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May 12, 2010 10:58 AM

Counter-depth fridges, having trouble researching...(and, Ikea?)

We're remodeling the kitchen and my boyfriend is adamant about getting a CD fridge. I am doing all the appliance research and am having trouble finding reliable feedback on these models. For example, when looking to Consumer Reports, all of their top-ranked models are not CD. I have been looking to AJ Madison use reviews instead, but I'd like more thorough/professional feedback.

Do any fridge models come in CD models? What I mean is, if I'm looking at a Whirlpool model that gets great reviews, is it possible that the very same model is made in a CD dimension?

I'm also considering the Ikea CD Nutid, does anyone have experience with this model?

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  1. Actually it usually goes exactly backwards from what you were hoping. The exact same model refrigerator will often be exactly the same except for the trim across five different brands. Whirlpool is the most notorious, as they make Amana, Maytag, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, and Jenn-Air, and produce refrigerators for IKEA and the Sears Kenmore line. I think that if you go with a reliable maker such as Whirlpool or GE, whichever refrigerator you pick should work just fine. Oh, small tip: The most likely thing to break on a refrigerator is a through-the-door ice maker. Get one that has the ice maker built into the freezer if you want an ice maker.

    After looking around at refrigerators, I came to realize that counter depth models are for people who care about how the kitchen LOOKS rather than how the kitchen WORKS. You lose up to a fourth of the storage space and get to pay an extra thousand dollars for the privilege. Count me out.

    6 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      Thanks, JK. I do not care about the counter-depth fridge, but seeing as how my boyfriend is paying for this remodel...if he wants to spend more, so be it! It is amazing how much more expensive they are. I also could do without an ice maker, inside or out. We're getting a reverse-osmosis system and I really don't see any need for an outside ice/water dispenser. I am hoping to avoid this as I have read the same thing about breakage. And interior ice maker might be nice, however...

      1. re: karianne

        An icemaker is a wonderful thing. There are many days when I regret not buying a dedicated icemaker.

        1. re: ferret

          It's interesting, ferret, because I've learned to live without the little conveniences since we moved into our craftsman 4 years ago. I have no disposal, dishwasher or ice maker. While all fabulous, I seriously think I could live without them all (I am most excited about the disposal), especially if it meant getting a better range, because I love to cook.

          In any case, we will be getting the disposal and dishwasher, but I am honestly cool with continuing to use my ice cube trays if necessary :-)

      2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        Well, not always.

        Our cruddy kitchen is laid out with only one niche suitable for a fridge--directly across from the gas lines and the outlet for the oven. There aren't even any outlets on the far wall--it's an old house--and we'd have to pay a fortune to remodel the whole kitchen, to fit a new fridge anywhere but the one appointed niche. AND currently, it holds a tiny 16 cf Maytag, that came with the house...driving me NUTS because it's woefully inadequate. IF we got a larger fridge, it would butt out into the tiny galley space between the stove and the fridge door, and nobody could fit in there to cook. Our only option is to go UP, not out, and so we have to buy a counter depth in a larger, wider, but not deeper model...

        But, admittedly, our situation is unusual and sucks. ;-)

        1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

          Um, some of us need a counter depth fridge because we live in old houses with narrow doors leading to the kitchen. Be careful what you say JK!

          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            CD refigerators are not only for LOOKS. I had to get one only because our kitchen is galley style and has a small section for the fridge. If i get a normal size fridge, it will stick out and would not work in our kitchen.

          2. We bought a counter-depth Kenmore Elite, side-by-side about 4 years ago and are reasonably pleased with how it functions. Note, however, that the interior dimensions are really smaller than a full-depth refrigerator of the same height & width. So, you are paying more for less. The only reason we went with counter-depth was that the GE full depth that we'd installed when we did a complete kitchen remodel about 16 years earlier, needed to be replaced, and the counter-depth Kenmore was the only refrigerator that fit within the "hole" for the refrigerator. Our problem is that refrigerators have gotten about 5 inches taller over the past 20 years, and our kitchen remodel had included an installation of custom cabinetry above the refrigerator, that restricted the height of the replacement fridge. We decided to pay more for less because otherwise we'd be spending money to redo the cabinetry above the fridge, and because our household is small enough that the counter-depth capacity of the refrigerator was adequate for our needs.

