French Door Refrigerator vs Side By Side


When it comes to choosing a new refrigerator, people nowadays often wonder whether to choose French door refrigerator vs side by side. Apparently, French door models are very trending right now. But side by side models seem to be more efficient. Continue reading below to see the pros and cons of the two refrigerator styles!

Below, you can find out more about:

  • The storage capacity of French door refrigerator vs side by side,
  • The unique benefits of each style,
  • The possible disadvantages of each style, and
  • Which one that is more recommended for the money.

What is a French Door Refrigerator?

French door refrigerators may come in a wide variety of configurations. Nevertheless, they differentiate themselves from side by side refrigerators by having a third door. Some models may even have a fourth door. The refrigerator section of this appliance is the top two-thirds of it. The refrigerator section is in the form of a dual-door chilling space; which is just like a traditional side by side refrigerator. However, the bottom one-third features either one or two freezer compartments.

A three-door French door refrigerator has only one freezer compartment, whereas a four-door model has two. You can easily find some popular French door models in Amazon. Such French door refrigerators are suitable for larger kitchens which don’t need built-in or custom-built machines. See also: Fridge vs Freezer.

A built-in refrigerator is usually a pre-made model designed for a custom-fit cabinetry installation. A custom-built refrigerator is designed according to a customer’s specific specifications. It can be as large as you want and include any feature requested. Of course, the cost of a built-in or custom-built fridge is higher than a standard model. Because of this, if you have a larger kitchen but you have issues with expensive prices, a standard French door refrigerator may be a great choice.

Benefits of a French Door Refrigerator

A French door refrigerator usually offers more storage capacity than other styles. More often than not, you can see a difference of about three cubic feet when comparing a French door refrigerator to the other styles, and you can also notice slightly more lateral width that you can use for additional storage on a French door refrigerator compared to the side by side counterparts.

People who prefer French door models more than side by side models often say that it’s because most of the chilled contents are easily visible at an eye level. This makes sense because the refrigerator section is accessed more frequently. Meanwhile, the freezer section is stored at the bottom, which is fine because the freezer section is not accessed very frequently. Thus, the access to the primary fridge area becomes easier; you can see the full width and reach more items.

Disadvantages of French Door Refrigerator

The biggest disadvantage of a French door refrigerator vs side by side is the freezer section. Due to the design of the freezer, you have to stack items on top of one another. Hence, it becomes difficult to organize items here. Sometimes, you have to dig through in order to find what you are looking for. Fragile items like fruits and vegetables are also at a higher risk of getting damaged, due to getting bumped by other items.

The placement of the freezer is sometimes criticized as well. The freezer is at the bottom, which means that you will have to bend down or crouch in order to access it. This is quite inconvenient.

Finally, French door refrigerators are generally more expensive than side by side models. This may be less of an issue if you can benefit from the larger storage capacity. However, for a smaller kitchen that does not need too much storage capacity, you may want to find a more cost-efficient alternative.

What is a Side By Side Refrigerator?

A side by side refrigerator is very easy to differentiate from its French door siblings. A side by side refrigerator typically has two full-length doors that open out and away from each other. It does not have any bottom pull-out drawer, although some models may have internal drawers behind the doors. The most common configuration uses the section on the right for refrigeration and the section on the left for the freezer.

There is a good chance that you will find a side by side refrigerator in any upscale house from the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s. These houses typically implement counter-depth side by side refrigerators due to several reasons. Well, one reason is that the other styles were not widely known during the era. Still, so far, out of all refrigerator styles currently available in the market, side by side refrigerators are the most frequently purchased.

The popularity may be due to side by side refrigerators being the most familiar style. However, there are also some distinctive advantages associated with this style. Side by side refrigerators are indeed great for medium-sized kitchens. This is because they are quite easy to fit, have decent storage rooms, and allow easy organization.

Benefits of a Side By Side Refrigerator

The biggest benefit of a side by side refrigerator is that the access to the freezer section is much easier. You can easily reach most of the frozen items on the left. This is without compromising too much the access to the refrigerator section, as you can still find it on the right. Also, the overall storage area can be organized a lot more easily, as there are racks and compartments available on both sections.

Another benefit that often gets overlooked is that the ice dispenser of a side by side model usually takes up less space than it does in a French door model. This is because of the engineering style that is more efficient.

Finally, a side by side refrigerator has a big advantage in terms of cost. Side by side models are typically more affordable than their French door siblings. So, getting a side by side model may save you more money.

Disadvantages of a Side By Side Refrigerator

The first disadvantage of a side by side model is that it has relatively smaller storage capacity. Since the refrigerator and freezer sections are put next to each other, the space available on each rack is narrower. Hence, you need to consider what items to place on the upper racks and lower racks.

French Door Refrigerator vs Side By Side

French Door RefrigeratorSide By Side Refrigerator
- Has a two-door refrigerator section and one or two freezer compartments- Has a freezer section on the right and a refrigerator section on the left
- Better lateral space and overall capacity- Easier access and organization
- The ice dispenser takes up more space- The ice dispenser takes up less space
- Generally more expensive- Generally more affordable


In general, side by side refrigerator offers the best value for the money. It is more affordable while offering easier access and organization on the refrigerator and freezer compartments. However, you may choose a large French door refrigerator if you need more storage capacity.

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