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Are fridge/freezer flex drawers good? If you have one, do you like it?

Sarah
last month
last modified: last month



I'm shopping for a counter-depth French door fridge and want to maximize usable volume. I've had side-by-sides or single-door fridges all my life (and didn't really like them), so I'm already well into the range of having to imagine how it will feel to use this fridge every day. And I'm having trouble further imagining whether this drawer is a good or a bad idea.

On one hand, it sounds nice to have space that can be used for additional fridge or freezer space as needed. I can imagine myself wanting to put a sheet full of cookie dough in there to chill before putting it in the oven, or maybe storing prepared side dishes in advance of Thanksgiving or Christmas.

But I can think of some costs, too. First, obviously I'm losing some space to overhead for the mechanics and insulation of an additional drawer, and I pay that cost 24/7, whether I'm using the drawer or not. Second, I suspect that I'll use that drawer for overflow the first time I get close to running out of space in the fridge/freezer, and then that stuff will just permanently stay in there. So when I have a cookie sheet to chill or a side dish to store, that space will already be occupied. I suppose it still gives me the flexibility to "make" new space from the fridge or freezer and then shift everything around. But I'm still not sure if that's worth the overhead of losing an extra cubic foot or two to the drawer mechanics and insulation. And of course the additional cost. And it looks like the freezer is just permanently smaller.

Has anybody used one of these and liked or hated it?

Thanks!


Edit: I just saw a YouTube video where a family used it for beverages. My husband drinks a lot of canned soda and I drink a lot of bottled beverages, so that's a usage that hadn't occurred to me. Though of course that would remove our flexibility. (Video for those interested is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4iSV2agxCU)



Also, my dad points out that this would be nice until we have an external freezer, which we plan to get eventually. We could use this as freezer space when we need it, then once we have an external freezer we could use it as excess fridge space.


I'm still unsure if these benefits are worth the permanent cost of space and money, though.

Comments (24)

  • PRO
    Sabrina Alfin Interiors
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Eh, I think it's a bit of a gimmick. I'd simply go for a single, bottom drawer freezer with French doors on the fridge part. Most bottom drawer freezers have two inside tiers, with the top one pulling out for smaller items.

  • Helen
    last month

    I also agree that a French door refrigerator with a single bottom drawer makes the most sense. Mine has two pull out "baskets" in the freezer plus divided deep bottom in the freezer.


    I have used a standard, SxS and currently have a French Door refrigerator.


    The French door with the bottom freezer represents the best configuration in my opinion. You had the ability to have the items most used at eye level (which is why people like the SxS configuration but you also have the ability to have wide items in both the refrigerator and the freezer.


    One advantage of the French Door is that I keep items which I access frequently on one half of the refrigerator so I only have to open one door of the refrigerator most of the time.


    The rollout baskets in the freezer enable easy accessibility for those kinds of freezer items which one accesses more frequently like ice cream or whatever - but again you can stash a wide box in the freezer if necessary which you can't in a SxS.

    Sarah thanked Helen
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    Magnifico Profounde
    last month

    The fewer dividers, the more storage. If you want to truly maximize storage, buy separate fridge and freezer colums.

  • acm
    last month

    We use ours for a lot of stuff that runs rampant in normal fridge space (bucking Magnifico's rule): bars of cheese, containers of yogurt, and things like that. Grapes in bags, raspberry pints. It's always full. Started as the "you can have any snack from that drawer" idea for our kid, but honestly, it means all those things aren't competing with vegetables for the bins! And you don't have things toppling over in some zone of the main fridge. The big banks of drink cans seem to me the same way. I suspect you'd use it more for fridge than freezer, so be sure that the freezer space is adequete -- your bottom drawer looks smaller than mine.


    Fridge panel · More Info


    Sarah thanked acm
  • MaryBocaTX
    29 days ago

    Hi Sarah,

    We installed a new LG French door refrigerator with the flex drawer and bottom freezer drawer (much like the one you pictured, only larger) in our new kitchen remodel about 4 months ago.


    I also had only ever had a side-by-side all of my adult life…until now.


    I absolutely LOVE the new refrigerator! And I also thought that the flex drawer was a bit of a gimmick, until I lived with it for a while (and actually read the manual so i knew how to use it!).


