Up until the last few years under counter freezers were almost exclusively used in bar, hotel, and restaurant kitchens. Those days are gone. With numerous advantages, they are being seen more and more in residential settings. Let’s look at what an under counter freezer is, as well as the many benefits they offer. In addition, we will examine what you need to know if you are considering purchasing one and with a look at the top 5 under counter freezers currently available.
What is an Under Counter Freezer?
Under counter freezers are exactly what they sound like, a freezer that is fitted underneath your kitchen counter. Available in a variety of sizes and finishes, there is a wide selection to choose from. For example, you can choose between having an included ice maker or not, horizontal or vertical handles, and shelves or removable baskets. In addition, some feature touch screens, interactive control panels, temperature display, adjustable thermostat, factory-installed locks, and alarms.
There is no question that one of the biggest advantages of including an under counter freezer in your kitchen is the convenience it adds. Instead of having to dig through your refrigerator freezer for something that is stuck under everything else or run out to your deep freeze, you can simply open your freezer and get what you need. It is that simple!
Of course, there are plenty of other advantages including:
- They provide extra freezer space, something that almost everyone could use.
- They allow children to easily access a frozen treat, such as a popsicle or ice cream. (This is the reason many models include a lock. If you do not want your children to grab anything out of it, simply lock it.
- They allow handicapped individuals to maintain their autonomy. Instead of having to ask for assistance every time they need something from the freezer, they can get it themselves.
- Whether you consider yourself to be quite the chef or simply an adequate cook, they allow you to keep frozen items handy. This eliminates any worries you may have about something burning while you are trying to find something in your outside deep freezer.
- If you entertain on a routine basis, it augments your freezer space, which is ideal for storing extra ice for extras.
Important Considerations Before Purchasing an Under Counter Freezer
First and foremost, you must make certain that it will fit into its intended space, particularly if it will be placed into an existing spot. Also, keep in mind that you need to be able to open the drawers entirely, so ensure that there is nothing that would get in its way. However, if you are completing a kitchen remodel, your contractor should be able to incorporate it into the design plan.
In addition, consider the following before finalizing your purchase.
- Consider how large a unit you need, based on how much you plan to store within it. Most units are available in an assortment of sizes from 15 inches wide to 24 inches wide.
- Make certain you opt for a front ventilation unit. As the result of being in a confined space, those without front ventilation can pose a fire hazard.
- Consider the available power source near your point of installation. Most, though not all, under cover freezers use a standard 110-volt outlet. However, you may opt to have it directly wired into your breaker box. In this case, you will need to ensure a circuit is available for direct wire installation.
- Decide whether or not you want a lock on your unit. Again, this could be useful if you have children prone to looking for snacks without permission.
- Determine if you need a unit that has a built-in ice maker. In most cases, people choose to go without because ice is usually available in their refrigerator freezer. If you do choose to go with a built-in unit, be certain that you have a permanent water line accessible. If not, you will need to have one installed by a professional plumber. Also be aware that some under counter freezers require a drain line.
- Choose between models with baskets or shelves, as well as whether or not they are removable. This is largely dependent upon what you plan to store in your under cover freezer.
- Determine how much you plan to spend. It is not a good idea to look at models above your set limit. Due to all they have to offer, especially as they increase in price, it will be difficult not to make an impulse purchase.
- Decide whether you need a unit with a manual defrost or an automatic defrost. Although automatic units are more convenient, this is largely determined by your personal preference.
- Examine the warranty to make certain it adequately meets your needs.
- Finally, style will likely be a significant factor in your final decision. This is discussed in greater detail below.
Thanks to the wide assortment of design options to choose from, you are certain to be able to find an under counter freezer that complements your kitchen and style preferences. Currently, stainless steel is one of the more popular options. However, they are also available in solid white and black models. For a more upscale look, you may want to look into a glass front unit or even one that is custom colored to blend in seamlessly with your existing cabinets. Regardless of what you are looking for, there is a under counter freezer out there that will meet your style desires. Of course, it may take some time to find it.
Top 5 Under Counter Freezers
After examining style and features, as well as comparing prices and reading customer reviews, the following are the top 5 under counter freezers. It is important to note that only Perlick and Sub Zero offer under counter freezers. All other manufacturers combine refrigerators and freezers together.
5. Sub Zero ID 24-FI
Priced slightly under $4,000, the Sub-Zero ID 24-FI is the newest under counter freezer on the market. This line has the largest selection of models available, including three widths, making it perfect for more than one size space. It includes a smart touch control panel, giving you the ability to easily control temperatures, as well as other settings. In addition, it features energy efficient LED lighting, soft close doors, and an automatic ice maker.
It can be purchased in two or three drawer models that can be customized using panels and handles to blend into almost any décor. It holds 3.8 cubic feet of food and includes drawers with removable dividers. Finally, it is Star-K. Kosher certified as Sabbath and holiday compliant.
With a 5.3 cubic feet capacity, the Perlick HP24FS-5 retails for $4,700, although it can be found for as little as $3,800. Known for being powerful, quiet, and energy efficient, it features front ventilation, a maintenance-free automatic gas defrost, an interior digital temperature display, and ball bearing glides that ensure the drawers always move smoothly. It offers several options including vinyl coated drawer dividers and locks.
With a stunning commercial grade stainless steel exterior and interior, it has a sleek look that goes great in any kitchen.
3. Sub Zero 700 BF(I) Drawer Serie
Priced at $3,985 without an ice maker and $4,095 with a built-in ice maker, the Sub Zero 700 BF(I) has slightly more than 5 cubic feet of space for food in a two drawer unit. The top drawer includes a removable divider. It features electronic controls that are easy to use, bright lights, and includes an alarm that will alert you with a beep if a drawer is left open.
The Sub Zero 700 BF (I) is available in stainless steel, but it also accepts custom wood panels, making it easy to completely integrate it into any design scheme. It is Star-K. Kosher certified as Sabbath and holiday compliant
Although the 735TFI is more expensive than the previous options, at $7,670, it is well worth the cost. It includes a freezer storage space of 21.5 cubic feet. At 36”, it is one of the taller under counter freezers on the market. It includes two drawers (the top one has a removable divider), flat to the ceiling bright lighting, a door alarm to alert you when a drawer has been left open, easy to use electronic controls, and is designed for superior food storage and energy efficiency.
The Sub Zero 736TFI All Freezer is offered in stainless steel, but it also accepts custom wood panels, making it easy to incorporate it into any style of room. It is Star-K. Kosher certified as Sabbath and holiday compliant.
Retailing for less than $6,000, the Perlick Signature Series offers everything you need in an under counter freezer. It includes 5.2 cubic feet of storage space with a stainless steel interior. It is ideal for entertaining because it includes removable full-extension vinyl coated racks to store liquors, beer mugs, and martini glasses. It features a state of the art digital control panel, automatic defrosting that is maintenance free, adjustable LED lighting, and Low-E, UV coated glass that provides superior protection and insulation. Optional door locks are available.
There are several design options to choose from. They include solid stainless steel or solid wood overlay door, and stainless steel drawers or wood overlay drawers. If you are planning to put your under counter freezer outdoors, you can choose the UL rated outdoor option, which is designed specifically for the outdoors.
If you are in need of additional freezer space, under counter freezers provide a stylish and convenient option. Using the information above, you should be able to find the one that best meets your needs.