            If you are doing a complete kitchen remodel and assuming that your kitchen size is ample, I do not see any reason why to go with a counter-deep fridge. When we did the remodel, the designer positioned the cabinets so that the standard-depth refrigerator and cabinets created a flush plane. In other words, there are ways to get the "built-in" look with a regular, rather than CD, refrigerator and I would urge you to explore those.

            6 Replies
            1. re: masha

              Thanks for your input, masha. The area where we are planning to put the fridge is somewhat limited, but I have suggested that we consider moving it to another spot in the kitchen where the wall is recessed. We'll see if I get my way ;-)

              1. re: karianne

                Like masha we put in a counter depth KA side by side. Unfortunately the french door models were just coming out but didn't have ice and water in the door which was a must. My wife was insistent on the counter depth fridge. I hate it. Sure it looks nice but I would have had them move the cabinets out to match the depth of a standard fridge had I known how limited the space would be. I really don't like side by sides for that reason alone but in a counter depth they really are limited.

              2. re: masha

                We put in a CD refrigerator in our remodel, because of the new location of the refrigerator in a traffic lane. Agree with everyone that it is REALLY much smaller than you're used to. A friend who remodeled about 6 months before we did recommended we put our old one in the basement. She was right. I use it mainly for storing milk and OJ (we go through a gallon of milk a day, and only one gallon fits in the CD fridge given everything else in there. Also really great to put that chicken I'm dry brining for a couple days, or all those leafy greens from the CSA delivery for the week. So really consider a "back up" fridge if you cook much at all, unless you like to shop every single day! When I was moving stuff from the old fridge to the new one, it was already full while the kids were only half done shuttling the condiments!

                1. re: DGresh

                  This is good information, and I will be looking more closely at the fridge capacities as we begin looking at models in stores. We also get a CSA delivery on top of farmer's market/produce stand purchases, so fresh produce takes up a lot of room in our fridge (second behind beer, wine and Pelligrino!). We can't do a back-up fridge so we will have to look into whether this will be an issue.

                  1. re: karianne

                    In that case, are you installing a wine fridge?

                    Also, since produce has a short shelf-life, is it worth it to buy so much you need a larger refrigerator?

                    1. re: E_M

                      No, we are not installing a wine fridge. We eat a lot of produce. No, I would not consider buying a larger fridge to accommodate more food we don't need, but I also don't know if I want to buy smaller when we're already stretched for space occasionally (not all the time). I didn't know CD fridges were that much smaller.

              3. My kitchen dictated a counter depth, so I bought a Maytag 22 cu ft side by side and it fills every inch of the space allowed. The problem is the refrigerator sits right next to the hall door to the garage and pantry. Don't know what the builder was thiniing, but I suspect both he and the architect had a couple of beers too many. Did I want a full depth refrigerator or did I want to be able to bring the groceries and laundry in with ease?

                How much space you lose with a counter depth is amazing. Had I known just how much it would bug me, I would have knocked out the wall (it backs into the garage) and either extended the space for a plug-in side by side or gone with a built in. HOWEVER....! You may not have the same reaction as I have had. When I cook, I cook a lot. I have a gazillion bottles of all sorts of things, from mincemenat to esoteric sauces, so if you are better organized and disciplinec, it could be just the right thing for you.

                I'm looking for a "pantry fridge" that has those narrow one-bottle-deep shelves that pull out so I can store all of my bottles of goodies in a much more organized fashion. I'd give up a whole bank of cabinets and countertop for such a design!

                1. One of my complaints about my old fridge was that the shelves were too deep, and stuff in the back tended to get neglected until they turned into science exhibits.

