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Counter-Depth Refrigerators

By: Kelly Burgess on April 20, 2017

Counter-depth refrigerators offer a sleek, built-in look

Counter-depth refrigerators, which have cabinets that 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, so if you don't need that built-in look and/or would like to save money, check out our discussions of French-door refrigerators, bottom-freezer refrigerators, top-freezer refrigerators and side by side refrigerators elsewhere in this report.

Rising to the top in this category is the 22.5 cubic foot. Samsung RF23J9011SR (Est. $3,330), a four-door French-door refrigerator. One big downside of most counter-depth refrigerators is that there is less usable space and the available space isn't very versatile, but that's not a problem here because you have option to use the bottom right compartment as either a refrigerator or freezer, depending upon your fresh food needs. And, if you use it as a freezer, you have three different settings for, say, soft ice cream or for use as a wine cooler.

The Samsung RF23J9011SR is also a top performer in professional tests. Matthew Zahnzinger at Reviewed.com is highly complimentary of all aspects of performance, but particularly calls out the crispers, which he says do "an excellent job retaining moisture." In fact, he found nothing not to like about the RF23J9011SR, saying it was even an energy efficient choice. He concludes, "In short, with this fridge, you just can't lose." ConsumerReports.org, concurs, giving it an Excellent for thermostat control, temperature uniformity and noise.

And, speaking of noise, the only real complaint we saw about the Samsung RF23J9011SR was that it makes an odd "gurgling" or "bubbling" noise when the compressor comes on. A couple of owners called Samsung, thinking that something might be wrong; there wasn't, that's just the noise it makes. Otherwise, owners give the Samsung RF23J9011SR some of the highest ratings we saw, praising its beautiful design and upscale, LED lighting. 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. $3,450).

If you would prefer a side-by-side counter-depth refrigerator, we suggest taking a look at the LG LSXC22386S (Est. $2,200). It does well in testing at ConsumerReports.org, earning Excellent scores for thermostat control, Very Good for Temperature uniformity. Its 22 cubic foot capacity is nicely laid out, owners say, making it easy to organize, and ConsumerReports.org agrees, giving it a Very Good for ease of use.

The LSXC22386S features LG's popular door-in-door design, which lets you put your most used items in bin storage on an outer door, while leaving bulkier items behind a clear glass inner door. That's a very popular feature with owners, with one quibble: we saw a number of comments that the outer door doesn't close easily, you have to give it a firm push and be sure it's secured. That, along with the lack of a door alarm to alert you when it's left open is frustrating for some people who are worried they're going to come home to a warm fridge. The LSXC22386S is stainless steel, but it also comes in black stainless as the LG LSXC22386D (Est. $2,300).

Another popular side-by-side counter-depth model is the stainless-steel Samsung RS22HDHPNSR (Est. $2,110). This fridge is also available in white as the Samsung RS22HDHPNWW (Est. $2,110) and black as the Samsung RS22HDHPNBC (Est. $2,110). It scores similarly to the LG LSXC22386S at ConsumerReports.org, just a hair lower in thermostat control. User reviews are also highly positive.

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.

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