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Need new fridge -- get bottom freezer?

I need a new refrigerator, but have a small kitchen. So, I can't get a huge one. I don't think any side-by-sides would fit. But, I want the most efficient use of space, and was wondering, is it better to get a "bottom" drawer freezer in the refrigerator?

Do such fridges operate better?

Another question, do you have a water filter in your fridge for the ice-maker? Doesn't it make it much more expensive over time, with changing the filter so often? Does it make ice like you get "commercially" -- i.e., super-clear?

Thanks for any help!

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  1. From an efficiency stand point most smaller refrigerators I've seen are built with the freezer on top(cold air flows down).

    Don't have a filter on my ice-maker because the ice tastes "clean". There are different in line filters you can buy at home improvement stores. They don't need to be replaced as often as you think. Think about how much ice are you really making?

    Commercial ice is clear because it doesn't contain air to make it appear cloudy. They freeze it in sheets/layers to eliminate the air. Ice cubes at home freeze from the outside first to inside, trapping air inside the ice cube.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monku

      It doesn't matter that cold air flows down. Most all air-movement in modern refrigerators is propelled by fans. My only regret in my cooking life is that I never got a bottom freezer when I had the chance. How stupid is it that for the stuff you use 90% of the time you have to bend down to see and handle. Wouldn't it be better at eye-level? Case closed.

    2. i have bought a whirlpool gold bottom freezer that will be delivered next week. it has an ice maker and my gc is putting a water filter on it at my request. after much research, i bought the Culligan US-EZ-4 EZ-Change Level-4 Under-Sink Drinking Water System - and i will offer the advice given me: if you buy that and decide to also put in a water tap (because you can 'tee' off the line to service both), DON'T use the tap that comes with the culligan. by an all-metal water tap (amazon offers a lovely one for about $48 more and my gc said it's top notch - because the cruddy one that comes with the culligan system (tap that is) has plastic and will crack easily.
      however, i think that top freezers give you generally more usuable fridge space in a small unit.

      1. We recently bought a new samsung bottom drawer freezer, despite my protests to my wife. But I have to admit, I love it. I was afraid that having the freezer so low would involve a lot more stooping and bending to reach heavy roasts and other frozen items. But it really isnt an issue, and I love the way the items are very acceesible with the roll out racks. Even our ice maker being that low does not present any of the problems I foresaw, thanks to the easy way it slides out. We are on well water, but our water is very good and we do not use a filter for the icemaker. If you need a filter, I would look very carefully at all the options that are out there, some are very expensive for replacments, and wen they clog up the water will not flow to make the ice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chipmoose

          I had one and disliked it. the drawer would over fill and something feel behind the drawer when I went to close it. If you don 't fill as much as you can, then it is wonderful but the problems with filling fully made me decide to not do it again.

        2. I too have a bottom freezer. I use the freezer section maybe once a day, if that, while the refrigerator section is opened continually. I think the bottom freezer makes it so much easier for regular day to day stuff. The roll out freezer basket makes it easy to get stuff out and put stuff in. The basket does limit the usable space in the freezer, so you should be aware of that, but that is the only minor complaint I have.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Shann

            I love my French door bottom freezer (kitchen aid). My last fridge was side by side but I hated stooping down to get things out if the bottom and a wide tray wouldn't fit. The French door solves both problems. The heavy things ( milk, juice) are right at arm 's reach. I can fit super wide trays into the deli drawer. As for the freezer ... I haul milk out a lot more often than a turkey. The drawer rolls right out I would never buy any other kind than French door bottom freezer. I also love that the French door s are lighter and don't take up as much room to open.

          2. Here's my take: If your kitchen is small, but you have room elsewhere (pantry, garage, etc.), consider getting a reefer-only for the kitchen and put a dedicated freezer out back

            8 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu

              Is there such a thing as a reefer only? I thought all fridges came with freezers in some configuration these days.

              1. re: buttertart

                Sears has 10 freezerless refrigerators on their website.

              2. re: kaleokahu

                You might want to check the warranty before you do this. I wanted to get a freezer and put it in my garage, which is unheated (though I would put it against a wall shared with the kitchen). However, some manufacturers will void the warranty if you place it in an unheated space. Because I suspect they'd use that excuse REGARDLESS of whether or not any malfunction had to do with an unheated garage, I opted to forego the freezer. Instead, I may just get a new fridge and put the old fridge in the garage.

                I do have some of the same issues as the OP--small space, height limited by cabinetry, small kitchen. Currently I have a bottom freezer, which I love, but I haven't found anything yet that will fit the available space.

                1. re: nofunlatte

                  I have had a freezer in my unheated garage in the northeast for nearly 20 years now. It (the same freezer) has worked without a hitch for all those years, unlike my refrigerators which seem to have a problem every 2-3 years. Maybe freezers were just made better back then, or maybe freezers are inherently simpler. But lack of warranty never bothered me.

                  1. re: DGresh

                    I have no doubt that yours was made well. Today, appliances seem to be made more cheaply. I can totally see, though, that something might break and the manufacturer refusing to fix it, claiming warranty invalidation EVEN IF THE PROBLEM WAS UNRELATED. Sorry, just am wary of corporations. That said, I'm. In Indiana and the climate can be challenging as well, yet I see freezers and fridges in garages all the time.

                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      Simple solution: buy a USED deep freezer. This is often a near-impulse buy that people think they will really really use, then they get it home and find they don't use it after all. Frequently lightly (or un) used deep freezers are available for a fraction of the new purchase price.

                      Save $$$ on the initial outlay, and no warranty worries, cuz there isn't going to be one. Then you can give it a home in the garage with a clear conscience.

                      1. re: nofunlatte

                        When I lived in Nebraska and began my holiday baking, I'd set up a card table in the unheated garage and just wrap and stack the packages on that--instant freezer, ha ha.

                    2. re: nofunlatte

                      I think the biggest issue with having a refrig/freezer in the garage is to make sure you have a dedicated circuit for it. Biggest problem is potential for power outage if one of the breakers blow and you don't notice it for a few days and have ruined food. We've also had our old refrigerator/freezers demoted to the garage in several houses with no problems. If I had my druthers, I'd also opt for a refrigerator in the kitchen and freezer w/ ice maker in the laundry room, but alas my DH is addicted to the ice & water dispenser in the door. My Amana r/f condenser died after a mere 7 years, and even though the warranty company strongly "suggested" that we replace it, I was so offended by the short life span that I insisted on a repair--Amana unit didn't even have an access panel to the condenser and the repairman had to cut one! Ridiculous how things are made these days.