In this Guide
If you’re a big beer drinker, you know the struggles of keeping beer in the fridge. It takes up space you need for your food, and can often keep your beers at the wrong temperature. That’s why beer coolers are such a great innovation for your bottles and cans!
However, beer coolers can be very mixed in terms of effectiveness and reliability. The best beer coolers give you precise temperature control, effective storage space, and reliable performance–so you can leave your beer without worrying about how it’ll taste when it comes out again. But with the wrong cooler, you’re right back where you started.
We’ve searched long and hard for the best beer coolers currently on the market! We compared dozens of models, taking a close look at the features, specs, and innovations that make each one stand out.
We also took the time to sift through hundreds of reviews from previous buyers, to see how they stood up over time. In the end, we came up with 3 great beer coolers that we think are well worth your money!
In our in-depth reviews, we’ll show you why we think these are currently the best options out there. We’ll run through all the key features and specs, and help you figure out which one’s best for you!
Here’s a quick look at our favorites:
Best on a Budget
- Rating: 3.6
- Reviews: 54
- Free Shipping
- 1 Year Limited Warranty
- Rating: 3.9
- Reviews: 933
- Free Shipping
- Rating: 4.4
- Reviews: 8
- Free Shipping
- 1 Year Warranty
Beer Fridge Reviews
This Danby unit is currently Amazon’s #1 best seller! It’s a simple, sturdy, and versatile choice that suits most canned beers, especially darker varieties. We like the upper range of temperatures for ales and smoother beers, as well as for drinkers who simply like things a bit less frigid.
It makes efficient use of the space. This one stores 120 cans in just 3.3 cubic feet! Since there aren’t any external parts protruding, it’s very easy to fit into your home or office.
It has an interior light, to help you see what you’re doing. We like that it’s door-activated, so you don’t have to remember to shut it off. The bulb is an LED, so it’s very energy-efficient.
It can maintain temperatures anywhere between 43 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal territory for ales and other darker beers. The mechanical thermostat keeps things constant, and has fewer breakable parts than an computerized system.
The door window is tempered glass, with stainless steel trim. This certainly doesn’t look like a cheap cooler! It also defrosts automatically, so you don’t need to worry about ice buildup. We like that you can reverse the door hinges to suit your preferences, and your space. The door handle is also recessed to save space.
The black wire shelves hold up well over time, and provide shaped nooks and crannies for all the cans. That helps them stay in place, and keep from jumbling around.
It locks. That’s important for people with kids, and for added security if you live in a shared space or are installing this in an office.
It’s covered by a 1-year warranty.
This model has some reliability issues. Some buyers reported hearing some noises from the compressor system, while others ended up with coolers that died after a year or so. Other issues were faulty door hinges, or condensation on the inside of the unit. Since a majority of buyers didn’t have issues, we’re putting this down to lackluster quality control, rather than a design problem. However, quite a few buyers reported having poor experiences with Danby customer service.
It doesn’t get super cold. If you’re looking for something to serve you chilly beers, you’ll probably want to look at a different model. However, this is an ideal choice for beer drinkers who like darker ales and other brews that like slightly warmer climes.
This Whynter model brings a bolder look and a more powerful cooling system to the 120-can cooler format. It’s about the same size as the Danby, but can cool right down into the 30s, which is better for your lighter ales and lagers. We like the forced-air circulation system for maintaining an even temperature throughout the unit, as well as the adjustable storage shelves inside.
It stores just as much beer as the Danby. The Whynter holds 120 standard size beer cans, and can be adapted to store bottles and larger cans as well.
You can both remove and rearrange the shelves, thanks to the sliding groove design. We like being able to adjust the height as well as remove the shelves, since making adjustments allows you to store larger cans and bottles without losing a whole shelf.
It’s compact, like the Danby. The Whynter has the same recessed door handle and smooth exterior, which helps it fit into corners and tighter spaces.
It looks very bold. The exterior has an all-white finish, with stainless metal door trim and a glass door panel. This one matches white appliances perfectly, and will look at home in office or retail environments as well.
