Under-counter Fridge

Sun43December 2, 2013

I've been browsing GW all day trying to find user comments and recommendations on undercounter refrigeration, but most discussions were on undercounter fridge for beverages or even just wine, and not "food grade".

From the existing threads I gather that there might be a real difference (in ?temperature range) between an undercounter BEVERAGE fridge, vs one for food? We're mainly going to use ours to keep dairy and deli etc so that the kids can reach them themselves (instead of needing adult help opening the very-heavy door of the main 36" Subzero fridge). We won't be putting wine or soft drinks in these. And since we're keeping dairy and deli meats, temperature is important for food safety.

The 4 brands that I see recommended here are:

- Subzero (running at $4000 Canadian, same as follows)

- Marvel (never heard of this brand before I shopped for an undercounter fridge... first heard from the appliance sales person and thought it sounded like a cheapo brand and that was before i came here to get educated)

- Perlick (but i dont think we have local dealers)

- U-line - one great thread here from 2008 re customer service but otherwise very few user comments

There's a subzero floor model being sold for $2950, but it's all stainless steel front and we'd rather have a complete integrated panel, or at least a glass-front (surrounded by stainless steel or matchy-matchy wood from cabinets). Question for SZ lovers - does the subzero undercounter fridge offer any functional advantage for being double the price, or am I really just paying for the name badge in this case (undercounter fridge)

The U-line is going on sale for $1399 U2175RCGOL00 but i'm a bit scared to go with this without hearing too many reviews.

Any suggestions appreciated!!!!!!!!!!

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I have 2 uline undercounter units that I purchased used on craigslist, one is a 2175 combo fridge/freezer drawer unit 24", the other is a 15" fridge. They both hold temperatures well . The drawer unit was in storage for a year after I purchased it an now flashes"ER" (presuming error), but the temperatures for the fridge and freezer are rock solid so I have not worried about it. I did look it up and probably need to replace a thermister but will deal with it when I need to.
The ones I purchased had integrated panels previously that were taken off, now just black doors. I could add integrated panels very easily.

For an almost $2.6 k difference I would go for the Uline.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 10:58PM
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There is a bigger temperature difference at the lower end than the high end between beverage centers and full refrigerators. Fridges typically down to 32-33 and beverage centers 36-37 in the mid to high end. Glass front usually means beverage center, glass being a less efficient insulator therefore slightly higher temps. Wine Fridges are 40-65. Low for Whites higher for Reds.

Sub Zero you are paying for quiet and to a lesser degree quality. But you always pay a substantial premium for the last bit extra quality between best and second best.

Quiet Compressor
1. Perlick
2. Sub Zero
3. Liebherr

Not as Quiet Compressor
1. Marvel
2. Uline
3. Summit

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 11:16PM
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Thank you both (to scrappy25 and to deeageaux) for your advice!

so, scrappy25, do you notice noise being a problem from your U-line's? Ours will be in the main kitchen across the aisle from the main fridge - not in an AV room or a quiet room or anything.

(our original plan was to get a 30 fridge + 18" freezer setup from subzero, but the new model re-haul won't have the 18" freezer out till 2015 so we're stuck with a 36" - hence we need an undercounter unit to increase fridge capacity, also to help the young kids become a bit more independent.)

so Marvel really is on the same playing field as U-line then. If same price, what would you get?
(i assume that if there's a very good deal on one and not the other, then just get the discounted one?)

as for Liebherr, I only see "beverage centers" listed on their products page - with wood elements inside as a design. I don't think they make one with solid door and "regular" racks inside? Would you say the Liebherr models are priced somewhat in between U-line and Subzero?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 1:09AM
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Liebherr RO500 with solid SS door.Tough enough for the outdoor kitchen but can be placed inside. MAP $2159

Uline has some cheaper stuff that is pretty good but I prefer Marvel slightly.

Then they have some premium and ultra premium priced stuff that is as or more expensive than SZ. At this price point I would really get Perlick and as a second choice SZ unless you really fell in love with a unique Uline configuration.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 2:41AM
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If we get an outdoor model and install it indoors, would that void warranty?

When you say configuration, do you mean the internal shelf heights / how many adjustable racks / dimensions?

