One common desire of most people is to have a spacious kitchen.
And a good way to achieve that is having gadgets that are small enough to be tucked under the cabinet but are as functional as their larger counterparts. And that’s where kitchen appliances like under cabinet toaster ovens and undercounter refrigerators come to play.
With the changing trends of home improvement in 2021 and a 26% increase in home appliance in the last 12 months, it is necessary that you keep yourself updated on the latest kitchen tech and choose only which fits your needs.
In this article, we’ll show you the best compact fridges in 2021, and all the qualities to look out for when getting one that’ll suit your needs.
Jump to Section
The 7 Best Undercounter Refrigerators in 2021
1. EdgeStar CBR1501SLD 24” Built-in Beverage Cooler
The wine drinkers will no doubt love this one.
First, EdgeStar is a reputable fridge manufacturer and all its products exude quality.
Now to its architecture: This beverage cooler sports a glossy stainless steel door that will elevate the interior decoration of your kitchen. Plus the compact size and stainless steel finish of the exterior makes this fridge perfect to be stationed under your countertop or any other place in your crib.
One important feature that makes it suitable for an under counter fridge is its front ventilation.
Another cool feature of this model is the digital temperature display that shows both the set temperatures and the current working temperatures of the fridge. Thus, giving you control over the workings and details of your dear fridge.
And for the wine lovers, the bottom floor has been ridged for you to arrange and balance 5 wine bottles. It’s also got 3 adjustable glass shelves that have the capacity to fit over 100 12oz cans. The adjustable shelves can also make you create room to fit a larger item like a jar of milk, etc.
In all, this fridge has 5.49 cubic feet of storage space.
This refrigerator unit is not only a wonderful piece of engineering but also a beautiful work of art.
2. Kalamera Built-in 24-inch Beverage Refrigerator (best built-in fridge)
This refrigerator doesn’t only look sleek and futuristic, it is indeed all shades of beauty.
This fridge has got an ostentatious see-through glass front that allows you to take stock of its content without opening the door. Plus the blue LED lights add some glitz to an already flashy look. And to complete the chic look, the exterior is built with black stainless steel that’s easy to clean and maintain.
And because of its cool design and compact size, this refrigerator can either be a feature in your kitchen or your bar. The temperature which ranges from 38-50°F is displayed on the LCD screen
In contrast to the previous EdgeStar, this 24-inch gadget has got 4 wire racks that you can remove to create a better economy of space. Hence, it can fit in 154 canned drinks and probably more (if you take some racks out)!
However, it isn’t made for only canned beverage: it can also serve as your milk and wine chiller.
Now to the technology side of things.
The Kalamera beverage refrigerator has got a low-noise compressor and doesn’t vibrate; thus, giving you the benefit of being in a quiet environment. This appliance also filters the air coming into it
And if at any point there’s a blackout, it’s got a temperature memory function that saves the set temperature. And when power is back on, it’ll automatically restore the fridge to the set temperature. This makes it better than many electrical appliances at home.
Despite the setbacks, this fridge is one of the best under counter units out there.
3. RCA RFR322-B Stainless Steel Mini-fridge
If solving your kitchen space issues is at the top of your needs, this mini-fridge is for you.
The key feature of this product is that it has got enough storage space. This RCA refrigerator has a freezer part that you can use to store your foods. This is in addition to the fridge part where you can keep your beverages cool.
Unlike most of the other refrigerators on this list, the RCA RFR322-B mini-fridge offers you a minimalist yet sleek design with its stainless steel exterior. Another thing worthy of note is that the door is reversible: so whichever way will be more comfortable for you, you can set the handle and hinge.
With this product, you can set your desired temperature and allow it to do its job.
And its compact and sleek build makes it suitable to be affixed underneath the counter.
Do you need something that goes beyond chilly? The RCA RFR322-B Stainless may just be the best product to house your perishables and beverages.
4. Supentown (SPT) BF-314U Stainless Steel Undercabinet Refrigerator
If you’re the kind of person who always has friends coming over–the kind of friends that can really booze–then this undercabinet refrigerator might just be the best for you.
With a temperature as low as 23°F, the SPT BF-314U won’t waste any time in getting your cans icy-chilled. So instead of keeping your wines cool at around 38°F as most other mini-fridges do, it keeps them frosty.
