Which Way Should A Refrigerator Door Open?

If you're shopping for a new fridge or just having trouble getting your old fridge to work in your kitchen layout, you might be wondering about options. The frustration of a refrigerator door that always hits a counter or wall, or blocks traffic, is very real!

There's one solution that seems obvious, which makes you wonder - which way should a refrigerator door open? Can you change it? We've checked with appliance experts for everything you need to know about your fridge door.

While there's a variety of door options for modern refrigerators, many offer a single door on one set of hinges. Which way the refrigerator door opens depends on the placement of the hinges. The hinges can be reversed, to the right or left side, making the door reversible.

This means that the refrigerator door can be installed to open in either direction, as the buyer prefers. The way that the refrigerator door swings open often depends on the dominant hand they use to open the fridge.

Keep reading, and we'll cover the difference between a right or left-hand door and which one you should pick. We'll explain how to switch the door swinging and what refrigerators don't have reversible doors. Then we'll explain some reasons that your fridge doors might be uneven, how to fix that [and why it's important!]

An open refrigerator full of juice and fresh vegetables, Which Way Should A Refrigerator Door Open?

Which Way Should A Refrigerator Door Open?

Since the hinges are usually reversible, the refrigerator door can open in either direction. The way to tell is to look at the door swing. You can look at the door and how it opens. Additionally, the fridge specifications should say right or left-hand door swing.

  • Right-hand door swing: The handle is on the left facing the door. The hinges are on the right.  The door opens left to right and is made to open with the right hand.
  • Left-hand door swing: Ideal for most lefties; the hinges are on the left side, and the handle is on the right. The door opens right to left.

In most appliance displays, the door is mounted for right-handed users. This is undoubtedly just to make them seem more natural and appealing. Since most users are right-handed, it makes sense to display them that way.

If you buy your fridge already assembled, then it's likely that the door is mounted this way as well. But most of the time, this can be swapped if you prefer.

It's entirely up to the people using the fridge in the end. Ultimately, you can pick whatever direction works best for you. Overall, most people go with the door swing best for their dominant hand. But sometimes, you might need to change the way the door opens - not because of natural preference but because of an obstruction in the kitchen.

In addition to these reasons, you can also save time and make it easier to get in and out of the fridge by opening the door to your counter or workspace. A well-placed door can, as a result,  make food preparation much faster and more convenient.

Open door of home fridge with dairy products and view of city through window in night

Can You Change The Way Your Fridge Door Opens?

Even if you've had your fridge for a while, changing the way that the fridge door opens is usually a simple task. You can change it at any time. If you've recently reconfigured the kitchen space, it's easy to change the swing of the door to work better in the new layout.

Just follow the steps outlined in your product manual. If you don't still have the manual, they're usually easy to find online. Reversing the door is usually a pretty simple process of simply reversing the position of the hinges and the handle. All it takes is a screwdriver and a wrench.

Just ask the retailer if you're buying a new fridge and know that you'll need the door reversed. In most cases, this is a service offered for free. Sometimes, the installation team will do it in your house after delivery, and it only takes a few minutes. Other times, they'll do it in the store before delivery.

Are All Refrigerator Doors Reversible?

In most cases, you can change the way your fridge door opens. If you're shopping for a new fridge, confirm with a salesperson about your specific model. There are some exceptions where the door is not reversible.

Primarily, this applies to fridges with built-in features like water or ice dispensers or electronics installed in the door.

Other styles of doors may also not be reversible. For example, newer "see-through" doors or French doors do not open like the traditional refrigerator doors. Whether or not you can adjust the way these doors open varies based on the model.

Opened smart refrigerator with LCD screen

Why Are My Fridge Doors Uneven?

There are a few simple reasons that your fridge doors are uneven. These include:

The refrigerator is not level

Use a level to make sure that the fridge is even and aligns when looking side-to-side.  Also, make sure that the floor underneath the refrigerator is level. If the floor is uneven, you might need to use shims to correct it.

The doors are empty

The doors will not "sit" the same without food in them. The design depends on sitting level when carrying a certain weight of food. If one door is full and the other is empty, you can see a difference. Fill the fridge. When the doors are in use, you might see a different result.

You didn't align or adjust the doors when installing

The worker is fixing the refrigerator in the kitchen

Check your manual for specific instructions, or keep reading for some general tips.

How Do You Fix A Misaligned Refrigerator Door?

It's important to keep your refrigerator door aligned. If the refrigerator is not lined up correctly, it can affect how the coolant moves through the fridge. This can cause cooling issues or keep your ice maker from working properly.

Not to mention, it just looks terrible!

How Do I Stop My Refrigerator Door From Hitting The Wall?

There are several fairly easy methods to stop your refrigerator door from hitting the wall. There is, of course, reversing the door - by changing the direction the door opens, you can probably prevent it from hitting the wall. This option is discussed at length elsewhere in the article, so it doesn't need to be covered again.

Other ways to keep your refrigerator door from hitting the wall include:

Adjust The Built-In Doorstop

In most standard refrigerators, there's a doorstop that you can set. This controls how far the door can swing open. If your kitchen layout doesn't leave enough room for the door to swing wide, then try just lowering the range of movement.

The standard setting for most doors is 130 degrees. Check your manual to see if you can reduce this. The doorstop is usually part of the top or bottom hinge.

Replace The Doorstop

If your fridge's doorstop is no longer working properly, then it might need replacing. You can find replacement door stop parts online, but you'll need to make sure it's compatible with your fridge.

Block The Door

If you can't find a way to get the door to stop hitting the wall, then the only option left is to block it! Put a manual doorstop or wall protector. Maybe you can't fix the door's swing, but at least you can prevent it from damaging the wall.

Click here to see this doorstop on Amazon.

In Conclusion

Most refrigerators with a single door on one set of hinges are reversible. The hinges switch from the right or left side, with the handle then moving to the opposite side. This means that most fridge doors can open from either direction, and it only depends on the installation.

You can pick which one suits your dominant hand or works best for your kitchen layout. It's typically a simple process that only takes a few minutes, a screwdriver, and a wrench. No matter how long you've had your fridge, you can switch the door if it's more convenient for your kitchen.

If you enjoyed this article, see also:

What Happens If You Overfill A Fridge?

How Far Should A Fridge Stick Out Past The Counter?

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