    Our bottom freezer has the roll-out top section as well, so we didn’t sacrifice that feature; we just also have the flex drawer.


    We use ours as freezer overflow…not extra refrigerator space. I have ice cream, popsicles, ”boo-boo” pads, etc., in that section - which makes them super easy to access and hugely convenient for everyone.


    Our bottom freezer section also has an additional ice maker that makes craft ice (the big solid balls of ice - super cool!) and we couldn’t be happier.


    HOWEVER, our is not counter-depth. I had the contractor dig into the wall behind the refrigerator so we were able to push it back an additional four inches, which made all the difference in the world for aisle clearance without sacrificing cubic feet within the refrigerator. I understand that the counter-depth refrigerators have much less storage space (and have heard on this forum that many people regret that choice)…so that might be something to consider.


    Our top French door refrigerator section is massive. After all those years with a side-by-side I just cant get over how wiiiiiiiide it is! It has the ”door-in-door” on the right side for quick access of milk, juice, condiments, butter, salad dressings, etc. which has turned out to be a great feature!


    Now that we have this particular refrigerator, I will never use any other. It’s been a game-changer.

    Sarah thanked MaryBocaTX
  • Sarah
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    @MaryBocaTX Thanks for sharing that experience! We had to select the fridge depth way early in the process, when I didn't even know it was a thing, and I didn't have time to research it. :( Would you mind sharing what model you have?


    Thanks!

  • Helen
    28 days ago

    It is interesting how people's needs for either freezer or refrigerator space impact whether they find the feature useful and also how they configure it. I would imagine that there is some hassle in changing back and forth since you would have to find a home for whatever was in the space.


    Most of the families I know who have a need for more space than a refrigerator in the kitchen seem to have a second refrigerator in the basement or the garage or even a freezer in the basement.


    I had a relatively small (maybe 28") cheap refrigerator with a top freezer for many years until I remodeled. What I did find is that my freezer capacity is more limited than with my top freezer even though my cubic capacity in the new one is larger. That is because I could really stuff and jam stuff into the old freezer and with the new freezer I have to be careful about clearance for the baskets because they won't close if there is anything poking up and you can't just shove things in there.


    On the other hand, even with a counter depth refrigerator, I find the actual space to be more functional because things don't get lost at the back so everything is more accessible.

    Sarah thanked Helen
  • Sarah
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    @Helen Yes, agreed. I'm really torn because I just don't know how we'll really use it, what our limiting factor will be, etc. We are planning to get a chest freezer for the garage right outside the kitchen, but so many things about our life will be different in the new house.


    For example, I have always had very tiny kitchens even though I love cooking, so I never had room to cook big meals or have the right tools for the job. I never bought a food processor and I have a KitchenAid mixer that I never used because I couldn't keep it on the counter and it was too much of a hassle to bring it in from where it was stored. As a result, our freezer was always full of quick-prepare frozen meals, though we were often tight on fridge space too.


    Now I will have the space for cooking and space for storage of food, pantry staples, and appliances. I expect to have frozen raw roasts in the chest freezer and frozen meal-prep dishes in the kitchen freezer. But how will that translate to what our needs will actually end up being? Right now we are in a rental while our house is completed, and it has a Frigidaire side by side, and our fridge is jammed full of stuff and the freezer has a lot of open space. But also I'm trying not to accumulate too much freezer stuff because we'll only be here for another couple months.


    Also, my husband drinks a lot of diet soda and I drink a lot of seltzer or gatorade. A drawer sounds nice for storing that. Or maybe we should just install a fridge drawer in a lower cabinet; we have the space.


    I'm a UX/product designer by trade, but every part of our life in the new house will be so different than everything I've known so far, and there's a limit to what I can figure out from raw speculation and educated guessing. And it's such an expensive purchase and I don't want to get it wrong. :( And everybody's lifestyle is different, so it's hard to know how much other peoples' experiences will apply to our life.


  • Helen
    28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    I do understand how having theoretically the ability to choose the most optimal stuff is somewhat frightening.

    I finished a gut remodel of my condo relatively recently and I also found it hard to make some choices when before I had just adjusted to whatever I had and made it work. In my situation I was obviously constrained by space since my condo is in a metropolitan area and by factors such as not being able to move plumbing since I am in a high rise.

