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Counter-depth refrigerators offer a sleeker look, but there are trade offs

Counter-depth refrigerators, which stand flush with the edge of kitchen cabinets and counters, offer the sleek look of a built-in fridge for far less money. However, they're still more expensive than most equivalent standard-depth fridges, and they have less usable space. Still, if you're willing to accept those trade-offs, it's possible to find a counter-depth fridge that performs well. If you don't have to have that built-in look, would like to save money, or want more variety in capacity, check out our discussions of French-door refrigerators, bottom-freezer refrigerators, top-freezer refrigerators and side by side refrigerators elsewhere in this report.

Counter-depth side-by-side refrigerator


Rising to the top in this category is the 21.6 cu. ft. LG LSC22991ST (Est. $2,300). Energy efficiency is normally a downer with both side-by-side and counter-depth fridges, but it's not as bad with this fridge. The LG uses a door-in-door design that lets you put your most used items in bin storage on an outer door, while leaving bulkier items behind a clear glass inner door. calls the energy efficiency "impressive," while an independent testing agency gives the LSC22991ST its highest rating classification on that score.

The LG LSC22991ST is a top choice among all reviewers that have looked at it. Depending on who you ask, temperature performance is either very good or excellent. did notice that temps were higher toward the bottom, by the crisper, but wonders if that's by design. "It could be intentional—produce should be stored at higher temperatures than most other refrigerated foods—but it's still something you should keep in mind," says Matthew Zahnzinger. Crisper performance is also substandard, and delicate greens lost more moisture than average in the course of's testing.

Outside of the door-in-door design, the feature set is limited. There's the obligatory (in this price range) through-the-door ice maker and water dispenser. The controls are digital and door mounted. A door alarm sounds if you leave the door open for more than a minute. Of course, the big reason to opt for this model over others is its shallow, counter depth -- just under 29 inches with the door and handles, roughly 24.5 inches for the cabinet alone. It's designed to fit into a 36-inch wide space. The exterior is available only in stainless steel.

There aren't as many user reviews for the LG LSC22991ST as there are for most other fridges in this report, but what we found are remarkably good for a counter-depth model. With several dozen owners giving it very high ratings. Most say they just love its looks and great storage options -- and the door-in-door feature gets particular raves.

The stainless-steel Samsung RS22HDHPNSR (Est. $1,900) is another well-reviewed choice that will be a bit easier on your wallet. This counter-depth side-by-side fridge is also available in white as the Samsung RS22HDHPNWW (Est. $1,800) and black as the Samsung RS22HDHPNBC (Est. $1,900). It scores similarly to the LG LSC22991ST in one professional test, and does even a hair better when it comes to noise. User reviews are good, though the LG scores just a bit better with owners.

Features are on a par with the LG, minus the door-in-door design; but there is a through-the-door icemaker and water dispenser, on-door digital controls, a door alarm and spill proof glass shelves. The Samsung RS22HDHPNSR has a counter depth of 29.5 inches with the doors in place, or 23.75 considering the cabinet only. This 22 cu. ft. refrigerator is 36 inches wide and has sufficient capacity to store 22 bags of groceries, Samsung claims.

If you're looking for a French-door style counter-depth refrigerator, none we found get better reviews from experts and owners than the 22 cubic foot, 4-door, Samsung RF23J9011SR (Est. $4,000). It's pricey, yes, but in expert testing it earns Excellent scores for temperature performance, noise and energy efficiency (it's also often available on sale as low as $3,000).

Owners give the Samsung RF23J9011SR some of the highest rating we saw, praising its beautiful design and upscale, LED lighting. It's fully loaded with features, but most popular is the option to use one section of the fridge as either a refrigerator or freezer, depending upon your fresh food needs. Three different zones offer different temperature settings, and user say the ice maker is very efficient. Overall, if you have the cash, reviewers say this is the best looking, best performing counter depth, French-door refrigerator around and you won't be sorry you chose it. The Samsung RF23J9011SR is stainless steel, it's also available in black stainless as the Samsung RF23J9011SG (Est. $4,100).

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Refrigerators | Top-Freezer Refrigerators | Bottom-Freezer Refrigerators | Side-by-Side Refrigerators | French-Door Refrigerators | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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