It locks. The Whynter has a simple cylinder lock like the Danby, and comes with two keys to keep your beers secure from prying roommates or adventurous children.
It has an internal fan system in addition to the compressor. That circulates air throughout the unit to make sure the temperature remains even for all the cans.
The whole cooling system is slightly more powerful than the Danby’s. Where the Danby will only cool beverages down into the 40s F, the Whynter will cool beers into the 30s. F. That’s perfect for people who like a slightly frostier drink, as well as beer drinkers who prefer lagers or Belgian-style brews that like colder temperatures. As with the Danby, the Whynter uses a mechanical thermostat system, so it’s easy to figure out and set.
The Whynter has an LED internal light just like the Danby. We prefer the Whynter’s, since you can turn it on and off independently of the door being opened.
You can reverse the door hinges. That makes it easier for left-handed people to use the appliance. You can also switch the hinge to accommodate for tighter spots in your home.
It’s not the quietest model on the market. Previous buyers reported a constant hum, but no loud cycles or clanking noises.
Some previous buyers found that it didn’t cool quite as powerfully as expected. They also noted that they lived in warmer climates, or were keeping the cooler in direct sunlight. Those are both factors you’ll want to consider before you buy any cooler. We’d always caution against putting a unit in direct sunlight, since you’re making it work much harder than it should be.
Some people didn’t like the manual light switch.
Our favorite built-in cooler on the market right now is this Kalamera. It’s a sleek, sophisticated model with a digital thermostat and control panel, as well as a modern stainless steel face. We love the option of 96/175 can capacities, as well as the option to use this as a standalone cooler or a built-in appliance.
It looks great. The whole front panel, including the trim, handle, and lower air vents are stainless steel. The door is clear, tempered glass, and the internal blue LED lights give this cooler a modern, electric look. The exposed handle and the lower front vents give this one a bolder, less utilitarian look overall than our other choices.
The digital control panel on the inside is easy to access, even when the case is full of cans or bottles. It displays the exact temperature inside the case, and allows you to change the settings with easy buttons. You can also turn the light on and off from the panel.
The adjustable wire racks work for both vertical and horizontal storage. You can also adapt them to fit both standard cans and larger pint cans. They’re removable and can be installed in virtually any configuration imaginable.
The advanced compressor system maintains temperatures more evenly, with fewer stops and starts. The longer cycles mean a lower overall noise level, and fewer clanging starts between them. The Kalamera cools from 38-50 degrees, which suits most beers. And, unlike many other beer coolers, previous buyers said the internal thermometer was spot on and stayed that way!
It’s the only one of our recommendations that can be built into cabinetry. That’s thanks to the front-facing vents, which allow it to work even when the back and sides are installed flush.
It locks, just like the other two models.
The double-layer door keeps the heat away from your beers, and lends the door some long-term durability–both plusses in our book!
The whole unit has a better reputation for reliability than the other two. It’s covered by a 1-year warranty, and we found that previous buyers reported very satisfactory interactions with Kalamera customer service when they had questions or concerns.
It’s expensive, especially the 174-can model. Even the smaller Kalamera is twice the price of our other recommendations.
The front-facing vents make this one a bit taller than the others, so it takes up more space.
If you’re looking for a super compact countertop solution for storing your beers, the NewAir is a safe bet for you. It’s one of the most versatile coolers on the market, with a cooling range from 34-64 degrees F. That’ll suit just about any beer, as well as personal preference.
Even though it’s super small, it still fits just over 80 cans of beer. You can rearrange the shelves to fit different sizes and orientations of cans, and they’re made of solid metal for excellent durability. We love the automatic defrost for keeping beers at those lower temperatures.
Previous buyers loved the quiet operation, as well as the speedy cool down time. We recommend it to people who want to keep a stock of beer on hand, but are pressed for space.
Which is the Best Beer Cooler for You?
The Danby is the least expensive of the three, and it’s one of the best selling models on the market. While it doesn’t get quite as cold as the other two models, it provides a perfect temperature range for darker beers like ales and stouts. It’s simple, effective, and affordable.