    However everything I did was custom as I used a local cabinet maker so absolutely everything required a decision. Who knew that there were so many choices to make even for the style of the rollouts (for example). And within reason, I had no budget so cost was not generally a factor in my decisions.

    Since you already are going to have a secondary refrigerator or freezer, it really seems less critical that you have that kind of flexibility for you primary kitchen refrigerator. The idea of a separate refrigerator for drinks actually seems like it would work well since you have the space. I don't know what your family situation is but some people like those a lot because their children are able to access them easily. On the other hand, as I posted, my friends generally have a second refrigerator in the garage and so they keep lots of drinks there and it's relatively easy to move them into the kitchen refrigerator as necessary.

  • MaryBocaTX
    28 days ago

    Hi Sarah -


    I’m attaching pics of the refrigerator, so you can get an idea of the options. I think it has about 30cf of storage. I’ve also included a pic of the front of the manual.


    We purchased ours at Conn’s, and were very happy with the price/delivery and availability. We had no issues at all with wait times, etc. It was in stock (last year around October). We thought we would have to order it months before we needed it, but they had it in stock and delivered it the next day…which resulted in it sitting in our formal living room while the remodel was ongoing ;)

    I’m also inculding a pic of the Conn’s webisite page I saved last year that has all of their info on it. Hope this helps!











    Sarah thanked MaryBocaTX
  • drunkparrot
    28 days ago

    I have a Samsung fridge with the flex drawer; it’s the best thing about the fridge. (My first time having such a feature.). We keep 12oz beverage cans, wine, salad, defrosting foods, leftover containers, etc. I’ve put sheet pans there (even stacked) when needed.

    We have a full size freezer in the basement and use both that and the freezer drawer on the fridge.

    I would not want to lose this flex drawer feature on any future fridges. (I would be happy to lose the ice maker/water filter as that’s a total space waste for me. Especially, after seeing how black the water lines of the water filter dispensers were at work…! Hello brita.)

    Mine is not counter-depth so it’s two elephants in the kitchen.

  • Sarah
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    @drunkparrot thanks for sharing! Do you ever switch the drawer to freezer mode? Or do you just like having it as a place that's easier to access than the rest of the fridge?

  • drunkparrot
    28 days ago

    So I trotted downstairs to look, it’s set to “cold drinks 33 deg F”. We’ve never changed it over to freezer mode or warmer. I haven’t put a thermometer in there to check actual temp, but wouldn’t be shocked if it’s a bit warmer than that. Things are perfectly cold not almost icy.

    I really like that it’s easy access and that it is a good place to store either beverage cans (taller than a normal 12oz will not work upright,) or flat roasting pan/storage containers/ salad bags, a random large broccoli; items that can be space wasters.

    This drawer is one of those “never knew you needed ’til you had it” items.

    Take one of your cookie pans and a large storage containers (or whatever you imagine using the drawer for) and visit your potential fridges in person to see if they fit.

    I don’t use that drawer for long term/infrequent storage, everything is accessed daily. I keep infrequently used items on the top shelf and in the back

    Sarah thanked drunkparrot
  • Cyndy Bjorn
    28 days ago

    We have a GE Profile 27.9 cu. ft. Smart 4-Door French Door Refrigerator & absolutely love it! The drawer is not for freezing but there is a temperature control. This refrigerator has so many lights, it's hard to lose anything. It has plenty of room for my family of 5.


    Like others said, we use it for beverages- canned-, and for cheese, deli, snacks like carrots & celery.


    The greatest features are the ability to organize very well & the lighting.

  • julieste
    27 days ago

    So, it seems that a lot of people really like the feature of having the extra drawer beneath the upper fridge part. But it also seems that no one really uses it at all to switch back and forth between use as a freezer and use as a fridge.

  • roarah
    27 days ago

    I have a five door kitchen aid with two flex drawers vs one. I love it! The stwing organization is supurb. My fridge is so easy to keep organized and looks empty even after a bj’s trip!

