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Magic Chef 45-Bottle Wine Cooler

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Cate Jun 25, 2007 02:58 PM

Does anyone have any experience with these? They are currently on sale, really inexpensive... the store model felt relatively sturdy, but the only reviews that I could find were from the store that sells them, and I'm hesitant to wholly rely on those.
Thanks in advance for any input!

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  1. c
    clayfu RE: Cate Jun 25, 2007 04:44 PM

    i have the magic chef 50 bottle, have had it for about 2 weeks.
    Its pretty sturdy, it also has a front heat vent which is pretty good, you don't find that too often in cheaper models.

    what i do suggest tho is your own internal thermometer, i actually have my fridge set at 47degrees yet the actual temperature inside NEVER gets close to that. Even the very bottom of the fridge is only 51 degrees (middle is 55 degrees top is about 57-58).

    my biggest problem with magic chef is the way their racks are shaped. Its not as forgiving to odd shaped bottles. It definitely takes some inventory management beforehand to figure out how you want to put it in (alternate between levels of traditional bottles and large profile bottles)

    10 Replies
    1. re: clayfu
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      kimberlya RE: clayfu Jun 27, 2007 03:41 PM

      wine is best stored at 55 degrees and 75% humidity...

      you could buy a much bigger, normal fridge on craigslist and it would do the same thing!

      not to mention that with more space you could build cubbies to put into the fridge to organize the wine

      or, you could just use your basement if you live in an older home with a stone or cement foundation

      1. re: kimberlya
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        clayfu RE: kimberlya Jun 28, 2007 03:08 PM

        and you can use up more energy with a standard fridge than a wine fridge.
        on top of that buy an adjuster to force the fridge temperature high enough... (at least for cheap fridges which is what i think you're getting at)

        yeah i dont know i'll stick with what i have. And uh.. my fridge has areas which are 55 degrees and optimally around 65-70 humidity.

        A larger stock fridge won't change anything, every fridge in the world will have temperature gradients throughout it.

        1. re: clayfu
          k
          kimberlya RE: clayfu Jun 28, 2007 03:13 PM

          so are you for or against the use of regular refrigerators? i can't quite tell from your post...

          and as i said in my reply to monkuboy, you can get a normal one to get that warm! i can't be the only one that has achieved this (albeit accidentally...)

          1. re: kimberlya
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            clayfu RE: kimberlya Jun 29, 2007 03:54 PM

            i don't see the point. You can't just "accidently" get your temperature to set to it, you have to force it (which is a cheap tool really only 14-15$).

            but there are so many things that wouldn't make it efficient. Constant temperature changes, vibrations, and lack of humidity. (a normal fridge is notoriously dry)

            1. re: clayfu
              k
              kimberlya RE: clayfu Jun 29, 2007 04:35 PM

              I'm saying that if I can do it without meaning to, then there is obviously a setting to allow it to do so

              And if the refrigerator method is good enough for master sommeliers, it's good enough for me

              1. re: kimberlya
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                clayfu RE: kimberlya Jul 2, 2007 10:56 AM

                i dont know too many master sommeliers that use a normal refrigerator. haha
                and once again, your fridge must be broken to get that high of a temperature

                1. re: clayfu
                  k
                  kimberlya RE: clayfu Jul 9, 2007 06:22 PM

                  for short-term storage, there's seriously no difference between a wine cooler and a normal refrigerator! esp. for whites/roses/sparkling wines

                  freon is freon....

                  1. re: kimberlya
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                    clayfu RE: kimberlya Jul 9, 2007 09:26 PM

                    right.. for whites but not for reds which need 10 degrees warmer.

                2. re: kimberlya
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                  matentupe RE: kimberlya Aug 29, 2007 10:11 PM

                  but a master som is likely at a restaurant with bottles that are in motion... for sale... not going to hang around for TOO long. I am guessing that the person who started this thread is looking to lay wine down for again. I could be wrong.

