Choosing a Counter Depth Refrigerator

How to choose the best counter depth refrigerator? This question was asked to Jason Parsons, DBP's Chief Designer, by an online magazine. Here is his answer: Because of their size and frequency of use, refrigerators are generally a focal point in the kitchen. If you have decided on a counter depth unit, there are several factors to consider when choosing the best model for you. First, most people do not realize that only the body of the refrigerator is counter depth. Doors and handles extend beyond the counter. In addition, the hinges are designed to have the doors open outside of the refrigerator width. You need to ensure that there is enough clearance to open the doors a minimum of 90° from the refrigerator not only to access your food, but to remove all drawers for regular cleaning. This will require anywhere from 3” – 6” on each side of the unit. Be sure to choose one that will work with the space that you have.
The next choice for counter depth refrigerators is which style best suits you and your family. The two most common styles right now are side-by-side and French door/freezer drawer. While French Door models will give you a little more space in the refrigerator, side-by-side models will give you more efficient freezer storage compared to the drawer in French door units. The drawback to the side-by-side freezer is storing large items like a frozen turkey or ham. Both options are efficient in the kitchen space since the doors are only roughly half of the unit width, allowing more room in the kitchen then doors that are the full width of the refrigerator. Although not limited to counter depth refrigerators, there are a few additional items to consider when choosing a refrigerator of any kind. Water and ice makers can be mounted either inside the refrigerator or on the door’s exterior. While internal water and ice make for a clean, sleek look on the outside, they require the door to be open when filling a glass and are not as efficient. If your family frequently fills up on water and ice, an external set up is probably best for you. Lastly, consider the finish and hardware. Whether you are purchasing a new refrigerator as part of a complete appliance suite or replacing an old unit, make sure the finish and handles match. Not all stainless or color finish is the same, and some models use curved low-profile handles while others use ones that are more pronounced and commercial looking. Mixing finishes and style can affect the look of some of the best designed kitchens!                             

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