                  I now have a side-by-side counter-depth (plus a couple of inches) and am very pleased with it. I managed to specify no water dispenser, but had no say in the matter of the ice maker, which makes way more ice than I normally use.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Sharuf

                    This thread is very interesting because I have the same issue as Sharuf (stuff that gets pushed to the back pretty much goes there to die, unintentionally; out of sight out of mind) with the standard fridge. So my plan for my next kitchen, which will definitely be smaller than what I've got now, is to look for a side-by-side counter-depth. I too don't want a water dispenser, nor an icemaker, so am curious to know what brands of CDs are decent AND can be had without those extras (definitely don't want the water dispenser, and in my last 2 fridges I simply didn't hook up the water line, and removed the ice-cube bin from the freezer, so that's what I'd do in the next one also).

                    The only time I need any ice is VERY occasionally in the hottest summer weather, and for that I just make ice cubes the oldfashioned way by freezing the (filtered) tap water in trays and then putting them into an airtight tub. That's more than enough for me to have on hand , as I'm not really into iced drinks other than the occasional homemade lemonade in mid-August, LOL.

                    1. re: dessert_diva

                      While looking for a fridge to match my specs: side-by-side, counter depth, no water, no ice I found that they all made ice, and only two could be had with no water. So, of the two, I picked the one whose looks I liked best - Kitchen Aid.

                      1. re: Sharuf

                        Many thanks! Are you happy with the KA? any problems/issues so far?

                        Just out of curiosity, what was the other brand with no water?

                        The ice thing isn't a dealbreaker because I'd just do what I've been doing with my other fridges for the past 20+ years which is to not connect to water, and remove the ice bin. Of course if a fridge had a nonremoveable ice bin, that would put me off because I wouldn't want to lose that freezer space for nothing. Is your KA's ice bin removeable? I'd think they all should be, regardless of brand, for cleaning; but nowadays when designers make all kinds of illogical decisons I never ASSume anything, LOL!

                        1. re: dessert_diva

                          I don't remember what the other waterless brand was. Of course the ice bin is removable - I have to dump out the ice from time to time as it builds up and turns into a solid mass. I have had no problems with the Kitchen Aid fridge, but it's only been a year.

                          1. re: dessert_diva

                            We bought a Kenmore bottom freezer with no ice or water a couple years ago, and it's my favorite fridge I've ever owned. I don't miss the ice maker at all, and have never had any need for a water dispenser through the fridge.

                    2. We purchased a Sear Kenmore Elite White Side by side counter depth refrigerator. READ THIS WHOLE REVIEW. MANY PROBLEMS!

                      There is a service bulletin on this refrigerator. I assume the same problem with the Whirlpool model since they are very similar. There is a freezer door switch and a "turn on the water/icemaker switch" at the top of the freezer case. Apparently the plastic ANGLE at the top of the freezer door does not always make good contact with there these switches and does not depress the switch causing the ice maker not to turn on. Clearly a design flaw!

                      After a new ice maker replacement (not the problem), the 2nd repairman finally listened to the Sears tech people. They have a "make shift" solution--install a plastic shim on the sloping top of the freezer door to depress the switch.

                      The technician who came out did not even know how to install the shim.

                      When we depress the switch with tape the ice maker works great, BUt the new shim doesn't completely depress the switch. Since this info seems widely available to Sears service people, this is a poor design problem with a make shift solution! You have to have a service person come out 4 times before you can return a refrigerator!

                      In addition the repairman told us he would send the fridge back because there are pretty constant problems with the in the door icemakers.

                      Very depressing info on a $2000.00 fridge.

                      I found the fridge space too small and limited by the back flare on the shelf design. Did like the glass shelves (same as old model) newer models have mostly plastic.

                      All in all I am going back to the in freezer icemaker.

                      You pay almost $1000 more to get the counter top depth refrigerator.

                      Also, the water dispenser space is bigger and deeper. The dispensers push at the back is to deep to let the water flow into a cup. You have to hold the cup in the middle of the space and hope to catch the water. Ice sprays all over.