Small Wonder

Oct 11, 2006 (Updated Oct 12, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Spacious vegetable drawer, glass fridge shelves, in-door gallon & soda can storage.

Cons:Light bulb frame takes up premium fridge space, awkward egg compartment

The Bottom Line: They've packed some great, thoughtful features into a small appliance and I was thrilled I could order it with a stainless finish - tough to find. Thanks Danby!

I just received my Danby DFF9102BLS yesterday. Overall, I love it. It takes a lot to impress me, but I'm genuinely surprised and pleased with the number of features the Danby folks thought to incorporate into such a small appliance.

The truth is, once you find yourself looking for a 24" by 24" refrigerator, you're not going to find much of a selection. And once you start looking for a STAINLESS 24" by 24" refrigerator, the choices are even more limited.

The only other refrigerator I considered was the Summit FF1325SS -- this is an interesting model because it is a full 70" tall, which means you get full-sized fridge capacity packed into a 24" space. In the end, I decided against that model only because I didn't want to lose cabinet space above the fridge. But if you don't care about cabinet space, you may want to consider the Summit model too – it’s a pretty cool design.

Freezer Storage:

Freezer ‘Main Cavity’ Space:
The freezer has a single adjustable wire shelf. It's a nice feature that you can move this shelf among three different heights. I've had two different 'compact' refrigerators in the past -- one had a fixed freezer shelf and the other had no shelf, so for me this is a big improvement. The shelf makes it a lot easier to organize your frozen foods and you don't have to lift up the top items every time you need to get to the bottom items.

Freezer Door Space:
There are two shelves built into the freezer door (not adjustable). The bottom freezer door shelf is probably about the same height as you would find in a standard freezer, but the top one is definitely on the short side -- only about enough height for a four-pack of Land 'O Lakes butter or a pack of Ballpark Franks (lying on their sides - not up and down). Not a big deal - just want to point this out in case you've never had a small fridge so you have some idea about what really fits. (Most showrooms don't show these smaller 24" units. You have to order them on faith, so it's good to have a sense about what to expect.)

One complaint about the freezer door shelves worth mentioning: in my opinion, they really should be a bit deeper. Obviously, this would take room away from the 'cavity' of the freezer, but in my mind that would be a worthwhile trade-off. I think freezer door shelves should be deep enough to hold a pint of Ben & Jerry's! And these are not. So while I understand the height constraints, the depth constraints are entirely up to Danby and they missed the boat here. Even if you’re not a big ice cream fan, I think you’ll agree that deeper freezer door shelves would provide better ‘real size fridge’ functionality.

Ice Cube Tray:
O.k., I can’t help myself! I have to mention that the mini ice-cube tray Danby provides with this refrigerator is just plain silly. It makes a few teeny-tiny kid-sized cubes -- probably just enough for one tall drink. Either Danby should give you a real ice-cube tray or just skip the whole thing. Just because you don't have room for a regular fridge doesn't mean you're not a regular person who uses regular ice cubes! Anyhow, don't let this stop you from buying the fridge, but do go out and buy yourself a normal ice cube tray!

Refrigerator Storage
The refrigerator storage is well-lit and easy to arrange. Danby provides four adjustable glass shelves and lots of height placement possibilities. I ended up only using three of the shelves provided, but it's nice that if I want to re-arrange things down the line I'll have an extra shelf.

As a side-note, I highly recommend that whether or not you buy this Danby fridge, you seek out a fridge with glass shelves as opposed to wire or plastic. I've had experience with all three shelf-types in the past. Plastic shelves tend to crack and wire shelves are really tough to clean. Glass shelves make it very easy to see things on lower shelves, they're easy to clean, and in my opinion, they just look a whole lot nicer to boot.

A little troubling is the amount of space taken by the light bulb above the top shelf of this fridge. There is a large plastic frame around the bulb, ostensibly to protect it from being bumped, but the top-shelf is the shelf you use most often and to take up any amount of this 'premium' space with a light bulb protector makes me think someone wasn't wearing a thinking cap the day it was designed.

Vegetable Drawer
The vegetable drawer in this fridge is fantastic - almost as much room as a vegetable drawer in a full-sized fridge. Very clever design. What Danby did is eliminate shelves opposite the vegetable drawer (i.e. in the fridge door) so that the vegetable drawer extends from the back of the fridge all the way forward to the front of the fridge. (i.e. when you close the fridge door, the vegetable door is flush with the inside of the lower portion of the fridge door.) It's also GREAT that the vegetable drawer is clear and the shelf above is clear as well so you can see what vegetables you have without even opening the drawer.

Fridge Door Storage:
Danby gets high marks for a very thoughtful fridge door design. My favorite feature is the ‘CanStor’ unit which let’s you dispense your favorite regular-sized soda cans one-at-a-time right from the inside of the fridge door. Love it! Also clever is the lower fridge door storage shelf, which will hold three half gallons of orange juice lined up side-by-side, or, you can remove a plastic ‘spacer’ and suddenly this shelf accommodates a full gallon of milk and still has room for one half gallon of O.J. Pretty impressive.

The middle door compartment is perfect for storing butter and still has room to spare for cheese.

The egg compartment is the only door storage component that is a little disappointing. In just about every promotional photograph I've seen, it looks as though eggs will sit uniformly in the egg storage section of the fridge door. In reality, the ‘egg compartment’ is just a clear plastic box (no indentations for the eggs) and only about ten of my (large) eggs fit into the bottom of this box. There IS room for a dozen eggs, but they’re stacked up on top of one another. You can’t line them up the way they’re shown in photographs. (Maybe small eggs will line up that way?) Anyhow, again, the compartment will hold the eggs, just not as neatly as I would have liked. I assumed if the box did not have individual ‘indents’ for each egg, at least I would be able to fit the bottom of a 12-pack carton into the box. But it doesn’t fit. The good news is that the egg compartment IS the perfect depth/width to hold a pint of cream! So I’m keeping cream in the egg compartment along with a couple jars of jam and a jar of mustard. This is actually pretty handy, so in the end, I’m happy with it. But I do think the photos I have seen are a little misleading with regards to the reality of the egg storage provided.

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