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The right appliances can really set off your new countertops beautifully, so you really want to make sure that you take the time to find the perfect ones for your kitchen. Designers have kept this in mind when they created counter depth refrigerators, but before you rush to buy one, you need to know they’re not all the same. They are meant to accentuate the lines and look of your kitchen, but you also need to make sure that they perform as well as they look. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing the best countertop depth refrigerators to finish off the look of your new kitchen.
3 Quick Reviews (Best Of The Best)
22.4 cu. Ft. Food Showcase 4-Door French Door Refrigerator in Stainless Steel
This stainless steel refrigerator isn’t only a space-saving option, it looks a little ‘spacey’, too. The funky fridge features a ‘food showcase’ door–an additional exterior door on one panel that allows you instant access to drinks or snacks stored in the door shelving compartments. It’s a little gimmicky, but reviewers seemed to like the feature and the overall energy efficiency of the unit.
The refrigerator measures 28.625” deep and has two french style doors with a built-in ice and water dispenser. There are two drawers on this one–a chiller drawer for cold foods and a freezer drawer for frozen goods. Some reviewers complained about the interior storage of the unit, particularly the on-the-door storage, saying that it wasn’t as big as they wanted. However, the shelving units are adjustable so there is likely a workaround for most users.
The price on this refrigerator is a bit higher than some of the others, but you’ll be hard pressed to find it cheaper than this. It is a well-known brand with lots of added features and a pretty flashy design, so it will make any kitchen look great. On the whole, this one has very positive reviews.
24 in. 10.5 cu. ft. Bottom Freezer Refrigerator in Stainless Steel
This is a much smaller than usual one, but for really small kitchens and small families, it’s likely an ideal choice. The narrow 24 inch width and single door design make it an unobtrusive appliance with a small price tag. You can probably find it locally at Home Depot but it’s almost always cheaper here or here at AJ Madison.
It’s got no frills–no water or ice dispenser, no fancy ‘extra’ doors–but it is Energy Star rated and features Frost Guard technology in the freezer. It’s basic and falls under the reliable GE brand, but some online reviews note that it has a few quirks.
The unit actually has two doors, one on top for the refrigerator and one on bottom for the freezer. According to online reviews, some of these units have a problem with noise, making strange noises above and beyond what you’d expect from your refrigerator. Bear this in mind if you’re looking for something discreet for a small kitchen. Official website
Fisher & Paykel RF170ADUSX4
17cuft French Door with Ice & Water
Not crazy about the big brands for one reason or another and want to try something different? Fisher & Paykel might be the answer.
This refrigerator features a ‘french door’ style and a built-in ice and water dispenser. At 27 ⅜” deep, this refrigerator offers a slim fit without sacrificing storage. It has a total of 16.9 cu feet of storage space inside and plenty of shelving for storage, it provides ample storage in both the door and the interior compartment.
The freezer unit is on the bottom with this stainless steel unit. It features the ActiveSmart Foodcare system that helps monitor and maintain the interior temperature of the unit. Many online reviewers seem happy to find a counter depth refrigerator with such a slim depth that also features a built-in ice and water dispenser. Others comment on the sleek stainless steel finish on the unit. I searched far and wide to find this model for as cheap as possible and this was the only retailer that was offering discounts.
What Is A Countertop Depth Fridge?
A counter depth refrigerator (or countertop depth refrigerator) is one that is roughly only as deep as your countertop. It doesn’t protrude much further out than the edge of your counter, which is both aesthetically pleasing since it maintains a clean line and no unsightly refrigerator sides, and it’s also practical. If you have a narrow galley style kitchen or a kitchen that’s otherwise short on space.
The term ‘counter depth’ can be misleading, since counter sizes can vary. However, for most purposes, the term can be applied to any refrigerator that is designed to fit discreetly alongside your countertops. They range from 24 inches deep to up to 30 inches, though some are deeper than that. A ‘typical’ one is closer to 24 inches, which is how deep typical countertops are.
The width of these vary, too. Some are wider, like the oversized side-by-side door models. Others are narrower, like single door models. Many increase the width in order to make up for a loss of depth, so watch your measurements when shopping.
Of course, different refrigerators will vary in size, so it’s best to take your tape measure with you when shopping in the store and make sure you measure very carefully before buying anything. Also remember that in most cases, it’s very difficult to get a refrigerator that doesn’t extend past the countertop by a few inches or so (unless you are opting for a built-in). If you’re ordering online, make sure to check dimensions carefully before ordering so you aren’t disappointed with the fit. Don’t forget to account for your door size–wider doors take up more space as they open, so if you have an island near the spot where your refrigerator will go, check to see if the door is too wide to allow for proper clearance as you open it.
