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How to Choose the Right Refrigerator Door Configuration

by Lauren Busser The House Designers’ Editorial Director

When you start to think about appliances for your kitchen, you'll want to select items that will fit your lifestyle. Refrigerators and food preservation are a top priority in a kitchen but with refrigerators coming in a variety of configurations, sometimes it is hard to know where to begin when shopping for one. In addition to determining size and fit, you will find that different configurations have different benefits and drawbacks. We looked at some of the most popular refrigerator models and assessed the benefits of each.

Therma-Tru Classic-Craft Canvas Collection

The Whirlpool® 21 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator with Optional Icemaker is the classic refrigerator configuration. This energy-efficient model has a modern look with a stainless steel finish. Features like RightFit™ gallon doorbins that are perfectly sized to hold gallon containers of your favorite beverages, and SpillMizer™ glass shelves that offer easy cleanup. An easy-to-install ice maker completes this modern take on an old classic.

Freezer on the Top

Refrigerators with freezers on top are the most popular. They cost less to operate than side-by-side refrigerators, but they do require you to bend down to reach the bottom shelves and drawers. Also, the wide doors may not work in narrow kitchens and you won’t find ice dispensers in most of these models.

GE Artistry Series 20.3 Cu. Ft. Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator

The GE®Artistry™ Series features a 20.3 Cu. Ft. Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator. This model is 30” wide with high-gloss stainless handles. It comes equipped for an optional ice maker and two clear drawers. Upfront temperature controls regulate both fresh food and freezer sections.

Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator

This model, sometimes called the “upside down” configuration offers an eye-level refrigerator. Bottom freezer types are generally the most economical to operate but may cost more to buy. One downside is that food may be harder to locate in a bottom freezer, and for that reason you may want to consider looking for a model that features roll-out or pull out baskets in your bottom freezer model.

Whirlpool 21 cu ft. Counter Depth Side-by-Side Refrigerator

If you want a great side-by-side refrigerator then consider Whirlpool’s® 21 cu. Ft. Counter Depth Side-by-Side Refrigerator with In-Door-Ice® Plus System. Unlike many side-by-side models this Whirlpool® refrigerator gives you the top freezer shelf back and the frameless glass shelves offer greater storage capacity. This refrigerator also comes equipped with Accu-Chill™ temperature management technology and Adaptive Defrost.

Side-by-side Refrigerators

Side-by-side refrigerators feature a vertical length split. The benefit of these models is that you can place commonly used refrigerated and frozen foods at a convenient level for easy access. The narrow doors of these models also work well with small kitchens but the openings may be too narrow to store larger items like a frozen pizza.

Sub-Zero BI-42UFD Over-and-Under with French Door Refrigerator

The BI-42UFD Over-and-Under with French Door Refrigerator is the newest product from Sub-Zero®. Available in overlay and stainless steel models this refrigerator can fit into any kitchen.

French Door Refrigerators

French door refrigerators became popular in the late 1990s. The refrigerator section opens with two doors and the freezer is a pull-out drawer. The French doors put your refrigerator’s food at a convenient eye level. The downside is that these models aren’t as efficient as single door models with the freezer on top or bottom but the narrow doors work well in smaller kitchens. These models also have wide shelves that leave space for large party platters.

When you buy a refrigerator it is important to consider your eating, shopping, and living habits, and your door configuration is a big part of that too. Selecting doors that work well in your space and suit your lifestyle will keep your family happy for years to come.

Prairieville House Plan Kitchen

Your refrigerator can be the centerpiece of your kitchen. The Prairieville house plan features a side-by-side stainless steel refrigerator and is just one of many plans in our fabulous kitchen house plan collection.