At a Glance
You would think 42-inch refrigerators would be more popular in larger kitchens. They have more usable cubic footage than the standard 36-inch model.
A 36-inch professional refrigerator is about 22 cubic feet in capacity. A 42-inch professional refrigerator is almost 26 cubic feet.
There is a considerable storage difference, especially if you are considering a side-by-side model. However, 36 inches is the cabinet standard for refrigerators. Forty-two inches is far less common.
When designing your kitchen, you must specify a 42-inch refrigerator actively, or your cabinet shop, designer, and appliance store will automatically assume you only have a 36-inch space for your refrigerator, even in a larger kitchen.
In this article, you will learn the best brands and their features for 42-inch refrigeration. We will briefly look at side-by-side refrigerators compared to French door refrigerators as well.
Lastly, we'll cover several additional options to fill a 42-inch space. Smaller integrated refrigeration columns have become much more popular over the last few years because you can customize your options and placement.
They also fit within a cabinet and become indistinguishable from the rest of your cabinets. You will have more brand choices shopping for integrated columns. So, this article will be about all your refrigeration choices for your 42-inch space, whether you are looking for one unit or two units.
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French Door vs. Side-By-Side Professional Refrigerators
French door refrigerators are more popular because you have more lateral storage and refrigerator space than side-by-side refrigerators.
Side-by-side refrigerators tend to be narrower in smaller sizes, but not at 42 inches. You have more freezer space in a 42-inch refrigerator than in a side-by-side refrigerator.
Since COVID-19 and quarantining, people have looked at their freezer capacities more critically to store food. Unfortunately, they were limited to standalone freezers and side-by-side refrigerators as they have again become more popular.
In 42-inches, side-by-sides are a legitimate option because you have space, and you are not pulling a heavier freezer drawer like the bottom freezer of a French door. I would recommend viewing both before buying. Sub-Zero has the only 42-inch French door refrigerator on this list.
Best 42-Inch Counter-Depth Refrigerators for 2022
Sub-Zero French Door Counter Depth Refrigerator CL4250UFD/O - $12,060
You have the most selection for 42 inches in the Sub-Zero brand. You have side-by-side and French door options, both of which you can place a custom panel on to match your cabinets.
Both also have the option of a water dispenser.
Sub-Zero Refrigerator Highlights
Sub-Zero refrigerators have the best food preservation system, capacity, adjustability, and overall longevity. Sub-Zero was the original refrigerator with two compressors keeping the warmer refrigerator air separate from the colder, drier freezer.
The vacuum seal is designed to keep the outside air out of your refrigerator along with magnetic crispers to keep the air in the crisper,
Their food preservation system scrubs the air of ethylene (the gas that fruits and vegetables give off that makes them go bad quick), mold, bacteria, and viruses every 20 minutes, keeping your food fresh longer.
It's the most sophisticated on the market. Imagine an avocado lasting two to four weeks in a refrigerator – that's how well this system works.
The shelves are split and allow for many different configurations. Their nanotechnology coating does not allow the spills to spread, so you won't be cleaning sticky juicy bits months after a spill.
Lastly, you can now operate and control your refrigerator from the Sub-Zero app. You will receive text alerts when the door is open or when you need to replace the filter.
- Capacity – At 24.2 cubic feet, this is the largest 42-inch built-in refrigerator on the market.
- Freshness – Sub-Zero was the first on the market with two separate cooling zones. This keeps dry, very cold air from the refrigerator and keeps the warmer, humid air out of the freezer. It prevents freezer burning and dried-out food in the refrigerator.
- Air Purification – The "Pure Air" system scrubs the air every 20 minutes to keep food as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Spoiled food emits ethylene gas. The air purifier scrubs these gases to preserve the food and eliminate cross-contamination.
- Crispers and Deli Drawers - Located near the evaporator, these bins are kept a little cooler than the rest of the refrigerator and are magnetically sealed for fruit and vegetable preservation.
- Microprocessor - Keeps temperature accuracy to within one degree for optimal freshness. Also, it lets you control lighting, alarms, and ice production.
- LED Lighting – Crisp LED lights are designed to be brighter than standard bulbs and don't add heat like other bulbs. The LED bulbs are energy-efficient and designed to last the refrigerator's lifetime.
- Soft-Close Deli Drawer – A full-width, soft-close deli drawer allows for wide platters or small items that can be separated with the included dividers.
- Nanotechnology Shelving - Spills congeal and do not spread. If you have ever spilled juice in your fridge, you are cleaning semi-hardened juice residue seemingly forever. Nanotechnology helps solve that problem.
