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French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Posted by rococogurl (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 30, 14 at 17:38

May need to replace my fridge which is a single door/bottom freezer built in. It's on a 46" aisle so naturally I'm considering a French Door fridge because the doors are shorter vs the same style a single door with bottom freezer which will give me much less aisle clearance.

I hesitate on a FD because I so detested the side by side fridge I had. Was very happy with the 2 single door/bottom freezers.

Wondering if those of you with FDs would give me your pro/con assessments of them. Brands are less important than features since only a few will fit the current opening.

One of my thoughts is that it's more complicated to be sure 2 doors are closed vs one, or that it will be very annoying because one will never be fully closed. Or that I'll need to wrestle them closed, or close the wrong side first IYKWIM.

TIA!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Your last paragraph holds true in this house. Yes, it's easy to give the left door a push and forget that it's not fully closed. Since I'm the one who uses it most, I've got that part down. Not so much the MOTH; he frequently leaves it ajar. There's no "wrestling" involved, just attention.

I love the fridge; it is so convenient to have perishables at eye level. Mine has a full drawer at the bottom where I put all the cheeses, lunch meats, and snack items. I did also like my Amana bottom freezer fridge that I had for years. However, being able to open just one door is an improvement, imho.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I love my Kenmore Trio. I think if I leave a door ajar for too long there's a beeping sound. It's only happened maybe 1x, so I can't quite remember. My only complaint is that we don't have ice & water in the door, so if the ice bin is too full in the bottom a cube will hop out & sit under the fridge.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I have a 36" BI KA single door unit. My aisle is 43.5" from fridge front to island counter. When open, my fridge door leaves 10" to the island. (I know the door is dirty from the little people's bitty hands.)

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Here's how I replied to you on your post in Appliances for the benefit of others who only read this forum.

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Why don't I like FD? I lived with a 36" GE in our temporary house for a year during our whole house reno. No matter how hard I tried to organize that fridge (and I was by far the primary user), 90% of the time I would have to open BOTH doors to get what I needed. I can't work in confined environments and need to see what's in the fridge. Both doors open. And, therefore, both doors to shut afterwards. Frustrated me constantly. Too much labor when I'm rushing around the kitchen. My single door KA is so nice. With one door opening motion, I can see everything inside.

All of this may not be an issue for you. Some people love them, but I suspect most of those folks have never experienced the joy of single door, bottom freezer though. Best of all worlds IMHO.

In my busy 4-person house, the fridge door is only opened fully for a few seconds at a time. Anyone wishing to pass through the blocked aisle in those few seconds can wait or go around the other way into the kitchen. It's only a minor inconvenience once every few days, really. Even when we entertain, which is often, the potential for a blocked aisle is minor.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

You can close either door first and it won't interfere with the other closing. Normally. One door has a little panel that slides into a channel and provides the seal for the center of the two doors when they are closed. On my fridge (KA), that sometimes sticks open a little and if I shut that door second, it slams into the other door.

In general, whatever it is I want in the fridge just happens to be on the opposite side of the door I opened, so I almost always have to open both doors anyway.

There is frequently a lot of condensation on that little center panel, which drips down onto the freezer door.

We frequently don't give the doors enough of a "shove" to close them properly, leaving one door slightly ajar. The door alarm only works when the door is left open, not slightly ajar, and even when it does work, it is not loud enough to hear unless you are still in the same room. So we often don't notice that the door has been left open until we open it later and notice that ice crystals and frost have formed inside and the temperature is way up.

You have to open both doors to fully access either of the vegetable bins, and that goes for the large cold cuts compartment as well. You can partially pull out the vegetable bins with only one door open.

The freezer doesn't seem to hold much even though there are only two of us here and I never freeze meat. I don't know how a family could manage with it. That said, my side-by-side didn't have much room in the freezer either. I had to clean a spill back behind the pull-out freezer door once and it was nearly impossible to get back in there.

It has its good points, too ... the fridge part seems to hold much more than the side-by-side, but there is some wasted space on the top shelf ... items placed in the center of that shelf will freeze. According to the techs, that's "normal." What a surprise!


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I can close either door. It beeps if left open for ten minutes. I like the deli drawer with a separate cold setting and keep it at 33 degrees so meat stays fresh longer. It holds a lot too. Because of the drawer, however, the produce bins don't hold as much as other fridge. I don't have ice and water in the door so I do have plenty of door and shelf storage, but we are basic food eaters--one salad dressing, one jam, one mustard etc. Ice maker in freezer and enough room there.

