I want to take a look at the latest under-counter refrigerators, designed primarily to fit under kitchen counters. They are commonly supplied to be fully integrated with matching kitchen cabinet doors.
The size of a standard domestic refrigerator is so common it is even a category in twenty questions “is it bigger or smaller than a refrigerator?’ Refrigerators have been about the same size since the forties when domestic refrigerators first came out. While there are miniature refrigerators for office use, and small freezers for use in the bedroom, they are designed to be used in conjunction with the standard refrigerator. However, there is a shift going on in the world of appliances. Instead of standard sized refrigerators, the market has come out with undercounter refrigerators and undercounter freezers that share the size range with the dishwasher and washing machine, not the closet.
The interesting twist to that is that while refrigerators have been redesigned and shrunk to fit under the counter to the size of washing machines, washing machines and dryers have been redesigned to become as tall as the refrigerator. Instead of having the two laundry appliances separated, they put the washing machine on the bottom and the dryer on top so the combination fits in a much smaller location than the original two appliances next to each other. The refrigerator has shrunk and been separated, and the laundry appliances have been stacked on top of each other.
The biggest difference between a tall refrigerator and a tall laundry combination is where the dirt collects. In the modern kitchen, the dust in the air picks up grease and catches on things, making the top of the refrigerator very grimy very quickly, and because it is taller, it is harder to clean. In the laundry room, the dust doesn’t collect grease, but the top of the dryer and washing machine end up with laundry grime all over them that is hard to clean up. By making short refrigerators, they are easy to clean, and by making tall laundry equipment, it is much more difficult to get it dirty in the first place.