French-door Fridge
March 13, 2005 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have experience with French-Door Refrigerators?

I don't mean the side-by-side refrigerator freezers. I mean the kind with the pull-out freezer on the bottom and the side-by-side doors opening onto the wide refrigerator space on the top. My wife and I are in the market, and these look way cool.
posted by alms to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
I've been lusting after one of those, but the fridge I have now is only 10 years old, and still going strong. Freezer on the bottom is great. Anything with freezer on the bottom is a win. Narrower doors on the top sounds like a really good idea. (Only have to open half the fridge to get the milk.)

So, no. No actual experience with that exact kind but the last three fridges we've bought (one in the last house, two for the church) have been freezer on the bottom. When we replace the fridge in this house, it will be freezer on the bottom, and probably french door.
posted by jlkr at 8:49 AM on March 13, 2005

Like jlkr, I can't quite answer the original question, but I defintely second the freezer on the bottom concept. Was there ever a good reason for having the freezer on top in the first place?
posted by bh at 9:49 AM on March 13, 2005

My mom has a 35+ year old GE with the freezer on the bottom. I never understood why they went out of style. We're in the market for a new fridge and we looked at this 'french door' style. The only problem is that they are honkin' huge. A small but deep and mostly unusable pantry may have to give way to make room in my kitchen.
posted by fixedgear at 10:10 AM on March 13, 2005

I think it depends on how you cook.

When I first saw them, I thought, "Neat! How sensible." However, my mother-in-law just installed a bottom-freezered unit, and seeing it in action, it definitely wouldn't work for me. The freezer is basically a drawer, and I have a hard time imagining how it would handle anything that wasn't already frozen from the store -- like a tray full of anything (esp. liquidy!) you want to freeze and then repackage.

That being said... I like the no-stoopy convenience, and since my ideal kitchen has a full-sized standing freezer... well then, boutez en avant!
posted by mimi at 10:10 AM on March 13, 2005

mimi: I definitely see the problem with using it like a top-freezered unit with a door, but it is a minor inconvenience compared to the utility of the raised refrigerator.

That being said, I'm only basing this on seeing a couple of consumer level units. I'm sure someone out there makes a freezer on the bottom unit that is more convenient. If not, someone is bound to make one soon.
posted by bh at 10:18 AM on March 13, 2005

Was there ever a good reason for having the freezer on top in the first place?

My mom bought a freezer-on-the-bottom model about 15 years ago, and just recently it died and she replaced with with a freezer-on-the-top model. Why? My mom's short (~5") and had a really hard time getting anything in the back/top of the old fridge. Of course in the new one she'll have the same problem with the freezer, but she goes in and out of the freezer a lot less often than she does the fridge.
posted by handful of rain at 12:46 PM on March 13, 2005

My fridge is a regular-door fridge with the freezer on the bottom (but it's not a drawer). It does work well for we shorties.
posted by xo at 12:56 PM on March 13, 2005

Was there ever a good reason for having the freezer on top in the first place?

In early (non-electric) iceboxes, the block ice would need to go on the top, as cold air sinks. I imagine it's a holdover from then, although very early electric fridges may have gained some efficiency from having the coldest part on top.

I don't much like the drawer-style freezers; the space seems less utile for some reason-- although they're great if you've got a deep-freeze elsewhere.
posted by obloquy at 1:04 PM on March 13, 2005

The freezer is traditionally on top because the compressor, which generates a lot of heat, is usually on the bottom. It's there because it's heavy, and top-heavy fridges can be unwieldy to move. (Some fridges have the compressor on the top, like the old-style "monitor top" ones and the very expensive built-in Sub Zeros with the vents on the top.
posted by zsazsa at 2:58 PM on March 13, 2005

I'm now used to European style freezers with freezer on bottom (which I also had growing up) and drawers in the freezer (but with a door to access the drawers). My current freezer also has a shelf at the top (of the freezer compartment). The best-practice (per instructions) is to quick-freeze things in the top before transfer to the drawers.

While the drawers may seem unwieldy, consider that they make access to items much easier, and you are therefore far less likely to loose things in the back/bottom.
posted by Goofyy at 9:16 PM on March 13, 2005

I suspect the reasons for the freezer on top was that old fridges had the condenser on the top (where the heat could rise away from the fridge) and the cold was pumped into the top of the fridge, through a freezer box, then down through the rest of the fridge.

I played with a french-door fridge at Sears last week. I didn't like the way the door operated when you need to only open one. IIRC, only one of them could be opened solo, the other required that the first door be open.
posted by Four Flavors at 9:56 PM on March 13, 2005

I had the same shopping experience as Four Flavors. We ended up with a sensibly priced Kenmore Freezer-on-the-Bottom model with garden-variety doors, and we love it. I like it because there's really very little I can't reach or see at five feet tall. Glass shelving in the fridge helps with the highest areas, but overall, fine for me as a munchkin. Our freezer has a pretty standard inside (one drawer and one shelf, door space, ice maker) but we "lose" less inside of it simply because it's easier to access than freezer-on-the-top.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:53 AM on March 14, 2005

Response by poster: FF & MM - the french door fridge's I've seen allow either door to be opened and closed independently of the other. If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't have considered buying one. Thanks for sharing your experience with the single-door models, though.
posted by alms at 10:14 AM on March 14, 2005

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