Under counter refrigerators can be quite handy, especially if your regular upright is filled to capacity. With such a unit, you can reach for a particular item without having to shuffle things around or temporarily placing things on the counter. Children and guests can find things, especially cans of pop, instantly without the need for poking around in the already over crowded fridge.
Also, these fridges are placed within the lower cabinetry of a kitchen to function as an exclusive beverage cooler and perhaps, give this room a bar like look.
Beware: Under Counter Refrigerators Are Pricey
If you’re serious about purchasing an under counter refrigerator, some of these models can near or exceed $1,000 in price. Although small, some cost as much or more than deep chest freezers or convention fridges. Hard to believe?
Why is that? Though they seem unobtrusive, they can perform some or all of the tasks that conventional fridges can. Additionally, these tiny units can go places where regular uprights can’t: under counters. While regular refrigerators need a matter of a few inches for ventilation, compact units have no place to emit heat but out the front. Thus, they need special compressors that are costlier than those used in conventional fridges.
Under counter refrigerators fill certain needs better than their counterparts. They are most ideal for storing beverages, especially bottles of wine. Some models come with segregated compartments for white wines, red wines, and champagnes, keeping each at its own optimal temperature. Because their inner airflow is more condensed than a regular fridge, their internal temperature is more consistent. Hence, they can keep numerous cans of pop (sometimes over 100 depending upon the unit) cold much better than standard refrigerators.
So, what is the best under-the-counter refrigerator for you? Because there are hundreds of models that come in different storage capacities, appearances, and price ranges, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. It all depends on what you need in a refrigerator and how much you’re willing to spend. An under counter fridge is best if you plan to host parties, especially for wine drinking. Having an ice maker is yet another plus. Some units are permanently built within the cabinetry and thus, can be a chore to pull out if needed to for repairs.
Low to High-Range Units:
For a general idea of what type of unit you’re looking for, we compared three different brands and models.
SPT WC-3302US 33 Commercial Grade Wine Cooler
Holding up to 33 16 oz. bottles, the WC-3302US serves the basic needs for a small group of people. Its temperature can be set between 39° to 68° F. In the event of an outage, this unit can automatically return to its preset temp once power is restored. Also, this model is made of stainless steel for an elegant look plus has a reversible, tempered, dual-paned glass door. With its auto defrost feature and circulation fan, you can be assured that your beverages will stay cold and the fridge will run at its optimal efficiency.
Summit Under Counter FF7BSSHH 5.5-cu ft
Having a stainless steel exterior, the towel bar door handle can be mounted horizontal or vertically. With auto-defrost, there is minimal need for manual cleaning. Its interior light is controlled by a rocker switch for lighting only when wanted. Included are four adjustable and removable shelves for foods of different shapes and sizes.
In case you’re curious, we can take a peek at a more expensive model and see what features it has to offer.
True TUC-27 6.5-cu ft Under Counter Refrigerator
This roomier unit offers 6.5 cubic feet and holds a tight temperature range from 33° to 38° F with superb guided airflow. With its stainless steel door are matching exterior walls and top. Its self-closing door can be adjusted to stay open. Mounted on 5” casters, this unit also acts as a portable fridge. Most of all, the True TUC-27 comes with a 3-year warranty on parts and labor along with a 5-year compressor warranty.
It goes without saying that under-the-counter refrigerators provide great convenience and a touch of elegance to a kitchen. Their main function is to store and keep beverages nice and cool and do so much better than conventional fridges. Typically, they are sized specifically to replace old under-the-counter trash compactors. However, their only way of ventilating is through the bottom front of the unit and thus are specially built for confined places not suitable for mini fridges.
At your own option, you can either have an under-the-counter refrigerator installed in your kitchen cabinets or purchase a stand alone unit that will fit in the allotted space. Permanent units are usually more expensive, but give a kitchen a restaurant like appearance. What you want and what you can afford in an under counter fridge will determine which type that is most appropriate for you.