          2. re: kimberlya
            Midlife RE: kimberlya Jun 30, 2007 04:24 PM

            From everything I've learned over the years, a 'normal' fridge does NOT provide the proper humidity to store wine long-term. Corks can dry out if the humidity isn't high enough. I guess, though, you could collect wine with screwcaps and synthetic corks, or just not expect to store it for that long. Most people don't anyway.

        2. monkuboy RE: Cate Jun 25, 2007 06:24 PM

          No experience with them but I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing what store and what price?

          5 Replies
          1. re: monkuboy
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            Cate RE: monkuboy Jun 27, 2007 03:16 PM

            Sure- Home Depot, $177

            1. re: Cate
              monkuboy RE: Cate Jun 27, 2007 06:19 PM

              Thank you! Regarding kimberlya's post about buying a normal fridge: can you actually set a regular refrigerator to stay at a relatively high temperature like that? Also, they tend to vibrate quite a bit. If Cate lives in Southern California -- good luck having a home with a real basement, lol..

              1. re: monkuboy
                c
                Cate RE: monkuboy Jun 27, 2007 06:53 PM

                No idea re higher tempatures. And I live in Brooklyn, so the smaller wine cooler is actually ideal since a second refrigerator isn't an option in a small apartment.
                I went ahead and picked it up- so far so good... keep your fingers crossed!

                1. re: monkuboy
                  k
                  kimberlya RE: monkuboy Jun 28, 2007 11:58 AM

                  i forget that people elsewhere don't have basement...soo odd....

                  i don't have a problem with vibrating refrigerators! maybe if they're not level?? i know some wine experts that keep wine in them and it seems to be okay =) heat/humidity tends to be more of an issue unless you're storing something like a bordeaux for 10 years and it's got to be on lockdown. *shrugs*

                  and i think you can set them that high. sometimes i accidentally bump the setting dial in mine, and it gets that warm, and my food goes bad.....

                  1. re: monkuboy
                    c
                    clayfu RE: monkuboy Jun 28, 2007 03:12 PM

                    Although storing white wine short-term in a regular fridge is fine, keeping it there long-term is not a good idea: It’s too cold and too dry. Plus, the gentle shaking of the compressor may not affect the mustard, but it is damaging to the muscadet.

                    www.drvino.com

                    it has nothing to do with the fridge being level, the compressor is so strong in a fridge that it rattles and shakes the fridge, you don't see it on a day to day basis but your wine notices it.

              2. monkuboy RE: Cate Jun 28, 2007 12:28 PM

                You mentioned in a reply to me that it's on sale at Home Depot for $171. That's a great deal because at the one by me, the 45-bottle unit is $299. Same brand.. looks really nice, too.

                3 Replies
                1. re: monkuboy
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                  cjc519 RE: monkuboy Jun 30, 2007 04:41 PM

                  I just bought the Magic Chef 50 bottle fridge at the Home Depot near me for $247 (plus I had a $50 coupon) and it seems to be working well. I definitely noticed that it didn't seem to be the temp it was set to (I actually lowered it to 47 and it still doesn't feel that cool), so an internal thermometer sounds like a good idea. I would absolutely agree that the racks don't fit odd shaped bottles very well. They fit, but with some fiddling around. Overall, I think it's great and a good value.

                  1. re: cjc519
                    c
                    clayfu RE: cjc519 Jul 2, 2007 10:55 AM

                    i have the same thing as you. Try alternating how you put in your wines (neck in the front and vice versa) then put it in rows of large profile then small profile and etc.

                    where'd you get the 50$ coupon from? i'd love to check that out =)

                    1. re: clayfu
                      c
                      cjc519 RE: clayfu Jul 17, 2007 12:48 PM

                      The coupon got sent to me in the mail... maybe because I have a HD credit card?? Definitely a nice bonus! As far as the odd shaped bottles, I just removed the bottom rack which holds about 10 bottles and just stacked them on the bottom of the unit. I didn't take the shelves out, just the bottom rack.

