The new house that you shifted into, does it has a really small kitchen? Do the cooktop with the oven and the microwave makes the counter space clumsy? A typically small kitchen would not have any room for keeping a refrigerator in it. Moreover, if you are renovating the house then you might consider a space-saving in-kitchen solution for a refrigerator.
Often we have come across kitchen designs in which the space under the counter is left empty, unutilized. Well, not anymore, the perfect solution for small kitchens or clumsy countertops has arrived, an under-counter refrigerator.
Undercounter refrigerators are an essential part of the modern innovative kitchen and come with all the functionalities of an ordinary refrigerator. Moreover, they facilitate the optimum utilization of space and also add to the aesthetic value of your property.
These refrigerators have brought about a revolutionary change in the blueprint of the kitchen decor as well as have made the process of cooking easy by making the cold storage easily accessible. The models have been able to replace the conventional refrigerators by the sheer feature of putting the store of inventory near the cooking space.
This means that having an undercounter refrigerator saves you from sprinting to the dining room just to grab the bottle of milk from the refrigerator and make it to the kitchen in time to switch off the oven alarm. Moreover, there is a range of benefits that this mini fridge has to offer. The buyers can refer to the Phiestina Dual Zone Wine Cooler Refrigerator for better understanding.
The buyer should go for an undercounter refrigerator for plenty of reasons like enhanced cooling performances, a range of storage configurations, and a variety of styles that give your kitchen a high-end look. Moreover, an undercounter refrigerator comes with several functionalities like a beverage cooler, wine storage, or wine cooler, an ice maker, and many other relevant features.
Therefore, buying the best undercounter refrigerator is one of the correct decisions taken. This buying guide aims to provide all the required information that is needed to purchase the best undercounter refrigerator. Moreover, the factors and features that should be considered by the buyer before making the purchase have also been mentioned. Now, buying the best undercounter refrigerator should not be overwhelming anymore.
Table of Contents
- What are the benefits of Undercounter Refrigerators?
- 6 Best Undercounter Refrigerator – Everything You Need to Know
- How to buy the best undercounter refrigerators?
What are the benefits of Undercounter Refrigerators?
The Undercounter Refrigerators have all the features and functions that can give the normal refrigerators a run for their money. The buyer might wonder whether the undercounter refrigerators would be the best buy. In retrospect, different types of refrigerators like the top freezer refrigerator, french door refrigerator, or the side-by-side refrigerator might also seem like a perfect purchase. However, the buyers should consider going through the following points to understand how the mini-fridges top the game.
1. Saving the Space
The undercounter model has a smaller profile in comparison to regular refrigerators. This means that the floor space taken up by these appliances is less than the regular ones resulting in clear counter space. Moreover, the storage space permitted by these refrigerators is also reasonable and compensates for the price.
2. Visual Appeal
An undercounter refrigerator improves the visual appeal of the kitchen. This means that an undercounter establishment gives the kitchen and the patio a clean and stylish outlook.
3. Energy Efficient
The undercounter refrigerators facilitate efficient use of energy, which results in lower amount electricity bills. They also are certified environment-friendly products.
4. Ease of Access
These refrigerators incorporate modern designs with a variety of styles and finishes. Moreover, the construction of an undercounter refrigerator facilitates ease of access for all including those who fall under the American with Disabilities Act as they are made in accordance with the standards for accessible design.
6 Best Undercounter Refrigerator – Everything You Need to Know
By now, the buyer should be able to understand the rationale behind buying an undercounter refrigerator and the benefits that he or she would be able to get with the appliance. However, the world of undercounter refrigerators can be a confounding place.
This means that the variety of sizes, styles, and functionalities that these models have to offer can be slightly overwhelming for the buyer. Therefore, the crucial factors and features that should be considered before buying the best undercounter refrigerator have been compiled and listed down in this guide. One of the best undercounter refrigerators that the buyers can have a look at is the Whynter BR-130 SB Beverage Refrigerator Whynter BR-130 SB Beverage Refrigerator.
How to buy the best undercounter refrigerators?
