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What Every Shopper Should Know about Refrigerator Dispensers

by Olly Mason

Once all other refrigerator features have been researched, it’s time to take a moment to think about a water and ice dispenser. While they may seem like a convenient perk, dispensers come with a unique set of considerations that are either practical or unnecessary depending on the household.

Follow along in this series to learn about the pros and cons of water dispensers, which refrigerator styles to find them on, as well as innovative dispensers that may be just what your kitchen is missing.

Person using water dispenser on KitchenAid krsf705hbs French door refrigerator

Which Refrigerators Use Dispensers?

First and foremost, shoppers who have high hopes of purchasing a refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser will need to know that not all refrigerator styles come with the option. Water dispenser refrigerators come mainly in side-by-side and French door configurations. The former is the most popular style, while the latter has more options thanks to the vertical layout of the freezer which allows more room for an ice-maker.

Although some top-mount  and bottom-mount refrigerators might feature an internal dispenser, it’s rare, while neither come with the option of an external water and ice dispenser.

However, both styles often come with the option to include an ice-maker, though buyers should be aware that this will take up some space in the freezer. What’s more, while these base models are relatively affordable, the cost of a dispenser fridge can shoot up considerably due to the styles that carry the feature and — and even that can vary between internal dispensers and external dispenser models. 

Internal Water and Ice Dispensers

Before thinking a water and ice dispenser doesn’t work in minimalist kitchen aesthetics, let us plead the case for internal water dispensers. Rather than being installed into the door, internal dispensers fit discreetly on a refrigerator wall, while the ice-maker is located inside the freezer.

Front view of Beko BFFD3624SS French door refrigerator

Internal Water Dispenser Pros

✓ Placing the dispenser within the fridge prevents water spills on the refrigerator surface, meaning hard-to-clean water stains are virtually non-existent.

✓ Internal dispensers allow the ice-maker to be relocated in the freezer, freeing up more space in the refrigerator compartment.

✓ An internal water dispensers provides a clean appearance of a solid refrigerator front.

Internal Water Dispenser Cons

In order to access water, users need to open the fridge, which lets out cold air.

Opening the refrigerator for water might be cumbersome for some users.

We’re particularly fans of the Beko 19.86 Cu. Ft. Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator (BFFD3624SS) with an internal water dispenser. The exterior with designer handles and a fingerprint-resistant stainless-steel finish showcases impeccably thanks to the intelligent design of an internal water dispenser. What’s better, this three-door Beko refrigerator delivers performance with a Turbo Ice Maker capable of making 11 pounds of ice in 24 hours.

Internal water dispenser inside Beko BFFD3624SS refrigerator

External Water and Ice Dispensers

On the other hand, busy households who value water and ice in even greater demand might enjoy the easy access of an external water and ice dispenser. On top of convenience, many refrigerators with external water dispensers have been designed to maximize user experience by including features like a second ice maker or LG’s Craft Ice Series refrigerators that make clear ice spheres.

In order to maximize refrigerator capacity, many refrigerator brands relocate the ice-maker from the refrigerator compartment to inside the door.

LG LFXC22526S French door refrigerator with doors open

Take a look at how the following examples make good use of this innovative configuration.

LG wants to keep the party going with dual ice makers on select models. This LG Counter-Depth French Door refrigerator (LFXC22526S) comes with two ice-makers — one in the door and another in the freezer — for enough ice to quench large crowds from family to parties.

Like LG, GE Profile also carries a list of refrigerators with double ice-makers. As an added perk, this GE Profile Counter-Depth French Door fridge (PYE22KYNFS) features a water dispenser capable of hands-free autofill for even easier dispensing.

External water dispenser on Frigidaire FGHB2868TF French door refrigerator

External Water Dispenser Pros

✓ Outside access to water and ice help to retain cold temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer.

✓ External water and ice dispensers are easier to use.

External Water Dispenser Cons

✗ External water dispensers don’t provide a truly seamless look.

✗ External water dispensers are subject to more bacteria and germ exposure.

✗ Side-by-side refrigerators with external water and ice dispensers typically have less usable freezer space.

Front view of Frigidaire FGHB2868TF French door refrigerator

Specialty Refrigerator Dispensers

While features such as hands-free autofill on select GE Profile refrigerators are especially handy, refrigerator brands are continuously developing innovative ideas for other jobs around the kitchen.

Take GE Café refrigerators, for example. This lineup of high-end fridges isn’t only modern in looks, but in function, too. On top of regular water and ice dispensing, select models also come with a hot water option and Keurig dispenser.

Front view of GE Cafe French door refrigerator with water dispenser

By including hot water on tap, users are able to enjoy hot water for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate without having to boil water on a cooktop or inside a microwave.

And with a compact footprint that fits right in the door of the refrigerator, the Keurig dispenser is a smart way to include the convenience of a Keurig machine without the space required on a countertop.

Closeup of hot water and Keurig dispenser on Café French door refrigerator

Dependable Refrigerators Near You

Whether you’re shopping in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, or Iowa, Grand Appliance and TV is the number one destination for reliable refrigerators with the latest features. With 25 locations, we carry a large inventory of in-stock appliances to meet your design needs and expectations. Shop online or in-store today!