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Fat Guy

Battle of the refrigerator-freezer designs

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I think the ideal arrangement would be a bottom freezer with a swinging door. I have the bottom freezer drawer and it's a mess for all the reasons stated above. When we were shopping for our fridge about six years ago, there was only one model on the market with a bottom freezer with a swinging door and it was unacceptable to me for other reasons. I have no idea why it's not a more popular design.

Even with my messy drawer, though, I really like my bottom-freezer refrigerator. I have a terrible back. I rarely use the freezer, so I practically never have to bend over. My old fridge was a many-times-a-day source of aggravation for me but this has solved my problem almost completely.

This is precisely the set up I have, and I LOVE it. Would never ever go back to a side-by-side and absolutely NEVER to a top mount freezer. The very bottom of the freezer compartment is a sliding basket, which I use primarily for bagged stuff (veggies, frozen potatoes, stuff I've bagged in vacuum bags) and the top shelf is a normal shelf for boxed/tupperware storage. I do not have an ice-maker/water dispenser. Never saw the need for one and didn't want to spend the money to run a plumbing line to where the fridge lives.

I grew up with large side-by-sides, and was absolutely amazed, even though I hated everything else about the unit, when I bought my first top-mount freezer, at how much more space there was in the fridge. But I loathed having to crawl around on my hands and knees to get to the vegetable drawers. I'm 6'3", and that's a LONG way down to the floor for me.

Like a lot of others, I find I'm in the fridge constantly, and in the freezer for anything other than ice maybe one or two times a week. It just makes sense that something I use less is in a less accessible spot. I'd replace it with the same design in a heartbeat if needed.

That said, I can see how those bottom freezers with the pull out drawers would be a PITA. As well, I can see how the French doors are purty, but probably, in reality, you open both most of the time anyway.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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My current fridge is a freezer on bottom, French door Jenn-Air. Love it. I switched to bottom freezer some years ago and prefer it. Because of the location of this fridge--in a 42" galley opposite the kitchen island--the single door model would have opened but would have been awkward to use. The French doors nicely solve that problem. For the same reason, a side-by-side would have worked in that location too, but I don't care for the narrow refrigerator space and the cubic feet of the side-by-sides I saw were all lower than the traditional or French door models.

As for energy usage, the energy star ratings/estimates of my current 36" fridge are better than those of my previous 33" traditional door-style model. The seal on the doors is very tight, and on the rare occasion that I don't close it properly, I get a little beep. I was skeptical when I bought it, but no more.



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Whenever we pull out the top shelf, ice falls behind the slide out drawer.

I've been having this exact same problem all week with our friend's LG.

I can see how this would be annoying. Mine has the same design flaw, but have only had the issue once or twice because I almost never run the built-in ice maker...having switched to Tovolo "faux draft" trays for my ice making absent an urgent need for mass quantities.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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I used to sell refrigerators (for Sears for a while, but mostly Best Buy) - when I needed a fridge for my new house I choose a side-by-side - a Whirlpool with the ice storage in the door. Partly because the french door models are more expensive and having ice and water in the door is kind of a kludge, even on the best of them (the LG). Adn I love my ice and water in the door!

Yes you can fit a sheet pan in a bottom freezer, but that's not something I need to do enough to justify the incovenience of the bottom freezer.

I also have a nice dedicated freezer in the garage (frost free, non-chest).

As to the "cold goes down so it's more efficient" theory - it would be true if the compressor and cooling coils were at the top, but they aren't - they're at the bottom - so you need to move that cold air up to keep the refirgerator compartment cool.


Edited by mgaretz (log)

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My new refrigerator is a Sharp and I really like it.

For my first two years living in Japan, I had a small freezer on the bottom fridge. But I graduated to a full size fridge recently and I really like the design.

The fridge is 178 cm tall and 60 cm large. The top part is a fridge. The bottom part is split into 3 sections. The bottom drawer is a vegetable drawer, the middle drawer is a freezer and there is two smaller drawer on top of that. The drawer on the left is a freezer drawer and the drawer on the right is for the ice cubes.

Sharp fridge

They don't seem to offer this model in America or Canada.


My blog about food in Japan

Foodie Topography

www.foodietopography.com

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Fat Guy: it's probably not an option in an NYC kitchen and wasn't listed in the choices, but I think the best refrigerator decision I made when redesigning my kitchen was to supplement the main fridge with refrigerator drawers. I put them right by the cutting board and keep my produce in the top, and my canned/bottled drinks in the bottom. This allowed me to get a smaller main fridge (freezer on the bottom), and is really convenient during prep.

I also have a huge freezer in the basement, which is probably why my kitchen freezer never gets too disastrous...

Prior to my current cooling heaven, I had a fridge with the freezer on top -- not bad, but you are always stooping to get food. I prefer the freezer on the bottom, and not willing to give up the width for a side by side...

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Here are my thoughts, ideas for a home refrigerator:

Fundamentally:

1. Since the compressor and condenser are on the bottom and they generate lots of heat, the freezer should be on the top.

