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Looking at Bottom Mount Freezer, but Single or French Doors?

We're looking at low to medium range refrigerators (under $2,000, preferably under $1500) with bottom mount freezers and would love some advice. We want black, not SS, to match the rest of the appliances and because we don't have time to maintain SS (we have a toddler and a baby on the way!).

I've read numerous threads on bottom mount freezers but mostly about specific manufacturers. I am leaning towards Samsung, but we haven't yet resolved the single vs. french door debate.

Currently, we have a 6 year old Kenmore top mount freezer (about 18 cf?). While it's still working well, it's too small for our growing family and both DH and I are relatively tall and hate bending down to grab fruits/veggies from the bins. This would be moved into the garage as a back-up and we already have a deep freezer. Thus, I think a 21-26 cf would be big enough for us given the back-ups.

Our kitchen has the space for a fridge 36" wide (with 2" extra for clearance), up to 68" high (allowing an additional 4" clearance per Samsung's installation instructions), and no deeper than 60" with the doors fully open (still allowing 2" clearance from the island).

This means we can do a single door bottom mount freezer (Samsung has a 20.5 cf model that would fit), but no one would be able to walk past when the door is open. That's how it is now with our current top mount freezer, though our toddler likes to push the door closed while I'm standing there so she can squeeze by. That's one reason why French doors appeal to me, but I don't know if the price differential is worth it.

Given our familiarity with single doors (and the cheaper price), I'm leaning towards the single door. We also went to our local Lowe's and found the muillon flap a little troublesome. Are there any advantages to the french door models? We don't need ice/water through the door, or even filtered water. If there's an icemaker in the freezer, that's a nice bonus but not required.

Sorry this is a LONG post, but we would appreciate any advice/input you have to share about specific manufacturers/models that might work for us or just general advice about the doors!

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  1. this might help:
    http://www.consumersearch.com/refrige...

    My personal preference is for bottom freezer drawer, no icemaker or water filtration, and a single door because I make a lot of roasts and don't like having to open/close two doors to put something in/take it out (I can balance and use my feet/back/behind to close one door, but it's harder with 2 doors). The french doors are pretty, but spacewise, not as efficient.

    Good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Caralien

      Thanks, Caralien. I've been on the consumersearch site. I think I'm just hoping to hear from real-life users. My husband does all the cooking, and his preference is for a single door because of the convenience you pointed out when your hands are completely full. But I see Costco is offering a french door Whirlpool for $1299 including delivery, installation package and their satisfaction guaranteed return policy. The single door Whirlpool at Costco is $100 more but smaller (21.9 vs. 24.8) and has a water dispenser inside that we don't need. So we might still end up w/the French Door if we go the Costco route....

      1. re: Caralien

        You don't HAVE to open both doors. I only open both if I'm putting a really large tray in or to acces the pull out case at the bottom of the fridge area. Still use my butt for closing :)

      2. We have the Samsung 265(?) French door model and I LOVE it. There's nothing I DON'T love about it :) The "mullion flap" that you mention. Is that the little thingies on the center edges of the doors? I don't know what problem you anticipate but I haven't had any. I love the big pull-out temp adjustable tray. We got the icemaker and we too don't feel any loss not having exterior ice/water. We have the "platinum" which is a slightly warmer shade than the SS. I'm pretty sure it comes in black. It's just a huge fridge which is wonderful for me. I cook alot and was constrantly running out of space. I did a HUGE Thanksgiving dinner and, even with all the everyday condiments, sodas, wines, etc., I didn't run out of room. I recommend it highly. We got ours at Lowes and, at that time, they were having a promotion where for every $1000 you spent, you got a $100 gift card. I seem to remember the fridge was about $1700/1800 so we "forced" ourselves to spend a little more and got $200 in gift cards. Yay :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: c oliver

          I got a new single door fridge this year with a bottom drawer and am very happy with it. I looked at models with bottom doors, which were somewhat less expensive, and could only picture myself late at night on hands and knees on the kitchen floor searching the depths of the freezer for chocolate ice cream! That made the drawer rather than door decision pretty easy.