Best Side By Side Cabinet Depth Fridge With Bottom Freezer
Double-door, or side by side refrigerators, offer easy accessibility and a nice, balance look. Some come with a bottom freezer drawer instead of using half of the upper section for freezer storage. This means more width for fresh food storage without sacrificing a place to stash your ice cream, since countertop depth refrigerators offer less depth for interior storage.
To get the best of both fresh and frozen storage, look for a model like the Whirlpool WRF540CWBM (specs) 20.0 cubic ft. French Door style refrigerator. Aesthetically, it’s sleek and simply elegant, plus its 28 inch depth is only a few inches wider than most standard countertops. This particular model holds approximately 20 bags worth of groceries, opens ‘theater style’ with the double doors for easy access, and features adjustable shelves and racks for better customization. It also includes an internal ice and water dispenser.
This refrigerator offers the superior storage of a regular refrigerator with the slim fit of a counter depth one, and it falls into the mid-range of prices, around $2000. Most online reviews praise the reliability and slim design of the refrigerator. A few reviewers commented that the machine is noisier than their previous versions, but on the whole, most reviews seem to be positive.
Cabinet Depth Versus Standard Fridge Depth
Still wondering how cabinet depth refrigerators compare to your standard fridge? Functionally, they’re pretty much the same. You’ll find all the same features in most shallow fridges that you’d find in their standard counterparts, but they are made to be wider and shallower so they don’t protrude from the edge of your countertops.
Some refrigerators that are labeled as counter depth can actually be 35” deep or deeper, so you really do need to double check your measurements before buying. And don’t forget to account for the wider size–you still need to allow for proper ventilation once it’s installed. Shallower doesn’t always automatically mean that your refrigerator will be perfectly flush with your cabinets. For that, you want to look for a built-in model. Built-ins are usually much shallower and much wider than their standalone counterparts, providing you with a polished, ‘custom design’ look that is all the rage these days.
The most common difference, apart from the size, is the fact that there are so many french door style counter depth refrigerators. This isn’t just for aesthetics–small doors take up less space when you open them, which is a big reason why people choose this type of fridge in the first place.
The Most Shallow Counter Depth Refrigerator
Since the point of choosing a shallow refrigerator is to minimize the amount of appliance that sticks out past your cabinets, you’ll want to find the most shallow unit you can find that fits in your kitchen. Once you’ve measured your counter’s width you can look for a fridge that will fit at the depth you need.
When it comes to losing depth (but gaining sleekness in your kitchen design), you must remember that you almost always lose storage space. Yes, there are some super-wide units, but most of these are designed for specialty kitchens. If you don’t mind a tiny refrigerator, you can get a fridge that’s a miniscule 21.75 inches deep. The Summit CP961 (manufacturers website) is simple fridge with a top freezer unit and has 6.4 cubic feet of space. It’s compact in width, too, coming in at 21.5 inches wide.
If you need something more practical (and family-friendly), look for something like GE’s GSCF3PGXWW. It has a more generous 22.7 cubic feet of food storage and is a side by side model with an ice and water dispenser built in. It’s also one of the more modestly priced units and is only 26.75” deep, making it sleek and efficient for your kitchen space. Here’s more info from GE’s website.
Top Rated Built-In Shallow Refrigerators
When it comes to getting a kitchen that looks exactly like you want it to look, you can’t get more streamlined than a built-in refrigerator. One glance at these types of fridges and you’ll know why they warrant the heftier price tags–they’re usually visually stunning appliances that can seamlessly pull your kitchen together.
Besides being more expensive than standard counter depth refrigerators, built-ins are made a little differently. They tend to be taller by a few inches, much thinner (usually only 24 inches deep to fit seamlessly into your counter space), and they can be as wide as 48”. Once installed, these units generally aren’t meant to be moved, so they’re usually fixed to the wall of your kitchen. They generally look as though they were designed to be a part of your kitchen and some people go so far as to design their countertops around a built-in fridge.
You can find many good quality built-in refrigerators online or even at your local appliance center. One model that has good reviews online is the Kitchenaid KBSD608ESS built in side-by-side refrigerator. It has a whopping 29.5 cubic foot capacity of food storage and features a built-in ice and water dispenser. The unit is stainless steel and is designed to keep produce fresh for longer.
Of the online views, most comment on how attractive and quiet the refrigerator is, though several reviews comment that the ice dispenser has a few quirks. The price isn’t cheap–at nearly ten thousand dollars it’s more than many homeowners would plan on paying for a refrigerator, but for a built-in model, it’s pretty average in price.
