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The best under-counter fridges in 2022

Helen McCue
12 May 2022

Discover the best fridges to tuck under your kitchen counter with our handy guide

Huge American-style fridge freezers may be all the rage in today’s homes, but under-counter fridges remain a great option for smaller kitchens – and indeed any situation where you need discreet refrigeration that doesn’t impact on worktop space. Even if these compact half-height fridges aren’t as popular as they once were, the best under-counter fridges can be an indispensable addition to your kitchen.

If you don’t have the room to squeeze in a taller fridge freezer, an under-counter fridge is the perfect solution. Similarly, if you’re short on counter space, you can gain extra by having an under-counter fridge instead of a full-height fridge freezer. They also work well as a secondary overflow fridge in a utility room or garage, particularly for larger households.

The downsides are that under-counter fridges don’t have the large capacity of other models, so they’re usually best suited to smaller households if used as the main fridge. Furthermore, bending down to access all of your chilled food doesn’t suit everyone. That said, it can be convenient to have all your groceries directly below the food prep area for quick and easy access.

Read on and we’ll explain what to look out for before you buy, and suggest some of our favourite under-counter fridges at a range of different prices.

How to choose the best under counter fridge for you

How do you know which fridge has the biggest capacity?

Rather unhelpfully, the internal volume of a fridge is measured in litres, which makes it difficult to understand how much food the appliance can actually hold. Generally, though, under-counter fridges don’t vary too much in the amount of storage space on offer. They usually provide between 100 and 150 litres, with 100 litres being roughly equivalent to five bags of food shopping. When choosing from a shortlist of fridges, take the time to compare the quoted capacities, as more space is always welcome.

Are all under-counter fridges the same height?

If you’re looking for a fridge to slide into an existing gap or under an existing counter, measure the space carefully. All under-counter fridges are designed to fit beneath a standard kitchen counter, but the exact height of kitchen counters can vary between kitchens so it pays to check.

Under-counter fridges also come in different widths, so this is another important measurement to take note of when you’re choosing the one for you.

READ NEXT: Best kitchen counter

Does the shelving and drawer layout matter?

Because of their size, under-counter fridges tend to have very similar layouts: three shelves, door storage and a salad crisper drawer is the standard arrangement.

Most have adjustable shelves, but not all will have adjustable door storage, so this is worth checking if you have particular requirements, such as tall bottles.

Some come with an ice box, which is essentially a mini freezer in the top of the fridge, and can be a useful addition if your main freezer isn’t in the kitchen. Bear in mind, though, that ice boxes take up potential fridge space.

Have the energy ratings changed recently?

Relatively speaking, yes. In 2021, energy rating scales were updated to reflect the fact that modern appliances have become more efficient. This means that fridges that would previously have been rated A to A+++ are mostly now falling into the F category on the new scale; you’ll see these poorer ratings on the models we’ve chosen. The energy efficiency hasn’t actually got any worse; the lower ratings simply give manufacturers a greater incentive to improve the energy efficiency of future appliances.

READ NEXT: Best freestanding fridge freezers

The best under-counter fridge to buy in 2022

1. Fridgemaster MUL49102M: The best cheap compact under-counter fridge

Price: £129 | Buy now from AO

This budget-friendly under-counter fridge offers fantastic value for money. At just under 50cm wide and 50cm deep it’s slightly smaller than an average under-counter fridge – ideal for when space is at a premium. It isn’t packed full of features, but it’s got all the essentials and, more importantly, it will do the job of keeping food cool.

There’s a simple dial to control the temperature, and the auto defrost feature means ice won’t build up inside. The three door storage sections aren’t adjustable so you can’t reconfigure them to suit the size of your bottles or jars, but the main part of the fridge provides six shelf positions and three glass shelves as well as a salad crisper drawer.

The reversible door means you can have the hinges on either side to suit your kitchen setup. For a budget compact model, you can’t go too far wrong with this one, plus it also comes in black for an extra £10.

Key specs – Dimensions: 84.7 x 49.4 x 49.4cm (HWD); Capacity: 102 litres; Energy rating: F; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: Right; Reversible: Yes

Buy now from AO

2. Miele K12020S-1: The best high-end under-counter fridge

Price: £449 | Buy now from AO

This Miele model is more than twice the price of most other fridges on our list, but the premium build quality should stand the test of time. The 163-litre capacity is fantastically roomy for an under-counter fridge and offers plenty of space for a couple or small family.

There are four shelves with several positions to choose from so you can organise the internal space to suit you. And instead of one full-width salad crisper drawer, there are two half-width drawers side by side, which allows you to divide fruit and vegetables.

The three door storage shelves are adjustable and it even comes with an egg tray. Reviewers love how spacious it is inside and also note that it’s quiet, well designed and worth the investment.

Key specs – Dimensions: 85 x 60 x 62.8cm (HWD); Capacity: 163 litres; Energy rating: F; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: Right; Reversible: Yes

Buy now from AO

3. Essentials CUR55W20: The best under-counter fridge with an ice box

Price: £150 | Buy now from Currys

If you want a cheap under-counter fridge with an ice box to keep essential frozen items to hand, this is the one to buy.

The small 16-litre ice box at the top is just big enough for a tray of ice and a few frozen meals, and is handy if your main freezer is elsewhere. It does mean sacrificing fridge capacity, though. You’ll have to make do with 97 litres of fridge space, significantly less than rival models here.

The main fridge has two adjustable shelves as well as a salad crisper box. There are also three door storage shelves. No matter what your kitchen setup, the door can be reversed so the hinges are on the best side for easy opening. All told, this is a basic model that does what it says on the tin.

Key specs – Dimensions: 84.5 x 55.3 x 58cm (HWD); Capacity: 113 litres (97 + 16); Energy rating: F; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: Right; Reversible: Yes

Buy now from Currys

4. Beko BLSF3682: The best integrated under-counter fridge

Price: £289 | Buy now from Currys

If you want an under-counter fridge that blends seamlessly with the rest of your kitchen, this integrated Beko model is just the ticket.

It has a decent 130-litre capacity and reviewers love the large salad crisper area, accessed by a sliding shelf. The other two glass shelves are adjustable so you can make the most of the space.

It only has two door storage racks, but the door is reversible so it’s suitable for any kitchen layout. Thankfully, the auto defrost function means it won’t ice up, so there’s no dreary defrosting tasks to add to your to-do list.

Key specs – Dimensions: 81.8 x 59.5 x 54.5cm (HWD); Capacity: 130 litres; Energy rating: F; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: Right; Reversible: Yes

Buy now from Currys

5. Smeg FAB10 50s Retro Mini Fridge: The best looking small fridge

Price: £1,030 | Buy now from AO

It’s not really designed to fit under a counter, but we couldn’t leave this beauty off the list. With Smeg’s adorable rounded vintage style, this model is a stunner – if you want a fridge that’s cool inside and out, this is the one for the wish list. It comes in an array of colours including black, red, white, orange, cream and pastel green. There’s even a Union Jack design, if that’s your style.

Whichever you choose, this isn’t the type of fridge you’ll want to hide away; it would look great in a kitchen, garden office, a guest annexe, or in your home bar. What’s more, there are two versions, you can buy one that’s geared more towards a home bar and comes complete with lots of bottle and can storage, or there’s a more traditional style that has an ice box at the top and a veg drawer at the bottom.

Key specs – Dimensions: 97 x 54.5 x 65.9cm (HWD); Capacity: 105 litres; Energy rating: E; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: right or left; Reversible: no

Buy now from AO

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