How to Select a Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator?

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One of the features you should look at when buying French door refrigerators is the counter depth or cabinet depth feature. We’re pretty sure you have read about that before, and if you aren’t sure about what the buzz is all about, it’s one of the main staples in a refrigerator that most consumers look for.

What is a counter depth feature, you may ask? It is a design that allows the refrigerator to perfectly align with your existing cabinetry so that it would give the impression of being built-in or installed. Having this look makes it seem like it is more expensive than it really is because as we all know, having anything installed in the kitchen is quite pricey.

Now you get the perk of having an “installed” French door refrigerator, without having to pay for a builder or buying extra cabinets. The design allows the door to stick out, while the entire body of the refrigerator is concealed between the cabinetry, depending on the height of the cabinets that cover the sides.

Electrolux FPBC2277RF: Frigidaire Professional 22.6 Cu. Ft. French Door Counter-Depth Refrigerator

Counter depth refrigerators also look good only if the shelves or the cabinet on both sides of it reach from the floor up to the ceiling. If it exposes the sides, then there’s really no purpose of having it, as the “installed” look is not very obvious. Because of this, you might incur a bit of cost having the cabinets set up that way, if you haven’t already.

Size: It may also be difficult to find a smaller size of counter depth French door refrigerator, if you’re looking for one that will suit a very small family that is just starting out. Most counter depth French door refrigerator is the standard to big size. Bear in mind that if you don’t need such large storage space, you shouldn’t buy it.

A good size would be around 25 cu. ft. such as:

LG LFXC24726S24.0 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator - Energy Star

Average sized to big French door refrigerators mostly have the counter depth feature and it’s really good to have if you are a big family (four or more) and if you have big space in the kitchen. Otherwise, you won’t be able to maximize the design and the function.

Key Takeaway: The counter depth feature is only a matter of aesthetics. It doesn’t add or subtract anything from the French door refrigerator’s function, shelf size, and other features. Only consider getting counter depth if you have the cabinetry ready for it, if you have enough space, and if you need the storage space provided.

GE Profile PWE23KSKSS 36" Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator ​

It’s also definitely worth getting if all your kitchen appliances are already built into the cabinetry. You might hate if the refrigerator is the only one that doesn’t follow the supposed design, even if you have to shed a few hundred dollars. But if you’re saving up, a freestanding French door refrigerator doesn’t really have much difference to the naked eye.

Key Takeaway: Get counter depth French door refrigerator if you already have everything built-in and if you have the money to spare. It definitely looks gorgeous in the kitchen, but remember that’s all there is to it – aesthetics.

Buyer's Guide

When buying electrical appliances, most of us are only on a need-to-know basis and rely heavily upon the information of a salesperson. The majority of us, when heading out to buy products like air conditioners, refrigerators, etc., only know that we need to buy them within our budget and only keep in mind a few obvious specs.

Not having in-depth knowledge of these products can lead to disappointment and waste of money. This is where a buyer’s guide comes in handy, especially if you are looking for a lavish kitchen upgrade such a counter-depth French door refrigerator. So let’s take a look at the different features you should consider when looking at a counter depth French door refrigerator.

Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator

All refrigerators will serve their primary purpose – to keep your food cold. So then what’s so different about a counter-depth French door refrigerator? First, these kinds of refrigerators are different from the built-in models we usually have or used to have in our kitchens.

A counter-depth refrigerator is a standalone fridge that sits at the same depth as your counter and cabinets. This means that it won’t unnecessarily stick out and will give your kitchen an upgraded and sleek look. These refrigerators come in a variety of finishes and looks. Let’s see what parts a typical counter-depth French door refrigerator comprises.

Main Features

French Doors

A basic French door refrigerator model has a bottom-mounted freezer that is designed to open like a drawer. Then, on top of the freezer is the refrigerator section featuring two half-width doors. This allows you to have every bit of extra space you need as it has enough capacity for a household of six.

Cabinet Depth Design

These are called counter-depth refrigerators because they have less depth than a standard fridge. This reduction of depth helps in aligning the refrigerator closely with the standard counter’s depth. For instance, a typical freestanding French door refrigerator has 24” deep side panels while a standard fridge usually has a depth between 30 to 32 inches. Since your standard kitchen cabinets are at 24 inches, a counter-depth refrigerator fits seamlessly with existing surrounding cabinetry.