Best Professional Model
If you’ve ever seen a professional style refrigerator, you probably noticed that the top of the unit had a vent on it. This is because most professional refrigerators have the compressor on top of the unit instead of down at the bottom. If you’ve seen a professional style fridge in a home kitchen, you’ll probably have noticed something else–they’re not discreet. In fact, these large appliances can protrude 3-4 inches past the edge of the countertops and they are usually hulking stainless steel behemoths that draw your eye in.
Professional style refrigerators are more expensive than regular counter depth ones, but they look more polished and, well, professional. The Thermador T42BD810NS is a good example of a professional model fridge that’s been designed for home use. It has an external ice and water dispenser plus see-through glass shelves on the interior for easy access to your food. It’s 42” wide and about 26 inches deep and has around 25 cubic feet of storage capacity.
Stainless Steel Options
If you walk into any kitchen appliance showroom, you’ll see that stainless steel is a pretty popular choice for many styles of refrigerator. Most major brands offer countertop depth refrigerators in a stainless steel finish as an option. Of course, some look better than others, which is important when you’re trying to get a polished look (no pun intended) in your kitchen.
Sleek, stylish, and loaded with features that make it a great choice, like an ice and water dispenser and french style door design. It also has a crisper drawer above its deep freezer drawer that’d designed to keep food fresh for longer. It’s 28.625 inches deep and has a storage capacity of 22.6 cubic feet.
An in-the-door computer screen ‘family hub’ that allows you to stream music and videos right on the fridge. Combined with interior cameras that help you keep track of what you’re running out of, you get a handy, tech-oriented appliance for busy families. You can even set up automatic grocery orders for added convenience, and the built-in alarm that notifies you when the door is left ajar is the icing on the cake.
Are Water And Ice Dispensers Worth The Expense
It seems that most people are fascinated by in-the-door ice and water dispensers, but could you just save yourself the money and, well, dispense with them? If you don’t have a large family, don’t plan on entertaining that often, and really don’t mind fiddling with old-school ice cube trays (or buying pre-bagged ice), then an a dispenser isn’t likely to be a big priority to you, but keep a few things in mind.
Ice and water from your refrigerator isn’t just convenient, it’s clean. Thanks to the filtration system, you’ll get cleaner, better-tasting filtered water than you’d get from your tap alone. It’s also much less expensive to use a dispenser than to try and buy bottled water and bags of ice. Plus, having ice always on tap means that if unexpected guests drop by, you won’t have to offer them a warm drink on a hot day.
Of course, conveniences like these do add to the overall cost of your refrigerator, and they do reduce the amount of usable space in the freezer compartment, though not by much, considering that trays of ice cubes or bags of ice would do the same. The biggest expense of having a unit with one may happen if you have to have any special plumbing adjustments made to get the refrigerator installed, since it has to be plumbed into your water system. With or without a dispenser, it’s a tradeoff between money/space and the inconvenience of running out of ice at an inopportune time.
Whether you choose a counter depth refrigerator with an ice and water dispenser built in is ultimately a matter of personal taste, lifestyle, and choice. It can be a very handy feature for some people while others may not need or want one in their fridge.
Models With Ice & Water Dispensers
So, you know you definitely want a refrigerator with an ice and water dispenser in the door. Which one do you get? Actually, it doesn’t really matter which brand you buy as most of these dispensers are made to the same standards. You really want to focus on the overall quality of the refrigerator and check out some online reviews before you buy. If any one or more models have deficiencies in their dispensers, other consumers are likely to point them out in a review so you can make an informed decision before you buy.
The LG LSXC22386D is a great counter depth refrigerator with a built in dispenser. The dispenser is designed specifically to take up less space in the freezer compartment while still producing an adequate supply of ice at all times. It also has the ‘door in door’ feature that allows you to access your snacks and drinks quickly, without opening the entire door to the refrigerator. It’s got all the bells and whistles and is still one of the more modestly priced models available today.
Models Without Ice & Water Dispensers
Of course, nobody says you have to have an ice and water dispenser in your refrigerator. (You could always compromise and get a model with an interior ice maker, sans dispenser, which gives you the benefit of constant ice without the distraction of an exterior dispenser.)
If money is an issue, or if you just want the sleek, unbroken surface of a non-dispenser unit, take a look at the Samsung RF260BEAESR french door style with a bottom freezer drawer. The lack of an ice and water dispenser frees up more room for food in the 25.5 cubic foot fridge. Plus, the wide-opening french style doors and super bright LED lights make it easy to see every inch of the refrigerator’s interior at a glance.
