Remember the early aughts, when front of fridge water dispensers were still kind of a new thing, and you could be all like “Wow, it crushes and cubes? The future is now!”? Cut to a quarter of a century later, and the feature is ubiquitous—whether you’re poking around a mid-level rental or the kitchen of some hoity-toity $2-million listing, chances are the fridge comes with an exterior dispenser, possibly one with a touch screen, temperature controls and the ability to sense the size of the glass placed beneath it.
BUT just because something is ubiquitous (or, quite frankly, more expensive), it doesn’t mean it’s good. And while I fear alienating two-thirds of our readership by saying this, it has to be said. Front of fridge water dispensers suck. Suck suck suck suck suck.
I’ve quietly maintained this position of suckage for a while, nodding my head and forcing a smile while your stupid refrigerator gives me a tepid dribble of water or spews ice cubes all over the floor. But recently, I’ve come to realize I’m not alone. The tide is turning.
First came the aesthetic haters, with their sensible contention that you don’t want a bunch of junk mucking up the front of an appliance that would otherwise not be the focal point of your kitchen. Driven by high-end designers and a minimalist, Scandi-inspired look, we saw a push towards sleek, paneled refrigerators (which, in fairness, add several thousand dollars to the overall price) in the past decade. “Not only does the consumer want a seamless look of decorative panels,” says interior designer Jeanne K Chung, NKBA Member and Principal at Cozy·Stylish·Chic. “but now there are [simply] more (and better) options on the market.”