The 8 Best Wine Decanters to Buy in 2018

Improve the flavor of your favorite vintages with these top-picks

Red wine pouring from a decanter to a wine glass
Image by Marie LaFauci / Getty Images

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Many red wines and even some white wines need to breathe before you drink them. It’s not that they inhale and exhale, but contact with oxygen changes and improves the flavor of the wine. That can be accomplished by simply opening the bottle ahead of time, and letting it rest. While you wait. And wait. If your timing’s not perfect, dinner will be over before the wine has had its proper rest, and no one wants that.

Decanters serve three purposes. First, pouring the wine, and the shape of the decanter encourages contact with oxygen which aerates the wine. Second, they look attractive for serving, whether you’re pouring at the table or serving from behind the bar. And finally, if the wine has sediment in the bottle, careful pouring will leave that sediment behind, leaving clear wine in the decanter.

Now, technology has started to take over the aerating process, with new devices that don’t require a long rest or a large piece of glassware that you’ll need to find space for. Instead, you can aerate straight from the bottle into a glass or decant into your own favorite container. Of course, you can also use a pretty decanter for your orange juice when you’re feeling festive at breakfast.

Here, the top decanters and aerators for all of your wine needs. 

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  • 01 of 08

    Best Overall: Le Chateau Wine Decanter

    There’s a good reason you’ll see a lot of wine decanters with a very similar shape—it works. The shape is perfect for moving the wine and for providing a large breathable surface in the container. This decanter is made from lead-free crystal, so you’ll never have to worry about impurities getting into your wine, and it’s hand-blown for that artisan feel.

    The decanter holds 32 ounces, but the point isn’t to fill it—it should be filled so that the wine surface is at the wide point of the decanter, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with a standard 750ml bottle of wine. Not only does this look good at the table, but it’s easy to pour from, with a slanted top that minimizes drips, and a sturdy neck that’s easy to grasp. When serving is done, this is sturdy enough for cleaning in the dishwasher, but hand washing is recommended.

  • 02 of 08

    Best Budget: U-Shape Classic Wine Carafe

    Not the usual decanter shape, this evokes the elegant lines of a graceful, albeit headless, swan. Described as U-shaped, it has two open ends, so you can pour easily into the large opening and delicately serve from the small opening into a glass. The large middle section easily holds a full bottle of wine, with plenty of space to spare so the wine can breathe.

    This is hand-blown from lead-free crystal and is designed for easy and drip-free pouring, and the design simply looks pretty at the table or behind your bar. Because of the shape, hand washing would be more efficient ​than using a dishwasher.

  • 03 of 08

    Best Merlot: Riedel Merlot Decanter

    Believe it or not, the shape of your decanter can be chosen based on what types of wine you drink most often. Riedel, one of the top names in wine stemware and glassware has created a decanter that is suited for Merlot wines and they even have a Cabernet model as well. 

    The simple design works with any type of glassware you have on your table and the shape of the decanter helps to let your wine bloom in just a few hours time. Of course, you can put other varietals of wine in here, and they also have a New York apple style that is more bulbous in shape. 

    Reviews remark this is easy to clean (hand wash only), is great for one bottle of wine, and has a simple, yet elegant design that makes it an all-around fan favorite no matter your style. 

  • 04 of 08

    Best Quick Aerating: Rabbit Super-Aerating Decanter System

    You might be familiar with the Rabbit name from their very popular corkscrews. Now that they’ve helped you open the bottle this decanting system will help you properly aerate and decant your wine. It includes a crystal decanter, a crystal wine spray funnel, and a sediment screen.

    The operation is simple since all you do is pour. The funnel turns the wine into tiny droplets that spray down the sides of the decanter while picking up oxygen. It also makes an interesting presentation at the table. Meanwhile, the screen picks up any bits of sediment that might have escaped the bottle.​

    The decanter should be hand washed to keep it looking its best, but the screen and funnel are dishwasher safe if you prefer.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Best Classic: Godinger Dublin Wine Decanter

    Strictly for decanting, although the wine will pick up some oxygen as you pour and while it rests, this decanter was made for elegant table settings and old-world charm. It’s made from 24 percent lead glass crystal that sparkles brilliantly, unlike less expensive cut glass. This heavy decanter uses a classic Irish design of wedges and diamonds and coordinates with other Godinger Dublin pieces, but it would also look good with many types of dinnerware or barware. This should be washed by hand to keep its brilliant appearance.​​

  • 06 of 08

    Best Break-Resistant: Wine Enthusiast Break-Resistant Fusion Duck Decanter

    Let’s face it, glassware can be delicate, and heavy decanters can slip and bump if you’re not careful. This decanter takes that into consideration​ and is designed to be one of the most break-resistant wine decanters you will find. Made from lead-free crystal glass, this is intended to resemble a swimming duck, and rests at an angle rather than upright, giving it a unique appearance. The long, graceful handle is easy to hold when pouring, and the end of the handle swoops elegantly over the top of the decanter to form a foot when it’s at rest.​

    This would look unique and lovely as a centerpiece when filled with wine, or when stored in your china cabinet or wine bar.

  • 07 of 08

    Best By-the-Glass: Vinara Essential Red Wine Aerator Pourer Decanter

    You’ll save space with this aerator since there’s no need for a separate large decanter container, and no need to wait for the wine to breathe. Simply pour the wine through the aerator and directly into your glass. It aerates the wine instantly, so it’s ready to drink, while the included filter catches any sediment that might escape the bottle. In between pours, you can set the aerator on the included stand, so you won’t get wine drips on your table. If you prefer to server from a pretty decanter, you can use one you already have—just pour through the aerator into the decanter and you’re ready to serve the perfect glass.

    When the night is over, it’s simple to take this apart for thorough cleaning by hand.

  • 08 of 08

    Best Electric Aerator: NutriChef Electric Wine Aerator Dispenser

    When decanting, aerating, and letting the wine breathe is too old-school to be cool, and you just want a decent glass of wine without the fuss, this battery-operated decanter and dispenser will come to your rescue. Plus, it will make a great conversation piece. Simply place the pump on top of any wine bottle, then press and hold the button to dispense and aerates the wine by the glass. If there’s leftover wine, this seals tightly to the bottle, so you can store the bottle with the aerator attached, ready for the next glass.

    This comes with a soft fabric bag that will protect the metal surface from scrapes and scratches in your kitchen drawer, or toss it into a bag or purse to carry to a friend’s house on wine-and-cheese night.

    This includes both a hard straw and an extra-long soft straw so it can reach to the bottom of any wine bottle to remove every bit with no waste. This operates on four AA batteries, which are not included.