Refrigerators are an indispensable part of our lives as we use them daily. They help us to keep our food and drinks cool and preserve them until they are ready for consumption. The beverage cooler is meant for our social gatherings and when we host a party or are getting ready for a backyard bash, they help us get ready for the entertainment with ice-cold beverages.
But if both the refrigerator and the beverage cooler are meant to keep the drinks and the beverages cool, then why are they different two units? Many people get doubt whether to invest in a mini-fridge or a beverage cooler. But though these two options sound similar, both of them are designed and engineered to meet different criteria.
One of the major differences between the beverage cooler and the refrigerator is their internal structure. A refrigerator has different compartments to store and stock different items such as meats, cheese, vegetables, fruits, frozen food items, etc. Whereas beverage coolers are designed to store only drinks and beverage bottles such as beer, wine, juices, etc. They are not of use to store other solid items and do not have compartments designed to handle them. Their shelves or racks can however be rearranged to accommodate bottles of different sizes though. Let us compare and contrast the two appliances here, to learn their differences better.
Major Differences Between a Beverage Cooler and a Refrigerator
|S. No||Parameters||Beverage cooler||Refrigerator|
|1.||Efficiency||Owing to their smaller size, they are more efficient. They use less power and also costs less.||A refrigerator draws more energy than a beverage cooler, and this is applicable for mini-fridges as well.|
|2.||Temperature||The beverage cooler works between 36 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, which is great for chilling and cooling wine.||The refrigerator works at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is suitable to prevent microbial invasion and growth.|
|3.||Lighting||Lighted with blue or white LED lights that stay on even when the door is closed||Its incandescent bulb goes off when the door is closed.|
|4.||Installation||Built-in and freestanding installation possible. Requires a small amount of free space around the appliance in the free-standing installation||The refrigerator comes only with a freestanding application and requires ample space at the back and sides for efficient working.|
|5.||Compartments||Comes with metal racks and shelves to store wine bottles||Comes with many compartments to store different food items, including groceries, fruits, vegetables, and milk products.|
|6.||Budget||Beverages coolers are costlier than refrigerators||Refrigerators are cheap and are available at different price points.|
Check out: Best Beverage Coolers
Beverage Cooler Vs Refrigerator in Terms of Design and Functionality
1. Size of the beverage cooler
When we talk about size, we have to state that both the beverage cooler and the refrigerator come in a variety of sizes to meet our unique needs. Both these devices are available in an array of sizes and have varying storage capacities. But refrigerators are generally larger than beverage coolers. When we consider beverage coolers and refrigerators of the same size, the beverage cooler will be lighter than the refrigerator, as they have different material components.
Though lights in these appliances are meant to view their interior components, there are sure differences between the lighting system and patterns of the refrigerator and the beverage cooler. The insides of the refrigerator will have a typical incandescent bulb that glows in yellow or white color.
But the interiors of the beverage cooler are illuminated with LED lights, that can be either blue or white. There are also key differences in their lighting patterns. The internal LED lighting in the cooler elegantly illuminates the collection and makes it easy to find exactly what the user is looking for.
Also, the refrigerators have opaque doors and thus its internal light components are wired in such a way that the light comes on, only when the door is opened. Beverage coolers, on the other hand, have glass doors and thus its lighting system is designed to turn on to illuminate the collection and we can also turn it off, to save energy.
3. Doors of the appliances
The doors are perhaps the first and the most obvious difference between a beverage cooler and a refrigerator. The doors of the refrigerator are generally opaque and are made of insulation material with an aluminum coating and vacuum in-between. This design setup is intentional and helps the refrigerator to maintain an ultra-cool temperature.
A beverage cooler on the other hand comes equipped with a UV-resistant transparent glass door. This allows seeing what is inside the cooler, without having to open it every time. This also serves as an excellent attraction for guests in the home. With the beverage cooler in hand, we can always be party-ready. The doors of coolers have unique hinges that prevent the swinging of the door and prevent slamming on the cabinet. Thus, the doors of the beverage cooler are much quieter than the refrigerator.
Some models of the beverage coolers, that are designed for built-in application have reverse-opening doors, which makes it easy to alternate the direction of the door.