The freezer door features an alarm so you’ll never have to worry about finding it being left open by accident. To seal the deal, this refrigerator is one of the lower-priced models and can be found for under a thousand dollars in some retailers. Reviewers praise the generous space in the fridge’s interior, but several reviews indicate that some models have been very noisy. Overall, the online reviews for this one are positive considering how basic the unit is.
When you begin to shop, there are some names that you’ll see pop up again and again. It pays to take the time to read online reviews for each company and see how their refrigerators compare to those of their competitors. Some brands to look out for are:
Samsung pretty much offers something for any budget. They have models that retail for under a thousand dollars and some that cost several thousand dollars. They offer versions both with and without ice and water dispensers, and they offer several finishes on most of their models, including stainless steel.
Samsung also has several models with a dual outer door, or a snack display door, that gives you easy access to drinks and snacks stored in the door of the refrigerator. It’s call the ‘food showcase’ design, but it’s more than just a cute gimmick–it reduces the amount of heat let in every time the refrigerator door is opened, which helps save energy.
For the truly tech savvy, Samsung is the brand with the super smart refrigerators that use the HUB technology which has garnered a fair amount of attention. These feature a computer screen on the exterior door (for leaving high tech post-it notes to your family members, keep track of schedules, and order groceries) and cameras on the inside that allow you to keep track of your food. You can view your fridge’s contents from your smartphone, order new groceries when things get low, and even ‘tag’ each item in the fridge with a digital date so you’ll know when to toss it out. It’s one of the more expensive, gimmicky counter depth refrigerators, but it’s quite possibly the way of the future for these appliances.
Bosch offers both freestanding and built-in refrigerator models, so depending on your kitchen design, you should be able to find something you like. They offer a super slim 24” model that’s great for smaller kitchens or spare storage, and they also offer wide french door style refrigerators that offer easy access to the food without taking up tons of space.
Bosch’s built-ins are notably European-looking in style. They are all sleek and sophisticated, and many have the simple, clean lines that many homeowners are looking for in a built-in refrigerator. They also use separate compressor units for both the fridge and the freezer so the food in each compartment is kept at the right temperature.
KitchenAid’s selection of built-in counter depth refrigerators is solid, with a good variety of styles and finishes, including some that mimic panelling. The single and french door styles feature big in their range of fridges, with some great standalone appliances thrown in at some fairly modest prices. Interior space varies widely from model to model, with some smaller units sized perfectly for apartments or condos. Other larger units, like several of the built-ins, feature very generous interiors and double doors for easy, expansive access to your food.
If you are looking for a good basic refrigerator, LG makes several models with no bells and whistles, just a solid design and good quality. Price-wise, LG has some of the least expensive options available and they have a fair number of models to choose from. They have a few side by side style fridges with the added exterior door for quick snack and drinks access.
LG refrigerators also have a solid number of good reviews online from customers, which is reassuring. It seems that the slightly lower prices don’t necessarily equate to lower quality in these counter depth fridges. They range in size and style, beginning with a small unit suitable for an apartment to larger (26.8 cubic feet of interior storage) units suitable for families. Most of the units offer stainless steel finish as an option and many include in the door ice and water dispensers as well.
Jenn-Air markets theirs as ‘high end’ appliances for a good reason–they look and are built amazingly. Both their freestanding units and the built-ins are extremely attractive appliances, but sadly, that’s the best thing about them. According to online consumer reviews, many of the models are not reliable. Though there are a fair number of positive reviews, there are far too many negative ones to ignore.
Jenn-Air isn’t as widely available as the other brands, so if you have your heart set on buying one of their refrigerators, you’ll have to find an authorized dealer via the Jenn-Air website. In truth, this should probably be a sign that you should keep looking for a different brand. The last thing you want is to buy something that you find it difficult to get serviced should it break down or give you problems once it’s installed in your kitchen.
Where To Buy A Cabinet Depth Fridge
Most people have a pretty good idea of where to find a new refrigerator, and many of the big chain stores carry plenty, but you really shouldn’t just run out to the first place you see that sells appliances. For a start, avoid rent to own type places when buying a new kitchen appliance. Not only will they likely be unable to help you find exactly what you need, they probably won’t offer much help in the way of follow up assistance should you have any problems with your new appliance.
You can buy online from big retailers like Amazon, but really take the time to do your homework about the fridge you’re buying and the retailer selling it. Read reviews from other websites–not just Amazon–before handing over your money.
