What is Undercounter Refrigerator: Undercounter Refrigerator Buying Guide

What is Undercounter Refrigerator: Undercounter Refrigerator Buying Guide

January 9, 2024

Navigating the intricacies of undercounter refrigerators is more than just a matter of choosing a cooling unit. It's about understanding the synergy between form, function, and space optimization in modern kitchens. This guide dives deep into the world of undercounter refrigeration, offering insights from types and uses to maintenance and buying tips.

What is an Undercounter Refrigerator?

Undercounter refrigerators represent a unique facet of commercial refrigeration, blending aesthetic appeal with practical functionality. These units are designed to fit seamlessly under counters, providing efficient cooling solutions without compromising on space. Ideal for both commercial and personal use, undercounter refrigerators are versatile appliances that offer a sophisticated touch to any commercial kitchen or bar setup.

Where are Undercounter Refrigerators Used?

Undercounter refrigerators are a staple in various settings, from high-end kitchens and home bars to commercial establishments like restaurants and hotels. Their compact design makes them perfect for areas where space is at a premium. They are particularly favored for their ability to integrate into cabinetry, offering a sleek, streamlined look.

What are the Different Undercounter Refrigerator Types?

Understanding the various types of undercounter refrigerators is crucial for making an informed decision. Each type serves distinct purposes, catering to different storage needs and space constraints, and comes with its own set of features, advantages, and disadvantages.

Single Section Refrigerator

Single section undercounter refrigerators are compact units designed for tight spaces or as supplementary cooling options. Typically measuring about 24 inches in width, these refrigerators are a perfect fit for small kitchens, offices, or as additional storage in a large kitchen setup.

Ideal for storing beverages, snacks, or overflow items, these refrigerators offer convenient access and efficient use of space. Their compact design makes them a great choice for urban apartments or homes where kitchen space is at a premium.

Two Section Refrigerator

Two section undercounter refrigerators, usually around 48 inches wide, offer more versatility in storage. These units are well-suited for those who require more storage space without the bulk of a full-sized refrigerator.

They are commonly found in medium-sized kitchens, hotel rooms, and small restaurants. Each section can be used for different types of food and beverages, making them ideal for sorting and organizing items. The extra space also allows for better air circulation, which is crucial for maintaining consistent temperatures.

Three Section Refrigerator

Three section undercounter refrigerators are larger, typically extending up to 72 inches. These units are best suited for commercial settings or large family homes where a variety of items need to be stored at different temperatures.

They provide ample space for segregating different food items, such as raw ingredients, cooked food, beverages, and dairy products. This segregation helps in maintaining hygiene and food safety standards, especially in commercial kitchens.

Four Section Refrigerator

Four section undercounter refrigerators represent the epitome of space optimization and storage efficiency. These refrigerators, ideal for bustling commercial kitchens or homes that entertain frequently, offer maximum storage capacity while maintaining a compact footprint.

Their extensive storage capacity is matched with advanced cooling technologies, ensuring each section maintains the optimum temperature for its contents.

This type is particularly beneficial for catering to diverse storage requirements, from preserving delicate wine collections in temperature-controlled environments to storing bulk food items.

By Door Type

The door type of an undercounter refrigerator plays a significant role in its functionality, aesthetic appeal, and space efficiency. Each door style caters to different needs, from solid doors offering maximum insulation to glass doors providing visual ease. Let's explore these types in more detail.

Solid Door

Solid door undercounter refrigerators are the standard choice in many commercial settings.

Typically ranging in dimensions from 15 to 36 inches in width, these refrigerators are renowned for their durability and energy efficiency. The opaque nature of the doors ensures minimal temperature fluctuations, a key factor in preserving food quality.

These models are best suited for high-volume environments where the contents do not need to be displayed, such as in commercial kitchens or medical facilities. The solid door units offer a uniform look, often blending seamlessly with other kitchen appliances and cabinetry.


