Many households looking for a luxurious yet convenient addition to their kitchen will consider the purchase of a second fridge. When it comes to choosing a second fridge, an under counter fridge is a very popular choice.
A simple compact fridge or bar fridge can make for a cheap second fridge. However, if your needs are for a design that smoothly fits into your existing kitchen dcor then undercounter refrigeration has a lot of benefits. Below I will discuss the features of these appliances, and briefly discuss a couple of the available models.
The usual form factor of one of these small refrigerators is a set of drawers – frequently caster drawers. These under cabinet refrigerators are installed in a space similar to that which built-in dishwashers occupy. With a relatively small foot print, and easy access for children, they can be a very handy addition to the kitchen. If you seek additional freezer space these units are available as under counter freezers also.
The discreet installation beneath the kitchen counter allows the small integrated fridges to seamlessly blend into your room, and project an air of sophisticated elegance. Available with a variety of finishes, you can choose the traditional white or black front. You can also opt for stainless steel, or even custom fitted wooden panels. This is an especially nice option if you have opted for a full sized integrated fridge freezer as your primary appliance; the two integrated refrigerators will complement each other very nicely.
Similarly to the full sized integrated fridges, these under the counter refrigerator units are designed specifically to allow them to be operated flush to the walls under cabinetry by having the ventilation on the front of the unit. With cheap compact fridges while you need to ensure several inches of ventilation space on each side; which reduces those units suitability for use as compact undercounter refrigerators.
Unfortunately, while very convenient and attractive, you will have to pay a significant sum for a quality under-counter drawer refrigerator. Most models are in the US$1,500 to US$3,000 dollar price range. It is the homeowners decision a to whether nor not having a fridge integrated under counter tops is worth the expense.
As mentioned earlier they are of a similar capacity to many mini-bar fridges or compact refrigerators, and those alternatives can make for a cheap undercounter fridge at a very small fraction of the price. Not however that care must be taken if you choose this route that under the counter refrigerators are adequately ventilated.
The Electrolux ICON : E24RD50QS Professional Series Under-Counter Refrigerator Drawers is a good example of a premium under counter refrigerator. This unit has generous capacity and a stainless steel finish. This particular under counter refrigerator has two sliding drawers, and is truly a sophisticated kitchen appliance that will fit well into the most modern designer kitchen.
Thankfully there is a compromise available as there are under counter fridge freezer units available that have a more traditional compact design combined with a ventilation system that allows them to be used flush against walls. These units are generally priced more than a regular compact fridge, but for significantly less than the upscale drawer type undercounter fridges.
The Summit Appliances CT66B Deluxe Under-Counter Refrigerator-Freezer veers away from the drawer design, and is a model that looks more like a compact fridge, but has the ventilation features that allow for safe usage under a counter. This undercounter refrigerator can be a great choice if you do not want to pay the premium for the drawer type units.
Even high end firms like Sub Zero and Viking manufacture quality undercounter refrigerators.
Also something to keep in mind though this may be less of a concern if you can afford one of these units is energy usage. Though relatively cheap to run due to their small size, under counter refrigerators are considerably less efficient than any large American style fridge when it comes to energy usage per unit volume. That said, at less than US$50 per year to run assuming your electricity prices aren’t prohibitive the cost of operating under counter fridges should not be too serious a problem.