Local Appliance Stores
Local appliance stores are a good place to shop for your new refrigerator, but just make sure you aren’t railroaded into buying a brand you don’t want or love. It’s easy to be swayed by a room full of shiny new appliances and a salesperson with a quote to fill, so be firm when you tell them what you’re looking for, and if you don’t see it, don’t be afraid to go down the road to the next chain appliance store.
Smaller ‘mom and pop’ retailers can be a good place to buy your fridge, but be sure to find out who you can call for support after you get your appliance installed. Many smaller retailers only handle the sales, not the support, and you may find that you need help sometime in the future, so find out who you can call before you actually need them.
Best Buy (and similar chain appliance retailers) can be a good place to buy a refrigerator, but bear in mind that they will likely have a pretty limited selection on their sales floor. They often have far more choices on their websites and offer the added benefit that they price match other stores so you’ll always get the best price. You can usually go into the store and get a close look at the appliances before you buy them and if you do purchase them on the spot, you can usually get the fridge delivered and installed (for a fee). You can also have your old fridge hauled away, usually for another fee.
You can find a fairly good selection of counter depth refrigerators at stores like Lowes (and Home Depot). You can also usually find knowledgeable staff who can help you decide what’s going to work for your kitchen. The selection of models available in-store may vary, depending on where you live, but it’s a good starting point and you can always check their online options as well.
One thing to consider–if you happen to be redecorating your entire kitchen and you plan on buying your countertops or cabinets from a store like Lowes, you could also buy your appliances, including the refrigerator, at the same time. This ‘one stop shopping’ could make the whole job much less stressful, though you may be limited in your choices of refrigerator based on what brands your local store carries.
Wherever you end up buying your new appliance, it pays to shop around and look at 2-3 different stores. Take your measurements with you and a notepad and camera to document details you like so you can go home and make an informed, relaxed choice at your leisure, not while the salesman is standing nearby.
How To Find Sales And Rebates
Refrigerators are expensive, there’s no doubt about it. Even the ‘cheap’ ones are around a grand or more, and you’re probably not looking for a cheaply made appliance. Thankfully, a few savvy shopping skills can help you save some money when you buy your next refrigerator.
Get on the list
Most retailers send out regular emails to customers who join their mailing list. Visit the websites of all the major appliance retailers in your area and sign up for their email updates. Not only will you receive early notice of upcoming sales, you may also be offered special loyalty discounts and access to preferred shopper events that give you special discount prices on their products. Some businesses also offer a one-time discount just for signing up to the mailing list. This discount can sometimes be substantial, like 10-20% off of your purchase. That could save you a lot of money on a counter depth refrigerator that costs several thousand dollars.
Some businesses also send out discount codes via text message, so be sure to sign up for those, too. After you’ve purchased your refrigerator, you can always remove yourself from the list if the text messages or emails are too frequent or annoying.
Ask a salesperson
Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson you talk to about any rebates or upcoming sales the store is planning. Most simply want to make a sale, and they won’t mind helping you save money if it means they get to be the person who sells you the appliance. If they don’t happen to know of any rebates, go online to the manufacturer’s website and look for yourself. Be sure to read the small print so you don’t overlook something that could prevent you from obtaining your rebate. Also, not all rebates have to be mailed in. Some can be done online right in the store where you buy the refrigerator, so do your research before you buy.
The Best Time Of Year To Buy
You’ll probably notice that most appliance retailers start filling your mailbox and inbox with ads for their ‘gigantic holiday sales’ about a week or so before the sales actually begin. While you can grab some good bargains during these holiday sales, you don’t have to wait until Labor Day, President’s Day, or some other relatively uncelebrated holiday to nab a bargain.
Manufacturers introduce new refrigerator models in the spring, so late spring/early summer heralds the price reduction of the previous year’s models. May is usually when the old models get reduced to clearance prices, but don’t accept that as your bottom line. Go ahead and try to negotiate the price down from there–many retailers will gladly work with you to clear out their old stock in order to make room for the newer, pricier models. Offer to pay cash if they discount the fridges further, and you may find yourself saving a substantial amount of money on a brand new refrigerator with very little effort.
Counter depth refrigerators are, like it or not, the next big thing in kitchen design. OK, well maybe this is if you’re a coffee lover like me. But all things considered, they are more practical than standard refrigerators, especially if space is limited in your kitchen. And even the prices on built-ins, which are traditionally more expensive, are coming down noticeably. More importantly, consumers now have more options than ever before when it comes to choosing a refrigerator that meets their family’s needs, right off the sales room floor.