GS and Vinotemp VT-46TS-2Z chillers, is nice if you want to bring a wine's temperature up or down before serving.
The recommended Haier sells for under $1,000, and we also picked a freestanding chiller, the Frigidaire FFWC42F5LS, that does a respectable job for just $380. And lest you think spending top dollar guarantees top performance, consider the undercounter U-Line Echelon 1175WC, which retails for $1,630 and was dead last in our wine chiller Ratings, combining poor temperature control with subpar efficiency.
Copyright © 2005-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.