Appliances are designed to fit cabinets, so most refrigerators match standard cabinet widths. 30 and 36 inch, however, are by far the most popular dimensions.
Updated for October 2014
Yet there are far fewer choices in 30 inch and 36 inch.
All of these 30 inch brands feature twin compressors, so the air is distributed more evenly. It also eliminates the drier air of the freezer being cycled to the refrigerator and the moister air of the refrigerator being sent to the freezer. So your ice cream and other frozen items will have a better taste because it will not be tainted by the odors from the refrigerator.
30 inch will be the most expensive counter depth, because unlike the other sizes, larger, commodity companies like GE, Jenn-Air and KitchenAid are not in this niche with regular, less deep refrigerators. Unfortunately, a $1,600 counter depth option doesn't exist in this size.
There are only 5 companies currently manufacturing the 30 inch counter depth (I am not including columns which are just refrigerator or freezer): Sub-Zero, Thermador, Liebherr, Bosch and Miele.
The Best 30 Inch Counter Depth Refrigerators
Below are the bset 30" counter depth refrigerators available. Let's have a look:
The new IT-30CIID $7,199 paneled $8,459 stainless steel. Sub-Zero is the best known and probably best built refrigerator and is manufactured in the US.
Sub-Zero is a traditional professional refrigerator with the compressor on the top. Two years ago, they improved the design with an air scrubber to "scrub" the gasses of foods in the refrigerator, so food stays fresher for a longer period of time. They also added an advanced water purifier. The new IT-30CIID has a interior water dispenser and 2 freezer drawers. When paneled the fridge integrates flush into your cabinets.
Thermador, Miele and Bosch are all manufactured in the same factory with slighly different specifications. Like the Sub-Zero IT-30CIID they can install flush into the cabinets creating that integrated look. The door (not the body) of Sub-Zero BI-30U and other traditional counter depths will stick out another 3-4 inches.
Thermador and Bosch
Thermador T30IB800SP $6,299 and $6,999 for stainless and Bosch B30BB830SS $6,499 are identical, except Thermador can be panelized and Bosch is only stainless. Rebates are important, because Thermador has the 1, 2, Free program. Buy a Thermador refrigerator and range and the $1,200 dishwasher is free. Bosch has their own rebate program.
$7,395 with panels and $7,895 in stainless. Miele has the same body as Bosch and Thermador, but offers much better lighting and electronic crispers. The electronic crispers allow you to choose the exact temperature. This feature is designed to keep fruits and vegetables fresher. Miele also offers a wifi hook up and can monitor the refrigerator for service (pretty cool or somewhat creepy depending).
Liebherr CS-1660 $4,399 and HCB1560 $5,879 and $6,529 in stainless: Liebherr is another high quality German company. They actually supply Miele for products in Europe. They offer the least expensive 24 inch option at $3,999. They also offer a taller, more pro-looking refrigerator with double freezer drawers at a higher price. The neat feature to Liebherr is their bio fresh drawer, which preserves fruit and veggies longer.
Liebherr is tough to service and requires more than other German products. Consider that if you are not from the Boston area (we are a factory service agent for Liebherr).
First, 36 inch sizes are more reasonable by $3,000. However, 30 inch sizes are better constructed. Sub-Zero would be the best available. Thermador is decent especially with the free dishwasher and hood (with a range purchase).
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