4. Different compartments
Both the refrigerator and the beverage cooler have compartments. When we consider beverage coolers, they can be divided into two or three zones with different temperature settings to store red and white wine, soda, champagne, and other beverages separately. They have racks or shelves that are made of wood or metal that are strategically placed to accommodate cans and bottles. To accommodate larger wine bottles, we can pull out some racks to accommodate them efficiently.
The shelves of the beverage cooler are designed to be very tough and durable and thus they are capable of holding drinks in large numbers, without having to cave in. The size of the beverage cooler and the number of racks depends on one’s personal preference and the number of beverage bottles that one wishes to stock at a single time.
The refrigerator also has different zones with different temperature settings and also spells out the items that should be placed in each of its compartments such as eggs, cheese, milk, chambers for vegetables and fruits, etc.
5. Difference in terms of Temperature regulation
Both the refrigerator and the beverage cooler are designed to render a cold environment. The holding temperature of both these appliances is what differentiates the refrigerator and the beverage cooler. Refrigerators have different compartments to preserve different food items such as meat, milk products, groceries, etc.
They generally operate at a temperature below 39 degrees Fahrenheit to keep food items fresh and to prevent the growth of bacteria. The different compartments in the refrigerator have different operating temperatures to preserve different food items. For example, the freezer operates at zero degrees, whereas the door of the refrigerator operates at a much higher temperature.
Beverage coolers, on the other hand, have temperature controls that allow to set the temperature between 39 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, to accommodate and preserve different types of beverages. The temperature is easy to set by pressing the up and the down arrows in the appliance. And it is thus possible to chill the beer or wine to a perfect temperature.
Some new age beverage coolers feature smart controls such as alarms, that buzz when the door is opened for a long time. There are also lock modes available to ensure child safety and to prevent others from changing the set temperature. Two and three-zone beverage coolers have separate compartments to store different types of beverages. Each of these zones will have separate temperature controls and displays the temperature as well.
6. Ease of Installation
We all have refrigerators in our homes and the instruction manual clearly states that we have to allow ample spaces on the back and the sides for its installation for appropriate ventilation. But with a beverage cooler, such conditions do not apply. The beverage coolers come with two different options.
They can either have a freestanding or a built-in design that can be built into the kitchen cabinets or countertops. Though they can be sandwiched between the kitchen cabinets there are no issues with their ventilation, as their vents are located at the bottom of the unit. The built-in beverage coolers are great for home bars and behave like the traditional wine cellar.
Freestanding beverage coolers require users to allow one inch of space on the sides and 2-3 inches at the back for appropriate ventilation. But these space requirements are far less compared to a refrigerator.
7. Design of the appliance
The refrigerators come in a range of designs. They can be top–mount, mounted side by side, have a French door, be a mini-fridge, and a lot more. They have an opaque door and feature a LED light inside. The LED goes off when the door is closed.
The beverage cooler on the other hand is smaller than a regular fridge and is designed to store beverages of all types. Their design is much more appealing and has a transparent door, unlike a traditional fridge. Its LED lights are always on and they keep illuminating the drinks inside. Their insides are simple and lack bulky compartments and side trays.
8. Cost of the appliance
Refrigerators are cheap to buy and are more commonly available than beverage coolers. They are available in different sizes and at various price points. The cost of beverage coolers depends on the quality of the appliance. Even a small and simple-looking beverage cooler can be more expensive than a traditional fridge.
This is perhaps the most important difference between a beverage cooler and a refrigerator. Vibration is the worst enemy of wine and if it is placed in an appliance that vibrates, then it will disturb the sediments in wine and aid in the formation of tannins. The all-purpose refrigerator vibrates as they run on a compressor. This will disturb the natural maturation process of wine and makes it degrade faster. Thus, it should be placed in the beverage cooler. If you are looking to store wine, then the best appliance that you should choose is the beverage cooler and not the refrigerator.
Check out: Best Wine Coolers
Which is better?
Both the beverage cooler and the refrigerator have many similarities and differences in terms of how they look and operate. Both have their specialties and they are unique in their way. Though both of them look a lot more unique at the first glance, they both are meant to meet different purposes.
If you are looking to set up your home bar, then the beverage cooler is the ideal choice. Whereas the refrigerator helps in storing and preserving groceries, drinks, and other home supplies. If you have the required space and budget in your home, then you can opt to buy both these appliances for your home. The final choice is yours.