Undercounter refrigerator drawers provide a unique combination of style and functionality. With typical dimensions also ranging from 15 to 36 inches, these units offer easy access to contents without the need to bend down, making them a convenient choice for all ages.

Ideal for storing beverages, fresh produce, or snacks, drawer refrigerators are a popular choice in modern, ergonomic kitchen designs.

They are particularly useful in kitchen islands or under counters for additional storage. The sliding mechanism of the drawers offers an innovative solution to space constraints, making them a favorite in both residential and commercial settings.

Glass Door

Glass door undercounter refrigerators are the epitome of convenience and elegance. Usually found within the same dimensional range as their solid door and drawer counterparts, these refrigerators offer a clear view of the contents, making them ideal for displaying beverages, wine collections, or specialty foods.

They are particularly popular in bars, retail settings, and contemporary home kitchens where the visual display of contents is desired. The glass doors not only add an aesthetic element but also help in quickly identifying and accessing items, reducing the time the door remains open and thus maintaining a more consistent internal temperature.

What are the Typical Dimensions of an Undercounter Refrigerator?

When selecting an undercounter refrigerator, understanding its dimensions is crucial for ensuring a perfect fit in your designated space. These dimensions not only determine how much the refrigerator can store but also how well it will integrate with your existing layout and cabinetry.

Let's break down the typical size ranges and what they mean for your space and storage needs.


The width of undercounter refrigerators varies to accommodate different space requirements and storage capacities. Commonly, these units range from 15 inches to 36 inches wide. The smaller widths are ideal for compact spaces or for those who need an additional cooling unit without taking up much room.

On the other hand, wider models are perfect for larger spaces or commercial settings where more storage is necessary. It's important to measure your available space carefully and consider what you intend to store to choose the most appropriate width.


The length, or depth, of undercounter refrigerators is also a key consideration. Most models are designed to align with standard countertop depths, ensuring a sleek, integrated look. Typically, these units have a depth ranging from 24 inches to 32 inches.

This standardization ensures that the refrigerator will not protrude awkwardly from under the counter, maintaining a streamlined appearance in your kitchen or bar area.


Height is another critical dimension, especially for seamless undercounter installation. The standard heights for these refrigerators are:

  • 32" Low Profile Units: These are designed to fit under shorter counters or in spaces adhering to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, offering accessibility and convenience.

  • 34" ADA-Height Units: Specifically designed to meet ADA requirements, these units provide easy access for wheelchair users.

  • 36" Standard-Height Units: These are the most common height, aligning perfectly with standard kitchen counters and offering a uniform look.


The internal capacity of undercounter refrigerators, measured in cubic feet, varies depending on the external dimensions. Generally, these units offer a capacity ranging from 2 to 20+ cubic feet. Smaller units are suitable for storing beverages and small food items, while larger models can accommodate a wider range of products, including bulk food items or a substantial wine collection.

When considering capacity, think about both your current and future storage needs to ensure your undercounter refrigerator can handle your lifestyle or business requirements.

What Temperature Should the Undercounter Fridge Be At?

Maintaining the correct temperature in an undercounter refrigerator is crucial for food safety and to ensure optimal functioning of the unit. The ideal temperature range for an undercounter fridge varies slightly depending on its use and contents, but generally, it should be set between:

  • 35°F to 38°F (1.7°C to 3.3°C) for general refrigeration.

  • 45°F to 55°F (7.2°C to 12.8°C) for wine coolers or a wine refrigerator to properly preserve different wine collections.

These temperature ranges are essential to keep food and beverages fresh, prevent bacterial growth, and maintain the quality of perishable items. It's also important to consider that units with two temperature zones will have different settings for each section, allowing for more specialized storage, such as separate zones for wine and food.

How Much Does an Undercounter Refrigerator Cost?

