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Now that you've had it awhile, how do you like your counter-depth refrigerator?

If you had the decision to make over again, would you still opt for a counter-depth model? Or, would you figure out a way for your kitchen to accommodate a full-depth fridge? What do you like about it? What do you dislike about it? Finally, talk to me about the brand you chose, why you chose it, how long you've owned it and whether you've had any problems with it.

As you might have guessed, I'm about to start shopping for a new fridge for a kitchen we're remodeling, and I appreciate your input.

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  1. Aesthetically, there's no question that counter-depth is appealing. We've had a Sub-Zero for a long time and it performs extremely well with great use of space. Now will I be replacing it with another if it breaks (for good)? Not at the current prices.

    1. We built a kitchen (!) and put a house around it about ten years ago. Included in the plan were full-sized SubZero refrigerator and freezer units. They are separate but in our kitchen they are placed side-by-side. Each unit is 36" wide, so together, they require a fair ampount of space. They have performed very well and I treasure them.

      At the time, these were the only available units that fit my requirements. One thing that I had to become used to is their shallow shelves. Yes, they're very wide but I have had to make accomodations for some of my large platters (if pre-plating for a large party). Other than this minor - and infrequent - annoyance, I love the configuration. Each unit holds a LOT of food and nothing gets lost at the back.

      Each unit is self-contained and holds temperature very well. There is no through-the-door icemaker on the freezer which some people dislike. I'm happy with the icemaker, though wish it would crank out cubes a bit faster.

      The doors are a problem for some; they seal after opening. If you've forgotten an item, you will have to wait some seconds before re-opening the doors. Since I know this, it isn't a problem for me.

      I would buy another SubZero but wish they were not so pricey.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sherri

        I think I read somewhere that the SubZero counter-depth refrigerators actually offer more interior space than other built-in models because the compressor is above, rather than in back of the unit. Is that right, or am I thinking about another brand?

        1. re: CindyJ

          I cannot speak to your comparison about whether or not the SubZero offers more interior space than other refrigerators because I don't know. However, there is a LOT of space in this 36" wide fridge; ditto for the 35" wide freezer. Yes, the compressor is above each model. Some years ago, it was on the bottom and perhaps, still is in some models.

          Please remember, these are two separate units and not a side-by-side model which may differ from what I have. After my original post, I double-checked that a half sheet pan fits easily in the fridge. It is only the very large platters that are a problem. It is a happy trade-off to eliminate them in favor of being able to easily see all the contents of the fridge.

      2. We have a KA side by side CD. Like the water and ice in the door. The French door w/ freezer on the bottom didn't come out with ice and water on the door until a year or two after we installed our unit. As for space it sucks. I have to use my older standard fridge that's in the garage for 1/2 sheet pans or even 9X13 pans. Maybe you could get the 9X13 in the counter depth fridge if you had one shelf that was empty. Looks all nice and flush with the cabinets though

        1. When I installed it 4 years ago, I was taken aback as I moved the contents of our old fridge in the temporary-kitchen dining room to our brand new counter depth. I was half done, and it was full! For awhile I kept the old one down in the basement for extra milk (our family used to drink a gallon a day -- I kid you not-- until my daughter went to college) and veggies from the CSA. Then the one in the basement died, and I have completely learned to live without it. Of course now we only need a gallon of milk a day when our daughter is home, and sometimes I use what I call "God's Refrigerator" in the winter, but all in all, I have learned to deal. Honestly, a lot of stuff in that old fridge was stuff that I'd forgotten about. Note, I am the type who shops (quickly) every other day or two, not a once-a-week shopper.

          1. The Mieles have been very good, with no dislikes. Once shelves were adjusted to the heights I wanted haven't had any issues with food storage. Didn't do the full-width freezer because of space considerations, but there's a chest freezer for longer-term storage so no space is really missed (water filters for ice are $100 a pop every 6 months or so).

            Would definitely repurchase. Would choose over Subzero too because of the understated over-engineering.

            1. Hi Cindy,,

              When my folks retired to Florida back in 90 or so they gave up their big sub zero side by side for a counter depth side by side - not sure what brand. They are constantly low on fridge room, even without entertaining. PERHAPS a french door counter depth might give enough room but they have remarked several times they would not have done counter depth and when this one eventually goes they will do a standard depth to replace it - probably a french door.

              We're just starting our own kitchen remodel - the gut is mostly complete now and we'll be doing electrical and plumbing next, then drywall. I already know that I want either the 26 or 29/30 cubic foot Samsung french door - for loads of fridge room, with lots of adjustable shelves. The electric usage is about the same no matter what you pick. So I'd think carefully about how much room you really need for regular use, and for extra storage for entertaining and get at least 25 cubic feet for the fridge. My 2 cents.

              1. If you are considering a "regular" counter depth refrigerator/freezer, then you might want to reconsider, there just isn't much room in them. My daughter has one that's a side by side and there is no room. On the other hand if you are considering a counter depth refrigerator, without the freezer, there is plenty of room, we have an Electrolux Icon refrigerator that is counter depth and it's great. We have a seperate freezer in the laundry room that's right around the corner, so it's not inconvenient for us. This was the best appliance we bought for the kitchen remodel, it's basically a built in but without the insane cost of a Sub Zero.

                1. We just moved into a new house and my husband was pretty adamant he wanted a counter depth for aesthetics this time. I, on the other hand, was adamant we were not going to have an "extra" fridge or freeze this time and had to make due with just one(we're a two person household so really this isn't a difficult thign for us to do).

                  I went round and round in circles trying to decide what to do...I was leaving a 27+cu ft french door behind so it was going to be a big loss of space for us...though our old fridge was rarely stuffed to the gills. Since we were including aesthetics in our decision I was looking a lot at side by sides as I preferred the look to the french door(particularly without an ice maker which is difficult to find).

                  The cost of teh counter depth fridges was off-putting to me as well...particularly the higher end Electrolux and Bosch that we looked at (and even Kitchen Aid). Given the expected lfe of a fridge these days I aws having a hard time spending the money.

                  Black Friday we were at the Great Indoors(Sears) and spied the new Kenmore Elite SxS counter depth fridge. 25 cu ft and it held a cookie sheet in it when I tried one. Black Friday sale was $1650! It did have an through the freezer door ice maker which I would have preferred nto to ahve but for the price we decided to try it since it wasn't a huge investment if 1) we didn't like the SxX 2) we didn't like the counter depth or 3) it quit working relatively soon.

                  We've been in teh house with the fridge since late Jan. So far I've been really happy with. I don't freeze a lot of stuff(no frozen foods, no frozen leftovers, no big bulk purchases from costco, etc). I haven't felt any loss of space on the fridge side. I don't mind the side by side set up either and haven't missed the french doors. If anythign I like the freezer off the bottom and with shelves as stuff isn't getting lost in the bottom of the bin anymore.

                  1. I have a GE French door counter depth and am satisfied. It keeps stable temp, holds big things like trays, and is easy to adjust. Water is inside, not in the door, and it works easily and seems nice and cold as compared to water from an in door dispenser.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tim irvine

                      Does it have a freezer, or is it just a fridge?

                    2. Have a 3 yr old counter depth stainless steel French door, bottom freezer KA. Don't like water/ice in the door, both for looks and the fact that we seldom use ice. Freezer is the drawer type, with a separate shelf above the drawer. Only 2 of us, but I do miss the extra interior space. Often have to put a dish on top of another one 'cause of space issues. Love how it looks, but not as functional as I'd like.