The one thing I don't like is I have to load from the side since I don't have an island, but that's minor and once a week.

Edit: Jellytoast's KA and Breezy's GE would drive me nuts. The Electrolux doesn't have those issues. Door beeps when ajar. You can access one produce bin through the right side drawer. So brand matters.

This post was edited by may_flowers on Sat, Aug 30, 14 at 18:37


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I love our FD Fridge. It's a Samsung and my husband has to keep reminding me that it was a "placeholder" for a better fridge that we never ended up getting. Having the freezer at the bottom is my favorite feature and ours lets out a charming little chime if you leave the door open, even slightly. If I were to get a new fridge today, it would almost certainly be a FD style.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I hear you, I also hated my side by side, and I think it was because neither side was really wide enough, and this was especially irritating on the fridge side. The french door was a dream by comparison, and having a door alarm is a good reassurance "just in case".


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

At the bottom I linked a video of my Sub-Zero FD review. The biggest difference from my old one which was a side by side, is a lot more space in the fridge. Maybe not more, but better organized I should say.

The difference between the FD from SZ and the single door is that the single door obviously has much longer single shelves which probably give you 6 more inches of space on each shelf. I could see that being an advantage if you have a lot of smaller items...

Here is a link that might be useful: Sub-Zero French Door


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I have a Whirlpool Gold FD and we love it. Doesn't make any difference which door you close first. Bottom freezer has nice amount of space.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I have both single and FD and while I don't really have a preference for either, the FD works better in our Kitchen b/c we have a tight aisle b/w the refrigerator and end of the peninsula across from it. It was supposed to be 48" per the plan, but with the measuring and other issues we had, in the end it turned out to be much narrower - 32" or so (handle-to-counter edge). The single door is in the basement.

Regarding some of the complaints others have expressed, I don't have them....

  • Either door can be opened or closed first, it doesn't matter which one is first.
  • The doors aren't any harder to close than a single door - they take the same effort.
  • An alarm goes off if a refrigerator door or the freezer drawer is open 5 minutes. It usually goes off when I'm putting groceries away in the refrigerator.
  • I rarely have to open more than one door b/c I know where everything is - and since a counter-depth is a bit short on space, everyone has to put things away where they found them - so no haphazard storage. Most of my family seems to have figured it all out as well b/c they usually know which door to open to get something and, therefore, only need to open one door.

    Of course, if I'm getting multiple things out of the refrigerator I do sometimes have to open both doors to get to everything.

  • The produce bins can each be opened with only one door open. I always put fruit in the left and veggies in the right - so again, I know which door to open.
  • I have also found that while the meat/deli drawer is the full width of the refrigerator, I can still access it with only one door open - as long as I don't have to pull the drawer open. If I do need to pull open the drawer, then I do need to open both doors. However, since the meat/deli drawer is deeper than the shelves and produce drawers above it, I can usually just lift the top of the drawer and reach in to get the meat. Do I always do it that way, no - especially if I'm getting multiple things out and need to open both doors anyway.

One thing I've found that is an advantage that I hadn't thought about when we bought it is that since we usually only open one door - less cold air is let out each time the refrigerator is opened - so the temperature inside the refrigerator doesn't change as much which means less energy as well as a more stable refrigerated environment.

FYI....we have a GE Profile 36" Counter-Depth FD refrigerator.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Breezy, our set up is very similar. If I replaced with a single door the result would be just like yours. Thanks for the reprise over here. I should probably post my pix,

What many of you are saying about the double doors is what I was thinking might be the case. My DH, who I adore, never met a door he wanted to close or a light he wanted to turn off. I'm sure many of you can relate. We're just 2 but he's in the fridge constantly as we both work at home. And I don't need another "responsibility" IYKWIM.

