It’s an appliance jungle out there and choosing a fridge these days is challenging.
Are you overwhelmed by the enormous selection? Especially when you throw in the need for accessibility.
Zero in on the features that are listed below and narrow down your fridge choices in the blink of an eye.
What to look for in an accessible fridge
#1) Freezer placement
Look for a fridge with a freezer at the bottom for easier access. They are available in either single or French style (double) doors on the fridge section. LG offers fridges with 2 separate exterior pull-out freezer drawers or a single pull-out drawer with 2 or 3 tiered interior freezer drawers. These are great for food organization and easy accessibility.
- Alternatively you can choose a side by side model which has 2 vertical sections/compartments beside each other. One for the freezer and the other for the fridge.
- TIP: Even though there are a large number of ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant fridges with top-freezers there are better options available with greater access to all areas.
#2) Easy-open door
- Ensure the door has easy to use handles. Long vertical ones (vs. horizontal) may be the easiest to use as everybody can choose their most comfortable operating height. The ADA specifies a maximum 5lbs of operating force needed to open a door. TIP: Single doors require more clearance to open than French doors.
LG has an eco-friendly ‘door in door‘ feature that has an easily accessed section just inside the door to keep the most often reached for items like drinks or snacks. You can even choose the model with ‘insta-view’ which illuminates this section of the fridge without opening the door, simply by knocking twice on the tinted glass panel.
#3) Fridge depth
- Gain some extra important clear floor space and make maneuvering around your kitchen easier by installing a counter-depth fridge. TIP: The doors will protrude past the counter-top as it’s only the fridge body that is counter-depth.
Interior lights. A well-lit fridge interior will help you see everything you are looking for. G.E. has models with ‘show-case lighting’.
Water and ice dispensers. These can really increase the convenience factor in a small kitchen and are easily accessible to people of all ages and abilities. G.E. even has a fridge with built-in hot water dispensers that work with Keurig pods.
Temperature controls. Make sure they are easy to reach and simple to use. Push-buttons may not necessarily be easier to use than a simple large dial. I once had a horribly difficult to understand digital system that I could never quite figure out.
They are single drawers that fit in your base cabinets and can therefore be mounted at a height that suits you best. Love these, but…..Consumer Reports says they are expensive and not energy efficient. We hope the manufacturers are working to remedy those issues.
Fridges are great examples of products that are becoming more and more accessible without them being specifically designed for ADA standards (even though there are ADA compliant models).
Manufacturers are designing fridges to be easier for everybody to use and access. With all the features that are available today in the appliance world, you will certainly find an accessible fridge that is perfect for your home.
Are there any particular features that you absolutely love about your fridge?
Read more about how to make your kitchen accessible.