Counter-depth refrigerators boost almost any kitchen into the high-design category. They typically cost more than standard fridges, and they cost you in cubic-feet of storage, but they offer a built-in look. Because they don’t stand out “proud” from your cabinetry, they’re ideal for saving space in galley kitchens, and they allow a little more room between the counter and the island, if you have that setup.
We’re big fans of space-saving counter-depth fridges, though the best ones we've tested are often pricey.
But now, we’ve tested one that offers contemporary style and high-end features for a more reasonable price. And, if you’ve already started looking, you probably know it’s hard to find a well-priced counter-depth fridge.
The Frigidaire Gallery FGSC2335TF(available at AppliancesConnection for $1,193.00) sports a smudge-proof stainless or black stainless finish ($100 more), an excellent control panel, and a design that makes the most of its interior space.
If that sounds appealing, start by measuring your space to ensure that it has enough room for this fridge. It's about 70 inches tall and 36 inches wide, with a depth of 28.5 inches.
First of all—in addition to being counter-depth—this fridge is also a side-by-side model. The style, which reached the peak of its popularity in the 1990s, has a few main advantages. You can keep eyes on more of your food on both sides, can place snacks at a level where children can reach them easily, and could keep grownup food and drinks out of their reach.
Counter-depth refrigerators are ideal for saving space in galley kitchens, and they can allow for more room between the counter and the island.
Unlike French door models, you don’t always need to bend to get at your frozen foods—except for the stuff you keep in the bottom drawers. And on top, next to the icemaker, there’s a great spot to stash frozen pizzas. We applaud this new trend we’ve seen in side-by-side refrigerators, because storing anything tall or wide in their narrow freezers was previously a problem .
Easy to read and easy to use, the control panel is a winner, bright and clear. Water and crushed and cubed ice come through the freezer door.
The doors open easily, and you’ll be pleased at the interior light. You want your fridge to have lighting that enables you to see your food. The FGSC2335TF has bright lights built into the top of the fridge, so it conserves room while maximizing light. The side lights are helpful for lighting lower shelves.
We were blown away by the cool wine bottle/can holders on the door. They’re so convenient, a high-end feature we didn’t expect to find in a model at this price.
Less impressive are the wire drawers on the freezer side. These allow little pieces of frozen vegetables to escape to the bottom of the freezer. Maybe a slipping a tray there would help round them up.
The crisper drawers open noisily, but they do a good job retaining humidity. The cold drawer has its own thermostat, so you can keep deli meats and cheeses in prime condition.
Our tests show that this model performs better than most side-by-sides. Average temperatures in the fresh food side generally remain in the safe range, which is below 40°. If you turn down the fridge temperature a degree or two, it could be even better. Test the factory settings first.
Though the temperature varies, your milk will stay freshest if you keep it close to the bottom of the fridge, where we found it stays coldest. There’s a gallon-size bin there, too.
And the average freezer temperature was okay, too—it also fluctuates, but usually to the cold side, which is preferable. We look for a freezer temp as close as possible to 0°, but if it’s colder than that will keep your food well.
Be aware that it takes a couple of hours for this model to get room temperature food down to freezing, somewhat longer than most. Efficiency is average: It costs about $42 a year to run this refrigerator.
What the owners say
People who’ve purchased this model admire its nice size, good design, smudge-proof finish, and excellent lighting. Don’t expect a silent fridge, though—several buyers mention the noise from the icemaker.
The bottom line
This counter-depth, side-by-side model is a good value. The crisper drawers preserve fresh produce well. Average temperatures in the fridge and freezer are good.
But best of all, high-end features like a frozen pizza section, an adjustable cold drawer, and wine bottle/can holders add to the value of the refrigerator, but not to the price. This counter-depth model never stands proud from your cabinetry, but it can make your kitchen a real standout.
Cindy Bailen loves writing about major appliances and home design and has spent over 15 years immersed in that. In her spare time, Cindy hosts pledge programs for WGBH-TV in Boston and other public television stations.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.