                2. m
                  mengathon RE: Cate Jul 4, 2007 07:50 PM

                  I found the same deal as Cate did in my neighborhood Home Depot. I've been having the opposite problems as everyone else: my fridge seems to be too cold.

                  Unlike the MC50, the MC45 doesn't have precise temperature settings, but rather on a dial between 1-7, with 7 being the coldest. I plugged it in today and, having read this thread, set it on a colder setting around 6-6.5. After about 2 hours when the fridge got going, I reached in, and the bottles were colder than the ones in my regular fridge, especially the ones at the bottom. The temperatures between the bottom racks and the top racks were distinguishable by touch alone. I moved the setting to 4, and still they seemed to cold. I'll get a couple of thermometers and report back tomorrow.

                  Nevertheless, it seems like quite a bargain, relative to the other coolers. It seems sturdy, doesn't make any noise. Yeah, the racks are a bit tight but with a little bit of fidgeting, it's okay. I doubt it'll fit 45 bottles though.

                  1. b
                    bernalhts RE: Cate Jul 9, 2007 09:13 AM

                    Can folks please comment on the noise level of this unit? How does it compare to a regular fridge? One of our bedrooms is right off the kitchen near the spot where I'm thinking of placing this wine cooler so I'm sensitive about the noise. Thanks in advance for the feedback!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bernalhts
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                      clayfu RE: bernalhts Jul 9, 2007 10:46 AM

                      At least in my 50 unit one, every 30-40 minutes or so the compressor will turn on for about 5 minutes. I'd say its a decently loud hum. Not so loud you'll wake up from your sleep but you could definitely hear it. (my cooler is in my bedroom). I dont think tis loud enough to go through walls. I never hear it outside of my bedroom.

                      I've had another wine cooler that is deathly silent, so the two are a huge difference.

                    2. c
                      Corrado RE: Cate Jul 17, 2007 12:30 PM

                      Little late in replying, but based on my research, here's my understanding.
                      Lower-end coolers (like the MC) are virtually the same as a typical mini fridge. They are intended as short-term (few years at most) storage of wines and offer adequate cooling control and no humidity control. Vibration will likely be present in any compressor-based cooling unit. To get truly vibe-free in a small unit like this you'll need to go with a thermoelectric cooler.

                      EVERYTHING I've read about vibration pretty much says that for the typical wino who's looking to store wines in a fridge of this size, the vibration is unlikely to noticably affect the wine. The rationale is that anyone spending money on high-end wines isn't likely to buy a cooler on the cheap.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Corrado
                        monkuboy RE: Corrado Jul 17, 2007 04:02 PM

                        I noticed that my Home Depot now has these same units on sale (I previously posted that it wasn't). Something that caught my eye was when I was browsing the Vinotemp site and looking at their compressor-based storage units that are similar to Magic Chef's (and so many others). It says that the temperature varies within a five degree range when you have it set - I thought the main thing was to maintain a constant temperature, not just a low one. So if these units vary by 5 degrees before the compressor kicks in, isnt that sort of a big variance?

                      2. Buddaah RE: Cate Jul 28, 2007 12:36 PM

                        *** NEWS FLASH *** My HD here in Phx AZ has the Magic Chef wine cooler, 45 btl size for $ 147- Such a deal just bought one a few weeks ago, and love it !

                        1. j
                          jombolo RE: Cate Jul 29, 2007 08:22 PM

                          I purchased the mc45 at home depot july 27 for $147 + tax. i also purchased a freestanding refrigerator thermometer that i set in the bottom so i could know the exact temp. I did notice that the external sidewalls, NOT internal, get very warm, almost hot. I was wondering if anyone else has noticed this? I am wondering if it gets really warm right after you plug it in, and once the compressor shuts off and cycles normally, if this will dissipate.