On the downside, it won’t get cold enough to satisfy all beer drinkers. If you like lagers, you probably won’t be able to get them as crisp as you would like. It’s also got some quality control issues. That’s why we’re only recommending it to people on the tightest of budgets.
The Whynter costs slightly more than the Danby, but it offers better reliability, and has a bit more powerful cooling system. If you drink lots of lager-style beers, or just like your drinks cooler in general, this one will serve you better.
We also like the internal fan system, which keeps temperatures more even than the Danby. This one’s a good choice for someone who goes through a lot of beer, and always keeps the fridge topped up. Since it’s more reliable than the Danby, we’re actually recommending this one to budget buyers, since it’s a safer purchase in the long run.
For people who are looking for a more permanent fixture, the Kalamera offers the option of building a beer cooler into your kitchen or home bar. It’s very powerful, gives you more precise temperature control with the digital system, and has excellent reliability.
We like it because it’ll work as a standalone or built-in model, and comes in an optional double-wide size. You can select exact temperatures for each type of beer, and even have separate lager and ale zones if you get the double-wide version. However, it’s much more expensive than our other options, and it’s not quite as compact. This is for the craft beer connoisseur, not for the Bud fan.
How to Choose the Right Beer Refrigerator
Decide on your budget:
Beer coolers are available from around $75 for compact mini coolers, right up to the thousands of dollars for big, commercial grade models.
While there are lots of options for $75-$150, we haven’t found any models in that price range that are really worth your money. They have weak cooling systems, and very poor reliability. We’d recommend spending at least $150 on any new beer cooler, so you can have a unit that you can rely on.
More expensive models offer more storage space, and more precise temperature control with digital panels. They’ll also offer better durability and reliability over the long run. If you drink more expensive brews and go through a fridge-full pretty regularly, these are a worthwhile investment. If you just want a few cans of Coors for you buddies, there’s no need to spend this much.
Think about durability:
While it can be tempting to try and get a bargain on a beer cooler, you’ll want to make sure you’re buying an appliance that will last you over the long term. You don’t want to spend all that money on a new cooler only to have it give out in the first year. That’s why we don’t actually recommend that most buyers get the cheapest machine in this guide. It’s smarter to buy something you won’t have to replace in a matter of months.
We’ve gone to great lengths to find the most reliable options out there. Look for metal shelves, which won’t crack or break. Look for double-layered or tempered glass doors, and solid hinges that’ll hold up to a few years of daily use.
Make sure any model you buy comes with at least a year of warranty coverage. We’d also recommend opting for add-on warranty coverage on these. We know that extended warranties can seem like unnecessary extras, but beer coolers aren’t the most reliable products in the world, so it’s worth spending a bit more up front to make sure your purchase is backed up.
One other tip: give your new cooler at least a few hours of standing upright unplugged before you turn it on. You want all the fluids in the cooling coils to get where it needs to go before you start running the compressor. Plugging these machines in right out of the box can shorten the length of the compressor’s life, and lead to those clunky, rattling sounds you hear on faulty coolers.
Letting your machine rest upright is usually something that’s recommended in the manual, but let’s face it, most of us don’t read the manual until we start seeing problems. And by then, it’s too late.
Know your ideal temperature:
We’ve all got a particular preference when it comes to drinking beer from a can or bottle. Some of us like our drinks slightly below room temperature, while others like them icy cold. Make sure you get a beer fridge that can cool to your ideal temperature. It’s worth sticking a thermometer in your ideal can of beer to get a read on what that is for you.
The other factor to think about with temperature is the type of beer you drink. Some brews, like ales, stouts, and porters, like a warmer temperature range. Others, like lagers and pilsners, are better colder. You’ll want to get a unit that’ll make your specific beers taste their best.
Measure your space:
Make sure you get some measurements of your space, especially if you’re planning to install a built-in cooler. If you’re installing a cooler as a standalone appliance, make sure you think about giving it some clearance at the rear and on the sides.
Most standalone units need a few inches to help them vent heat. If you’re going to be keeping your fridge on a countertop, get a measure of the clearance overhead, and make sure you’re not buying an appliance that’s wider than your counters.