Refrigerator Next to Stove in Kitchen

refrigerator next to stove in a kitchen with white and black interior

The main appliances of a kitchen are the stove and oven, range hood, microwave, and refrigerator. If purchasing an existing home, you may not have the option to change the kitchen’s layout, at least for a while. But if you have a home newly built, it’s a good idea to plan for the placement of these appliances.

Many home buyers and owners ask the same question—can they put a refrigerator right next to the stove in the kitchen? This guide will discuss whether these appliances can go side by side in, the drawbacks, and what to do when you have a tiny kitchen[toc]

Can You Put A Stove Next To Refrigerator?

The short answer is yes. A stove can be right next to a refrigerator, especially in a very small kitchen. However, it’s not the best placement for two appliances that serve the opposite functions: to cool and to heat. Read more about how to organize a small kitchen here.

If working with a tiny kitchen, there may not be many options for the two largest appliances to be separated. In a galley kitchen, the fridge and oven with stovetop are typically across from each other. 

Problems With A Stove Next To Fridge

The heat from the stove, especially when cooking large pots of sauces, soups, or stew, may cause the refrigerator’s compressor to work longer and harder to keep the fridge at the proper temperature. 

modern compact white kitchen interior with built in gas stove refrigerator oven

The extra work the refrigerator has to do also wears out parts faster, leading to expensive repairs. It can also raise energy bills as the fridge has to run longer.

There may also be local building code restrictions for placing refrigerators right next to stoves. The homeowner needs to contact the city or county building code enforcement agency to check for any restrictions and requirements for the placement and spacing

Having a fridge close to the cooktop also creates a hard-to-reach area to clean. Cooking on a stove often causes splatters and spills. 

The liquids may hit the side of the fridge, allowing the mess to drip down between the two appliances and onto the floor. It could be challenging to clean if the fridge is not on wheels. 

Heat Shield For Refrigerator Next To Stove

A heat shield is commonly placed on the side of the refrigerator against the stove. Many hardware and home improvement stores sell heat shields made specifically for use when the two appliances are side by side.

The shield protects from the stove and oven’s heat and can handle temperatures even higher than the oven and stove generate.

modern bright kitchen interior with a dinner table refrigerator gas range and white overhead cabinets

Heat shields work by redirecting the radiant heat away from refrigerators. Some heat shields can reflect as much as 90 percent of the radiant heat, saving money by increasing the fridge’s efficiency. 

Most heat shields are easy to install and clean. Always be sure whatever type of heat shield you use is noncombustible and flame resistant to prevent fire. 

How Close Can A Stove Be To A Refrigerator

Installers recommend a good 15 to 20 inches between the refrigerator and stove, with a minimum of nine inches. The 20-inch distance is essential when the stove is gas, making the heat more intense. 

kitchen with sink is attached to pantry ceramic items on table new tiles and fridge near stove and kitchen tools

Electric stoves are best positioned at least nine inches away from refrigerators; however, in the case of a tiny kitchen, the fridge can be a minimum distance of two inches away from electric stoves.

Besides the heat transfer, the other considerations include safety and convenience. If the fridge is right next to the stovetop, there is little room for frying pan handles to extend out from the stovetop. 

In an emergency, such as a flaming pan of hot oil, it may be too dangerous to grab the handle if it’s extended across other burners. And many handles may melt or, at the least, become very hot, risking a severe burn. 

The lack of space between the appliances creates a cumbersome work area. Without room for the handles of pots and pans to be away from each other, it becomes difficult to maneuver when juggling several items cooking simultaneously. 

At least 12 inches of space between the refrigerators and stoves makes for a safer and more convenient distance in any kitchen layout

Where Should Refrigerator And Stove Be Placed In Kitchen?

For new kitchens where the design is flexible, the refrigerator, stove, and oven combo, and dishwasher are typically placed in a triangular placement. The refrigerator is best placed near the counter, most used for food prep, and close to the sink.

Kitchen designers prefer to place stoves and ovens across from refrigerators for easy access to ingredients when cooking. The distance should allow the refrigerator and oven door to be open simultaneously without interfering with foot traffic. 

small compact kitchen with white cabinets and modern stainless steel appliances

This helps to prevent accidental burns when removing items from a hot oven. Having the refrigerator, stove, and sink within four feet of each other provides enough space to move around while cooking. An area not more than nine feet is ultimately the best to allow easy access to all appliances

For a small kitchen, the refrigerator can be placed next to the stove instead of across from it, especially if the homeowner cannot open the oven and refrigerator simultaneously. In this case, it would work better to have the sink and dishwasher on the same side or wall. 

Galley kitchens are challenging when placing appliances without a wide area between both walls. Galley kitchens are typically 12 feet from wall to wall with three feet of walking space between them. 

This narrow space may make it impossible to have both the fridge and oven open at the same time. Four to five feet make it easier to keep the refrigerator and stove across from each other rather than right next to each other. 

For more related topics visit stove in corner of kitchen pros and cons page.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for the informative article. We hope to move the gas stove 9 inches away and utilize a pull out cookie sheet drawer. Instead of a wood panel on the side of the fridge we hope to use a formica that blends with the solid top that we are using from Lowes.
    How do you feel about a pale gray flat panel (shaker style door). I am tired of white because when it is finally sunny out I have to wipe the cabinets instead of heading out the door for a walk downtown.
    Thanks for any input that you may decide to share in a reply.

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