Convertible Freezer and Refrigerator

This attractive feature allows your counter-depth refrigerator to have compartment units that can act as both a freezer and a fridge. This enables you to have extra capacity when your conventional refrigerator area has reached its storage limit.

Smart Refrigerator

Since counter-depth refrigerators are claimed to be high-end products, smart features shouldn’t come as a surprise. When everything’s going digital,  why not your refrigerator which can be controlled using smartphones and apps? The counter-depth refrigerators of some brands allow you to control the refrigerator’s settings, receive notifications, and even perform specific actions. Some brands like Samsung make it possible for you to view the contents of your fridge, have full touch screens, and also stream music.

Adjustable Shelves and ColdZone Drawer

These refrigerators come along with adjustable glass shelves that provide a stable yet flexible platform for your food. This allows you to have easy cleanup, rearrangement, and illumination. If we talk about the ColdZone drawer, it can be used for long-term meat storage because of its separate temperature control.

Additional Features

Following are a few additional features offered in a counter-depth French door refrigerator:

  • Fast freeze
  • Auto close doors
  • Door alarm
  • LED lighting
  • Wine racks
  • Hot water dispenser
  • Field reversible doors
  • Door-in-door

Things to Consider When Buying a Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator

There are many brands with a wide range of styles and types of counter depth refrigerators. This can leave many people confused as buying a refrigerator is no small feat. That’s why there are a few factors you should consider before landing on a decision.

Size and Measurements

We all want a roomy refrigerator so that each person in the house can store their share of favorite food. However, it is imperative that you choose a refrigerator that doesn’t look like an over-sized appliance in the kitchen and has ample capacity as well.

Each household has different requirements, but for a French door refrigerator, there is a general rule of thumb for refrigerator space.

For instance, a standard measurement may include top freezers between 14.5-24 cubic feet; side-by-sides between 20-29 cubic feet; French doors between 18-32 cubic feet; and bottom freezers between 19-24.9 cubic feet.

Everyone wants a roomier refrigerator, but the design and size of your kitchen can be a limiting factor, that’s why you need to have a balance between both.

Style and Design

The term “counter-depth” refrigerator refers to refrigerators that are designed to closely or perfectly align with your kitchen cabinetry. Their main feature is to give your kitchen a sleek, modern, high-end, and clean look.

This means that if you are someone who prefers looks and interior over any other factor, then a counter-depth French door refrigerator is the best option. It’s fashionable, stainless steel and compatible design is a perfect choice for giving your kitchen that “extra” smart look.

These French door models typically come in a variety of styles and unique advanced features, including being smart.

Storage and Space

No matter which expensive counter-depth refrigerator you choose to buy, it will eventually all come down to the most basic requirement – storage capacity. Getting the right design, or the right-sized refrigerator that goes with your kitchen décor won’t matter if you can’t arrange all your food in it the way you want.

So, if you are opting for a counter-depth French door refrigerator, then you should keep the following points in mind before going for the final decision.

  • If you are someone who stores items of different sizes, then adjustable shelves can help assure maximum storage. Going for a counter-depth refrigerator with adjustable shelves will not only help in maximizing space but will reduce the chances of spillage as well.
  • You’ll need to have see-through glass shelves with optimum illumination if you are a clean freak or need more surface area.
  • Is your priority preservation of food? Then your choice of refrigerator should consist of separate bins with temperature control. Most counter-depth refrigerators have separate temperature-controlled compartments for meat products.
  • Sometimes you must store more food either in the refrigerator or freezer compartment. If you want to purchase a French door, then many come along with refrigerator and freezer convertible option that gives you extra space in either of the compartments.
  • If you store a considerable number of beverages and drinks in your refrigerator then the best option is to go for spill-proof shelves.

Cost and Affordability

This factor is the most important one to consider because you must already have a budget. However, it’s important to think about additional operational and maintenance costs as well. If you go on to buy something big, then you’ll need to think about energy efficiency and cost.

Compared to a standardized refrigerator, counter-depth French door refrigerators are expensive because of their appearance and additional features. Consider you’re paying extra for your kitchen’s décor. One thing’s for sure, this type of refrigerator is a long-term appliance investment that will serve you well.

