What is a French Door Refrigerator?
There are four basic refrigerator/freezer categories. They are:
- Top-mount. This unit has the freezer on the top and a refrigerator below the freezer compartment. Doors are hinged to side swing from either the right or left.
- Bottom-mount. Bottom-mounts or bottom freezer configurations have the refrigerator on the top and a freezer below. The refrigerator door is hinged like the top mount, but the freezer may be either a side swing or a slide-out drawer.
- Side-by-Side. Side-by-Side refrigerators are a very popular configuration that have the freezer compartment on the left and the refrigerator compartment on the right. The doors are hinged on either side.
- French Door. These are bottom freezer refrigerators with a split-door in the refrigerator compartment that allows the refrigerator to be opened from the center. They have become increasingly popular in recent years.
History of French Door refrigerators
Some industry veterans may recall the short-lived appearance of a French Door model refrigerator from Whirlpool back in the '80s. It did not take with consumers, and was soon dropped.
The Amana brand is well-known for its refrigeration and has been a leader in bottom freezer refrigerators for many years. In the late '90s Amana launched the first successful French Door refrigerators. Amana was acquired by Maytag in 2000, and shortly thereafter Maytag's premier Jenn-Air brand introduced a counter-depth French Door model which was a big hit. Soon all the major U.S. manufacturers had French Door refrigerator models. Not surprisingly, the Korean brands were quick to chime in with their own copies.
Today, French Door refrigerators are available in nearly every conceivable configuration including dispenser and non-dispenser versions, built-in models, and others with a variety of doors and drawers, and with capacities over 30 cu.ft.
Full depth, counter depth, and built-in French Door refrigerators
- Full depth. While the full depth type offers the most choices in features and styles, depending on the model and size, the refrigerator can protrude considerably from the surrounding cabinets.
- Counter depth. Counter depth french door refrigerators do not have the large capacity of full depth refrigerators but do offer the advantage of a better near flush fit. They'll not only look better, they make it easier to navigate through the kitchen since they don't protrude. Some models accomodate cabinet panels
- Built-In. Recognizing the growing popularity of French Door models there are a growing number of luxury refrigerator brands now offering true built-in refrigerators in the French Door category. Built-In refrigerators are desiged to fit inside the surrounding cabinets, and are usually available with either a stainless steel front or a panel ready version to accomodate matching cabinet panels.
Trends in French Door refrigerators.
GE has opened a new facility in Louisville for French Door refrigerators and launched a new series of models with new features coming from this factory. There are now 3 factories in the U.S. manufacturing French Door models: The GE plant, Whirlpool's factory in Amana, Iowa and a new line of refrigerators from SubZero built in Arizona.
Dual Evaporator models. Several manufacturers have added dual evaporator systems to their line. Essentially, this provides consumers with separate airflow to the refrigerator and freezer, enhancing food preservation. Sub Zero has dual compressors as well.
Extra drawers. Maytag has added an extra refrigerator pantry drawer which provides a convenient pull out drawer for quick access. KitchenAid also has a French Door model with a pull out refrigerator drawer.
42″ Built-In. Jenn-Air has a 42″ built-in French Door refrigerator that can accomodate cabinet panels for a fully flush and fully integrated appearance. The unit can literally disapper as it looks just like the surrounding cabinets. This is the largest built-in French Door model in the industry.
For the best selection and lowest prices contact the experts at Universal Appliance and Kitchen Center.