Whether you’re drinking a $20 or $200 bottle of wine, its flavors and aromatic bouquet improve greatly with decanting. The act of aerating allows your wine to interact with oxygen, which opens up the bottling’s aromas and flavors. It also allows a wine’s tannins to smooth out while settling any sediment in the bottle.
Though decanting is most often associated with older red wines, any younger red or white wines that taste flat at first sip may improve with as little as 15 minutes of aeration. Wine decanters come in a variety of shapes, from common wide-base carafes to one-of-a-kind art pieces.
In order to help you find your next go-to wine decanter, we put a variety of top brands to the test in our Testing Lab as well as had at-home testers and evaluated each one on its design, ease of use, quality of build, effectiveness, and overall value.
To provide even more insight, we also conducted home tests while paying special attention to design, size, performance, value, and ease of cleaning,
Here are our top picks for decanters that will deliver the best glass of wine.
Le Chateau Wine Decanter
Efficiently decants any 750-mL bottle of wine
Slanted spout makes for easy pouring
Easy to clean
A bit expensive
Interior doesn't fully dry
An angled spout, long neck, and wide base is a popular shape for wine decanters, and for good reason. When the base is filled, the wine’s large surface allows maximum exposure to oxygen for proper aeration. This attractive decanter from Le Chateau is hand-blown and formed from lead-free crystal, so no impurities will get into your wine.
This lightweight decanter can hold up to 32 ounces, but a standard 750-milliliter bottle will fill the base to its widest point. The large base also means any sediment from the wine doesn’t end up in your glass. To help with this, the sturdy neck makes pouring easy, while the slanted spout minimizes drips. While this decanter is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended (our tester found washing it was easy but drying a bit trickier).
Our tester liked how easy it was to pour wine from the lightweight design but still found it sturdy enough that she didn't fear breaking it. Most importantly, after thorough testing, our reviewer noted that nearly any wine you use with this decanter will improve in taste.
Price at time of publish: $63
Material: Crystal | Capacity: 32 ounces | Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.5 x 10 inches | Weight: 1.5 pounds
"After aerating, I could almost imagine that my Chianti cost more than $20." — Caroline Goldstein, Product Tester
Vintorio GoodGlassware Wine Decanter
Slanted rim for ease of pouring wine
Made from recycled glass
Imperfections can be present in the recycled glass
Crafted into the classic wide-base design, this decanter from Good Glassware is produced with dishwasher-safe, break-resistant crystal, which makes it perfect for everyday use. The base features a punt—the indentation also found on wine bottles—for an easier grip when pouring.
The decanter measures 6.5 inches at its widest diameter, can hold up to 44 ounces, and the angled spout allows for drip-free pouring. With sustainability in mind, this is made from 100 percent lead-free, recycled glass. It comes with a 60-day guarantee in case of breakage.
Our lab testers noted that the thicker glass employed on the Vintorio, while perhaps less elegant, "doesn't feel as fragile in the sink." They also appreciated that the decanter cleans up easily with soap and water, but noted that it's not possible to fit a standard dish brush through the narrow neck.
Price at time of publish: $21
Material: Glass | Capacity: 44 ounces | Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.5 x 8.7 inches | Weight: 1.8 pounds
"Made of crystal, it's thicker than most of the ones we tested, and the narrow neck makes it easy to get a good grip."
YouYah Wine Decanter Set
Classic shape and design
Comes with everything you need to clean it
Stopper included to preserve wine
Small in size, a standard size bottle of wine fills the decanter to the top
Pouring wine into a decanter is easy, but cleaning the decanter after can get tricky. Many carafes have been recycled after mold has taken hold or stubborn red wine stains refuse to lift. This kit from YouYah helps with the morning-after cleaning to keep the lead-free crystal decanter spotless and sparkling. The hand-blown decanter can hold up to 40.5 ounces and includes a dimple in the base for easier pouring, plus a cork stopper.
Once the wine has been tasted, you can use your preferred cleaning method: There are the cleaning beads, which are placed in the base with a gentle cleanser, or the cleaning brush for sweeping around the base. The final drip dry is much easier with the included drying stand, which can also be used for safely storing the decanter.
Our testers loved the feel of the carafe, which is "slender around the spout and feels great in the hand." While they observed that the YouYah was smaller than most of the decanters they tested, they noted that it still comfortably holds a full 750ml bottle of wine.
Price at time of publish: $40
Material: Crystal | Capacity: 40.5 ounces | Dimensions: 12 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 2.79 pounds
"It's easy to handle because the spout is slanted in a way that fits comfortably in the hand."
Best Swan Decanter
WBSEos Wine Decanter
Easy to clean
Easy to hold and pour wine
Base isn’t completely flat, may tip over when empty
The wide-base decanter is a popular shape, but if you want to bring a little elegance to your home bar, there’s the swan-style decanter. Inspired by the bird, this U-shaped vessel features an elongated spout and “tail” with a curved base where the wine is held.
This lead-free crystal offering from WBSEos features a curvy neck and angled spout for easy, drip-free pours. It can hold up to 1,500 milliliters and measures 15 inches in height. Reviewers note that this style is easier to clean, though care is needed with the thin glass.
In our lab, our testers noted great success with aeration, with flavors and aromas peaking after about 45 minutes. That said, they found the WBSEos to be more difficult to pour, because of the thicker neck. Also, they felt it was "most definitely precarious when full, because of the small base."
