bottom-freezer refrigerator: door or drawer?

kitchendreamingJanuary 17, 2011


We found several models of bottom-freezer refrigerators, single door (because it has to be ~ 30" wide). The freezer comes in a drawer that you slide out at the bottom (with other drawer that slides out after you open the big one), OR a door that you open and has a sliding drawer and a shelf.

At first I thought that the door would give me easier access to the items in the freezer, but we found that the drawer and shelves in these models seem to be very difficult to slide out. Are there any comments or recommendations to choose between these two styles, in your experience?

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Hi kitchen dreaming. We got a new Samsung French Door fridge with the drawer at the bottom (it also has a top shelf inside). They both slide out very smoothly.

I recommend going to a big store like Lowe's or Home Depot who have a large inventory so you can try different brands. I researched a lot for us since we live in a remote town & Samsung seemed to be the best fit for us. The delivery guy said he's never had to take a Samsung back.

Research online for real customer reviews. That's where I got a lot of my feedback. Consumer can get those at the library.

Good luck to you & let us know what you end up with.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 12:14PM
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My mom has the bottom freezer with the door. It's easy to open, but you have to stand on your head to see anything. Of course, I'm almost 6' so that might be part of the problem :)

The drawer is a nice option, but they can be really hard to pull out. Do they have the two drawer option, in your size? I've seen models where the freezer is actually a smaller pull out drawer, right under the fridge and then a bigger drawer underneath. It seemed a lot easier to open.

Melaska has a good idea. Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears and other appliance stores will have lots of models and you can see what you like!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 1:28PM
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We just bought a new FD fridge with bottom freezer. We've had it about a month. We also bought a Samsung with the pull out drawer, then it has a sliding drawer on the top inside with deep tub below and a little shelf right at the top inside the drawer (I use that for small items). I only saw a few refrigerators that had a door on the bottom, but I didn't find it comfortable and preferred the drawer. The drawer on my Samsung is very easy to pull out and I find it much easier to find/organize our things with the drawer than I did with my old side by side.

I caution you to reading reviews online. I got incredibly frustrated b/c pretty much every fridge out there (I looked at all but the very high end brands) has negative reviews. It seems that people who are happy with what they have tend not to leave reviews - it's mostly people who are the few that experience problems. I ended up narrowing down my choices based on features that I liked and size that we wanted (we needed a large one as we are a family of six but there aren't as many choices when you get up to 28 cu ft). I also did a lot of talking with friends, salespeople, looked online at various review places as well as Consumer Reports (mainly for comparing specs). While it's too early for me to be able to provide an honest review, I have to say that I'm very happy with the features we have with our fridge. The freezer drawer is not at all hard to open - all of my four kids, ages 5-11 are able to easily open it.

Oh wait, i just reread your post and now realize that you meant the models with doors had drawers/shelves inside that were hard to maneuver. Is that the case? I can't speak to that since we didn't buy that kind - I liked the pull out drawer vs. the door.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 1:33PM
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Not all drawers are great. We also have a Samsung with a slide out drawer that I always keep very full (all meat on the bottom and all veggies/fruits/ice packs on top) and I have no problems pulling them out. Had it about a year now and I'm pleased with this setup. My parents have a door with 2 wire baskets and my mom wishes she paid more for a setup like ours.

Think about it how many of us decided on drawers instead of doors with pullouts for cabinetry, seems like a no brainer for a freezer too

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 2:44PM
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I got a 32" Maytag with a bottom freezer drawer last year. I had similar concerns to you - would the drawers be sturdy enough to stand the test of time or would it be difficult to find stuff piled up in a drawer rather than the conventional top freezer I was used to.

Now I think I was crazy to even consider a bottom door vs drawer. (I don't think you'll find very many models that offer a door anyway.)

My freezer has a pull out basket with a dividing wall, and another pull out shelf above that, for smaller items and boxes. I keep a lot of stuff in the freezer and have never had a problem with the drawers or with finding anything. I can't imagine having a door now - you'd have to kneel to look into the back of the freezer rather than looking down at the contents.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure the bottom freezer is any better than a top freezer for me. I use the freezer a lot, more than the crisper, so maybe eye level would have made more sense. It does seem like you lose some regular fridge space with a french door/bottom freezer although that may just be perception.

In the end, I bowed to the trend of FD/BFbut I tend to think now thzt either of those choices are better than a bottom freezer with a door.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 3:52PM
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hi, thank you all for sharing your experiences. Yes, I meant that the freezer in the bottom with a door that opens and has a drawer and a shelf inside seemed difficult to slide out. I thought the top shelf slided out, but now we are thinking that it is not suppose to, it is fixed.