It's a big deal as switch outs go and I need to get it right. And I get tangled up with doing the correct thing from a design/function standpoint vs my personal preference. If I was commenting on someone else's thread I would be cautioning about the clearance with the single door as if the FD were perfect.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I have a single door fridge with a bottom freezer and love it. I did not get a FD because I often have both hands full when taking things out of the fridge (large bowls or platters) and closing two doors with my elbows would be a hassle. I can see getting a FD if space is such that a single full door isn't possible, but can't see any other reason to get one. I know my SIL was thrilled with her FD when she got it but grew to dislike it over the time she lived with it.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I loved the look of the FD and thought that is what I would get-- but I finally realized that overall I would have less storage room (losing space on the door shelves) and I needed every inch since I was getting only a 30" and I do tend to keep lots of different condiments and like to stock up on long lasting sale items.

Having 2 doors to open/close seems like a miniscule energy expenditure to me but I have lived with a person for whom that would have been a major undertaking!

I am still fuming over having less freezer room and it feels like less room in the frig overall than in the ostensibly smaller 20 yr old frig it replaced. I sure don't know how they come up with their cubic foot measurements!


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Drat!!
Edited to remove duplicate post.

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Sat, Aug 30, 14 at 20:54


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I have a french door fridge with two freezer drawers. Absolutely my favorite fridge ever.
Yes, I usually open both doors. No problem. I set things down on the nearby island, open the doors, and stow or remove or whatever. Simply not an issue. Much easier than swinging open a wide single door.
The alarm reminds us if one or the other doesn't shut the door properly. No big deal. Happens maybe once a week. Or less.
I love the two bottom freezer drawers. So easy to find things there. Much better than a singe freezer drawer. I put in bins to separate and organize items in each drawer. Works perfectly.
This replaces a side by side fridge/freezer which I despised. No comparison.
If I had to replace it, I would get another exactly like this one.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I have a KD side by side and it's fine for just me. I can make room for everything. I like the multiple shelves and door compartments of the freezer.

However, I'm constantly forgetting about stuff in the produce section. Both drawers have clear fronts, but they're low enough that all that shows is the item in the front. And for me, out of sight, out of mind. If it were higher up, à la French door, I probably could keep track of stuff better.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I've had both FD and single door and I would go with the FD over and over again. Never had a problem with a FD fridge, didn't even notice the switch over except for how much room and organization I had.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I have the Sub-Zero French Door and I really like it. I had a Samsung French Door in my last kitchen so I was used to the style, but the SZ is far superior. The drawers are much longer and more useful. And the freezer set up is far superior.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I debated when we replaced our old top freezer fridge last summer. What I wanted most was a single door, bottom freezer, but the only ones I could get locally were pretty small. With two teenage boys in the house, a DH who cooks large quantities (for leftovers), we need a lot of fridge space.

We ended up getting a FD, opting for capacity over convenience.

We don't have an island, so when putting away groceries, or taking out things for a meal, we do have to go around the half door, which is a bit of an annoyance. We have things arranged so we usually open only one door. Fruit and veggie bins can be opened with just one door open; there is a third, narrow drawer between them that we use for soda (just the right size for 6 cans). That needs both doors open, as does the deli drawer. Either door can be closed first. We also have a door alarm - I don't know if it goes off if a door is left ajar, since that hasn't happened. It does go off when putting away groceries.

I do love it - because it is so much more convenient than the top freezer we had forever. In over a year, I've yet to lose leftovers in the depths, and that happened regularly with the old one. It's wonderful to have everything at eye level. The freezer has a second drawer inside, which helps keep things organized - so far, no issues. We do have a second freezer in the basement.

Because it's such an improvement over the old fridge, I am very happy. I might be even happier if I had a single door fridge the same size.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Am I correct in thinking that single door, freezer on the bottom freestanding fridges only come in a narrower width? I don't think I can't remember seeing one online or in person that was 36" wide.
And for those of us who are frantically searching for a fridge, would those of you who love theirs, mind sharing the make and/or model # ? Thanks.

This post was edited by Barbarav on Sun, Aug 31, 14 at 9:46


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Absolutely loved ours!
Only downfall was we couldn't get it in the door.
Had to get someone to come and remove the doors off the fridge.
Then we had to remove our front door.
Needless to say when we sold the house last year we sold the fridge to the new owners.
As there are only 2 of us in the house now we decided we didn't need such a large fridge again.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Love our Elux FD
DH has never failed to close both doors- but he has learned - beer is on the left and yogurt, juice, and milk on right.
He doesn't open any drawers.
Once in awhile, the flapper doesn't reset but it makes a funky noise that you know -oops that wasn't right. If you are assertive opening the door- 100% the doors close properly. If open too softly - then about 5% maybe less, the flapper doesn't reset.
There is an alarm as well