  • Sarah
    Original Author
    27 days ago

    @roarah Thanks for sharing! Could you tell me what KitchenAid you have? If you don't know the model number, just the general shape so I can take a look at that one. :)

  • roarah
    27 days ago

    It is not counter depth. It is a five door model. Freezer has three great compartments a deep well plus two trays. here are uncensored messy pictures from today.


    interior

    Flex drawers


    Freezer

    Deep well


    Mid tray

    Top tray



    Sarah thanked roarah
  • Sarah
    Original Author
    27 days ago

    @roarah Thanks for the photos! It looks like KitchenAid doesn't have any counter-depth that have this many drawers, but it's still a useful data point for thinking about other brands. Thank you!

  • Sarah
    Original Author
    25 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    I thought I'd post an update here for anybody who might be reading this in the future. After reading the comments here, I decided that I was probably going to be most like the people who liked the drawer. So I set my sights on LG LRMDC2306S, which is a counter-depth with flex drawer. Then I tried to find one to look at. I couldn't find that exact one (yet), but I found a similar model, the LRMVC2306S, which appears to be exactly the same except with "InstaView," their window-into-the-fridge feature.

    And I could not believe how small the fridge interior seemed. I brought my measuring tape to see if a 12-pack of soda would fit, since I'd seen people complaining in a few places that it wouldn't. I thought it was hyperbole, but no, soda boxes are 21" long and the shelves were 16-18" deep. If the shelves inside the right-side door were arranged just so, and only contained small things, I think it would be possible to fit a soda box in there front to back, but it would overhang the shelf and go into the closed-door shelf space. (It's not possible on the left side door since the icemaker is there.) The InstaView shelving did not allow this, but it looked like maybe it would be the case on the original model I wanted to see. And it was the case on several other counter-depth fridges I tested. Not a great solution, and maybe soda boxes aren't my only constraint, but I wasn't thrilled about this.

    So I just started opening counter-depth fridges at the store to see what felt bigger to me. I settled onto two others:

    • The LG LRFXC2416S, which claims to only have one additional cubic foot but seems a lot larger.
    • The KitchenAid KRFC704FBS which feels a LOT larger but is similarly sized as well. The KitchenAid seems to be about $1k more for an equivalent feature set, but I haven't fully researched it yet.


    Consumer Reports scored both of these highly. I'm not sure yet what we're going to do, but I'm coming to the realization that although a flex drawer is nice, I think it would only be viable for me on a standard-depth fridge. I just can't take the overhead hit to the volume. I'm still trying to find a LRMDC2306S that I can see in person somewhere, but I suspect I'll end up with one of the other models.

    The KitchenAid is quite fancy and has nifty wood-look accents inside, but the LG makes "craft ice" (2" diameter clear ice spheres) which simultaneously seem like a ridiculous gimmick and also something I really want in my life even though I almost never use ice.

  • Andrea
    23 days ago

    I have the Bosch with the middle drawer for produce. The drawer is temperature and humidity controlled so everything stays fresh. I absolutely love it! It’s counter depth with tons of room. The freezer has two shelves plus two bins so the small stuff doesn’t get lost in the bottom. The ice maker makes lots of ice and if you are having a party it can fill up the entire drawer.

    Sarah thanked Andrea
  • MizLizzie
    23 days ago
    last modified: 23 days ago

    We are on our second Samsung 4-door flex, and I will never give up The Flex. Never. Yes, Samsung makes crap fridges — insanity is defined as buying the same fridge over and over and expecting a different result — but I love that chilly lower door to death.

    We let our old one go when we sold the house because the icemaker was failing — as 90% of all Samsung icemakers do. And we immediately bought the same thing for the new house — but paid for the extended warranty, something I’d ordinarily never do. But I knew the ice maker would fail. And it did. Quickly. After some kerfluffle, we were refunded the price of the fridge. (They can’t fix them, and they know it.) We have a secondary icemaker, and the Samsung still occasionally plops out a batch of semi-frozen lumps. So. Yes. That’s how much I love Flex. When this one goes down entirely, I will move to the new Bosch with the middle beverage drawer.

    Sarah thanked MizLizzie
  • MaryBocaTX
    23 days ago

    ^^^Andrea’s refrigerator sounds like it might be your perfect solution! It’s counter-depth, and she is obviuosly very happy with the amount of storage.


    You should look into that one! Nice going, Andrea!