More money for less space

sjerinJanuary 30, 2012

LOTS more! I was looking at KA refrigerators this weekend and the counter-depth was @ $1000 more than a regular depth for the privilege of not having the fridge stick out so much. Wow.

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Sophie Wheeler

You're really surprised? Less demand plus the luxury upcharge.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 3:52PM
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You're not buying sq. footage !!!

It's really not much different than buying 1000 SF in Manhattan vs. rural Mississippi.

In NYC it could cost you 1-5 million dollars easy, while the same amount in MS could be had for the price of a triple deck corn beef sandwhich.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 4:16PM
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But we're talking the same brand of refrigerator! Yes, I'm surprised that it costs $1000 to see a couple inches less of one's fridge.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 5:22PM
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sjern, I feel your pain, I felt the same way the last time I bought a new refrigerator. It didn't make sense to me that an appliance that was smaller should be more expensive. In the days before "cabinet depth" an 18cu ft refrigerator was less expensive then a 21 cu ft refrigerator. That rule doses not apply to cabinet depth vs. normal depth. I opted to stay away from cabinet depth appliances when I realized for a couple inches of overhang I would get more square footage for cooling, and save a considerable amount of money. With my kitchen layout it works well, but if your putting it near a corner where cabinets meet, or have a shallow walkway in front of the fridge, a cabinet depth may work better.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 8:10PM
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You pay more for a sports car than a sedan.

You pay more for Jimmy Choos than Doc Martens.

A lot of the time, the larger and more practical choice, which also is often the more durable one, costs less than the sleek, sexy, pretty one. Just the way things are. People will pay more for sleek, sexy and pretty.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 2:37AM
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Well, of course, there is less demand/volume for the counterdepth and it is BECAUSE THEY ARE $1000 MORE FOR LESS SPACE!!!!!! If they would offer them at a similar price, I would bet the demand would skyrocket!!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 6:03AM
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It's all about capitalism, and someone will pay the premium for a fridge that fits into their kitchen better and looks less bulky----premium features that some find it worth paying more money for. You're not paying for less space, you're paying for better design and a more pleasing appearance--which only incidentally involves less space. You think that's a steep premium, you better not look at any built ins! They have less space than a free standing fridge as well, and they cost astronomically more---for that better look in your kitchen, and only a small bit of improvement in keeping your beer cold.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 1:46AM
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Okay, I get your point now as just a statement of opinion.

My reply to that is that I'm thrilled to be able to take advantage of a market economy no matter how bound up and twisted it may be. It's marvelous to have these choices!! Do I have to pay extra for a shallower fridge? Yep! But there's a shallower than standard fridge to buy if I'm willing to pay the price, which is excellent! Does a built-in fridge have a damn the budget price which doesn't even include the exterior trim? Yes! But if I want it to be part of my cabinetry rather than sticking out at all--and I do--I can have that, and I have different models and sizes to choose from, even though it's a fairly limited market segment. I think it's awesome!!!

I've spent time in countries where everyone has the same thing because that was all that was available; where some guy designs a basic model of whatever it is, whether it's a doorknob, or a floor tile, or a refrigerator, and that's what you get, if you can get it, because that's all you can get unless you're really really wealthy and can bring in from abroad and pay confiscatory taxes (or bribes, which cost nearly as much and are not good citizenship).

Long live variety and a market that's free enough to allow it to thrive!!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 7:38PM
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There are differences too that are part of the engineering. Most counterdepth fridges are made to be installed close against the cabinetry with much less air space around them, say less than 1/2" vs. 3". Different application of insulation, ventilation and such.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 9:23PM
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Wow, this has turned into a hot topic. Yikes! While recently scouring the market for a new frig, there is much to be learned. It turns out that Whirlpool owns/makes Whirlpool, W. Gold, Kitchen Aid, and now Jenn Air, Maytag, and Amana. GE owns several brands also. They are the "big" players in the US market. Then there is Samsung, LG, and some smaller players such as Bosch, Haier, etc.

As to pricing $1,000 more for a CD frig, design is #1. And the box is the first thing. Most boxes from the above manufacturers are one standard size. So the box/shell for your Kitchen Aid is exactly the same size as the box for a Whirlpool Gold, etc. When a company has to build or buy a smaller size box, start adding $$$ to the price. Then as someone else mentioned, it's all the stuff that goes in the box behind the walls. In a CD, it has to be a different size. Ergo - more money to build.

My gripe is WHO is designing these refrigerators? America is aging - and not everyone needs a 28 CF refrigerator anymore. Not everyone wants to bend over and tug a heavy drawer full of frozen items out to access them.

