ISSUE 29  |  The Simple Life

10 Easy Pieces: The Best Under-Counter Refrigerator Drawers

July 22, 2015 9:00 AM

BY Margot Guralnick

The days of the space-hogging fridge may be numbered. Under-the-counter refrigerator drawers–almost all of which come with a choice of stainless-steel- or custom panel-ready fronts–are offering a discreet new way to keep things cool.

The hitch: These designs currently come at a steep cost (that’s an understatement). Most often they’re used as fridge supplements that hold drinks and fruit and vegetables, and allow the main fridge to be a bit less monstrous.

Above: Sub-Zero, the brand best known for refrigerator drawers, offers under-the-counter options (and full-size fridges, too) designed to be integrated into the kitchen cabinetry. Panel-Ready Refrigerator Drawers come in a range of widths, from 24 inches (same as a standard dishwasher) to 30 inches, starting at $3,955. Separate freezer and ice-making drawers are also available.

Above: Summit’s 24-Inch-Wide Triple Drawer Refrigerator has all stainless-steel construction that allows it to be used freestanding or built-in. It’s $1,779 with recessed handles (shown) and $1,899 with towel bar handles from AJ Madison. For more details, go to Summit.

Above: One of the advantages of refrigerator drawers is that they’re cabinet-depth, so they can be tucked in unobtrusively, freeing up other parts of the kitchen. Double-Drawer Refrigerator Modules from GE’s Monogram Collection are $2,899 for a set of two with tubular steel handles.

Above: A look inside a Monogram Collection drawer; the compartments and temperatures are adjustable and some Monogram models work as both refrigerators and freezers.

Two fridge drawer challenges to keep in mind: Arranging the contents, can, as one of our readers put it, “require a Tetris-like approach.” And most necessitate bending down, making them less than ideal for those with bad knees. 

Above: The Viking Professional 5 Series 24-Inch, Double-Drawer Refrigerator is made of stainless steel inside and out; $3,139 from AJ Madison. See more at Viking.

Above: Under-counter refrigerator drawers incorporate well into kitchen islands. The KitchenAid 24-Inch Stainless Steel Double Refrigerator Drawer is $2,899.

Above: Commercial refrigerator company True offers a residential set of two 24-inch Stainless Steel Under-Counter Refrigerator Drawers. Go to True for dealers and pricing.

Above: True drawers with overlay panels situated under a coffee station.

Above: Marvel, the North American subsidiary of UK company Aga, makes 24-Inch Built-In Refrigerator Drawers with stainless steel interiors; $2,999. For more details, go to Marvel.

Above: A pair of Electrolux 24-Inch Refrigerator Drawers, tall enough to hold nine-inch bottles and wide enough for serving trays, is $2,549. Compact refrigerator drawers are also being used in bathrooms to store medications and beauty products.

Above: U-Line, longtime makers of beverage refrigerators, offers 24-Inch Solid Refrigerator Drawers, $4,109, that hold up to 90 bottles or 142 cans; each drawer can be set to a temperature ranging from 34°F to 70°F.

Above: New Zealand company Fisher & Paykel’s refrigerators win our prize for aesthetics (I own a counter-depth Fisher & Paykel ActiveSmart fridge that I love). The brand’s CoolDrawer Multi-Temperature Refrigerator Drawer changes from refrigerator to freezer at the press of a button; $2,309 from US Appliance. Go to Fisher & Paykel for full details. 

Addendum: A number of under-counter fridges are being made for use in outdoor kitchens (picture a well-stocked barbecue). Perlick, like Sub-Zero, manufactures its products in Wisconsin. A specialist in brewery parts, it offers a collection of refrigerator drawers, including these 15-Inch-Wide Signature Series Outdoor Refrigerator Drawers; $3,524 panel ready and $3,649 in stainless steel (shown). 

Still looking? Go to Remodeling 101 for advice on how to choose the right fridge for you, and peruse Refrigerators to find more options that we recommend, including Compact Refrigerators, Colored Refrigerators, and Skinny Refrigerators.