We mostly have to make sure that the shelves would accommodation a 4L (or one gallon) jug of milk, and other shorter items. Speaking of internal configuration, i saw an undercounter fridge by KitchenAid that has a pretty interesting "step" shaped shelf


(had to link to a store page as the official KitchenAid website photo only showed exterior?)

Not long ago - maybe just a couple of weeks I swear, i still saw a variation of this model that's an integrated front panel - might have been the Sears or BestBuy site i'm not sure. But now when I look at the official site, it only comes in all Stainless, and our local appliances store sales person also told me he only sees the stainless models (LH / RH variations). Not sure what the story is.

so before i heard about U-line, Marvel etc, I was just gonna get this KitchenAid with custom panel front. Now that option seems to be gone. I'd have to check out the Marvel and the Liebherr.

I just can't quite swallow the $4000 price tag for a subzero - or i guess Perlick which would be in a similar price range?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 2:20PM
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True is a good brand too - a commercial fridge builder that recently entered the residential market. They've gotten good reviews here.

I've found the two U-Lines i've used (a recent 24" with freezer, and a 21"w ADA height fridge-only) to be fairly quiet, and quieter than a 3 year old Marvel 24" fridge/freezer/icemaker in another kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 9:00PM
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Thanks lee676 - I've come across other threads that mentioned True - something about Costco.ca sells it so the price is great, but some say if it's the commercial version then it'd be VERY noisy (too noisy even for some cafe's), and people weren't sure if Costco carries the residential version or not.

Before this thread, I never even considered noise being a concern, it wasn't on my radar. I was mainly just worried about whether the fridge would be rated cold enough for milk and deli. but yeeeeah, of course i won't want a noisy fridge at my kitchen island!!

I suppose "noise" can be relative. A low frequency hum can drive one person crazy and not register on another person's consciousness! Glad to hear a positive review of the U-line though.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 12:48AM
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My Uline does have 10 minute periods a few times a week where it seems rather noisy if there is no radio or TV playing but I don't know if that is related to the needed thermistor or not. It is in the basement and we don't hear it upstairs. Otherwise it is no noisier than our large 15 year old Kenmore fridge.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 10:23AM
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I have two undercounter U-lines that are my primary refrigeration. They store a tremendous amount. I have an inexpensive fridge in a utility room, and a beverage refrigerator in the pantry. That said, I have been clear about the problems I have had with them in the past--at least a half dozen service calls. However, I like them very much, would like to have at least one in another house I am currently renovating, and recognizing that I probably got a couple of lemons, whose mistakes are all cured, I would recommend them, especially if you can get something on sale. Care to tell me where they are going on sale? No noisier than anything else. I just don't notice these things.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 8:03PM
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Add Electrolux to the mix. I have Elux fridge drawers. I keep milk, produce, dairy, sodas, everything I keep in my main fridge. It keeps it cold. Costs $2k or now, 2.5k. Expensive.

Totally quiet except when the compressor cycles on. It is right in our eating area and we can touch it when we're sitting.

Six cubic feet of wonderfulness. Guests get a kick out of it. It keeps traffic out of the cooking zone. Keeps overflow produce when I shop too zealously!

Drawers glide smoothly. The blonde celebrity whose name escapes me touts it when looking under the bed for kids' scary monsters. Also, it's 24" wide, not 27 like sz. Most perfect appliance of ours.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 9:40PM
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No freezer options with Elux under counters though.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 10:02PM
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vedazu - i don't mind sharing where the U-line is on sale, but I'm a GW forum newbie - is it against forum rules to mention specific shop names? (since i don't see much of that around here! assuming that's against the etiquette). PM me and I'll be happy to write back with the store name :-D

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 5:37PM
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I have two True fridge drawer units, one for beverages, milk and cream, near the coffee maker and one in my prep zone for all my fruits and vegetables. Both are fantastic : fully integrated, stainless steel interiors, soft close drawers, absolutely quiet, temperature can be adjusted to be cold enough for dairy. These are from the residential line, not the commercial ones.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 11:31PM
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I'll be using mine in prep area for "cooking only" ingredients like produce, jars, sauces , prepped ingred., etc. It seems the Marvel Professional line has the largest capacity; 6cu.ft. Is their prof. line higher quality comparable to Perlick and others?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:06PM
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