Picking the best refrigerator from a variety of styles and finishes can be strenuous. There are a lot of essential factors that have to be considered as the current need and lifestyle of the buyer. The space available below the counter and the design of the undercounter refrigerator that will provide a perfect storage solution are some of the important factors.
Moreover, the different features that these undercounter refrigerators are available with, makes it more difficult for the buyer to opt for the correct model. Certain units do not adopt the best cooling technology available in the industry. Therefore, the buyer has to be mindful of the choice that he or she is making. Let us delve into the compiled list of factors and features.
1. Size and Storage Capacity
The size and storage capacity of the undercounter refrigerator is one of the primary factors that the buyer or the chef has to analyze. The uniform height in which these models come is 34 to 36 inches. An optimal height of 34 inches easily fit under the counter or the cooking space. However, the buyer must ensure that the appliance model matches the kitchen layout.
All the units on average weigh between 35 to 55 pounds. They are lightweight and easy to move. However, they do not come with wheels for portability. They have enough storage space for keeping beverages, wine bottles, and other food items. An average undercounter refrigerator comes with a storage capacity of about less than 6 cubic feet. The NewAir Beverage Refrigerator seems like the perfect choice and can be referred to by the buyers for better understanding.
2. Refrigerator for Commercial Purpose
An undercounter refrigerator that is being purchased for commercial business institutions or restaurants should be able to match the amount of storage that is to be kept in the inventory for a one-time service in the restaurant. The undercounter unit to be bought should be compatible with such a storage capacity and kitchen layout.
The small undercounter fridges also help to maintain the hygiene of the kitchen by allowing the chefs to store all the raw meat separately from the cooked items. They are also easy to clean and organize and are a perfect appliance for a commercial kitchen.
3. Temperature Range
The greater the efficiency with which a refrigerator cools, the higher is its quality. However, the buyers might need to worry as some brands of the undercounter refrigerator industry boast products, which pose a fluctuation in the temperature range by 10 to 15 degrees.
This means that the cooling system or cooling technology adopted by the different brands in the industry varies in standard. The variation in the temperature range occurs due to a faulty or cheap cooling system that ultimately results in a wide temperature range within the refrigerator itself.
A cheap temperature control technology following a static mechanism of cold plate cooling leads to uneven distribution of air, which in turn results in a nonuniform air stratification effect. To be precise, the upper portion of the mini-fridge might be 15 degrees warmer than the lower portion while another compartment of the appliance might maintain the desired temperature for frosting.
An effective temperature range system would lead to less variation in the wide temperature range. The best undercounter refrigerators have a dynamic cooling technology that helps in the recirculation of the cold air throughout the fridge from the upper portion to the lower portion. This system is effective for wine and beverages. The Whynter BR 1211DS Whynter BR 1211DS seems like a perfect example.
The buyers must be careful of the fact that some models come with a mechanism that cools the refrigerator in extended intervals of time. This had been essentially done to enhance the efficiency of energy. However, the technology backfired and resulted in temperature swings.
A refrigerator that constitutes a technology, which results in uniform circulation of air is also crucial for the proper maintenance of food and beverages inside it. Moreover, a proper temperature range or stability increases the quality of food and its freshness.
4. Rapid Cooling System
A rapid cooling system is one of the most popular features of undercounter refrigerators. In the fast-paced life that we all are living in, time is what we cannot afford to lose. A mini-refrigerator permits you to save cooling time by freezing the bottles of wine and beverages in no time.
For instance, you might have planned a party for your folks, later in the day, and you want to store the refrigerator with wine bottles that are at room temperature. The best counter refrigerator allows you to do just that and cools the bottles to the set temperature in no time.
Moreover, a rapid cooling technology also prevents the food from bacteria thriving on it and enhances the hygiene standards. Therefore, the buyer must go for a mini-fridge that has a proven effective cooling rate. This is because a uniform circulation of cold air will result in faster cooling of the food to the set temperature.
5. Material – Stainless Steel or Aluminum?
Although the counter refrigerators come with a year warranty, it is better on the part of the buyers, to be aware of all the tips and tricks that will increase the life expectancy of the product. There are a variety of materials in which the manufacturers make the mini-fridges.