Drawers seem easier to us. The problem with the drawers is that even fully extended they do not seem to give you enough room to look for things inside the drawer, you have to bend over the drawer or stand on the side.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 4:25PM
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I hemmed and hawed a lot 5 years ago, when trying to decide whether I wanted a side-by-side or a bottom freezer. I figured that I don't go in the freezer nearly as much as I do the fridge, so it was a no brainer for me. I have an LG and it's been great. In the freezer, there is a divider in the main compartment, a small wire shelf on the door, and a wire basket next to the ice maker, both of which slide out. Plenty of storage. Things get lost in it, but they do in any freezer, right? When I need ice, I just either bend down or squat down to get it. It's never been a problem. In fact, it's going with us when we move next week and my new fridge is the same kind! My kids think the "old" fridge will be for popsicles and popsicles only! That's fine with me as long as there is enough room in the fridge for my mommy juice!! :0)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 4:40PM
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I should have said that my freezer is a drawer model. I would think with a door, you'd have to sit on the floor to see what's in it!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 4:41PM
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In my last kit I had the bottom freezer with a drawer and loved it. When we did this kit I did not want ice/water. I finally found a F&P with a door. I was very disappointed but other than going to the expense of Subz, it was my only choice. I quickly learned to love it. It has an ice tray that pulls out and 2 divided bins that slide out easily. Very easy to keep organized.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 6:49PM
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You are right about being cautious about online reviews. I take them with a grain of salt & just get a general 'feeling'. I put more stock in places like Consumer Reports.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 7:28PM
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Two of my sisters have the freezer on the bottom: one has the drawer(s), and the other has the door.

If I were buying, I would definitely choose drawer. Of course, that assumes that the drawer slides well. Hers does (and I don't know the brand; she does have several other Kenmore products tho).

I'm 5'3", and agree about standing on your head to get stuff from the door type. The sister with the door type has another freezer and uses the separate one more than the one in the fridge.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 7:53PM
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Kitchendreaming - you are exactly correct in saying that even with a bottom drawer, you have to bend down/sideways to look in there. I have a FD with bottom freezer drawer that's 36". The drawer slides out easily, but not the upper shelf in the drawer. its a real pain. But here's the thing - even tho we don't keep much in that freezer (we have another upright freezer for that) we have to get in there for ice. Our other fridge had an ice dispenser (it was a side by side), but we didn't want to give up fridge space for the dispenser in the FD one. It has an ice maker, just no dispenser, therefore I have to pull out the drawer, bend down and reach waaaaay back in there to get ice (or try to pull out the upper shelf). its a pain, esp when we're used to just walking up to the fridge and sticking out our arm to load a glass with ice :) Now originally I had planned to take ice from the ice maker and put it in a tupperware thing to keep in the bottom of the freezer. That way it's just open up the freezer and reach down to grab ice, no stretching to reach back in there. I know its a small thing, but still...

sorry for rambling - too much wine :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 8:01PM
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Hi Kitchendreaming,
We bought the KA french door with drawer on bottom. I really like it. The freezer holds a lot more than I thought. I like the pull out sections. We use one tray for ice cream treats, and other such small items. then there is another that holds 2 pizzas. I also like the KA because the ice bin can hook onto the drawer front so when you open the freezer drawer, the ice bin pulls out. You don't have to do the extra motion to pull out the ice bin. I do use our old one as an extra freezer though.
BTW, it also has a water dispenser on the inside! We like that a lot, too.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 8:08PM
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I've had both door and drawer bottom freezers, and the drawer wins hands-down. With the door, you have to open the door allll the way *before* you can pull out the drawer(s) inside, and yes as swhite10 thought I always had to kneel to get at the top shelf (which was fixed, not sliding, like you thought, kitchendreaming) or the ice cubes. And the whole time that door is open and blocking the aisle, that's when everyone decides they *have* to get by you so then there's the discussion about being courteous and going another way thru the house because you're looking for what to defrost for dinner and meanwhile your freezer is warming up. Ok, perhaps that last bit is a little exaggerated...but still annoying :)

With the drawer, on the other hand, I only have to kneel when DH scoops ice toward the back instead of the side and pushes a few cubes into the no-man's land on the floor of the freezer, which I then fish out with a yardstick. I can actually get taller stuff in the drawer than the door.

and oh, like getting kitchen cabinet drawers instead of doors with sliding shelves inside, there's only one motion to get at the food in the drawer and there's two motions with the door, so if you're in and out frequently, efficiency adds up!


    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 8:17PM
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Didn't read all the replies, but we got something like that for our utility room and went with the drawer so the freezer would be easier to see and get into in a tight space. It has worked well and I'm really glad we went with that choice.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 8:50PM
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Instead of getting a bottom freezer with a drawer, you could save yourself the money by putting two metal knitting needles in a hot oven for about an hour, then using them to jab yourself in the eyes. The experience feels about the same.

Unless you're the sort who likes to greet any and all comers with a full display of your buttcrack every time you open the freezer. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'm speaking as someone who (accidentally) bought a bottom-door freezer in a fridge that's supposed to be in the basement (it isn't) as a backup during our kitchen reno (not happening yet).

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Thank you all for your comments!

If the top shelf that comes with the door style is fixed, I understand how difficult it will be to get anything out of there...

I am glad I have so many answers, even a "controlled experiment" of two sisters with the two styles... it seems that the votes are all in favor of drawers vs door...

Marcolo, I will make sure I never serve ice cream for desert again when we have company!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 5:29PM
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