I would not recommend gasket to gasket closure FD as the long term shows they leak over time


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Before my condo kitchen Reno I got a new fridge. I could only fit a FD do to size constraints. I got a 30 in FD. Installer hooked up water line wrong the day they installed and leaked for hours. Had to redo kitchen. In the mean time the store let me use the fridge.
Between insurance etc I used the FD for 8 months and so glad it did because I realized I did not like it at all. I thought then that FD would be better do to one side being against a wall. It was pretty to look at but it always felt like a puzzle to me. To much thought went into where things were going. It just felt like I was always busy in there, moving things to fit. Useless door shelves being smaller. This also could be do to the fact that it was a small fridge, 30 inches wide. Maybe a wider one wouldn't have felt like that. I didn't like that I had to work around one door when I had things on the counter to the right.
I sent that fridge back and got a Fisher Paykel counter depth 32 inch single door, freezer on bottom and love it. It is actually smaller in square footage inside but it feels twice the size.. Organizing is so much easier. Door shelves much more usable space and loading and unloading with only one door is so much better. We were just talking about this last night, how glad I was to be able to use a FD for a while and realized I would not have been happy with it. Glad to have a single door again.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Love my 36" Kenmore elite trio. Yes, more than 50% of the time both doors are open. Find it easy to keep organized and love the fact I can put large trays of food in the fridge and the freezer.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

we have an lg fd frig which is also the kenmore. i has a ss and hated it. i love the fd design with some caveats.
hard to allocate tall space without making the shelves useless for everything else ie the occasional soda doesnt fit but reconfiguring the whole frig for 1 soda bottle is a pain.
my freezer stopped working within warranty. then magically started working again but i lost all food. the new fd lgs have a fan heater/cover in the freezer area to stop ice build up which stops the fan from working and that was my problem.
all in all i think all frigs have their negatives. it is really a crapshoot!


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I think it might come down to which particular fridges will fit in your space. Like you, we had size constraints which greatly limited our options. Even though I like some FD fridges that closed perfectly smoothly no matter which side you closed first, none of those fit in our space. We went with a single door with drawers on the bottom instead.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Fridge should have an alarm if the doors don't shut completely. I have this on an LG four door fridge. Maybe it is an adjustment setting that can help door close as well. I had a side by side before and this is similar in use really except freezer on bottom.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I went from a 42" s x s in my old kitchen to a 36" FD (both SZ) in my renovation because of my narrow aisle. I really like the FD. I don't mind opening both doors at one time and I do that most of the time. I just got used to it and in my experience, it is no big deal. I think the FD looks nicer from the outside because of the symmetry. The inside is the same as the comparable single door. The only difference is that the door shelves are a bit less useful because they one-half plus one-half does not quite equal a whole when it comes to the shelves. I estimate that I am able to store probably only about 75% of what I would be able to store with a long expanse of shelf rather than two shorter ones. But the differences in functionality makes it worth it. I would not want to take up a whole aisle with an open door.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I usually open both doors too. I feel like I'm Scarlett O'Hara opening the shutters and looking out at Tara. Then I get out the cat food.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Thanks for sparking this discussion rococogurl, as we're pondering the same with aisle depth vs. two doors to open, convenience to side counter, etc. I'm also finding that in comparing our old, short, 29" white fridge to a tall, 36" stainless one, the single door looks like an enormous monolith of metal. The FDs seem a bit less imposing. I'm curious if others have an opinion on this, especially in a smaller kitchen.

EDITED-- I need to add the shutters-at-Tara consideration to the mix! :)

This post was edited by AvatarWalt on Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 13:04


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Having lived with 2 single stainless doors now -- the one on current 36" fridge and a previous on a 30" fridge, I would buy the same thing in a heartbeat. I've been very, very happy with this fridge style. It holds a ton.

My current issue involves a retrofit fridge in my 10.y.o. kitchen. I knew I was blocking the aisle but there was no other place to put the fridge and 10 years ago french door fridges didn't exist built in.

Currently trying to think it completely through. So either I consciously get the same door or try to remedy with French door.