And despite its compact size, it has the capacity to fit fifty (50) cans of beer – which more than enough space to host your friends for the weekend.
This model has also got four removable wire shelves that can be rearranged to fit larger containers and wine bottles. And the stainless steel color of this fridge makes it appealing to the eyes and easy to clean.
And unlike many of the other fridges that have their LED control panel inside, the SPT BF-314U has its outside for ease of use.
Our verdict: When you factor in the price for this unit and the workload it carries, you’ll have to admit that this is one of the best undercounter refrigerators.
5. Sinoartizan Under Counter Wine and Beverage Cooler
First, this bar equipment is a beaut.
Another thing we love about this unit is its versatility as it was built to cater to your household’s needs. It’s got two compartments; the left for holding 18 bottles of wine, and the right for carrying 55 cans.
And to ensure both sides cool optimally, the compartments have different temperatures. The left side has a temperature range of 41 – 64°F while the right is 39 – 50°F. it also has removable shelves to make room for a larger item.
There are also interior lights on both compartments that automatically turn off 10 minutes after locking the door.
Despite these shortcomings, this Sinoartizan model is one of the best under counter fridges in 2021.
6. Allavino VSWR56-1SSRN Wine Mini Fridge
If there’s a mini-fridge specially crafted for wine storage, it’s got to be the Allavino VSWR56-1SSRN.
This fridge has the capacity to carry 56 regular-sized bottles of wine and still allow room for adequate cold air circulation. And with a temperature range of 41 – 64°F, keeping your wines chilled for whenever you’ll like to pop.
And the see-through glass door makes it possible for you to see its content conveniently without opening the door. But that’s not all.
This undercabinet appliance comes with 5 shelves that smoothly slide out to deliver its content to the customer. Another impressive feature of this unit is that it can be installed under the counter as it’s a built-in unit (because of its front ventilation). And it can also function as a freestanding unit and look more appealing.
And unlike the other fridges on this review list, this unit uses an easy-to-use push-button control to set the desired temperatures.
In conclusion, this is a great piece of equipment to store your bottles of wine and other beverages. It’ll fit right in any place it’s installed and, aesthetically, also make a fashion statement.
7. Avallon ABR214SGRH 24” Beverage Cooler Built-in Undercounter Refrigerator (best for bedroom)
This is another excellent fridge with great cooling temperatures, a well-lit interior, and a lovely design.
And while it may seem like having glass doors is a criterion for being one of the best under counter fridges, it isn’t. These top-rated fridges have got properties that make them stand out.
Let’s find out more about the Avallon ABR214SGRH fridge.
Unlike what we’ve seen with the previous two fridges, this model offers you brighter LED lights positioned on both sides of its interior. You can customize the lights–which are blue and white–to suit your needs. For example, you can set the lighting to never switch off, and you can also set it to alternate between the blue and white lights when the door is opened and closed.
This under counter beverage cooler can also guard against unwanted access so no one else can open your fridge without your permission and drink your beer. It’s also got a touch-control panel that’s easy to use.
With a capacity of 140 cans, the Avallon ABR214SGRH model has got three adjustable sanded shelves that make it easy to fit larger items other than wine bottles and canned beverages.
And probably the most important feature of this unit is its wide temperature range of 34-50°F. While most others have 38°F as their lowest temperature, this fridge, at 34°F will ensure every item always stays cold but never freezes.
These features make the Avallon ABR214SGRH one of the best under counter cooling products.
What Is an Undercounter Refrigerator and What’s It Used for?
An undercounter refrigerator, also known as a compact or mini-fridge, is a smaller version of the regular fridge that’s designed to save space by fitting into smaller spaces.
These refrigerators also offer the features the full-sized ones offer. The key difference is that an undercounter refrigerator offers a better economy of kitchen space and they can hold fewer items.
Most times, when they’re not used in dorm rooms or small offices, these appliances are used as supporting fridges at home.
However, compact refrigerators can also be used in entertainment areas, patios, or any outdoor place in residential properties to entertain friends and guests. They’re mostly used to store snacks, beer, and other beverages.
What Are The Different Kinds of Undercounter Refrigerators?
