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.
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.
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.
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.
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.