IMHO the separate middle freezer drawer is great.
So is the separate middle frig drawer that can be temp controlled.

But those big flat drawers inside the top of a french door frig are cumbersome, awkward, and rediculous. A guy who never does any cleaning had to have come up with that less than brilliant idea which every manufactured followed. Apparently no one thinks anymore.

That is my rant for today. Nice thread. I hope the manufacturers read it and go back to the design drawing board. I would sure like to see:
1. regular size bins in the top of the FD frigs. (skip those big wide things)
2. some freezer DRAWERS that pull out easily instead of those big bins that require an Olympic weight lifter to open.
3. A step on latch to open the bottom freezer drawer. (so you don't have to bend way over to get it open.)
4. And what about wheels/glides for all frig drawers? Plastic against plastic when it's full doesn't just slide out easily and screams CHEAP - WILL BREAK.

Thank you!
Have a nice Sunday :)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 3:32PM
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Great post, sippimom! I'd like to see those things you list as well and I agree that men must be designing these things. I also wonder about the door shelves meant to hold milk cartons--is that a cool enough area? I know the refers are well-insulated, but the door is opened and closed all the time...

And still, I just really think the smaller box size is not justification for up-charging that much, more like demand.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 12:17AM
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I have a counter-depth fridge and due to the layout of my cabinets (the fridge is located in the corner), I cannot get a full-depth fridge anywhere. However, my side-by-side fridge is 25 cubic feet. I can store a lot of food there. It's very tall and impressive looking.

So while I paid more, I didn't get less, space-wise. I purchased my fridge in 1999 and paid $1250 for it. It's white and when it dies I will replace it with a KA stainless side by side without a dispenser in the door.

And I agree on all of the comments about FD fridges. Due to my kitchen layout, I don't think we're a candidate for that design either... my skinny freezer door opens in the tight corner. Darn!

Finally, I should add that I own a 42" chest freezer and just purchased an undercounter beverage fridge (Fridgidaire brand. Note, there is a difference between a beverage fridge and a wine fridge. You can't keep food in a wine fridge.) that sits in my laundry room. It has an all-glass door, and holds an incredible amount of stuff: 6 gallons of milk, a few pounds of butter, a couple of half gallons of orange juice, and lots of bottle water and soda. This is "counter-depth" and holds nearly as much as the top half of my side by side. It's under the countertop that served as a computer desk (but now we have laptops), so it fits right into the room and uses space that wasn't really needed anymore.

The key is the double-glass door, without the molded plastic door you can pack this little fridge. I love this fridge, it cost only $299 from Lowes (on sale) when I bought in December (2011). I've always wanted a second fridge, but here in Texas the summers are very hot and would not want to store one in the garage. I also purchased the 4 year extended warranty (which gives me five years total coverage), so for under $400 I have a fridge that will work for five years. If it dies the day after the warranty expires, that's okay. We've gotten our money's worth. We should be able to squeeze back into one fridge by that time. I love this fridge, if it were made by KitchenAid, it would cost five times as much. Everything else in my kitchen is KA and Whirlpool, by the way. I guess this is a little OT. I love my big counter-depth fridge too. And now that FD fridges are in vogue, a KA stainless, counter-depth side by side isn't selling for a small fortune anymore. Those prices seem to have leveled off.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 8:52AM
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Okay. For 20 years and through several moves, I ONLY buy counter-depth fridges. I love them. I probably have paid more at times, but they are generally wider and nothing ever gets lost in the back of my fridge!

The few times we've had to rent while in transition we've always had full-depth fridges and I'm reminded why I counter depth is worth it. It's a huge convenience that I quickly grew to love and one I won't go without.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 8:56PM
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mj- wouldn't you feel better if things were "fairer" and you could have bought all those fridges for less $$$ ?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 11:28PM
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After all the excitement on this thread, let me offer one possible way to get a CD fridge at a full size price. :)

I ripped out the drywall and studs behind my full size fridge, moved the electrical outlets that were in the way and put in a header to transfer the load to studs on either side of the recess I put into the wall. Cleaned up the drywall edges, etc.

I now gained about 4 extra inches, pushed my fridge farther back into the wall and Viola'! I now have a CD fridge. No issues with door opening clearance but I can see where this would be an issue with many models.

A fair amount of work but I like to have projects around the house. Keeps me out of trouble.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 10:34AM
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We recessed our standard fridges in the wall to make them "look" counter depth. We got these two for less than (or around) $600 each and they are energy star.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 8:58PM
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