Side by side and French door refrigerators are both excellent options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Exploring the basic differences between French door refrigerator vs side-by-side models will help you choose which one best meets your needs. Keep these buying considerations in mind as you prepare to buy your next fridge.
What is a French Door Refrigerator?
French doors refrigerators have double doors that open up to a continuous refrigerator space with a freezer door below. This style of refrigerator was introduced to the market during the 1990s and remains a popular option today.
To learn more, browse our full selection of French door fridges.
Advantages of French Door Refrigerators
People are often drawn to French door refrigerators because of their sleek and attractive design, but this style of fridge is also known for its functionality. Some of the top benefits of French door refrigerators include:
- Plenty of refrigerator storage space
- Items stored are at eye level
- Wide shelves can store larger items
- Double doors are narrow and easy to open
- Many models available
Disadvantages of French Door Refrigerators
Even though French door refrigerators have several notable benefits, they aren't the right choice for everyone. This style of fridge does have some drawbacks, though, including:
- Limited freezer space
- Freezer drawers can be difficult to organize
- Users have to bend down to access the freezer
What is a Side-by-Side Refrigerator?
A side by side refrigerator also has double doors, but these doors open up to two different compartments. On one side is a refrigerator compartment, while the other is a freezer compartment.
To see more, take a look at our selection of side-by-side fridges.
Advantages of Side-by-Side Refrigerators
A side by side fridge freezer combo provides plenty of vertical storage for both refrigerated and frozen items. It's a flexible configuration that offers a number of benefits, such as:
- Large freezer capacity
- Easy-to-organize frozen items
- Narrow doors are easy to open in tight spaces
- Lots of door storage
- Many finishes and features to choose from
Disadvantages of Side-by-Side Refrigerators
Side by side fridges are loved for their sleek design and easy access, but there are some negatives to this fridge style, too. Some of the cons of side by side refrigerators are:
- Narrow shelving
- Refrigerator space may be limited
- Items stored at the bottom of the fridge can be difficult to reach
How to Decide Between a Side-by-Side vs French Door Fridge
There are many buying considerations to keep in mind when trying to decide between a French door vs side by side fridge. Since both refrigerator styles have benefits and drawbacks, it's important to evaluate your options closely to find the type of fridge that best suits your needs.
On average, French door refrigerators are typically around 30 to 35 inches wide, with most models trending to the larger end of that range.
The typical range for a side-by-side fridge is 32 to 39 inches wide, making it slightly larger on average. A side-by-side refrigerator may be a better option if you're looking for a wider fridge, but both styles have plenty of narrower models to choose from.
A side-by-side refrigerator offers ample refrigerator and freezer space, but because both compartments are narrow, it is difficult to store larger or wider items.
French door refrigerators have a wider refrigerator compartment that's shorter overall. While the freezer door on a French door fridge can provide plenty of storage, it may be more challenging to organize.
Both types of refrigerator are available in a range of styles and finishes, allowing you to choose a model that complements the rest of your kitchen beautifully. You'll find sleek double doors on both refrigerator designs, along with features like exterior water filters, ice makers, temperature control options, and more. Ultimately, the refrigerator with the best aesthetic often just comes down to personal preference.
Freezer Space & Accessibility
The freezer drawer on a French door refrigerator is easy for children to access, but may be less accessible for adults who struggle to bend over.
With a side-by-side refrigerator, it's easy to see items stored in the freezer, but in a French door fridge, some items may wind up at the bottom of the drawer. Side-by-side fridges might be the best option if you use your freezer heavily, but a French door style may be the better choice if you'd prefer more space for refrigerated items, large platter storage, and fresh produce.
Whether you opt for a side-by-side or a French door refrigerator, high-end features are likely to come with a higher price tag, while models with fewer features will be priced more affordably. There's not a significant difference between either fridge style when it comes to pricing. Differences in cost will largely come down to the style and features that you choose.
French Door vs Side-by-Side Refrigerator FAQs
Is a side by side fridge better than a French door?
When looking at a side by side vs French door fridge, one isn’t better than the other, per se. Really, it's just best to focus on your preferences. A side-by-side fridge may be the better choice if you want an organized freezer, but a French door model might work better for your needs if you like the convenience of a wider refrigerator compartment.
Which has more freezer space side by side or French door?
Side-by-side fridges provide more vertical storage, while French door fridges are equipped with a large freezer drawer. While both models can offer a similar level of storage, French door refrigerators offer more storage for wide items like platters, sheet cakes, and marinades.
What style refrigerator has the most space?
The total storage of a refrigerator varies based on the size, and both styles can be very spacious. When you compare a side by side vs French door fridge, you just have to decide if you'd prefer more vertical storage or more horizontal storage.
Do side-by-side refrigerators have less room?
Side-by-side fridges offer plenty of storage, but the shelving in most models tends to be narrow. This can make it hard to store wide items.
What is better - freezer on top or bottom?
Having a freezer on top can be helpful if you'd rather not have to bend over to reach frozen items. However, a freezer on the bottom can give children easy access to frozen items like ice cream.
Do French door refrigerators have more problems?
According to Consumer Reports data, French door fridges are more vulnerable to damage than other types of refrigerators. If you're concerned about future damage, you might want to consider one of our appliance protection plans.
It's important to think about your personal needs and preferences when buying a new appliance. Since both refrigerator types have pros and cons, you should conduct a comparison of side by side vs French door fridge models before making a buying decision.
Check out our full selection of refrigerators so that you can find the perfect options for your family, needs, and home.