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 will explain what to look out for before you buy, and suggest some of our favourite under-counter fridges at a range of different prices.
Best under-counter fridge: At a glance
|Best cheap compact under-counter fridge||Fridgemaster MUL4892MF | £179||Check price at AO|
|Best high-end under-counter fridge||Miele K12020S-1 | £465||Check price at AO|
|Best integrated under-counter fridge||Beko BLSF3682 | £319||Check price at AO|
|Best looking under-counter fridge||Russell Hobbs RHTTF67B | £149||Check price at AO|
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.
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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 2023
1. Fridgemaster MUL4892MF: Best cheap compact under-counter fridge
Price when reviewed: £179 | Check price at AO
At under 50cm wide and 50cm deep, this is more compact than your average under-counter fridge, and its price is easy on the wallet too. So if you’re struggling for space or if you simply need a small fridge for an office or studio it’s the ideal option. It’s available in black, white or silver, so it’ll blend into any kitchen or utility room.
It’s certainly a no-frills fridge, it offers a drawer at the bottom for your vegetables and three shelves as well as some storage in the door. There’s a dial to control the temperature, but it lacks any fancy features such as no-frost technology.
This inexpensive and small fridge comes with one other big positive: it has a silver rating for energy efficiency from independent energy insights company Youreko. This means it’s one of the most energy efficient models available at this size and price level, which is a huge plus.
Key specs – Dimensions: 84.2 x 47.5 x 44.8cm (HWD); Capacity: 92l; Energy rating: F; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: Right; Reversible: Yes
2. Miele K12020S-1: Best high-end under-counter fridge
Price when reviewed: £465 | Check price at 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: 163l; Energy rating: F; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: Right; Reversible: Yes
3. AEG 3000 Series RTB515E1AU: Best under-counter fridge with an ice box
Price when reviewed: £499 | Check price at AO
Whereas some under-counter fridges are less sophisticated than the average full-size fridge – as well as being smaller – the AEG 3000 Series RTB515E1AU is a proper, high quality fridge in miniature.
With 146l of storage space, the RTB515E1AU is one of the most spacious under-counter fridges you can buy. It defrosts itself, operates very quietly (with a noise level rated at 38dB), and features a reversible door enabling convenient installation in tight spaces. Inside the fridge space, components such as the veg drawer and inside-door shelves feel robust and well designed.
While the RTB515E1AU does not feature a dedicated freezer compartment, there’s a small icebox allowing for some storage of frozen foods.
Key specs – Dimensions: 85 x 60 x 57.5cm, (HWD); Capacity: 146l; Energy rating: F; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: Right; Reversible: Yes
4. Beko BLSF3682: Best integrated under-counter fridge
Price when reviewed: £350 | Check price at Argos
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: 130l; Energy rating: F; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: Right; Reversible: Yes
5. Russell Hobbs RHTTF67B: Best-looking under-counter fridge
Price when reviewed: £149 | Check price at AO
With 66l of storage space, the Russell Hobbs RHTTF67B is perhaps best considered a ‘mini fridge’. When viewed as a member of that category, it’s a shining example – brilliantly priced, good looking and perfectly effective. It gives you enough room to store a few bags of shopping.
Although small, the RHTTF67B is impressively versatile. The shelf layout can be reconfigured to suit different types or quantities of produce, and there are two beverage (or jar) storage shelves in the back of the door – one big, one small.
The mini ice box incorporated into the top shelf space of the RHTTF67B allows a little room for ice cubes, frozen treats or suitably-proportioned frozen meals.
Key specs – Dimensions: 63 x 44.5 x 51cm, (HWD); Capacity: 66l; Energy rating: F; Temperature warning: No; Open door warning: No; Door hinge: Right; Reversible: Yes