Pros of Buying a Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator

A counter depth refrigerator makes your life easier by providing you convenient access to contents. You don’t need to either bend too low or reach up too high just to retrieve your favorite food because of well-configured storage capacity

It occupies less room in your kitchen as compared to a traditional-styled refrigerator. Access to a pull-out bottom freezer drawer is easier because of shorter depth, and you have less congestion in the kitchen

It provides a more uniform and streamlined profile to your kitchen by blending perfectly well with your kitchen cabinetry. A counter-depth French door refrigerator only has a few inches of its door sticking out while everything else lines perfectly with the edges of the counters and cabinets.

The design makes it possible to have unique and well-distributed storage compartments. A counter-depth model is comparatively wider than a standard one and thus gives more space to wide cold-cut trays and longer door bins

Can offer advanced and attractive features including convertible refrigerator and freezer, Wi-Fi connectivity, double-door action, air purification, door alarm, LED lighting, and more.

Cons of buying a Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator

Even though they have unique storage spaces, compared to the standard models, these have smaller freezer compartments. Even if you buy different designs where the freezer is either at the top or bottom, space will still be less

Counter-depth refrigerators provide easy access but have shorter and smaller crispers. It can be a challenge storing long food items or containers because the drawers are shorter in size.

Counter-depth French door refrigerators are a bit too pricy. If your main goal is functionality and usage, then you’ll need to think before you buy one. If your preference is for your kitchen to look perfect, then you wouldn’t mind paying extra.

If you are replacing an existing standard-sized refrigerator with a counter-depth model, then you’d need to check the external measurements, because counter-depth models are wider than a standard-depth model.

FAQS

You know all the specs and features, but still, do you feel like some questions were left unanswered? If your answer is yes, then take a look at these frequently asked questions related to counter-depth French door refrigerators before buying one.

What is the difference between a “counter-depth” and  a “built-in” refrigerator?

As the name suggests, built-in models are refrigerators designed and installed directly into the kitchen cabinets and counters. They are unable to be installed as freestanding units because they sit almost precisely flush with your kitchen’s cabinetry.

Meanwhile, if we talk about counter-depth models, they have been designed to best align with standard kitchen cabinetry as true standalone fridges.

For example, a standard fridge has a usual depth of 30 to 32 inches, while standard kitchen cabinets have a depth of about 24 inches. This means that your standard fridge will give your kitchen an uneven look along with taking up more space.

How do I use my counter-depth French door refrigerator’s display?

The display and how to access the features of your refrigerator depends upon the type of model you have. You can start by reading the owner’s manual for detail instructions. However, if you just need to use the display, then illuminate its center by pressing OPTIONS.

You can scroll through the menu and features by using the UP and DOWN buttons on the screen. Lastly, if you need to change a setting to ON or OFF then press “+”; SET to select and when you are done changing the settings, go back to press OPTIONS for saving the changes.

How often should I change my French door’s water filter and to which ones?

If you want the highest water quality, then, ideally, you should change your water filter every six months. Water filtration is an important function of counter-depth models, so you need to check whether it is functioning correctly now and then. You can check the display of your refrigerator for the water filter status and make sure to check the compatibility of the water filter before changing it.

You must use the same water filter type that’s already installed in your refrigerator. However, you can go for water filters that offer at least 3 levels of carbon filtration while having NSF certified standardization in water filtration.

How do I use my counter-depth French door refrigerator’s ice maker?

There are a few things you’ll need to understand and check before using your French door refrigerator’s ice maker.

  • If your refrigerator was just installed, then before making ice for the first time, you need to prime the water supply system. You’ll initially have 2 to 3 empty ice cycles because of the air in the new plumbing lines.
  • Make sure that once your refrigerator is installed, that it is connected to a water supply. This is because your ice maker is turned on at the factory. If you operate your icemaker without water, then it will make an unpleasant loud chattering noise.
  • Another thing you can do is to let your newly installed refrigerator to cool for several hours before making ice. In doing so, your ice maker will start making ice within 24 hours.

How do I make the water dispenser work on my counter-depth French door refrigerator? 

If your water dispenser is not working, then check your refrigerator’s display because if its locked, then it won’t dispense water. To unlock, hold the lock key on your display for about 3 seconds.

If that doesn’t work, then try checking the water filter. Sometimes clogging or improper seating of the water filter can cause the water to dispense slowly or not at all. You can try reinstalling the water filter if all else fails and keep a check on whether it’s time to replace the filter or not.

