Whether you are moving into a new house or remodeling your kitchen, getting new appliances is part of the process. Buying and installing a new refrigerator is exciting as there are different styles to choose from. If you have selected an under-counter refrigerator, how do you get it to fit under the counter?
You can either adjust the feet or rollers of the refrigerator or remove and cut the cabinet. Most manufacturers include dimensions and instructions on cutting cabinets and installing the refrigerator. Follow the instructions for ease or consult a handyperson to help.
This article explores how you fit an under-counter refrigerator into a designated space and what to do if your refrigerator does not fit. I also discuss whether you can take the feet off of a refrigerator.
How Do You Fit an Under-counter Refrigerator?
Under-counter refrigerators are compact and built to rest flush on the wall. Also called a mini-fridge or compact, it offers the same functions as a regular refrigerator, just less space. A compact is usually less than 34-inches in height, which ensures that it fits into a small space.
You can find these refrigerators in dorm rooms, bars, in-law suites, office break rooms, outdoor cooking areas, and game rooms, or home entertainment areas. You can store beverages and snacks in them, display products commercially, or use them as a supporting refrigerator in your kitchen.
Whatever capacity they function in, they won’t stick out in front of your cabinets or encroach on your floor and living space. The built-in models usually sit within the cabinet (you don’t lose food preparation area or counter space) and rest flush on the wall.
Under-counter refrigerators also have their ventilation in front, so the risk of overheating or starting a fire is reduced. The three types are:
- Under counter refrigerator with drawers—mini-fridge styles with sliding drawers like regular cabinets.
- Under-counter refrigerators with a freezer have a freezing compartment, but they differ from an under-counter freezer.
- Under-counter refrigerators without a freezer are mainly used as an addition to a standard fridge.
To fit an under-counter refrigerator, you need to consider some things before buying one. Two things to consider are:
- The size of your space
Check and double-check the size of your cabinet and the outside dimensions of the refrigerator you want. Although most of these refrigerators are cabin-width, you should still check the refrigerator unit’s height, width, and depth (H x W x D).
- The direction of the door opening
While some doors are built one way, some models have a reversible door that you can mount to open either left or right. If you have an appliance that the refrigerator door will affect opening in one direction, select one that has a reversible door.
Once you plan the sizes well, fitting one will not be an issue. If your purchase still doesn’t fit after cross-checking the dimensions, you may have to remove more than one cabinet under the counter. Check the model’s manual for installation instructions and adjust the feel for balance.
What Do You Do If Your Refrigerator Doesn’t Fit?
Bringing your refrigerator home and finding out it doesn’t fit into the space you had in mind can be frustrating, double so when you measured all spaces and dimensions before making your purchase. Regardless, there are ways to sort this issue out, and they include:
- Return the refrigerator
Many home-appliance shops and dealerships receive returned goods, and for refrigerators, one of the most reasons for returns is that the fridge does not fit. Either it doesn’t fit through the house’s doors or the space assigned to it.
If the return policy favors you and is at zero or no cost, return it to the shop and get another one.
- Remove and resize cabinets.
Under-counter and counter-depth refrigerators come ready to fit into specific spaces. Integrated refrigerators are also built to blend into the kitchen design and not protrude. Their standard sizes make it easy to fit into your current refrigerator space if you are replacing it or installing a new one altogether.
If your refrigerator doesn’t fit, you can remove extra cabinets or resize them to accommodate the refrigerator. Most cabinets have a depth of 24 inches, and refrigerators are often deeper than 24 inches. However, this extra depth is not usually a problem.
You can remove some base cabinets, and the space created will be enough to accommodate the width of a refrigerator. If one cabinet space is not enough, remove the adjoining cabinet and if you have more space than you desired, fill the space with a modular cabinet of the same type of cabinet you took out.
To accommodate the extra height of your refrigerator, you can resize or renovate the upper cabinets. Cut out the bottom half of the upper cabinet to create space, and cut two cabinet bottoms if necessary. You can do this without removing the cabinet if it has an extra lip.
Removing the extra lip might be enough to get the space you need. If there is no lip, remove the cabinet doors, unscrew the cabinet, and detach it from the wall. Take measurements before starting anything and draw a line around the perimeter where you need to cut off.
Cut the cabinet with a circular saw, one side at a time, to shorten it. Trim the bottom of the cabinet after cutting, so it fits back on correctly. Screw it back from the bottom, and when you cut the doors, you can allow them to overlap the seam where you reattached the bottom onto the cut cabinet.
Can You Take the Feet off of a Refrigerator?
Standard refrigerator legs have a cap or foot at the bottom and are threaded like bolts. You can adjust the legs using movements similar to inserting or removing a bolt. You can remove the feet of a refrigerator if you have to replace them.
A balanced/leveled refrigerator does not have to work overtime to keep its content cool and prevents air leakage. So follow the instructions in the user’s manual to access and alter the feet of your refrigerator