        2. I think the most critical thing in making a decision about refrigerator doors is how your kitchen is arranged and how you work. My personal preference is to have easy access to a counter while the refrigerator door is open. If you have an island near the refrigerator then there's no reason French doors won't work find. But if the only counter space is adjacent to the refrigerator, then it can be a real day-to-day pain to have to reach around the door when you're getting things out of putting things in the fridge.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            I DO have a counter right across from the fridge so that's the perfect way. But it's only when I open the door on the left that I'd have to reach around it to reach the counter on the left. If I open the right door, then it's just fine. It's a good point you make, C1, but for me anyway the rest of the convenience of the FD more than makes up for it. I tell my friends that I know I'm old when I get THIS excited over an appliance :)

            1. re: c oliver

              We went to 3 stores last night and DH and I ended up really liking the French Door Samsung because its freezer drawer has solid baskets (as opposed to wire ones) and its top level basket "auto-opens" when you pull the drawer open, saving you the extra step of leaning in to pull it towards you. I also found that if you close the right door first on the FD models and then the left, sometimes the right door pops open and doesn't close itself. Fortunately, on the Samsung and some $2,000+ models, the right door pops closed again but it didn't on several of the other brands we had been considering.

              I think the counter/island point Caroline1 made is excellent. We have both an island and a counter to the side of where the fridge will be, so french doors would work best so we could utilize both.

              Thanks again for all the insight. I think we are leaning heavily towards the Samsung French Door!

          2. We remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, took everything down to the studs and started over. I spent hundreds of hours researching items at this website and the information I learned was invaluable.

            http://ths.gardenweb.com/search/nph-i...

            BTW, we purchased a Kitchen-Aid counter-depth fridge with french doors and a bottom mount freezer. We love it, but we're a about to purchase an add'l freezer b/c the freezer on our fridge is so small. I often cook several weeks of lunches and a weeks' worth of dinners at one time. We removed the ice maker from our freezer, but still never have enough storage space in our freezer!

            5 Replies
            1. re: cvhound

              Hee hee. I posted this same thread over there already, cvhound. :)

              Yeah, I bought a deep freezer shortly after the birth of our first daughter, as DH cooks a ton (we help feed his grandparents and great-aunt so we freeze meals for them) and I was freezing extra breastmilk. It's packed to the gills now--at one point there were TWO turkeys in there as the local supermarket had a free turkey giveaway if you spent $150 and DH spends that much every week to feed our family of 3 (2 adults and a 2.5 year old). My only regret is that we got a chest freezer, not an upright, so things get buried. But our Frigidaire chest freezer was a pretty good deal and has been great otherwise the past 2+ years. Good luck on your purchase!

              1. re: cvhound

                yeah those counter depth refrigerators are kindof small. We got one too; I'd go nuts without the old fridge in the basement for extra gallons of milk etc. and the two extra full size freezers (well I always had two extra full size freezers so I got spoiled). There would be no way to defrost a turkey in the new fridge, which I was able to do in my old side-by-side. But they look nice :)

                1. re: DGresh

                  When I bought my 30 year old house three and a half years ago and put all new appliances in the kitchen, because of the way the refrigerator space is adjacent to the doorway to the back mini-hall that leads to the garage and pantry, I opted for a counter depth side by side.

                  PROBLEM! When you look at a counter depth refrigerator in a store or on the web, they are EMPTY...!!! When you get them home and start putting things in them they shrink! Shrivel up right in front of your eyes!

                  Frankly, I had so many things going on, I didn't use my head and think things through. The wall the refrigerator backs onto is the wall to the garage. Had I kept my wits about me and realized how much space is lost in a counter depth refrigerator, I would have gone with a built-in SubZero, and had the garage wall modified to hold it.

                  It would have been well worth the hassle and the added cost.

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    your description of how they shrivel up is so apt! That's just how it was! In about 10 seconds I'd filled the spots where condiments go, and two seconds later I realized a shelf had to go just to fit the milk jugs. My kids were still carrying stuff from the old fridge to me and I'm like "wait, it's full already!"