                          Also me and the lady went wine tasting this weekend in Paso Robles, CA and we noticed that quite a few of the winery tasting rooms were using the exact same or similar models of the MC45 that i and most of you on this board have, I don't believe they would purchase low quality coolers for their wine.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: jombolo
                            Gussie Finknottle RE: jombolo Jul 30, 2007 02:48 AM

                            But wineries are not maturing or aging wine in their tasting room - they are keeping bottles cool for serving.

                            There's a difference between coolers and cabinets intended for long term aging of wine -- and it is difficult to ascertain which cabinet is which -- but cabinets intended for long term aging have temperature and humidity control and tend to be an awful lot more expensive that $150

                            1. re: Gussie Finknottle
                              j
                              jombolo RE: Gussie Finknottle Jul 30, 2007 08:49 AM

                              perhaps you are right. However, a cheepy wine cooler is better than no wine cooler at all. It is better to have your wines in the 50's and 60 degree range rather than at 80 or 90 right?

                              1. re: jombolo
                                monkuboy RE: jombolo Jul 30, 2007 10:09 AM

                                At that price you can just replace it a few years from now when/if it breaks down. Those things come in handy.

                              2. re: Gussie Finknottle
                                c
                                clayfu RE: Gussie Finknottle Jul 30, 2007 10:55 AM

                                keep a temp reader for humidity and temperature. Remove the bottom tray and insert a large bowl of water to keep the fridge humid.

                                does the trick for me!

                                1. re: clayfu
                                  j
                                  jombolo RE: clayfu Jul 30, 2007 12:35 PM

                                  yeah, i put a thermometer at the bottom, good call on the bowl of water and hygrometer.

                                  1. re: jombolo
                                    c
                                    clayfu RE: jombolo Jul 30, 2007 01:17 PM

                                    i also shift the thermometer around the different levels to make sure each level is staying at its own steady temp.

                                    1. re: clayfu
                                      j
                                      jombolo RE: clayfu Aug 1, 2007 09:42 PM

                                      yeah, so do i. I found a small magnetic thermometer/hygrometer on eBay for $20 after shipping that will hopefully stick to the inside side wall of the MC. Although the inside is plastic, there is, hopefully metal behind it. Also comes with Velcro if it wont stick magnetically.

                            2. c
                              camdilva RE: Cate Aug 27, 2007 05:21 PM

                              I just set up the same unit yesterday. The unit will be 50 on the very bottom and nearly 70 up top. It will be 55 on the 2nd shelf from the bottom and 65 on the 2nd from the top. Easy math, but it varies almost 5 degrees a shelf.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: camdilva
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                                mengathon RE: camdilva Aug 27, 2007 07:40 PM

                                I have my setting at 4, and my top shelf is at 58-60, while the bottom shelf is right at 50. You're right about the temperature variation, but I've not seen the range to be that wide. For me, it's closer to 1-2 degrees per shelf. And I have never found it to approach anywhere near 70. At 70 degrees, the wine fridge is practically useless.

                                1. re: mengathon
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                                  camdilva RE: mengathon Dec 27, 2007 11:24 AM

                                  I figured out the temperature variation problem. It was the light up top. I unscrewed the bulb and I'm down to a 7 or 8 degree difference from top to bottom. That little bulb was generating a lot of heat. I only have to run the unit on a little under 2 to be near the 55 degree mark.

                                  1. re: camdilva
                                    monkuboy RE: camdilva Dec 27, 2007 12:14 PM

                                    So you mean the light was constantly on in your unit? I would think that would generate plenty of heat plus not be good for the wines anyway, with all that light.

                                    1. re: monkuboy
                                      c
                                      camdilva RE: monkuboy Dec 27, 2007 01:56 PM

                                      Yes, that's what I mean. Those were my thoughts exactly. I thought about taking the wine out and putting it back in boxes. I tried getting the light out earlier but the cover was difficult to remove - at least without instructions. I broke the cover off and unscrewed the bulb. Hopefully not much damage was done to the wine. maybe I should drink everything sooner.

