GOOD under-counter fridges?

Why_not_meFebruary 19, 2013

There are a few under-counter fridges out there, according to my search at A J Madison (how did one search any appliance before they came along?!), ranging from crappy (Danby) to stellar (U-Line, Sub-Zero, Fisher Paykel, etc), apparently.

I'd love to hear from those who use them as their regular fridge - whatever style/brand you have, what you like and dislike about it, service issues, etc.

And U-Line - any experience of them? They appear to have a configuration I like, but again, impossible to search on GW...

Our design for our new kitchen would work a lot better if we could install a bank of under-counter fridges, I'm thinking two or three, with drawers, and maybe a little freezer if there's room. Two adults, no kids.

I did try searching GW, but the search-engine is still driven by drunken monkeys who flunked out of monkey kindergarten, I think, as I couldn't find anything remotely relevant.


Here is a link that might be useful: Madison's selection

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Try an Internet search for the site using:

Along with words specific to your search. I searched "fridge drawer" and found a bunch.

Here is a link that might be useful: Internet search results

This post was edited by breezygirl on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 18:12

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:11PM
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Brilliant! Thanks (why didn't I think of that, drunky monkey that I clearly am, lol).

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Probably the first I'd consider if you're just looking for highest quality is True, which A.J. Madison doesn't seem to sell. They're a long time manufacturer of commercial refrigerators that recently entered the residential market, and if their home fridges are anything like their commercial units - and from what I hear they are - they're nearly indestuctible.

If you want a whole wall of them, though, you may want wider units than the 24" they offer, at least for some of them - Sub-Zero is 27" wide, Marvel has a 30", Fisher & Paykel a 33", and Scholtes (I've never heard of them either) has a 36". If you go with cabinet-panel fronts, you can mix and match brands and sizes, if you're ok with slightly different-looking toekicks.

Searching on "refrigerator drawer(s)" may yield better results than searching for specific brands.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Thanks, lee676!

I hadn't mentioned True, but Costco Canada carries their commercial line (so the price is VERY good), as does our local kitchen supply store (the ones I'm mildly aggravated with about their lackadaisical approach to selling me a Bluestar, but that's another story).

True refrigerators seem really nicely made, well-finished, robust, and I didn't know they had a drawers option. Off to check them out!

I had actually been seriously considering their commercial sandwich fridge (see link), figuring it would be brilliant in "my" kitchen, but my husband nixed that idea because of the look, sadly. Maybe I need to re-work that idea...

On another totally unrelated topic: did you ever install that corner toilet? Did it work out OK? Any chance you could post details so I can see if I can get them here in Canada, please (maybe in the appropriate post, lol - could get a bit confusing otherwise).

Here is a link that might be useful: True ® Stainless-steel Sandwich Prep Table

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Have you ever heard a True sandwich table running?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:59AM
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Not recently, no: have you?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:00AM
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True refrigeration units tend to be way too noisy for a domestic environment (I would say they are way too noisy, period). And yes, I have heard several very recently.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:15AM
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Thanks for the feedback, Peter: were the True fridges you were dealing with commercial ones (i.e., similar to the one I linked) or domestic ones? Were they in a commercial kitchen (restaurant), or a home?

I'll be sure to make sure I listen to one when I go shopping - thanks for the heads-up.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:21AM
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The True fridge I see daily in in an office lunch room. I'd say it's the kind of unit you would see in a grocery store (full height with glass door). The lunch room is a much noisier environment than a home, and the fridge is loud enough to be annoying.

Weekly I see a pair of them in a doctor's office (used to store specialty medication). Also "commercial" styling (full height, stainless doors), and definitely too loud for home use.

I have seen them elsewhere; same observations apply. When you encounter one, bear in mind the level of ambient noise - what seems OK in a grocery store with significant ambient noise will not seem OK in the typical home environment.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:43PM
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As far as I know, Marvel and Perlick are the best.

I once compared U-line to Perlick.

U-line - though very nice looking - was seriously behind convenience-wise (sorry, do not remember all the details).