Price at time of publish: $30
Material: Crystal | Capacity: 1.5 liters | Dimensions: 15 x 9.69 x 5.59 inches | Weight: 1.32 pounds
"It is impressive and pretty, but the larger size makes it harder to handle and the narrow base makes it feel very tippy."
Best Electric Aerator
vSpin Wine Aerator
Most wines aerated in under four minutes
Combines wine and technology
Needs batteries or an electric charge to operate
This electric aerator from vSpin is for those moments when you’re pinched for decanting time or simply need a party talking point. The system is able to decant a full bottle of wine in mere minutes as opposed to hours.
To speed up the process, the magnetic base creates a vortex for maximum oxygenation inside the lead-free crystal decanter, which is made by Spiegelau. After placing the filled decanter on the base, you set the timer and speed of decanting. vSpin went through the research of optimal time for major red wine varieties, but you can experiment with times and speeds.
Hand washing is recommended for this decanter. The set comes with a charger, as well as four AA batteries, though reviewers mention short battery life. Our lab testers found it "entertaining," and observed that it definitely opened up the wine's flavors after just five minutes. They did note, however, that "cleaning this one is a process," since you need to remove the magnet spinner ahead of time with a retrieval tool.
Price at time of publish: $250
Material: Crystal | Dimensions: 13.39 x 6.38 x 5.83 inches | Weight: 2.51 pounds
"The wine definitely opened up with more juicy fruit after the five-minute spin, and after another five-minute spin we tasted even more bright fruit."
For an attractive, hand-blown decanter with a wide base for maximum aeration, go for the Le Chateau Wine Decanter. But for a perfectly serviceable budget option with slightly thicker glass that provides durability, the Vintorio GoodGlassware Wine Decanter is a great bet.
How We Tested
We tested a total of 15 top-rated wine decanters in our dedicated Lab side by side, looking at features like design, size, shape, weight, and value. Additionally, our testers undertook a variety of tests to determine which decanters performed the best on a range of levels. These included ease of pouring, decanting, ease of cleaning, and overall success in providing aeration to wine.
Other Options We Tested
- Wine Enthusiast Art Series Wine Tower Decanting Set: A striking decanter to look at, this is a multi-part unit comprising three different glass pieces that slot into a wooden tower. Our testers loved the fact that serving was easy, with no drips observed. But while they thought the design was very unique, they also felt it was "too extra." The fact that the parts are not fixed into place made them nervous, and they observed that the two top pieces (which were the most delicate) "just slot in and are somewhat unsteady." They also felt that the wooden tower seemed "cheap," noting that the walnut stain on the wood was not even.
- Made-In Decanter: Built from lead-free crystal and crafted in Slovakia, this is an all-purpose decanter with a classic look and feel. Our testers appreciated its straightforward design, and also heralded the fact that there's not a lot of dripping on the pour due to the slanted spout. That said, they noted that the decanter felt a bit "thin and insubstantial," as well as somewhat fragile—which made them a little nervous when cleaning it. Also, they observed that this decanter "took the longest to get the wine to its peak," and felt that other less expensive models performed better on an aeration level.
What to Look for in a Wine Decanter
Decanters come in a few different types, including electric and traditional, and also use a variety of methods to do the decanting. For example, some require more time for the decanting process to take place, while others allow you to start sipping right away.
How much wine you typically decant should dictate what size product you choose. While most models are equipped to hold one full bottle, others are made so you can decant a single glass at a time. Also, consider the amount of storage space you have—some decanters fit right on top of a bottle and are small enough to store in a drawer, while others are the size of a large vase and need more room.
While your decanter definitely has a job to do, it can also add a stylish touch to your tabletop. A variety of styles are available, from classic to modern, so think about what will go best with your taste and surrounding décor.
What does a wine decanter do?
A wine decanter allows the wine to obtain more oxygen to release more flavors and aromas. Normally, you can just swirl the wine in your glass to do this, but some "bigger" wines need more time and more air. So, you pour the wine in a decanter.
How long should you decant wine?
You can decant wines anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It definitely depends on the wine. It’s okay to taste it after 30 minutes and see how it’s developed, then leave it in for longer if necessary.
How do you clean a wine decanter?
Very carefully! Since the decanter is just holding the wine, it’s okay to just rinse your decanter out with warm water, swish it around, then set it on a rack to dry. If you have stubborn stains in the bottom of your decanter, add a handful of rice and some warm water to the bottom, and swish that around.
How long can you leave wine in a decanter?
You can leave wine in the decanter for up to three days if it has an airtight stopper. After that, it starts to receive too much air and can turn stale.
Should you decant white wine?
White wines can be decanted, and it won’t hurt the wine. It's more common to decant the heavier whites like your California chardonnays or Rhone Valley white blends. They just don’t need to be decanted as long as reds, 20 to 40 minutes should do just fine.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Siobhan Wallace has written about food and wine for over a decade and passed the WSET Level 2, Wines, with Distinction. While learning how long to properly decant a bottle of wine was hard, learning how to properly clean the decanter was harder.
This piece was updated by Tanisha Townsend, who is the founder and Chief Wine Officer of Girl Meets Glass, a wine lifestyle and education agency. She lives in Paris, France, where one of her favorite party tricks is using different decanters and blind tasting her friends on the wines afterward. Her favorite and most impressive one, The Rabbit Wine Super Aerating Decanter.