36' Built in Fridge seems SMALL- Should I try a 42'?

2LittleFishiesDecember 21, 2011

We are a family of four. When opening a 36" built in fridge at my GC's home my husband and I were surprised how small it was. Right now we have a regular old refrigerator.

Would a 42" be a good difference? Which companies make one that would be on the lower cost side (if that even exists?) lol

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We went to a 48". We can't go back. It's awesome. Even my dh became a believer.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 9:33PM
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That would be awesome but I don't know if we'll have the room. Which is the manufacturer that makes various sizes where you mix and match the fridge and freezer?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 9:36PM
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Least expensive 42" would be GE Profile,KitchenAid,and Northland. Northland giving you the best temp performance but worst noise and energy efficiency.

Plenty of companies offer all-fridge and all-freezer columns. The least expensive would be Frigidaire, Northland,and Liebherr.

Also companies such as Sub-Zero,GE Monogram, Thermador,Miele, and Gaggenau make columns.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:03PM
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I too had the same reservations about buying a 36" built-in. Transitioning from a regular depth fridge (which seemed to never run out of space) to a built-in was not the nightmare I had anticipated. The thing about regular-depth fridges is that random food items tend to pile up in the back of the fridge, and things end up getting hidden. With a built-in fridge, I have found the use of interior space to be much more efficient, and I love being able to see everything. It also has made me a more conscientious shopper, as I know that while I have ample space for groceries, I can't go overboard, and buy 12 of everything that's on sale. I have a friend who owns the KA 42" french door, and she doesn't think the marginal gain in cubic feet was worth giving up counter space. If you really need to squeeze in a few extra feet, go for the 42". If you think you can spare the extra bit of space, I would say that the 36" has met our needs and then some.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:53PM
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We are a family of three. I also wanted a 36" built-in but was advised against it by the salesperson. He showed me the lack in freezer space as the reason. We do not typically fill up a fridge, but do buy some bulk frozen items; freeze leftovers for later, etc. I reluctantly went with the 42". The fridge we would have been fine with the 36", but the freezer even in the 42" is tiny and almost inadequate. I was surprised. I didn't have room for a 48". I do like the shallowness of built-ins, but the freezer space is a problem. What do we store? Bags of frozen veggies, some packages of meats I don't have time to cook immediately, small pint ice cream, some leftovers, extra lunch meat, cheese. Some frozen dinner foods in small packages. But it amazingly fills up quickly. Based on my experience, don't go with the 36" built-in.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 1:10PM
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Do you have an additional fridge/freezer or just an all-freezer in the garage or basement? That can act as additional overflow. Even when we had a regular fridge, I always needed the additional garage fridge to supplement both the fridge and freezer space from my kitchen unit.

We (family of four also) just put a 36" KA built-in in our new kitchen. It doesn't have much freezer space. I seriously considered a 42" I found as a floor model deal, but didn't want to give up the extra 6" of counter space on my peninsula. (My dream was to have separate 24" all-fridge and all-freezer units, but money was a huge factor along with the space issue.). I couldn't get by if the 36", regardless of built-in or standard depth monster, was my only fridge. Heck, I'm even on the lookout for a small upright freezer to allow me to store my garden produce harvests and to buy half of a local organic cow because even my garage fridge doesn't give me enough total freezer space.

Can you find a 42" unit to look at IRL to better judge the space difference?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 1:27AM
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We ended up deciding on a 36" built-in plus 2 refrigerator drawers. Configuration worked out best that way for both space and usefulness.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 10:21AM
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If you're set on a built-in, 48" is the way to go. I'd rather lose 6" of counter/cabinet space than go any smaller. The built-ins are just too shallow IMO, so you have to get them as wide as you can to make up for it. Have you considered counter depth fridges? We have a 24.1cuft Kenmore Elite badged Samsung CD fridge & love it--plus it costs ALOT less. It always helps to have a 2nd fridge in the garage, too.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:01AM
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We have a builtin 36" FD but with a basement fridge that is just down the stairs. It works for our family of 5. It was tradeoff on the size on pantry cabinet for us as they are next to each other. The 42 FD options were limited so that was a factor too. If i had to do it again i would consider what ourhouse25 did. especially with kids - its more convenient.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:56PM
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If having the more integrated look is important to you, then you will accept the tradoffs of more cost and less storage. But, it sounds as though those tradoffs are not acceptible to you or your DH.

Consequently, I'd challenge you as to whether or not you actually need a built in for your kitchen design. You have issues with both their cost and the space that they give you. Budget and built in are words that don't belong in the same sentence, and if you have large storage needs, they don't belong together either unless you have a large kitchen plus backups elsewhere.

A plain freestanding fridge will be significantly cheaper (4-10K cheaper), provide more interior room (as much as 30 cu ft in a standard 36" space vs the 21 of a 36" built in), and can still be enclosed with cabinet panels on the side to make it look more a part of the room. You just give up the cabinet panels on the front----which isn't cheap either. The front cabinet panels will cost you another 1-2K.

Seems like a no brainer to me unless you are in a pretty spendy part of town that requires a built in to keep up with the neighbors.

Is this 30 cubic feet of storage

worth 4-10K more to you than this 30 cubic feet of storage?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 1:56PM
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Thanks everyone. I started this back in December and since then have already decided to skip built in and get a 36" stainless counter depth. Thanks so much though!


    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 1:59PM
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