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:53PM
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Yes, they are loud. That's why I asked. I've been in a few restaurants during construction when appliances were being delivered and installed. I've heard a True sandwich table running in a unopened restaurant without any customers. I would consider it too loud for a residential environment. But, I consider any commercial refrigeration to be too loud for my residential use. And I've heard plenty of types and brands.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:56PM
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I bought two of the residential True fridge drawers. They are very quiet, very nice units. Stainless interiors with removeable dividers, panel ready, so fully integrated into cabinet run and you can adjust the temperature. I use one for veggies and fruit, so not as cold as the one for beverages. I highly recomend them but they are not inexpensive.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:15PM
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> On another totally unrelated topic: did you ever install that corner toilet? Did it work out OK? Any chance you could post details so I can see if I can get them here in Canada, please

Haven't got around to installing any toilet in that bathroom yet (though have had two installed elsewhere in the house where we're working now). However, after careful measurements, I think we're better off with a usual rectangular toilet there (a half-bathroom w/o a tub or shower), even though it's annoyingly close to one of the side walls. The corner toilet has a usual 12" rough-in (it's 12" from both side walls) but we'll probably need a 10" rough-in here, can't be sure though until we remove the old one. I did see a corner toilet at a local store though, and am told it flushes well. The American Standard and Crane models appear to be the same, except that AS offers a wider selection (both owned by same company now).

The True residential refrigerators run much quieter than their commercial units (or anyone else's - Traulsens are loud too, as many found out when they put their commercial fridges into their homes).

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:35PM
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Dunno if anyone's still interested in this discussion, but I emailed True about their fridges.

For the record, purchasing and using a True commercial fridge for domestic use will void their warranty, and yes, their commercial systems are significantly noisier than their fridges meant for home use.

I have yet to cost them in Canada, but no doubt I will choke on, then bravely swallow, the price!

And Lee676 - thanks for the info on the loos - good to know.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 3:34PM
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Did you ever get the True fridge drawers? Looking for feedback on these, or their hinged-door undercounter beverage centers.

I stumbled across another almost-36"w fridge drawer made by Ariston. Their laundry machines don't seem to be well reputed, but don't know about their refrigerators (or point-of-use hot water heaters, which HD sells in their stores).

I decided against the corner toilet and bought a conventional one instead, in part because I didn't want to drill new holes into the basement concrete floor.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 1:29AM
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No - any of the better-quality under-counter fridges turned out to be, for us, prohibitively expensive relative to their utility (too small - I'd need at least three of them to equate the capacity of a regular fridge), too noisy and fraught with technical issues, according to what I've read here and elsewhere.

It's too bad that the True commercial sandwich fridge isn't allowed in the house, as I would LOVE it - I just think it's SO functional and practical (noisy, though). Oh, well. Are you listening, True people? Make a similar one for the domestic market, PLEASE!

I am amused that under-counter fridges are already standard for the high-end outdoor kitchen. Ironic that, when it's the man-of-the-house in charge, sensible utility is at the forefront! Viz self-actualised pool-cleaners, et al.

I guess - what: manufacturers just don't listen to millions of irritated and exhausted foot-weary housewives? A debate for another day, no doubt.

We've re-jigged our kitchen plans to accommodate two mid-size 25" wide fridge-freezers, FP or similar (link below), which are small enough that we can raise up on a plinth slightly (one of our cats has an annoying habit of peeing against the grills, ugh) and still reach the top shelves. They have a linking kit, and it's substantially less expensive than Liebherr and their equivalents. And just think: when one conks out, I'll still have its brother!

I've also given up on the idea of a corner toilet. Still would like a wall-mounted one, though - way easier to keep the floor clean!

Here is a link that might be useful: Fisher Paykel 13 cf counter-depth fridge-freezer

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 10:09AM
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I'm looking at the Fisher & Paykel Cooldrawer a bit - a single 33" or 36" wide, 18"h fridge or freezer drawer (user selectable) that can be placed higher. Plenty of room in them, but, again, really expensive for the size. I also like the F&P bottom-freezer full-size fridges - very clean, uncluttered interior that seems to have more usable space than other brands.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 4:22PM
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Yes, I agree - they look pretty good, and I really like the concept. However, up here (Canada) for the price of one little under-counter fridge (and I would need three at least) I can buy one big French door fridge (don't want one), or two mid-sized fridge/freezers like the one I linked.

Stinks, eh!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 5:32PM
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Lee - can you post a link for the F&P bottom-freezer full-size fridge you mentioned, please? Forgot to ask in my previous note.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 5:33PM
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I didn't write down the model number, but think it was a 31" wide, flat door model that was less tall (about 67") than most. May have actually been a full-width door bottom-freezer rather than a French door, and had a hinged door on the bottom with no door shelves on it. They do have some that are taller and wider. Judging by the photos in the online brochure, their side-by-side fridges are rebranded from someone else and don't look anything like their other models.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 11:37PM
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