However, the most popular materials for the exterior body of the refrigerator are stainless steel or aluminum. The buyers might be confused with the choice between stainless steel and aluminum. Stainless steel is the most expensive option. A stainless steel door or exterior body is easy to clean and is also durable.
Moreover, aluminum is a material that prevents the body from rust and corrosion. Buyers should be aware of the fact that aluminum is cheaper concerning stainless steel. The choice between stainless steel or aluminum depends on the budget of the buyer and his or her affordability.
The interior of the mini-fridge also has similar options of aluminum and stainless steel. Nonetheless, in the case of an inner material, the option of plastic is also available. A stainless steel interior could be easily wiped off the stains and dirt. On the other hand, aluminum makes it dent and scratch-free. Plastic is the cheapest and resists chemical stains but on the downside is poor thermal material.
6. Drawers and Door
The design of the cooling unit is another crucial factor that needs to be decided before going in for the perfect purchase. This means that the perfect unit that you are planning to buy should be as per your need. If the counter refrigerator is being planned to be purchased for a commercial institution like a restaurant then the convenience of the chef is a mandatory factor.
The undercounter refrigerators are available in a range of designs that involve drawers, doors, and a combination of both. The units that are available with a door have the option of a swing door for each section so that the user can have access to the items on the shelves.
The units that come with drawers have double drawers in each of the sections that slide out for the user so that he or she can get access to the item pans. The units that have both drawers and doors have a single section.
Now, it entirely depends on the application or the purpose for which the refrigerator has been purchased. For instance, if the freestanding unit is being purchased for storing wine bottles or as a wine refrigerator or a beverage refrigerator then a counter fridge with a single door would be the suitable option.
If the unit is being purchased for storing food in pans then the buyer should prefer a drawer model as it would be more convenient to handle. Moreover, more busy establishments or kitchens can opt for a combination model of doors and drawers. This is because a blended model has both doors and drawers and comes in two sections.
7. Glass Door or Solid Door?
There are a few options that have to be considered in regards to the door of the counter fridge. This means that the door is available in materials that can be broadly divided into two categories. These are solid or stainless steel doors or glass doors.
A stainless steel door is completely insulated and makes efficient use of energy in comparison to a glass door. However, the only feature that sets a glass door apart is that the user can see inside the door when it is closed. Unlike a solid, you need not open the door to look inside the refrigerator. Moreover, a glass door facilitates better temperature control as it has insulated panes for the purpose. The Karcassin 15 Inch Wine Cooler can be referred to by the buyers for better understanding.
Here the customer should remember that the sole purpose for which the counter fridge will be used determines the type of door that can be hinged to it. For instance, if the unit is considered for back house usage then solid doors might be preferred. Moreover, cooling units for commercial stores would require glass for allowing the customer to have a look at the food items without opening the door.
8. Energy Efficiency
The current conditions have compelled buyers to brood over the fact whether the product they are buying is environment friendly or not? Moreover, every single socially aware citizen prefers products that have the lowest carbon footprint without having to compromise on the latest features and functionalities.
The latest models of the best counter refrigerator come with some energy-saving options. This means that the free-standing unit features different ecological modes that help reduce the carbon footprint. Other features include automatically self-closing the fridge door and alarms that hint at issues with abnormal energy loss.
The material of the door also plays an important role in determining the energy efficiency of the product. A glass door has insulating panes and a stainless steel door facilitates protection against loss of cold air. However, it should be taken care of the fact that dense insulation does not lead to the reduction of the internal volume of the product.
9. Storage Flexibility
The storage flexibility is a potential factor that the buyers need to consider. This means that the buyer should be able to look into her or his future lifestyle and then make a relevant choice. The fridge should at least have an additional wine storage option or a wine cooler for further storage.
Moreover, you can also consider convertible shelves that allow enough storage for towering bottles of wine and beverage. The Smith & Hanks RW88SR is one of the best undercounter refrigerators and comes with wood fronted metal shelf and one year warranty.
