Side-by-Side fridge for 37" wide corner space,

UavnJune 1, 2013

We are moving to a house that has 37" wide corner space for a fridge -- the left side is a wall that extends all the way, not few inches, and the right side is a cabinet. And we are interested in a side-by-side fridge (because it's easier to organize, in our opinion). I have read many posts on this forum as well as been googling, thus understand that it's recommended to have extra 3" for the doors to fully open, given the wall.
We know that it's not ideal, but we still want to have a 25-26 cu ft. So the question is, which fridge works best given our constraints?
We looked at fridges in BB, HD, Lowe's and it seems that there is variation in space required, depending on the design of the hinges. It seems that the doors for a Frigidaire need the least space, while Samsung ones require more.
Any help/advice/or similar experience is greatly appreciated.

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I think you need a minimum of 3" to get the door open 90 degrees, unless you buy a true counterdepth fridge such as sub zero. You will have to find a fridge that will let you remove shelves, crispers drawers with the door open to the max in your space. You might be forced to buy a fridge where the door swings away from the wall. A good salesman will be able to help you. Skip the big box stores. Try a real appliance store or a distributor that sells to contractors. ADU is great if you have one near you.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:24PM
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With the frigidaire sxs, it needs 4.5" of clearance according to its manual merely to get it's doors open to 90 degrees. In most sxs, 90 degrees means that things like a freezer basket or crisper doors won't open. In order to take out a drawer, you'd need to pull the ref out and move it away from the wall. You need enough room for the handles as well as the doors.

Possibly, I'm looking at a different 36" Frigidaire than you are, but the 4.5" on the wall side isn't optional. It's because of the design of the hinges - most ref hinges move the door off to the side of the ref.

Recommended would be more like 15" of clearance.

Another thing to check about a new ref is its height and the hinges on the top and where those might intersect an over the ref cabinet.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:46PM
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Actually, an inch or so on the sides is all that is needed for the hinges and door edge to avoid binding on the wall. It's the projecting door handle (on the outside) and the door bins (on the inside) that impose the need for greater clearance. The door handle projects out at least a couple of inches and acts as a stand-off when you swing the door against a wall. Unless you have the requisite side clearance, the handle will hit the wall and keep the door from opening to 90 degrees. You've also got door bins that project out from the inside of the door. On some fridges, those can block the crisper drawers from being removed unless you can get 135 degrees of door swing or unless you can reposition or remove the lower door bins.

If your kitchen wall will be on the left (freezer side), the problem is likely to be with pulling the ice storage bin and with inserting and extracting larger items from the freezer shelves.

Been a while since I looked at SxS fridges but, IIRC, the Whirlpool SxS fridges require only 2 inches side-wall clearance for doors to reach 90 degrees. That's still more space than you seem to have. (You've got a 37" wide space and a fridge that will be between 35 1/2" to 35 7/8" wide, so the side clearance is going to be 1 1/2" at most.)

I think Bmorepanic is right about needing to pull that fridge out whenever you want to extract a drawer from the wall side of the unit..

I suggest going back to Lowe's or BB and try holding doors at 85 and 90 degrees to see how it works for you.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:06PM
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Thank you so much for your replies. They are very helpful.
Overall, it looks like we will have to go back to a store and 'simulate' our setting (37" corner space) and see how each fridge works out in terms of opening doors and pulling out stuff.
@daratwist: We don't want to invest in a subzero at this point. But we will look into a 'real' appliance store -- no ADU around here.
@bmorepanic: We were looking at the most basic Frigidaire available on the floor, one below the Gallery line. For that one, the door does not move to the side. But the Samsung door does. So it also seems that the same maker can have different hinge settings :(
@JWVideo: The wall is on the left. For us, we know it's not ideal. We just want to see which 36" wide fridge will give the least trouble. We will look into Whirlpool as suggested.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 2:20PM
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We have a new Whirlpool (this one)

It would need about 1/2" of clearance on the left for the door to open at all--the corner swings out just a little bit.

Then, the door handle is going to hit the wall. I tried to take some pictures showing how far I could get it open if the fridge were positioned as close to a wall on the left as possible (i.e. 1/2")

Note that we have the in-door ice-maker which would make accessing the main freezer compartment even more difficult.

Those pictures looked really tight, so I just went and double checked, with a straight-edge. That's really how far you'd be able to open our fridge with an adjacent wall.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 6:36PM
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Be really careful about this. Even the one in the $900 range (FFHS2622MB) has handles that are 2.5" deep.