The cost of undercounter refrigerators varies widely based on size, features, brand, and design. On average, you can expect to find:

  • Basic Models: Starting from around $500 to $1,200, offering standard refrigeration capabilities with limited additional features.

  • Mid-Range Models: Priced between $1,200 to $2,500, these units typically offer better build quality, more consistent temperatures, and additional features like digital controls.

  • High-End Models: Ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 or more, these refrigerators often include advanced features like dual temperature zones, UV-protected glass doors, custom panel options, and smart technology integrations.

Remember, the final cost will also depend on any installation fees and the specific requirements of your space, such as the need for custom cabinetry integration.

What Factors Influence the Efficiency of an Undercounter Refrigerator?

Several factors can impact the efficiency of an undercounter refrigerator. Understanding these can help you optimize performance and energy usage:

  • Placement: Ensure proper ventilation around the unit to prevent overheating and to allow for efficient cooling.

  • Ventilation: Keep the venting areas clear of obstructions to facilitate airflow.

  • Temperature Settings: Set the correct temperature based on the contents and check it regularly.

  • Door Seal: Regularly inspect the door seal for any wear or damage to maintain an airtight environment.

  • Regular Maintenance: Clean the condenser coils and interior regularly to ensure optimal performance.

  • Load Capacity: Avoid overloading the refrigerator, as this can block air circulation and strain the cooling system.

  • Ambient Temperature: Be mindful of the room temperature; extreme external temperatures can affect the refrigerator's efficiency.

These tips not only contribute to the longevity of the refrigerator but also ensure that it runs at peak efficiency, providing safe and effective cooling for your food and beverages.

How Long Do Undercounter Refrigerators Last?

Undercounter refrigerators, when maintained properly, can be a long-lasting addition to your kitchen or commercial space. On average, these refrigerators have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. Several factors can influence this longevity, including:

  • Brand and Build Quality: Higher-quality models from reputable manufacturers tend to last longer.

  • Usage Patterns: Frequent opening and closing of the refrigerator and overloading can reduce its lifespan.

  • Maintenance: Regular cleaning and servicing, such as checking the door seals and cleaning the condenser coils, can prolong the life of the unit.

  • Environmental Conditions: Placement in areas with stable temperatures and good ventilation helps in maintaining the refrigerator’s efficiency.

What to Look for When Buying an Under-Counter Refrigerator?

Purchasing an under-counter refrigerator requires careful consideration of various features to ensure you choose a model that meets your needs and integrates seamlessly into your space. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision.

Size, Number of Sections, and Capacity

Size is a primary consideration when choosing an under-counter refrigerator. Measure the space where you plan to install the unit to determine the maximum size you can accommodate.

The number of sections in the refrigerator also matters, especially in commercial settings where different types of products may need to be stored separately.

Capacity, measured in cubic feet, will determine how much you can store inside. Consider your storage needs, whether for food, beverages, or wine, and choose a size and capacity that suits these requirements.

Door Style

The door style of your under-counter refrigerator affects both its function and aesthetic. Options include:

  • Solid Doors: Best for energy efficiency and ideal in settings where contents don’t need to be displayed.

  • Glass Doors: Offer visibility of contents, perfect for display purposes in retail or bar settings.

  • Drawer Style: Provides easy access and is great for ergonomic kitchen designs.

Consider the location of the unit and your usage habits to select the most appropriate door style.


The finish of the refrigerator should complement the décor of the space where it will be installed. Stainless steel finishes are popular for their sleek look and ease of cleaning, while panel-ready models can be customized to match your cabinetry. Consider the overall aesthetic of your kitchen or commercial space when choosing the finish.

Interior Lighting

Good interior lighting is essential for visibility, especially in commercial environments. LED lighting is a popular choice due to its energy efficiency and brightness. Ensure the lighting is evenly distributed and sufficiently illuminates all contents.

Temperature Controls

Temperature controls are crucial for maintaining the ideal environment for your stored items. Look for models with precise digital controls that allow you to easily adjust and monitor the temperature. If storing a variety of items, consider a refrigerator with multiple temperature zones.