                    1. re: DGresh

                      I know what you mean about condiments. I currently have 5 different kinds of hot sauce, four mustards, multiple jars different chile pastes, etc. in our fridge. I ordered large door bins from Kitchen Aid to replace some of our smaller door bins and now store our cartons of milk in the door. I purchased two 12" lazy susans from Bed Bed & Beyond and use those to store my condiments. One tray is devoted to Asian condiments and the second tray is devoted to non-Asian condiments. Taller jars and/or those I use most frequently are stored in my doors.

                      An added benefit is that I no longer "lose" condiments that used to get buried in the fridge. I found that I'm more likely to use things quicker when I can easily see them! On the plus side, I LOVE the ability to store a full-size sheet pan in the fridge or freezer which I could never do with a single door or side-by-side fridge.

              2. We now have a bottom drawer mounted freezer, I find it inconvient and often hard to close. Things tend to also get crushed. Sometimes things get the runners stuck, or if the door will not close compleatly, it can be hard to find the culprit.

                I prefer it when things are at eye level. Things will fall to the bottom and get lost.

                1 Reply
                1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                  "I prefer it when things are at eye level."

                  That's a reason *to* buy a refrigerator with a bottom-mount freezer. The refrigerator (which most people use much more often than the freezer) is at eye level, with no crouching or anything required to get anything out of it.

                  Personally the main functional difference I see between french door vs. single door is the amount of room it takes to open the door. With french doors, you have two smaller doors, which means you can open the fridge without needing a huge area to swing the doors into. That's a benefit in a small kitchen. Of course, if you need to put something big in there you have to open two doors instead of one, but in practice that hasn't been a problem for me.

                2. We bought a GE Profile French door, w/a bottom drawer type freezer a year ago, and we have been happy with it. We special ordered the model without an ice maker or water(it took about a week to get). I like the fact the freezer has a basket, full width shelf, and a half-width shelf all on rollers. It took some getting used to not having door shelves, but we adjusted.

                  You can open one of the fridge doors at a time. No flapper in the middle like my Mom's.
                  Lots of nice features for about $1,500.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: al b. darned

                    What is the model number on that one? I was under the impression that you could forego the water dispenser, but all of the models have an internal ice maker.

                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      Our experience has been for the last several fridges we've bought is that the icemaker is an accessory. So it has the connection but you don't have to buy the maker.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Are you talking about the external ice dispenser or the internal ice maker? All of the GE french door fridges I have seen have the internal ice maker listed as factory installed.

                        1. re: Philly Ray

                          Internal but, oops, I was talking but our newest one is a Samsung, not a GE. Sorry.

                  2. I have a Samsung bottom mount manual defrost refrigator that I purchased in Jan. 2007. It has drawers to keep in the cold air and still does not need to be defrosted.

                    1. I just think it's funny that these are called French doors. By definition, french doors have multiple panes of glass!

                      1. The first thing you might want to look at when thinking about a new fridge is the inside layout.

                        There are a number of brands for sale, if you look closely, the interior of nearly all of them is the same. Thats because one or two companies make most of the units on the market, placing the name brand cabinet and badge on finished product.

                        If your tall or have a bad back, bottom mount freezer really is the way to go.

                        As far as the finish goes, colored exteriors may not show dirt as much as stainless exteriors do, yet they get just as dirty, you just can't see it as easily.

                        Got a stainless Jenn-Air, single door, bottom mount freezer unit about 6 months ago, for under $2,000.00, having a bad back, it's been a godsend. As to keeping it clean, a spritz with windex and a quick wipe has been enough.

                        When it comes to french or single door, space is the only consideration.

                        One last thing, bottom mount freezers with drawers tend to hold less comparably sized top mount freezers will.

                        1. I have also found that the sliding drawers sometimes get caught on the items below, and will tear the packaging.

                          1. We've had our KitchenAid french door bottom drawer freezer for about a month now, love having the fridge contents at eye level, and it's nice not to have to open both doors sometimes. No problems with the drawer (but we did also get a chest freezer). Many of these are manufactured at the same plants and have similar designs -- I did a lot of research before settling on this model, seemed to offer the best warranty + least complaints. However, we did NOT hook up the icemaker/water dispenser, and those on most models seem to present the most repair issues, from all that I read.