Most people are right-handed, right hand is handy.

However, most small/medium refrigerator doors swing counter-clockwise (top view) by default. This forces you to move/arrange heavy things with your left hand.

Given that the majority of the population is right-handed, this makes things so inconvenient.

Even if you can change the rotation of the door on some large & expensive refrigerators, their factory setting are still default to counter-clockwise.

So why do refrigerator manufacturers prefer doors that swing counter-clockwise by default?

i don't like anti-clockwise door!!!

  • 1
    Is the fridge in this picture of a right- or left-handed design? Personally I would open this door with my right handed so I'm not sure the picture goes with the question or if I open doors in an unconventional way.
    – shufler
    Nov 28, 2011 at 17:29
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    So I have a question - do manufacturers in say, Israel or other Hebrew speaking countries tend to fit them the other way round? No - really. I have a serious theory about this - honestly! Nov 28, 2011 at 18:44
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    I want to thank you who make this question clear and moved it to this proper website. Nov 29, 2011 at 1:57
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    Every fridge, freezer or combined fridgefreezer I have ever owned had reversible doors. On occasion I have reversed them if they were situated where the open door caused an issue. I have never reversed them because I prefer to use my left or right hand, as from a usability perspective it is unimportant - anything you do with a fridge will be easy enough with one hand (either) or require two hands. My current fridge freezer opens with the hinge on the right. I am right handed. This is fine - I use my right hand to open the door, then my left to put things in (both when they're very big)
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 29, 2011 at 9:09
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    @Vitaly: There are other countries where they speak RTL-languages such as Arabic. And indeed, I've never seen a "lefty" fridge, though I had a reversible one, and reversed it to fit my kitchen better.
    – Jonathan
    May 26, 2013 at 20:26

4 Answers 4


The answer is in your question: "Most people are right-handed, right hand is handy". A right-hander would reach for the door with their right hand, and if you don't want the door to open in your face or have to cross your arms while opening, you'd want the door to swing anti-clockwise.

Grabbing a small item with your left hand wouldn't be all that hard. However, I highly doubt that anyone tries to move/lift a heavy item with one hand. In that case, irrespective of which direction the door swings open, you'd open it and then use both hands to lift the item.

  • 4
    Ha! You've never seen me moving a 16 quart stockpot into the fridge. I don't... plan ahead...
    – Shog9
    Nov 28, 2011 at 17:39
  • I'd support the use of the right hand to open argument. You can get more pull if you pull straight back with your right hand.
    – PhillipW
    Nov 28, 2011 at 18:23
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    My habit is like this: unhandy hand do easy job, handy hand do hard/heavy job. Open refrigerator door (and keep the door opening because the door will close automatically) is easy job, move/arrange things (such as move half of a big watermelon, or arrange things if there's no enough space, or arrange a dozen of eggs carefully) into refrigerator is hard/heavy/complex job for me. So, as a right-handed person, I prefer use left hand to open door (easy job), use right hand to move/arrange things (complex job). Nov 29, 2011 at 3:05
  • @LiuYan刘研 It's easy to do with the unhandy hand when you're conscious of it. But, 99% of the time you won't be moving stuff that requires superhuman strength, and you'll subconsciously reach for the handle with your dominant hand. I hope you realize that it would piss a lot of people off, especially those that don't do complex jobs with their refrigerator most of the the time.
    – user9874
    Nov 29, 2011 at 3:37

You'll have to poll some major manufacturers of refrigerators.

I would guess at this point in in time (today's world) it has to do with what people are buying/demanding. Families, Apartment managers, companies, and anyone else with the need for a fridge.

I will also assume that you buy a refrigerator based on the configuration of where you will install it. Some spots require a refrigerator to open from the left-side, other the right, and still other it doesn't matter as there is enough space between it and other counters/appliances. Industrial freezers are the same way, and lets not forget fridges that open from the middle.

For example, I've rented apartments where the door opened with the right-hand and it blocked or hit something. My immediate thought was, why didn't they install a fridge that opened from the other side. I call them up and they say we can replace it, or we don't have any that open from the other side.

  • 2
    Every fridge I've seen (at least larger than one intended only for chilling your drink cans) can have the door easily moved to the other side. So, really, if it opens on the wrong side, the installer was lazy (or, I suppose, for non-professional installation, unaware of this).
    – derobert
    Nov 28, 2011 at 21:17
  • Yes, most fridges are reversible nowadays. Not so 20 years ago...
    – Jonathan
    Mar 12, 2014 at 13:05

As the above has mentioned, I would have also assumed it's based on where you install it. Also, say if you're kitchen is to the right of your fridge, you'd want the fridge to open clock-wise for quicker access?


Contrary to some of the claims above, NOT ALL modern fridges have reversible doors and those that do often have very poorly executed designs. Here in the UK I have just bought a Hotpoint Fridge Freezer and with my kitchen layout it needed the doors to open the opposite way. I am a keen DIY'er (i've built my own house), but for a novice this would have been a big or at least an awkward job. Firstly they used Star screw bits (TORX)... but didn't include a free screwdriver (cheapskates). They marked but did not pre-drill the hinge mounts so a 3mm drill bit was required. then there was a requirement to fit spacers once the centre hinge was inverted, and then, both the top and bottom fascia plates had to be modified and a panel in the door swapped round as well as moving the door handles over. the only reference to swapping the door over was an exploded diagram (ikea style) on a loose A4 sheet. no manual, instructions or tool requirements so if you needed to get it up and running on the day it arrived then you better hope the shops are still open if you haven't got the tools !! Moral of the story GET THE DETAILS AT THE STORE- ASK THEM TO SHOW YOU WHATS INVOLVED. A decent independent dealer will do it for you unless its being drop shipped from a distributor of course. I understand that manufacturers cannot have both opening options as stock items but good design seems to be lacking even on an expensive model. mine cost £450GBP ($600 approx) so i'm not talking about a baseline budget model

  • Hello and welcome to ux! Please not that stackexchange wants answers to be complete and standalone. Auxillary replies like yours would better fit a comment.
    – peterchen
    Jun 4, 2015 at 7:36

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