Reason for this post: I was at Lowe's buying an air conditioner filter a few months ago and had to walk by the fridge aisle. I'd never taken a good look at the French door fridges so I walked over and started to look. Started opening and closing them. It felt to me like a scene from a French farce where they run in and out of all those doors. One had a door where the left had to be closed before the right or they got stuck. Another had a door-within-a-door. I sort of sling stuff into the fridge and give the door a shove closed. I'm waaay beyond doing any kind of fussy -- no zippers on shoes either.

bluedev-- do you need to change out water filter or air purification filter yearly?

This post was edited by rococogurl on Mon, Sep 1, 14 at 16:06


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

They say to change them yearly but I have been using for almost two years and the change the filter/cartridge light has yet to go on.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I like my FD fridge, except for the large drawer at the bottom. It does not hold a constant temperature. Most of the time it freezes whatever I put in there, but not consistently where I could use it as a freezer drawer.

I have two relatives with other brands of FD fridges and they all have problems with that drawer. Some is temperature related and some won't close properly.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I bought an infrared thermometer from Thermoworks to check the interior temp of my fridge and freezer. Super helpful. And it's on sale at a good price right now. Also great for checking grill temps.

I have NO trouble maintaining the temperatures I want in both fridge and freezer drawers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Infrared thermometer to check freezer/fridge temps


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I only did a quick scan on the upper posts, so I may have missed this.

My mom bought a Kenmore FD a few years ago. We both thought we'd love it, but we were SO wrong. I moved into her house in April after she passed away, and one of the first things to go was that fridge.

Main complaint? I'm 5'4", and I could NOT reach the back of the fridge on upper shelves. So when the time came to replace it, I went with a top mount freezer style.

Yes. I have to stand on my head to reach the back of the lower shelf, but that's far superior for me than needing a step stool to reach the back of the fridge or lift a heavy pot up to the top shelf.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Lyric, my DH is 6'4", and had to stand on his head to get almost anything out of our top-mount fridge.

I love our bottom freezer style. I'm also 5'4". I moved the top shelves up, and use them for things that either get used rarely, or used more by DH than me.

DH and I both like the freezer drawers.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Ankh,

**nods** I know people who have done that, too, but it didn't work for me since it meant I really lost most of the top shelf. I guess the way I cook simply precluded raising the shelf as much.

Ultimately I had to decide on what I was willing to live without, and I just couldn't forgo that top shelf. I know a lot of people feel differently, but for me, it was the ultimate decider.

The freezer drawers didn't seem to work for us, either, but it was down the list compared to not reaching the back of the fridge.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread. We thought we wanted a FD, but have been re-thinking it a bit now. In my 61 years, all I have ever had was a top freezer, other than a few wretched months with a side-by-side in a rental. We are building a new house, and are using a super cheap 14 cu/ft as a place-holder.

One thing in this thread caught my attention- If you load the fridge from a counter on either side, there will always be a half door in the way. Although I could load ours from the peninsula, it is a bit of a distance. it will be much easier to load/unload to the counter to the left of the fridge. We have 66" from the front of the fridge to the peninsula, so even with a single door wide open, we'll have 30-32 inches clearance- plenty to walk past. I was able to recess the fridge 5" into the wall- well worth the extra effort.

I think we're going to go with a smallish (20-22 cu/ft) single door bottom freezer. We'll have to see if my VCW (vertically challenged wife) is comfortable reaching the back of the top shelf, though.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

I love our Samsung FD fridge. I went with the one that doesn't have water/ice on the door. Yes, I do end up opening both doors if I am getting something from the fridge body but that doesn't bother me that much. I love the greatly increased capacity in the ~35 cu ft monster. The freezer is also so much bigger and I have it roughly organized between frozen veggies/fruits on one side and prepared foods/breakfast items on the other. So it is not too much of a hassle to look through it.
As of this week, we even have ice in our freezer and water in the fridge! Finally, we can stop chilling water bottles. I can't imagine going back to a top mount/ side by side.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Barbarav, you asked about brands and sizes. My full door bottom freezer is an Amana, counter depth. However it's more than 10 years old, so I doubt the model is made any more. I am out of town now but will measure the width when I get home.


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RE: French Door Fridge Pro & Con

Thanks to all who responded here. It was enormously helpful to hear the likes & dislikes on both sides and moved me to take a very thorough look at all possibilities.

Just as an update, in the end, I did not go with a FD. Went with a single door (like I have now).


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