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NewAir 28-Bottle Wine Coolers: AW-280E & AW-281E

Great-Value, Moderately Priced Wine Fridges

If you are looking for a a neat, mid-sized wine storage to keep your wines at ideal serving temperature then this 28-bottle thermoelectric model by NewAir seems to be a great choice at affordable price.

The two models AW-280E and the AW-281E have the same technical specifications and storage capacity, they slightly differ in size (height, width, depth dimensions) and decor.

 

Full Review:

The NewAir 28-bottle wine refrigerator models are pleasant looking appliances that accommodate 28 standard size wine bottles.

They use thermal electric cooling to ensure the desired cool temperature inside the cabinet: this eliminates much of the noise and vibration created by compressors in traditional fridges.

Look and Style:

The black cabinet with silver or stainless steel framed, double pane, tinted glass door lend nice, contemporary look that fits neatly in any modern kitchen.

Stainless steel bar handle (curved in case of Model AW-280E, and sturdy, straight bar on Model AW-281E) lets you easily open the otherwise tightly sealed door. T

Low-intensity, blue LED light can be switched on and off. You can leave it on to show off your wines to visiting friends, it won’t generate heat as traditional bulbs do, protecting your wines from heat damage.

The digital controls and display are built in the top door frame in both models

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Shelving:

Removable, slide-out chromed metal racks hold standard 750 ml bottles – 6 in both models, that accommodate 4-4 bottles while you can place 4 more on the bottom of the cabinet.

Plastic clips hold back racks from sliding out too far, preventing bottles from accidental drop. The default arrangement of shelves accepts only standard, Bordeaux-style (750 ml) bottles. Magnums, champagnes in wider bottles will not fit in.

A nice feature in Model AW-281E, however allows flexibility in racking: the two sides of the cabinet interior has 22 slots so you can pull out and rearrange shelving as you like.

This allows you to make room for and place wider bottles, magnums, or champagnes. This however reduces the overall number of bottles you can place in. The NewAir AW-281E also accommodates longer bottles: 12-13″ long ones will fit in.

 

Setting the Temperature

The display shows air temperature measured around the area of the center racks, so calculate with approx. 3/- 7°F fluctuation at the top and bottom.

Features Overview

  • Capacity: 28 bottles
  • Design:
    • Cabinet: powder coated matte black, black interior, four, sturdy plastic feet, the front ones are adjustable to allow level placement, ventilates at the back
    • Door: insulated, dual pane glass with attractive stainless steel trim,
    • Model AW-281E has large stainless steel towel bar handle
    • Model 280E has curved handle,
    • tight rubber seal with magnetic insert, right hinged, non-reversible
    • soft blue LED interior lighting
  • Cooling method: thermoelectric (also known as superconductor or Peltier)
  • Number of zones: one
  • Built-in/Freestanding: freestanding only, ETL certified
  • Temperature Control & Display:
    • Thermostat (Mechanical/Digital): adjustable digital thermostat, blue LED display
    • Temperature Range: 54 – 66°F (12 – 19°C)
  • Shelving: 6 slide-out, removable wire racks, wavy to hold 4-4 standard size wine bottles, the AW281E model has a stainless steel front to prevent slipping of bottles (Model AW-280E doesn’t have this feature)
  • Noise: a bit noisy according to some users, others say it is fairly quiet.
  • Electricity consumption: 70 Watts (cc. 1,68 kWh/24 hours)
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 34.5″ x 23.63″ x 23.5″)
  • Price: Model AW-280E: $240 ($8.57/bottle), Model: AW-281E: $260 ($9.28/bottle)
  • Warranty: 1 year limited by the manufacturer on both models
Dimensions AW-280E:

  • Height: 28.75″
  • Width: 17″
  • Depth: 20″

Weight: 44.20 lbs.

Dimensions AW-281E:

  • Height: 29.25″
  • Width: 18.13″
  • Depth: 20.88″

Weight: 50 lbs.

 

Placement:

Control panel of the NewAir AW281EThe unit is delivered almost fully assembled, you just need to put the door handle in place, according to the manual instructions (pretty straightforward to do).

Since both models ventilate at the back, they can be used as standalone only, with sufficient clearance (at least 5″) at the back and sides to let warm air ventilate out of the cabinet interior for efficient cooling.

If you block ventilation the cooler will not maintain the set temperature, can overheat and stop working within a short time

Installation advice: before placing the wine cooler and plugging it in, let it stand upright for approx. 2 hours. Wipe the inside of the unit using a wet, soft cloth.

Place the wine fridge on a firm, level floor, in a room where the ambient temperature is around 77-81°F.

 

Maintenance:

Neither model requires much up-keeping. If you wish to clean the interior, unplug the unit, remove all bottles (and racking if you want to do a very thorough clean up) then clean the surface with lukewarm water using a soft sponge or cloth.

Unscrew the water reservoir in the back, at the bottom, and rinse it with water.

 

User Reviews on the NewAir 28-bottle Wine Cooler

Model: AW-281E

Pluses

  • Looks really nice, almost as a high-end, $1000-unit
  • Holds temperature pretty well, though it requires half a day to reach set temperature the first time you stock it up with bottles (depending on ambient temp.)
  • Customer Service at NewAir is very helpful (unlike some other wine fridge manufacturers’)

Negatives

  • Not silent as stated, but not too loud either. Less noise if set to higher temp. Note: the fan the circulates the air inside cabinet and drives out warm air makes the noise.
  • Uses way more electricity than stated by the manufacturer (according to an owner): 3.22 kWh
  • Shelving is

 

Model AW-280E

Pluses

Though less stylish than Model AW-281E it still looks nice.

 

Negatives

  • Holds only standard Bordeaux-style bottles. You can remove a rack to make room for larger, odd-shape bottles.
  • Cheap unit, probably won’t last long (a couple of year at best).
  • If it breaks within the 1 year warranty you have to pay the packaging and shipping back the unit as well as for shipping the replacement to you.
  • Loud according to most owners.
  • if you unplug it for some reason or after a power outage it will reset to the default, coldest setting
  • struggles to keep temperature at higher room temp. (78-80°F) or at too low ambient temp.

Summary – Why Buy?

The NewAir 28-bottle wine refrigerator seems to be one of the best value units in the less expensive category of wine storage appliances. Especially the AW-281 model, which is sturdier, has variable shelving, also the racks look more attractive with the metal front.

Not a bad choice for under $500 if you want to store your wines somewhere else than the pantry or the kitchen fridge, but don’t expect it to work seamlessly for years.

Many people buy it to use it as a wineador (cigarhumidor) to keep cigars in it.

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About the Manufacturer

NeWAir appliances, including their wine cellar range, are manufactured in China and are available through a dozen of retailers in the USA (Amazon, Air-n-Water, Sears, Wayfair etc.). Low price, stylish, modern look – though of course not so refined as higher-end units have (Sub-Zero, U-Line, Viking, Marvel) – varying quality and dependability characterize  their products.