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All Freezer, All the Time

The stand-alone model has moved up from the basement into the kitchen. Be sure to pick the right model for you.

They're like those celebrity couples you never really imagined going solo: The reliable old kitchen freezer has split from the refrigerator and is now available on its own. And remodeling homeowners are snapping up different models in trend-setting numbers.

Sure, there are still plenty of side by side and top-mount freezer units available. But the "all freezer," available from companies as varied as Sub-Zero, Viking, Danby, Frigidaire and GE is popping up everywhere in undercounter, drawer and giant upright units.

If you've been bitten by the all freezer bug, take the benefits and shortfalls into consideration before choosing one for a remodel, says Justin Breckle, branch manager for Roth Concept Center in St. Louis. His company has lavish showrooms in six American cities that display the latest appliances in complete kitchens.

Pick a size based on what your space will allow and how often you use the freezer. While units like the 36-inch Sub-Zero All Freezer are very attractive, "you should first consider how much food you store," he says. "If you're the type who goes to the store every couple of days for the freshest stuff or eats mostly organic produce, you probably don't need a separate freezer at all. If, on the other hand, you have lots of kids or you're always on the go and eat lots of frozen dinners, that large freezer might make sense."

Don't try to work a giant unit into an old kitchen design. "There's just not a place for it," Justin says. "It's much more likely you could incorporate an undercounter or drawer unit into an existing design."

Look at the smaller models. "As the population ages and more older buyers 'don't do stairs,' it's becoming more appealing to replace the chest model in the basement with a model you can work into the design of your older kitchen. An undercounter model with 5 cubic feet of space is plenty for most people, or you might want to consider a freezer drawer."

Leave the chest units out of sight. Not that there's anything wrong with the reliable standby for freezing freshly caught fish, the summer berry harvest or loads of casseroles for maternity leave. But chest freezers are just not attractive enough to look at in the kitchen, so don't count on them as an integral part of your design.

Place the all freezer carefully for some improved kitchen traffic flow. "The way a typical kitchen is set up, the refrigerator freezer is in the most accessible place," says Justin. "But with a combined unit, you're using the refrigerator 90 percent of the time and the freezer just 10 percent. If you purchase an all freezer, it doesn't need to go in the most accessible spot. It can go off to the corner somewhere."

Consider what kind of ice would be nice. When one of the main attractions of a separate freezer is more abundant ice, you need to do your homework, says Justin. "Some units have crushed or filtered water ice, some do not. Whether that should influence your purchase just depends on how picky you are about your ice." If on further examination you discover that the increased ice is the primary reason you're buying an all freezer, it might be lots easier just to fit an undercounter ice maker into your remodel. Sub-Zero makes one model, and lesser known companies such as Avanti and Hoshizaki make others.

Sub-Zero 36-inch All Freezer, freezer drawers, undercounter ice maker
www.subzero.com

Viking Designer Series All Freezer
www.vikingrange.com

Summit Compact Drawer Freezer
www.summitcommercial.com

Avanti IM20SS Mini Ice Maker
www.avantiproducts.com

Roth Distributing Co. and Roth Concept Center
www.rothdistributing.com

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