The undercounter refrigerator is available in a variety of designs. For instance, the worktop undercounter refrigerator facilitates the transformation of the unit into an efficient worktop that can be used for stacking things on it. The STAIGIS Wine Refrigerator seems like the perfect example for buyers.
Some restaurants might require a counter refrigerator to fit under the equipment that the chef is using like a charbroiler. These kinds of models are known as Chef Base refrigerators and are perfect for culinary masters. The design in which you want your mini counter fridge depends on your nature of work, lifestyle, and ease of access.
11. Fit and Finish
An undercounter stainless steel refrigerator with a solid or glass door certainly adds to the aesthetic value of your property. Some of the units have a sleek design with blue led lighting, digital temperature display features, and glass shelves in addition to convertible components. These make the freestanding unit worthy of their price.
12. Other Features
There is a range of specialized features that these undercounter refrigerators tend to have. Buyers should be careful in pointing out these unique features mentioned in the product description.
- Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act – The undercounter refrigerators are manufactured with a height in compliance with the ADA Act. This means that they have a height between 32 to 34 inches that makes them accessible to people with disabilities.
- Freezer – The counter fridges come with a complementary section for the freezer permitting the appliance to maintain dual temperature.
- The aspect of Depth – The aspect of depth comes into consideration when the unit has an unusual shape. Units with extra or shallow depths are considered accordingly.
- Swing door – The refrigerators come with a swing door that can be left hinged too. If your kitchen layout needs you to open the fridge door to the left then the left-hinged door models can be considered.
- Reversible Door – The reversible door is another unique feature that the best undercounter refrigerators have. A reversible door is specifically made for fitting the kitchen layout. This means that when the door is reversible, it can be swung to the left or right according to the kitchen needs and design.
These are the essential factors and features that are needed to be considered before the buyer goes in for the perfect purchase. There is a wide range of styles, finishes, and special features that are available in the market. However, after going through the above-mentioned pointers, the buyer will be able to get clarity about his need.
How to keep the undercounter refrigerator clean?
The secret behind the longer life expectancy of any product is the care with which it is treated after use. Undercounter refrigerators are no exceptions. This means that the buyer or the chef must ensure that the appliance remains clean of food splatters and smears as these are the potential reasons behind the shorter life of any cooking appliance. A few tips have been provided that the buyer can follow to keep his cooling unit clean.
- To begin with, the unit should be unplugged before cleaning to prevent any accident.
- The shelves should be emptied and removed individually.
- Any sticky, moldy, or rotten food should be disposed of immediately.
- Warm soap water and a sponge or a microfiber cloth shall be used to clean the interior portion of the refrigerator.
- The user should take extra care while cleaning the interior to not miss out on any kind of stains or food splatters.
- Disinfect the fridge surfaces with a sanitizer to prevent bacterial outgrowth on them.
- The dust on the refrigerator coils should be cleaned.
- The area above and below the refrigerator should also be cleaned at regular intervals.
What should be the clearance metrics around an undercounter fridge?
The refrigerator should have a clearance of 2 inches from backward, a clearance of an inch from the upper wall or cabinet, and a 1/8 inch clearance on both sides. These are the clearance metrics for an undercounter refrigerator.
Do the undercounter models require ventilation?
Yes, an undercounter fridge or wine refrigerator, or beverage refrigerator requires proper ventilation to prevent overheating.
How long does an undercounter unit last?
An undercounter refrigerator might last for around 15 years. However, the buyer must take proper care of the appliance following the instructions given in the product manual.
This guide has provided a lucid compilation of all the information that is essential for the purchase of the best undercounter refrigerator. The buyer should go through each factor and feature carefully to understand the specific type of model that he or she requires. It is not every day that you search for an appliance like an undercounter refrigerator. Therefore, the buyer must strike a fair deal. This buying guide has provided all the tips and tricks for purchasing a mini counter refrigerator. Moreover, having gone through all the points, the buyer should also analyze his own need and then go for a customized purchase. Nonetheless, it is of immense importance that the refrigerator is cleaned daily to increase its life expectancy. Wishing you all the best. Happy Purchasing!