Which Refrigerator Style is Right for Your Home? [French Door Fridges and More!]

by Pam Silvia

Did you know the average refrigerator has a life expectancy of about 14 years? As you reassess the state of your appliance, we would like to turn your attention to the wonderful world of refrigerators and their varied configurations.

Beyond appealing to aesthetic preference, your choice of refrigerator style should be conducive to your household in terms of family size, meal habits, and available space. After all, this kitchen heavyweight prevents us from losing our daily momentum by keeping our groceries fresh for egg scrambles and crisp salads, storing our chilled beverages, stocking healthy snacks for the entire family, and more—so, you better make sure your purchase is an informed one.

As you scroll through our Refrigeration catalog, consider your wants and needs as they pertain to budget and functionality. In a grander scope, are you inclined to splurge on convenience, or do you like to keep things simple?

To aid your search, our experts at Don’s Appliances listed the most popular refrigerator styles and denoted what each configuration can do for you.

Check out the benefits of French door, side-by-side, top-freezer, and bottom-freezer fridges as well as built-in and counter-depth options!

a smiling couple grab fresh fruit from their new refrigerator

French Door Refrigerator

Rising in popularity, French door fridges usher a modern appearance into your kitchen with their sleek side-by-side handles and a lower-freezer setup. Most often, these models feature a drawer-style freezer, although some include French doors in this compartment as well.

Among its “pros,” this refrigerator style is more energy-efficient compared to models with just one door since less cold air escapes the appliance when opened, keeping your foods more chilled for longer. In addition, thanks to its unpartitioned space, the refrigerator compartment can fit larger items, like party platters. And the two narrow French doors require less clearance on either side of the appliance since the potential outswing is not as obstructive.

On the other hand, some consumers find ice dispensers in the freezer drawer inconvenient, as they limit the amount of storage space—thankfully, many French door fridges are stocked with a water and ice dispenser on the exterior of one of the doors for easier access. Compared to traditional styles, French door fridges are more expensive, falling under an upper mid-end to high-end price bracket of $1,500 to $2,700.

Standard Dimensions

  • Height: From 67 to 70.13 (70 1/8) inches
  • Width: From 29.5 to 36 inches
  • Depth: From 29.38 (29 3/8) to 34.63 (34 5/8) inches

product image of LG stainless-steel French-door fridge

Side-by-Side Refrigerator

Visually similar to French door models, side-by-side fridges also feature two vertical doors along the height of the appliance—only this time, there is no bottom freezer: The freezer takes up one of the vertical compartments of the appliance. Most intriguingly, compared to traditional styles, side-by-side fridges boast more storage space.

Ideal for small kitchens, side-by-side models require less space on either side of the appliance for door outswings. Plus, many consumers appreciate the in-door water and ice dispenser as a common feature. Perhaps most conveniently, this style also enables bulk purchases since freezer capacity is often greater than traditional refrigerators.

That said, be warned that, because both compartments are narrower, this model may not be able to hold wide items, including pizza boxes and party platters, on the shelves. Among the pricier options, an average side-by-side fridge costs around $1,800.

Standard Dimensions

  • Height: From 65.88 (65 7/8) to 71.25 inches
  • Width: From 32.75 to 39.75 inches
  • Depth: From 28.75 to 34.25 inches

product image of LG stainless-steel French-door fridge

Top-Freezer Refrigerator

The most traditional style of refrigerator, the top-freezer model is considered the tried-and-true option among industry experts. Featuring a small freezer on top and a large refrigerator on the bottom, a top-freezer fridge has the most economical style and the lowest upfront costs, as they are typically priced between $500 to $800.

Among its drawbacks, a top-freezer fridge may force you to bend your body to retrieve or load items in the bottom fridge compartment, which is the cavity we access the most. According to some consumers, due to their positions, bottom shelves and crisper drawers can be a pain to open, shut, and clean.

Standard Dimensions

  • Height: From 61.75 to 66.25 inches
  • Width: From 28.75 to 32.75 inches
  • Depth: Around 34.25 inches

product image of Frigidaire black top-freezer fridge

Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator

Just as its name implies, a bottom-freezer fridge’s frosty compartment is positioned at the bottom, with most models allowing access to the contents therein via a pull-out drawer.

Hailed for its convenient organization, a bottom-freezer fridge enables you to access the items you reach for the most often, without having to strain your back and neck. Compared to its top-freezer counterpart, this style generally has a larger interior capacity.

Unfortunately, while you are no longer forced to bend down to reach refrigerated items, the same may not be easily said about retrieving frozen goods. In other words, if you want that after-dinner popsicle, your body is going to have to work for it. Lastly, this option is solidly a mid-end purchase, as the average price is between $1,000 and $1,800.

Standard Dimensions

  • Height: From 67 to 70 inches
  • Width: From 29.5 inches to 32.75 inches
  • Depth: Around 33.38 (33 3/8) inches

product image of GE stainless-steel bottom-freezer fridge

Bonus: Built-in and Counter-Depth Refrigerators

That’s right—there’s more.

The beauty of a flush-inset kitchen package cannot be understated, with many consumers shelling out the big bucks for built-in refrigerators and counter-depth refrigerators.

More suitable for larger kitchens, built-in fridges are wider and can be installed to sit flush against surrounding cabinetry. If your heart desires, you can even purchase a panel-ready fridge for a fully custom look—stainless-steel fridges and black stainless-steel fridges have long reigned the appliance landscape, so we’re all for a uniform design. Just be warned that built-in fridges are wider than most models and can cost a pretty penny: starting at $2,000 and upwards of nearly $18,000.

In the spirit of fostering a custom look, counter-depth fridges are ideal for smaller kitchens, as they typically take up less space than built-in and standard freestanding models, sacrificing up to six inches of depth. As a bonus, counter-depth fridges won’t stick out from your cabinetry or counters, matching the professionally designed look of built-in kitchen packages. In terms of price point, this option can be costly, as counter-depth models are broadly priced between $1,800 and $11,000.

Let Us Help You

Lastly, as you browse our selection of refrigerators, be sure to look out for appliance features that are compatible with your household’s needs.

From gourmet ice makers to adjustable shelves to WiFi-enabled tech you can control from your smartphone, there is so much to enjoy from an upgraded refrigerator. Experience the height of convenience today!

For your convenience, we also included a video tutorial to help you measure your space for a new refrigerator. Check it out below!

For answers to any questions, reach out to our friendly staff of experts at Don’s Appliances. Whether you shop online or visit us in-store, we are always happy to help. More available than ever, our experts are also reachable via chat!