2. Since the dividing wall between the refrigerator and freezer material should be as little as possible to give you more interior room, double door gives you less storage space.

3. By the definition of geometry, a sphere give you the most volume with the least surface area, the next would be a perfect cube; therefore a long rectangular double-door design gives you the least storage space.

Otherwise, depending on your cooking requirements, physical conditions, family makeup, etc. there is no one single arrangement of doors and drawers which will work for all.

My cool [yes, pun :-) ] ideas for improving refrigerator designs:

1. LED lights in the freezer, and refrigerator. Have you tried to replace those lights? And why many have no lights in the freezer?

2. A small motor drive that can move the refrigerator forward and back so that you can clean the coils and all the nasty crap under and behind. When was the last time you did that? Once the coils get dirty, all the Energy Star ratings go out the window.

3. A digital display to show temperatures and much better temperature adjustment controls.

4. Split design for the compressor and condenser so that you can install the condenser outside. You get almost free cooling in the winter and less air conditioning cost in the summer for your home, also a lot more room inside the refrigerator and no more impossible cleaning of the coils behind or under the refrigerator.

5. For families with lots of kids, glass doors so that you can see inside. I would say that 50% of the time you open the doors just to look.

6. A compartment for activated charcoal air filter and a big sign that says, “ No! Baking soda does not absorb odor. It’s a scam!”

dcarch

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Side by side and standard fridges with top freezers have always been a pain in the neck for me. We recently did a pretty thorough search for something that would work better for us, something that had a freezer configuration that didn't involve simply cramming stuff into one compartment, and landed on the GE armoire style refrigerator with two bottom freezer drawers, one of which also has an internal sliding upper drawer/tray which works pretty well. I love this thing.

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I have the LG LMX28988ST with the French doors and two bottom drawers and am very happy with it. I love the tall ice and water dispenser as it will accept a tall pitcher with room to spare.

It turns out ice more rapidly than others I have owned.

In the pantry I also have a large upright freezer and another smaller fridge that I use just for cheeses and produce that doesn't need to be as cold as stuff in the regular fridge. And I have two separate fridge drawers that I use just for pastry/baking as they are located under the dough bench. They were installed when I remodeled and are Sub-Zero and unlike the big one, they have worked well with no problems.

When my kitchen was remodeled in '94, I had Sub-Zero fridge and freezer and they worked okay for about three years but then I had one problem after another and finally dumped them for a side by side, which worked okay for a few years.

In my opinion, refrigerators are no longer built to last for many years.

Back in early '70s, I bought a huge Kelvinator Food-A-Rama side by side 32 cubic ft. I think it was the largest consumer fridge ever marketed.

I had it for 21 years and passed it on to a friend who used it for another ten years. The only repairs it ever required were new door seals and a replacement drip tray (rusted to the point where it was going to begin leaking) at the time I gave it away.

I wouldn't mind having one like it now but in a different finish - it was the ubiquitous Avocado green - but it did go with my yellow kitchen back in the day.

They don't build them like than nowadays!


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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We explored the LGs as well, and then it pretty much came down to which one we liked in terms of appearance. The one andiesenji notes above and the GE I link to are essentially identical (though we opted for the one without a water/ice dispenser in the door). For me, the lines of the GE unit are more appealing. But the innards are pretty much the same animal. Weirdly, it was hard for us to find any GEs in stock to look at. Most everybody had LGs on display. At the same time, the fact that my husband is intimately engaged with some of the production elements of both these refrigerators (and other brands as well) decided us on the GE.


Edited by devlin (log)

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I have an LG french door model (ice and water in the 'fridge section) with one freezer drawer below. I'm happy enough with this arrangement, but if I had it to do again, I'd get two smaller freezer drawers rather than just the one with the basket pull-out, so I wouldn't have to open the whole freezer to get at what I want.

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Again, I wave my magic staff, and engage in another round of thread necromancy.

(Better than starting new topics, I guess.)

A new 'fridge is in my VERY near future. The icemaker in my P.O.S. GE died for the THIRD time in THREE years. Water dispensing is becoming flaky, and the main board relays feel hot to the touch.

And that's it. It's gone. I refuse to spend another $500 in parts that don't even last one year. Same damned problem as the last two times. Based on the last two times this GE fridge died, I have a month, maybe two, before the mainboard dies again, rendering the fridge useless.

So....

1) My main concern is dimensions. I've been hopping back and forth between appliancesconnection.com, ajmadison.com and rainbowappliance.com

These sites allow the user to narrow choices by the width/height/depth of the fridge. The problem is, none of these sites carry EVERYTHING. So it makes comparison shopping difficult.

Is there ANYWHERE I can say, "My maximum measurements are: 39" wide x 70.5" high x 30" deep" and find all the refrigerators that FIT. Then I can whittle them down by style, color (and absence of GE badge on the front).

2) Since Fatguy started this thread, four-door 'fridges have become immensely popular. Anyone have one of these? Care to comment on whether it's useful to have four doors? Or is it just a gimmick?