There are basically 3 types;
Freezer type: This model has a freezing compartment. They’re not to be mistaken for under-counter freezers.
Without freezer type: This model has no freezer. Its purpose is to be an addition to a regular fridge.
With drawers: These are mini-fridge options with sliding drawers like cabinetry. You can also get a unit that pairs swinging doors with pull-out drawers.
Types of fridges based on ventilation: Freestanding vs Built-in Fridge
It is customary for a mini-fridge to have proper ventilation. This is so they can dissipate some heat and not get overheated.
Therefore, a built-in unit is one with front ventilation for heat dissipation. While a freestanding unit has its vent on its sides or rear. This type requires more clearance on its sides and rear to dissipate heat.
Another key difference between built-in and freestanding fridges is that built-in products are designed to fit in tight spaces like kitchen cabinets. And freestanding units may not fit perfectly in a kitchen counter.
Thirdly, freestanding brands tend to be cheaper than their built-in counterparts.
Precautionary measures for installing A Built-in Fridge
To allow the door to swing 90 degrees, you should avoid installing the fridge directly beside a wall.
Give an area of at least 2” behind the unit for plugging it into electricity.
Precautionary measures for installing A Freestanding Refrigerator
For any adjacent wall, allow 2-5” of space. Also, there should be a space of around 5 inches between the back of the unit and the wall.
And do not install the fridge in moist or damp areas. These can cause frost to form on the evaporator.
General Installation Tips
- After unpacking your package, leave 24 hours for the unit to sit upright before plugging it into electricity. This is so the compressor can drain back into the compressor.
- Next up, after the 24-hour period, plug the unit to check if it’s working as expected.
- Place a level in the place the fridge will stand and position the fridge on top of it. Adjust the legs so the unit doesn’t slant.
- Ensure all sides have enough clearance by taking correct measurements. Adjust the legs if there’s too much or not enough clearance at the top.
- If your refrigerator has got a fridge stopper, install it. This is to ensure the unit doesn’t damage the nearby cabinetry.
Factors to Consider when Choosing The Best Undercounter Refrigerator
The most likely reason you’re getting an under-the-counter unit is to make your kitchen or wherever you want to install it more spacious.
The typical width for an undercounter refrigerator is 15 inches (when you’re tight on space) and 24 inches (fit for a dishwasher).
So make sure to check and double-check that the fridge will fit under your counter and also allow an area for the vents.
Storage capacity for items
Secondly, you want to create more space to accommodate more items. So choose a model with adjustable shelving that will allow you to store both regular cans and larger containers.
Having a noisy fridge can be a deal breaker. And as a rule of thumb, a refrigerator is considered to be quiet if it produces sound less than 40 decibels (dB). So ensure you go for a refrigerator that produces less noise. And on most occasions, compact fridges produce less noise when running.
Temperature range and controls
First, if your purpose of getting a mini-fridge is to serve as a beverage cooler, then go for options with minimum temperatures of at least 38°F. And you can go for models with almost freezing temperatures if you need something colder.
Second, if your ideal fridge should be one that evenly distributes the cold air around the interior cavity. And third, it should be easy to operate and read. And finally, the unit should be able to maintain the set temperature range.
The longer an under counter refrigerator’s warranty, the more durable it’ll likely be. And should anything happen to it, you can easily request the manufacturer to help you fix it. So always keep an eye out for this factor.
Whether you prefer stainless steel doors to glass doors, both come with their pros and cons.
A stainless steel door refrigerator is easier to clean and offers better insulation than those made with glass doors. On the flip side, you can’t take inventory of its stock with the door closed.
With a glass door refrigerator, you can easily take inventory of its content with the door closed. And it looks more fashionable, plus the internal lights elevate its appearance. The major drawback here is that it offers poor door insulation.
This rating usually ranges from D to A+++. You should choose a fridge with an energy efficiency closer to A+++.
Typically, you’ll want to go for one that fits your budget. The best undercounter refrigerator models will usually cost around $250 to over $1000. So there will always be a piece of equipment to suit your needs.
After our guide on best air fryers in 2021, we hope that these reviews on the best undercabinet refrigerators will be of help as well!
Kristina is a stay-at-home-mom and an expert chef. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her writing about her favorite kitchen appliances on Kitchen Infinity blog.