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The NewAir AWB-360DB beverage cooler is the most popular (as of this writing) mini-fridge for chilling both wine and other beverages at the same time. It frees up space in your regular refrigerator for more food.
In this review, I’ll show you the main features and benefits of owning the AWB-360DB fridge, so you can get a better idea if this is the one you’ve been looking for or not.
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What Does “Dual Zone” Mean for the AWB-360DB?
You can cool up to 18 wine bottles and 60 cans at the same time in the AWB-360DB – thus the “dual zone” designation. The left and right sides of this chiller are separate, so you can independently set the temperature control for wines on the right and other beverages like beer and soda pop on the left.
Thus, you effectively have a wine cooler and an other beverage refrigerator in one unit.
“Dual cooling zones mean that the cabinet’s side by side storage areas are specialized and independently operated for chilling different beverages at your desired temperature ranges.”
The low end of those ranges is 36 degrees and the upper limit is 72 degrees Fahrenheit for each section. Under normal circumstances, that is a wide enough range for virtually any liquid. You don’t need or want it to get closer to freezing (32 degrees) because that might turn some liquids into ice.
You shouldn’t need it to go any higher that 72 degrees, which is generally considered room temperature. If you want it warmer than that, just set your drink out on the counter or outside in the sun even.
What Are My Storage Options inside the Cooler?
There are 6 adjustable wine racks on the right side and 4 adjustable shelves (can racks) on the left side. These metal racks are removable, but you probably won’t need to change them. That said, one possible reason for doing so would be to store beer bottles upright. Note that you cannot store stemware; that is, wine glasses, in this unit.
With all the shelves in place, you can fit 18 standard bottles of wine (3 per shelf) and 60 (12 ounce) cans in the AWB-360DB.
What Kind of Lighting Is Included?
This NewAir cooler uses LED lighting inside, which has pretty much become the standard in these types of coolers. LED lights don’t add heat to the air, so the thermostat can maintain the setting you need in this beverage center.
The digital controls also use an LED light so you can easily see what you are setting the temperature to. You just push a button to increase or decrease the temperature 1 degree at a time.
Where Can I Install the AWB-360DB?
You can install this wine and beverage cooler either under a counter (as a built-in beverage cooler) or leave it free standing. The unit is front venting, so you don’t need to leave space around the sides as you do with some other coolers.
Depending on the height of your counter (when you decide to make it built-in), make sure to adjust the legs for the best fit.
If you decide to treat this as a freestanding beverage cooler, make sure you keep it in a location where the temperature will not adversely affect the contents. For example, making this an outdoor beverage refrigerator in the summer, probably means keeping it in a shaded area.
Check out the video below to see the cooler “in action” and to learn more from NewAir.
Is This Cooler Safe to Use?
In a word, yes.
Since you will likely be storing alcoholic beverages in your NewAir AWB-360DB fridge, you will be pleased to know that you can lock each door using the keys that come with the unit. If you have youngsters in the house, you may even want to lock the soda pop side, since the doors are easy to operate even for children, and they can see what’s inside through the stainless steel framed glass.
Beverage centers such as the AWB-360DB use R-134A refrigerant. This helps prevent damage to the ozone layer compared to other older types of coolants.
The chilling mechanism inside is a compressor, which is what is used in most mini-coolers these days. It is more efficient and generally quieter than the older style.
How Large Is the AWB-360DB?
This cooler has a 23.5 inch by 24 inch by 34.25 inch cabinet and weighs 107 pounds. You’ll probably want some assistance when unpacking and installing it, whether as a standalone or built-in.
It is the same size as many dishwashers and trash compactors, so if you’re getting rid of either of those, you could slide this cooler right into the vacated space.
What Do Owners Think of the AWB-360DB?
The AWB-360DB is, as mentioned above, very popular and highly rated. About the only complaint some owners have is that it can be noisy as noted below.
“I read in a few of the reviews that the unit was noisy and I thought it would be comparable to a fridge. Well it’s louder.”
However, consider this user’s opinion too.
“This is a fridge and will make noise when compressor and fan are running. If not undercounter, you may not like the noise level. It is front vented for an undercounter application and in that use, I am very satisfied with the level of sound. Rarely noticed and only when very quiet house in the early mornings.”
So it appears the volume level may depend on location and surroundings. If you plan on putting it under a counter, you will likely find the decibel level quite tolerable. If you want to leave it in the open, consider putting it in a room where the noise won’t bother you as much.