Counter-depth refrigerators are great for people who are investing in a kitchen for the long haul. Aesthetically, they add value to a home. They’re sleekly flush to your other kitchen units and have that beautiful built-in look which can turn your kitchen into a space which looks like it’s set up for professional food prep. If you’re a home chef, you’ll want to work somewhere that inspires you. They’re also great if you have a kitchen island, or if you simply don’t have a great deal of space to work with.
Kitchenaid Krfc300ess review
The Kitchenaid KRFC300ESS is a great choice if you want an elegant, contemporary, and compact fridge which will accommodate a professional couple or family of three. The cold water and ice dispensers are both accessible from the inside, highly efficient, and yet putting an exceptionally low burden on your energy bill each year.
This model has bells, but not all of the whistles. For example, although it has a flexible interior set-up and provides granular control (enabling you to change the temp using a touch-screen top front of the fridge interior), it does not have smart home features.
It won’t connect with your Wi-Fi or send use-by notifications to your phone. Nor will it detect and filter away the ethylene gases released by ripening fruit, which may encourage your other produce to go off too quickly.
If you feel like you’ve gone through your life quite happily without your appliances helping you to write a shopping list or control your produce control, but you do want a fridge which looks upscale and luxurious, then this model could be a good bet for your home.
We’re going to condense the key product specifications for you here, and then look at the key selling points in a little more detail.
Dimensions & Storage
- Height: 70-1/8"
- Width: 35-3/4"
- Depth: 29-3/8"
- Cutout instructions: allow extra half-inch on all sides and an extra inch to the rear.
- 20 cubic feet capacity: 14 fridge; 6 refrigerator
- 5 interior refrigerator shelves
- 6 fridge bins (3 adjustable, 3 fixed)
- 2 interior wire freezer shelves
- Cold water dispenser
- Automatic Ice Maker
- ExtendFresh Temperature Management System
- Produce Preserver & Humidity-Controlled Crispers
- FreshChill™ Temperature-Controlled
- LED Lighting
- ENERGY STAR® Certified
- Metal Wine Rack
Storage & Layout
When space is at a premium, then you want maximum flexibility about how to use that space. There are three fixed bins and a removable wine rack. You can adjust (or remove) the door shelves if your life is full of tall soda bottles. You can take out that partition in the full-width drawer that runs along the base of the fridge.
It’s beautifully lit and there are no hiding places, not with such a shallow enclosure. This at least prevents overstocking or accumulating a collection of condiments which are only supposed to last a few days after opening. The shelves have a spill-resistant lining, which makes them easier to clean. This has proved a welcome feature for many owners.
However, all products have their caveats, and we’ve noted a couple of persistent themes within the customer feedback for this fridge.
Firstly, you need to plan your shelf space well. On the upside, it’s great to get a pizza box on the shelf and still have room for a few jars alongside. That said, you need to organize your shelf space so that the larger jars or bottles sit toward the back because there is an inch or so of space between the shelves’ rear edges and the back wall of the fridge. While this prevents overchill damage to any egg or dairy items which you have chosen to keep outside the bins, it can somewhat limit the way you position your smaller pots and jars.
Secondly, we caution you to take great initial care in using loading and unloading the adjustable bins until you get an idea of how much force to use, and the angle required to move them. Maneuvering fitted items in a confined space always takes a little practice.
Beautiful, sleek, fresh, and modern. These are all words which recur over and again when people describe the look of this fridge in their kitchen. The entire unit comes in black, white or stainless steel. The fact that the ice and water dispensers are located inside the appliance definitely helps the Gestalt effect of the futuristic, elegant exterior.
All three designs are enhanced by the sturdy handles with the knurled pattern to disguise the appearance of fingerprints and marks. The generous depth between handle and fridge surface is particularly useful with the stainless steel design, which does not come with the fingerprint-resistant coating which graces some of the dearer stainless-steel appliances. A few customers have expressed a little exasperation that it’s easy to handmark the impeccable exterior, but the surface can be made immaculate again easily with a light mist of stainless steel spray and a microfiber cloth.
Energy & Temperature
This product has been awarded the Energy star for meeting or exceeding the US requirements for energy efficiency. It’ll impose a relatively low burden on your annual costs (around $70 to run) and contributes towards a global aim of reducing the carbon footprint. The estimated annual electricity consumption is 563kWh.
This is a modest usage given that this unit has a bottom-mounted freezer with a substantial icemaker and water dispensers, automatic defrost capacity throughout, and strong LED lighting in both fridge and freezer sections. The ExtendFresh system operates to monitor temperature in the fridge and freezer to keep them at a safe 38° and 0° respectively. Granular control is offered through the little touchscreen control panel up top at the front. No need to go peering deep between the shelves to see how your fridge is performing, or to take up space with a separate thermometer. There is a designated crisper drawer to extend the fridge life of vegetables which would otherwise wilt quickly in an environment of overly moist cold.
It’s a quiet, bright and inviting fridge which has a touchscreen temperature control panel so you can assure yourself that your food remains at that 38° optimal level.
The French door fridge and freezer seals are robust and an alarm will sound if one of the doors is accidentally left open or ajar. This can save a heck of a lot of money if a little one decides it’s time for an ice pop but runs off with his or her prize before concealing the evidence of their grab-and-go mission by closing everything up.
That said, even the happiest KRFC300ESS users have drawn attention to a design oddity which seems counter-productive to the conservation of energy, and we’ll come right onto that as we cover the last feature section on the ice and water dispensers.
The ice dispenser is large, sitting in the left side of the top wire freezer drawer. It produces fat ice slices and will make your inner bartender very happy, particularly if you do a lot of entertaining. In fact, the ice machine takes up about 40% of the top rack space.
The obvious downside is a reduced storage capacity for your food. To an extent, you can mitigate this inconvenience by using space-saving products which also help you to see exactly what you have in stock at any time, but there is no denying that the freezer storage on that top shelf isn’t particularly generous. It’s one of the aspects of the KRFC300ESS which perhaps make this appliance more suitable to a professional couple than a family of four, for example.
The water dispenser operates with a button and spigot on the inner side of the door. It runs fast and reliably cold—again, great for frequent entertainers at home. A key benefit to having the water dispenser on the inside is to retain that sleek exterior. The added bonus is that no drips or dribbles can make their way down the front of the fridge to the floor.
That said, here is the design oddity mentioned in the section on energy use: because of the seal design on the French doors, you need to have both doors open just to use the water dispenser. Operating the dispenser is also a two-handed job: one to hold the button, and the other to keep the cup beneath the spigot below the button. Though the system is elegant and reliable, this double-door system does seem a little short-sighted given how much thought has been put into the flexibility of the interior design. You can downscale the impact of this flaw by multi-tasking; keep a cup in the fridge and rehydrate whenever you’re getting food out for prep anyway.
A value-adding appliance for a professional-looking, upscale kitchen in three designs which will combine with the rest of your appliances. It’s a good option for a couple that entertains frequently, but may be a little too limited in its capacity for families of four, or for foodies who need their condiment space.
That said, the interior is laid out in a way that gives you good flexibility to set up the shelves and drawers as you want them, and the ice and water dispensers are fast and reliable, albeit with their respective storage/access issues.