True Refrigerator Highlights
True is the one refrigerator company with the ability to out-design Sub-Zero. In many ways, they are similar. Both are family-owned American companies manufacturing in the US.
True is a huge company. If you bought ice cream at your local supermarket, you pulled it out of a True freezer.
This unit reflects its commercial styling. However, you can customize this refrigerator with ten colors and another six for the hinges for a truly unique finish. Plus, the True 42-inch refrigerator is available with a glass door as well.
Color has become a trend for appliances, and True has some interesting combinations. A few of my favorites include white with gold accents, green with pewter accents, and blue with copper accents.
They have copied Sub-Zero's innovations, including two compressors and two evaporators. True's temperature can be controlled in one-degree increments, like a Sub-Zero as well.
True is a solid piece of steel inside as well as outside. True's all stainless steel interior absorbs cold better than plastic or painted metal. Stainless also doesn't retain odors and resists spillage to a certain degree.
True may not have an air purifier like Sub-Zero, but they do have an all stainless steel interior. Then again, Sub-Zero does not have a scrubber in their all-stainless professional models either. Additionally, True's inside crisper bins and shelving are solid glass and steel.
True is one of the only luxury brands available within eight weeks, six months to a year faster than most competitive brands.
- No Ice Maker - True does not have an ice maker in their refrigerators. The repair was cited as the reason. They are correct. Out of more than 40,000 service calls logged last year, we found ice makers are the single biggest complaint.
- No Panel-Ready Options - You cannot panel the True 42-inch refrigerator.
- No Wi-Fi or Smart Home Connectivity - True does not presently have smart functionality.
- Two Compressors, Two Evaporators
- Customization: This refrigerator can be customized with ten different base colors and six different trims for the hinges
- LCD Controls - The True 42 control panel offers professional performance.
- Ramp-Up Lighting – Beautiful LED lighting to highlight a beautiful all-stainless-steel interior with no plastic anywhere.
- Door Bins - Three adjustable, removable door bins are adjustable and made from pro-grade stainless steel for hygiene, cleaning, and overall longevity.
- Glass Shelving - Stainless steel-trimmed glass shelves that are both adjustable and removable.
- Drawers - Soft-close glides and stainless steel for durability and ease of use.
- Freezer Baskets - Three polished stainless-steel wire baskets are easy to see and smooth-glide for a quiet, solid feel.
- Door Hinges - Solid stainless steel and designed to stay open at 120°, each high-grade hinge passes extreme testing and has a silent, soft close.
- Stainless Interior - Absorbs cold better and is the most hygienic.
If you want to learn more about True, then listen to their CEO from our series, Behind the Brand.
JennAir Refrigerator Highlights
JennAir is the least expensive brand on this list and has the best rebate program. They also have the only model with water and ice on the door.
When the big innovation is an "Obsidian" or a black interior, it's a sign that JennAir has fallen a bit behind the market leaders for pro-style refrigeration.
This unit has decent shelving and two evaporators to maintain temperature and humidity in the two compartments.
At 25 inches deep overall, including the doors, it is over two inches shallower than the Sub-Zero and over three inches shallower than the True.
Their professional refrigerator has similar measurements as their integrated without some features. Some deeper items are harder to fit. It also does not have spill-proof shelves like the rest on this list.
Still, JennAir is a solid choice for a price, while the others are clearly better units.
- "Obsidian Interior"/LED Theater Lighting - Designed in conjunction with the LED lighting, the Obsidian interior and LEDs make anything in the refrigerator "pop" with color.
- Fully Flush, Fully Integrated Design - Fully flush design allows complete cabinet integration for a seamless look in a 25-inch-deep cabinet.
- Panel Ready or Stainless Steel – Building on the fully integrated design, you can match surrounding cabinetry for a fully integrated look like pantry doors look – your guests will not even know that it is a refrigerator without opening the doors. Stainless steel door panels, sold separately, match the rest of the JennAir suite of appliances.
- TwinFresh™ Climate Control System - With two evaporators (the part of the motor that cools the air), the air in the refrigerator is kept separate from the freezer to avoid freezer burn and frozen/frosty vegetables.
- Light-Guided Capacitive Touch Controls - Easy to use and see intuitive touch controls.
- Soft-Close Crisper Drawers - Quiet, secure, and easy to use. Also has an ethylene gas absorbed to prevent fruits and vegetables from rotting too quickly.
- Elegance Shelving - Beautiful glass shelves add to the décor on the inside and are easy to re-arrange for taller and wider items.
Your Best Alternative: Integrated Column Refrigeration
Sub-Zero Integrated Column Refrigerators
Integrated column refrigeration has become increasingly popular, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article. It's seamless to the cabinets and allows you to customize your refrigerator and freezer for location and size.
