Wine coolers are made to get the best tastes out of your wine without sacrificing anything. They focus on temperature, light, humidity, and vibrations. All of which can affect the taste of wine. Beverage centers can handle more options and are usually less expensive.
Beverage centers are usually a few degrees cooler than wine coolers. If you are avid about your wine being chilled to a specific temperature, you’ll need a wine cooler. Vibration dampening shelves or rods are a must with wine coolers. Beverage centers do not typically have vibration dampening capabilities.
In which situations would you choose a beverage center over a wine cooler? If you have a need for storing other drinks like sodas, waters, etc. with your wine bottles. You only occasionally drink wine or you know that the wine will not be stored for a long time in the fridge. Also, if price is a factor in your decision-making. Beverage centers tend to be on the less expensive side than wine coolers.
A note about under-counter versus free-standing: the compressor on an under-counter wine cooler is at the front instead of the back. Free-standing wine coolers should not go under-cabinets as they can over-heat.