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Boy are you right about GE being crap. We have a five yr old fridge that has been thru three icemakrs in a month. A MONTH!

Having said that I love the rest of the thing. Its a bottom freezer with French doors on the top. The freezer has well organized trays that make it easy to find stuff. The fridge is similarly well designed.

A shame that its a pos.

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I recently bought the LG four door (French on top two freezer drawers bottom) like Andies except I waited 3 years til they came out with the model with NO icemaker or water in the door. We use little ice except for parties and then would need far more than a domestic fridge would make/store.

Very happy with this configuration although it has taken us a while to adjust to the new storage possibilities. Haves chest freezer in bsmt as well for longer term storage.


Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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Back in April we got a Sub-Zero side-by-side unit. I'm quite pleased with it. There are some aspects of the technology that make a lot of sense, for example the compressors on top -- and separate compressors for refrigerator and freezer. The thing is hardly a bargain, though.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Back in early '70s, I bought a huge Kelvinator Food-A-Rama side by side 32 cubic ft. I think it was the largest consumer fridge ever marketed.

I had it for 21 years and passed it on to a friend who used it for another ten years. The only repairs it ever required were new door seals and a replacement drip tray (rusted to the point where it was going to begin leaking) at the time I gave it away.

I wouldn't mind having one like it now but in a different finish - it was the ubiquitous Avocado green - but it did go with my yellow kitchen back in the day.

They don't build them like than nowadays!

Up until about 5 years ago before they went out of business , WC Wood was making a 35+ cu foot side by side combo. That would be an all fridge and all freezer side by side with a trim package to make them look like one unit. It looks like Whirlpool is still offering the Sidekicks , so they must have bought the line to keep offering it.

http://www.sears.ca/product/whirlpool-177-cu-ft-sidekick-all-refrigerator-stainless-steel/646-000153197-EL88TRRWS

I worked for W C wood for a long time so I understand what you mean about the fridges and freezers not lasting as long. This is probably true but not because of any maliciousness or premeditated action of the manufacturers . It has to do with environmental laws, how efficient the compressors need to be and also the refrigerants that need to be used. The newer refrigerants that are being used to meet the regulations are more corrosive. R134a is basically a solvent.The compressors often run longer or hotter because the easiest way to bump up efficency, is to use a more precisely built but smaller compressor.


"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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I have had a fridge of every design expept for the French-door. My preference is overwhelmingly for the side-by-side. I use my freezer a LOT and it is simply more organizable than the big box drawer on the bottom where everything is shoved in together. My side-by-side has all these handy shelves that cry out for organization.

I also have two free standing upright freezers and another refrigerator-only fridge in the garage. (I seem to be a bit food obsessive.)

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I have a Maytag side by side only they call it a "wide by side". The freezer side

angles out to create a wider bottom than top while the fridge side does the opposite.

I hate it. Every night I say a little prayer that when I get up in the morning it will have gone the way of the built-in ice-maker which died a long time ago. The fridge I lust after is the French door top, and two freezer drawers on the bottom and NO ice maker.

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Think of where you are going to put the Thanksgiving turkey in a side by side with the bottom freezer. Have had a bottom freezer with just one door and replaced it with another after 24 years. Unless you go to separate units think of where you are going to put a large pot.

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I went to my local "scratch and dent" appliance store yesterday.

Glad I did.

The websites all list the Kitchenaid models I favor as being 71.5" tall. A tight fit, but within the 1/2"

tolerance from the manual.

I measured one at the store -- 72"

I think I'll just buy a sub-zero -- they use the least amount of energy, saving money in the long run.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Additionally, with the French Door style fridges there's all those extra interior walls that take up extra space that is better used for food storage.

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We purchased a new refrigerator in May.

Our old fridge was terrible. 17 cu.ft. freezer on top standard refrigerator. No bells and whistles, just a drawer in the bottom and ice trays in the freezer.

When searching for a new one we took a lot into account. My sister has a freezer on bottom, single door on top. I hate her freezer - it's impossible to get in and out of. My in-laws have a side-by-side. It's doesn't fit a large pizza box and the freezer is taken-over by the ice maker.

Our new refrigerator is like a dream come true. It's french doors on top, freezer drawer on bottom. The ice maker is tucked away and doesn't take up much space and the two basket drawers are large enough to hold everything we need. The fridge itself has 4 drawers, one of which is moveable and the shelves are very versatile. The doors themselves can store about as much as our old refrigerator's entire capacity (not quite) including a gallon of milk.

I think the perfect refrigerator is going to be different for every person.. but this is definitely mine!

v3dIT.jpg

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We purchased a new refrigerator in May.

.....

Please share the make and model with us! :smile:


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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It's a Whirlpool, the exact model is GX5SHDXVQ02. After doing some internet searching I've found that they don't make it anymore but it's closest to this: http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_04602139000P?sid=IDx20070921x00003a&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=04602139000P

Thank you. I keep sorta hoping my 'fridge will die soon.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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