Integrated fits within a cabinet, whereas the door of a professional refrigerator will protrude past your cabinets. However, that shallower depth decreases the internal cubic footage due to the shallower depth. The difference in cubic footage is over 10%.
That Sub-Zero pro is 24.2 cubic feet compared to 21.3 cubic feet for the integrated. They offer two different looks in your kitchen. The professional style is noticeable, and the other is completely hidden.
More manufacturers also produce the integrated type because it's easier to comply with energy laws with two smaller units than one larger refrigerator.
For 42 inches, you must buy two units, a 24-inch refrigerator and an 18-inch freezer. An industry term you may have heard is columns.
Best Integrated Column Refrigerators and Freezers
Thermador 18-Inch Freezer Column T18IF905SP ( $6,499) and 24-Inch Refrigerator Column T24IR905SP ($6,999)
Thermador Column Refrigeration Highlights
Good-looking would be the word to describe Thermador's new integrated refrigeration. Inside and out, the 18-inch freezer and 24-inch refrigerator columns make a 42-inch pair.
Then again, Thermador abandoned the one 42-inch unit for integrated refrigerators long ago.
This series is well-conceived from being able to use these without handles to the interior ramp-up theater-style LED lighting.
The display is the most intuitive and controls many of the refrigerator functions. You can also set the door to a "push to open" mode. If your hands are full, you can push the door, and it will open automatically.
Their air management system and bin storage keep food fresher as well. New last year, they added the stainless interior as well.
However, at a 25-inch total depth with doors, you may have problems fitting larger trays and platters. Consider a backup fridge in the basement for those extra-large items.
Thermador has a great rebate program, with free dishwashers and hoods with qualified purchases.
- Open Door Assist - This new system from Thermador allows you not to have to use a handle. Just push on the door, and it will automatically open. You can set it to close if accidentally opened as well automatically.
- ThermaFresh - Automatic humidity and temperature control.
- Delicate Produce Bins - Soft close bins located on the door provide a safe space for delicate products that can be bruised and damaged easily.
- Theater Lighting - Lightbars on both sides of the refrigerator and freezer give the best view of every corner.
- TFT Display - Easy to use and intuitive touch screen controls everything in the refrigerator and freezer.
- Cool Air Flow Technology – New energy-efficient system to optimize temperature accuracy and energy efficiency without sacrificing performance.
- Soft-Close Drawers - Quiet and easy to use. The produce bin also has an ethylene filter to keep fruits and vegetables fresher and longer.
- Freedom® Hinge - Allows for a fully flush installation in a 25-inch-deep cabinet.
- Diamond Ice - Thermador's uniquely shaped ice is designed to keep drinks colder and longer.
Sub-Zero 18-Inch Freezer Column DEC1850FI ($8,040) and 24-Inch Refrigerator Column DEC2450R ($8,620)
Sub-Zero Column Refrigeration Highlights
Sub-Zero's freshness system of twin compressors, vacuum seal, magnetic crispers, and air scrubber was also designed into their integrated units.
- Monitor and control remotely with Wi-Fi connectivity
- Accepts custom panels for an integrated look within cabinetry or stainless-steel accessory panels and handles to match other Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove products
- Preserves frozen foods with frigid, dry air
- Creates a seamless look with a single door design in your kitchen
- Controls temperature within one degree of setpoint
- Locks in cold air with a magnetic door seal system
- Filters water and ice, removing contaminants, chlorine taste, and odor
- Yields ice automatically and "max ice" for additional production.
- Control brightness with soft-on LED lighting.
There certainly are some great choices for 42-inch refrigeration, especially when considering side-by-side refrigerators. You will have much better storage than a 36-inch refrigerator.
What will help you decide between them is knowing your priorities. The Sub-Zero French door is an excellent choice if you are looking for function.
True is interesting with the ability to customize and a new freshness story. JennAir is decent for the price, along with packages as well.
Thermador and Sub-Zero are all good choices with many options for that fully seamless look in your kitchen.
Want to learn more about counter depth, professional and integrated refrigerators? Get the Yale Counter Depth Refrigerator Buyers Guide with features, specifications, and inside buying tips for all the brands. Well over 1 million people have read a Yale Guide.
Steve is the third-generation CEO of Yale and a lifelong Bostonian. He currently resides in Boston, one mile from where he was born. Despite being one of the worst goalies of all time, he is a huge hockey fan of college hockey and the Boston Bruins. The love of his life is his daughter Sophie.
Steve has also been featured in numerous publications such as the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.
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