                                      1. re: camdilva
                                        monkuboy RE: camdilva Dec 27, 2007 02:22 PM

                                        You would think the manufacturer would have had enough sense not to put a heat and light-generating bulb in the unit that is on all the time.. but I guess the engineers must have fought with the designer (looks really nice with the light on ) and the engineers lost. If it's been like that since August, that's not a long time. I bet your wine is fine.

                                        1. re: monkuboy
                                          m
                                          mengathon RE: monkuboy Dec 27, 2007 05:19 PM

                                          Er, the manufacturer did put a switch for the light. At least in my unit.

                                          1. re: mengathon
                                            c
                                            cjc519 RE: mengathon Jan 4, 2008 09:32 AM

                                            I also have the unit with a switch for the light. camdilva, do you have a dial that controls the temperature? I may have a different Magic Chef unit... I have a digital read out that displays the temperature. As far as the light in mine, I find that it's very difficult to get the bottles to fit underneath it. I wonder if I could take the light and the cover out, too.

                                            1. re: cjc519
                                              c
                                              camdilva RE: cjc519 Jan 7, 2008 08:53 AM

                                              I haven't seen a switch though I may have missed it. I do have a dial. I don't have the digital read so I use a manual thermometer. I have plenty of room below the light so we must have different models.

                              2. d
                                ddavies RE: Cate Nov 23, 2008 05:42 PM

                                We are thinking of buying this cooler too. We've shopped all over and this is the best buy for what one gets. We are wondering how loud the cooler is? We want to put it in our great room and don't want anything loud.
                                Thanks for your input!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ddavies
                                  monkuboy RE: ddavies Nov 24, 2008 11:29 AM

                                  I researched this cooler also and the reviews are all over the place. If you google "Magic Chef wine cooler complaints" it directs you to a site where multiple people have complained about the condenser going out very quickly (although the model is not identified in most of the posts). Other consumer reviews say the unit is too loud, too cold, too big a range from top to bottom in temp, and some say their's works wonderfully. I have read more negative than positive consumer reviews. As a heads up, the black Friday ad for Home Depot will offer a $30 rebate off the $198 sale price.

                                2. v
                                  valdud RE: Cate Jan 12, 2010 08:06 AM

                                  I got a Magic Chef 50 bottle wine refrigerator as a gift from my hubby for Christmas. He bought it at Home Depot. We are having a terrible time getting the temp to come down to what it is set on. We have it set for 57 degrees and it stays at between 60-64 actual. I agree with other posters that the racks are too close together and make it difficult to store any larger bottles (i.e. many Pinot Noirs, which is my fav wine). If I were buying another one, I would not purchase this one again. I would spend a little more for a better quality one. But, I guess for the price it is an OK value.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: valdud
                                    Midlife RE: valdud Jan 14, 2010 12:46 PM

                                    Bottle size is something that people often don't consider when buying a wine fridge. Especially with the increasing popularity of Pinot Noir (over the last few years) and with Chardonnay being one of the most popular whites, this is something that should be pre-planned.

                                    The Home Depot poster seems to be able to help, but I'd simply ask if you've tried setting the unit at 52 degrees to see if it will settle where you want it? The 4 degree fluctuation is rather normal, I've found. Or............... call Magic Chef. A friend bought a close-out unit at Home Goods and got a free home service call from Maytag (who makes Heier).

                                  2. njfoodies RE: Cate Jan 15, 2010 04:38 AM

                                    We bought a Magic Chef a few years ago on a whim to throw in our kitchen. I forget the model, but it was a 75-100 bottle I think. Got it home from the store, let it sit for a few days, turned it on, and couldn't get it below 68 degrees I think. I forget the actual temp, but it just would not get cold. That said we returned it, and I ordered my Avanti 166 for the kitchen. -mJ

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