The more inexpensive it is, the more likely the door opens to the side. Because they don't publish the information for the low end (and everything is relative - I have a Frigidaire - and if I was buying a ref, I'd strongly consider the same one because it's not as deep as the gallery and above ones), doesn't mean the door doesn't cross the side. If nobody knows, go to the store and measure it or take along a short straight edge, hold it against the side, crossing the edge of the door and then open the door and see what happens. Also, be sure you are trying one of the 26 cufts and not the 22cuft ones.

Afaik, the only ones that don't need extra clearances for the doors are Leibherr, a few Subzero models and a few Jenn Airs.

@JWVideo. Frigidaire actually publishes their clearance requirements for the Gallery series and states that the 4.5" isn't enough for the drawers or pull out bins to work. Gallery and above generally are the same case with slightly different interiors and different door fronts.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 6:52PM
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You'd think the mid price 36" refrigerator manufacturers would keep the right or left swing top doors just for this reason. It's only been fairly recently that they purged them, minus Fisher Paykel (DCS) or adjusting down to a 33" fridge.

That said, I have an twelve year old 36" SxS Kitchen Aid which has sat next to a half wall/railing. I see what elofgren demonstrates and jwvideo discusses: handle types can make wall issues even worse. My old fridge has the long european handles, which run close to the door. I think our clearance to the right wall is about 1 7/8" and surprisingly with what ever hinge it has and being full depth, we have had few problems over the years with the subject matter.

Kitchen Aid refrigerators are 35 1/2" wide. I read on GW that SxS door clearance is less than that required by a french door refrigerator by a 1/2" or so but didn't bookmark the reference. So you may be right in looking at SxS's given your situation.

I'm thinking to delay a new refrigerator purchase, in spite of the new remodel. Our cabinets are going in next week, and that's when I'll have input on refrigerator panels (should be at least 1/2"), as well as how snug the cabinets prior to the fridge may go etc. While everyone is telling me to buy, I'm going to buy time instead. Next years 36" refrigerator models may accommodate a wall better-maybe a maker will have pity on us wall huggers!

Good luck with your decision. I sympathize with you, as I've traveled and researched this decision ad nauseam.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:01PM
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take a look at the Maytag 23.4 cf SS. (Whirlpool will have similar footprint.) It runs 32.75 inches wide (31 deep) and fits well in a 36" spot with plenty of side clearance to let you shift it to the non-wall side to gain clearance. IMPO I avoid Frigid-"dare" b/c I've owned 3 of those appliances that quit -- the fridge was delivered non-operable, the upright freezer and dishwasher each quit one day out of warranty. Lucky for me, the freezer and dw came from Lowes who pro-rated a refund toward the purchase of Maytag appliances. The fridge was Sears and they blew smoke at me -- told me they were bringing a brand new replacement but really dragged the old one out to a commercial parking lot around the corner and fixed it in their truck. (Idiots didn't realize I'd already written down the model number.) So, that was the last time I will ever buy an appliance at Sears...

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:59AM
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I agree with posters that say you need more like 15 inches ideally. The freezer is narrow, so 90 deg is awkward because the door shelves get in the way of you reaching. Pulling out the shelves full travel (but not removing them) is no problem on either fridge or freezer side of mine, with doors at 90, it's more the comfort aspect.

I'd lean towards a right-hinged top or bottom freezer, even though that might look backwards. And this is coming from one of the rare folks who prefer SxS.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 11:17AM
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I remember when I had to give up my dream of a side by side 15 years ago. All my friends had them but I couldn't fit one in my space because of a corner. I was sad. You might do well to look at the Kitchen Aid French Door models or a single door refrigerator that swings away from the corner. You will adjust to the different layout. The bright side is that you can fit frozen pizzas in your freezer and large sheet cakes in your refrigerator. You can't do that with a Side by Side. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:13PM
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I have a KA French-door fridge and I do not think it solves the OP's problem.

With a door open to about 85 degrees (requiring about 1" side clearance -- akin to what you see in elofgren's lower photo --- there is enough room for the crisper bins to extend to their travel-stops. That gives more or less full access for putting things into or taking things our of the drawers. Removing the drawers for cleaning (and/or cleaning beneath them) is an altogether different story. On my KA FD, the doors have to open to about 135 degrees in order to be able clear the door-bin space when removing the crispers or "pantry" drawers, That, of course, requires substantially more than 2" of side clearance. .

I'm afraid that putting in a stendard sized SxS (or a FD( is going to require living with limitiations.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 12:04

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 1:57AM
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