While there are no official criteria or definitions for column refrigeration units, we’re going to define them as full-height, *built-in refrigerator, freezer, and wine units.
The main advantages to columns are the flexibility of capacity and location. Depending on the appliance brand, column widths include 18”, 22” (Miele), 24”, 30”, and 36”. Smaller families might prefer an 18” wide freezer and a 30” refrigerator, while a larger family may want a 24” freezer and a 36” wide refrigerator. The two units may be placed next to each other in a side-by-side configuration below, or they may be used as bookends perhaps with workspace, a dishwasher, and a sink separating them.
In the configuration below, an appliance wall features separate wine storage, freezer, and refrigerator.
Early on, European brands Miele, Gaggenau, and Thermador brands dominated the column refrigeration category. While all are made in the same factory in Turkey, the three brands have different features. Sub Zero, with their massive new refrigeration launch beginning in 2013, quickly became a major factor in column refrigeration. More recently, Bosch (parent of the Gagganau, Thermador brands) has added column refrigeration, as has GE Monogram. Other brands promoting columns are Marvel, and the commercial oriented refrigerator brand Perlick.
As you might expect, purchasing separate units is likely to cost more than a single refrigerator/freezer unit. Nevertheless, columns are becoming increasingly popular. It appears that to be a member in good standing in the luxury category, brands must offer column refrigeration. Hence, Dacor and Jenn-Air have recently entered the fray with refrigerator columns, and GE Monogram has just announced a 120,000 square foot expansion at its Selma, Tenn. refrigerator plant for new column refrigerators and freezers.
*Frigidaire/Electrolux needs a mention here, because of their “all refrigerator” and “all freezer” configurations. However, they are not true built-ins, but what the industry considers counter depth models. This means that they can not be installed flush with the cabinet fronts.
COMING SOON: Part 2 of this series on refrigeration focuses on key features of specific column refrigerator brands.
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