Energy Efficiency and Ratings

Energy efficiency is an important consideration for both environmental impact and operational cost. Look for refrigerators with Energy Star ratings or those that boast energy-efficient features such as inverter technology or efficient insulation. These models may have a higher initial cost but can lead to significant savings in the long run.

  • Energy Consumption: Modern undercounter refrigerators are designed to be more energy-efficient than older models, often using less electricity to maintain consistent temperatures.

  • Energy Star Ratings: Look for units with Energy Star ratings, which indicate the refrigerator meets energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Choosing Energy-Efficient Models: When selecting an undercounter refrigerator, consider features like automatic defrost, LED interior lighting, and efficient insulation. Models with inverter technology can also be more energy-efficient.

  • Cost Savings: Although energy-efficient models may have a higher initial cost, they can lead to significant savings in electricity bills over time.

Budget Considerations

Finally, consider your budget. Under-counter refrigerators vary widely in price, from affordable basic models to high-end units with advanced features. Determine what features are most important to you and balance that with how much you are willing to spend.

Where to Buy Undercounter Refrigerators and Trusted Brands?

Below is a list of reputable manufacturers and brands known for their quality undercounter refrigeration units:

  • Coldline: Renowned for their durable and efficient designs, perfect for commercial settings.

  • Arctic Air: Offers a range of cost-effective, reliable refrigeration solutions.

  • Blue Air: Known for incorporating advanced refrigeration technology in their models.

  • Turbo Air: Turbo Air is celebrated for its innovative, energy-efficient undercounter refrigeration units.

  • Leader: This brand is respected for its high-quality, robust refrigeration equipment.

  • Atosa: Atosa is recognized for versatile refrigeration solutions that cater to both commercial and residential needs.

When reviewing these brands, look for customer feedback on aspects like longevity, energy efficiency, temperature consistency, and after-sales service. Reviews can provide valuable insights into the real-world performance and reliability of the refrigerators.

Kitchenall as a Trustworthy Supplier of Undercounter Refrigerators

Kitchenall stands out as a reliable supplier in the realm of undercounter refrigeration. Our range is designed to maximize space efficiency in various establishments while ensuring easy access for staff to cold snacks and drinks. Kitchenall's commercial undercounter refrigerators are particularly ideal for bars, restaurants, and other food service establishments where quick access to refrigeration is essential.

They feature a variety of undercounter refrigerators including solid doors, glass doors, and drawer models, ranging from 1 to 4 sections. The brands we offer, such as Coldline, Arctic Air, Blue Air, Turbo Air, Leader, and Atosa, are synonymous with quality and reliability in the industry.

Short Conclusion

Understanding the intricacies of undercounter refrigerators is essential for making an informed purchase. From considering the size, capacity, door style, and finish to evaluating interior lighting, temperature controls, energy efficiency, and budget, each aspect plays a vital role.

By carefully assessing your needs and the features of different models, you can find an undercounter refrigerator that not only fits seamlessly into your space but also enhances its functionality and aesthetic appeal.


What is the difference between undercounter and freestanding freezers?

Undercounter freezers are designed to fit seamlessly beneath countertops, offering space efficiency and a built-in look. Freestanding freezers, on the other hand, are standalone units with more flexibility in placement but typically require more floor space.

What is the difference between integrated and undercounter refrigerators?

Integrated refrigerators are designed to be completely flush with kitchen cabinetry, often featuring paneling that matches the rest of the kitchen. Undercounter refrigerators can be either freestanding or built-in but may not offer the seamless look of fully integrated models.

What is the difference between a mini fridge and undercounter fridge?

Mini fridges are compact and portable, ideal for small spaces like dorm rooms or offices. Undercounter fridges are larger, designed for more permanent installation under kitchen counters, and often feature more advanced cooling technology and storage options.