My icemaker is not making enough ice. What should I do?

The amount your ice maker makes within 24 hours is dependent upon the brand and the model you are using. Typically, a counter-depth French door refrigerator should produce about 2 to 2.5 pounds of ice every 24-hours. However, if it is failing to do so, then there are a few things you can check.

First, check if your water connections are tight because over time they can loosen and can affect the continuous water supply.

Secondly, check your water filter for blockage or need for replacement. 

Third, check the freezer temperature because if it’s set too warm, then it won’t dispense ice at a decent rate. Last, avoid opening and closing the refrigerator door too quickly and too often because it can slow down ice production.

Why my refrigerator door is not closing properly? 

First, make sure that your counter-depth model has been correctly installed, where the floor is level and solid. After that, check whether anything is preventing the door from closing such as bins not properly closed or an item sticking out.

Close all the shelves properly and evenly, and also close both the doors gently.

How do I make sure that moisture doesn’t collect on the inside of my refrigerator, and the freezer smells fresh?

You can avoid moisture collection on the inside of your refrigerator by not opening the door frequently and for extended periods. The more you keep the door open, warmer air enters inside and causes moisture to collect.

Moreover, always make sure the door has closed properly, especially when the weather is extra hot or humid. Whereas if you want that your refrigerator or freezer section always smell fresh, then don’t leave uncovered or very warm food containers.

Also, try removing old food items like fruits and vegetables, or manage the temperature, respectively.

How can I make the water from my refrigerator’s dispenser always taste fresh?

There are a few simple instructions you can follow, to always have fresh-tasting water from your counter-depth French door refrigerator’s water dispenser. You can start off by connecting the unit to a cold water line. You can also completely clean out the dispenser tank every now and then, or if that’s a hassle, then discard 10 to 12 glasses of water to have a fresh supply. Lastly, don’t forget to change the water filters every six months.

What should I do if I hear a gurgling sound from my refrigerator?

There can be many reasons related to the gurgling sounds that are mostly non-serious. The most common cause is the circulation of the refrigerant throughout the system because this is what keeps your freezer cool. The noise can also originate from an empty water supply to the ice maker, so make sure that the line is tight and secure.

Is it worth getting a new counter-depth French door refrigerator?

A counter-depth refrigerator model is the latest new kitchen appliance which is both easy on the eyes and serves its purpose well. Its smart new features offer a totally new experience, especially if you are a gadget freak or like to upgrade your electronics. Every product has its set of pros and cons, but a French door refrigerator is more on the beneficial side. Most people hate congestion and prefer alignment to everything else.

A counter-depth refrigerator offers a perfect solution for saving you floor space along with providing ample storage capacity. Its sleek design and appealing colors are additional features that will draw you immediately to the product. Even though these models are comparatively expensive, you can opt to go for less “smart” types as many models come with countless connectivity and advanced features.

With this kind of refrigerator, you don’t really need to work on customization and fitting because it’s designed to fit your kitchen perfectly.

Additionally, you get to enjoy features such as the smart display, ability to control from device apps, water dispenser, hot water dispenser, icemaker, convertible refrigerator and freezer, temperature-controlled zones, dispenser light, door alarm, Wi-Fi connectivity, internal camera, spill-proof tempered glass shelves, humidity-controlled crispers, air purification and beautiful display colors.

All in all, if you have the money to spend, and you really need a new refrigerator, then a counter-depth French door refrigerator should definitely be on your list.

Here are a few popular and reviewers choices when it comes to Counter Depth French Door Refrigerators:

Viking 36 Inch Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator with Air Purification and ColdZone

  • Samsung RF22N9781SR
  • KitchenAid KRFC300ESS
  • Hair Quad French Door Refrigerator (Best Quad Door Design Counter Depth Fridge)

When choosing any of the above refrigerators, you can be guaranteed that you are getting a good value-for-money fridge that will last you for many years to come. They are all durable and offer excellent features to keep you, the user, happy. What more could you ask for?

Conclusion

A counter depth French door refrigerator looks really nice especially when built into the cabinetry. It is stylish and looks more expensive than what it originally costs. Because this type of refrigerator is built to match the standard size of the average cabinet, it’s easy to push it in between so you don’t really have to customize your cabinetry.

In short, you get the beauty and elegance of an installed French door refrigerator without paying for installation and customization.