Fridge Types 101: A Guide to Different Types of Refrigerators

If you were looking for a new refrigerator 50 years ago, there were only a few manufacturers, each with a limited number of models. But searching for a new fridge today can be an overwhelming experience with all the available features, styles, and types you need to consider.

 

This article will help you understand the 4 fridge types, so you can decide which one is the best fit for your kitchen space and needs.

 

Browse our full selection of refrigerators.


In this article, we’ll cover: 

  • What Are the Different Types of Refrigerators?
  • Specialty Types of Refrigerators
  • Which Type of Fridge is Best for Me?
  • FAQs About Different Types of Refrigerators

What Are the Different Types of Refrigerators?

While the most common refrigerator style for several decades was the top mount (with the freezer on top), other types have gained popularity in recent years.


A bottom mount fridge is the opposite of a top mount, with the freezer on the bottom. There are also side-by-side (with the freezer on the left and fridge on the right) and French door fridges (with half-width fridge doors and a pull-out bottom freezer) to choose from.

Let’s look more closely at each of the different types of refrigerators.

  • Top Mount (Top Freezer)
  • Bottom Mount (Bottom Freezer)
  • Side-by-Side
  • French Door

Top Mount Refrigerator

In a top-mount refrigerator, the freezer is on top and the fridge is below. The freezer usually forms the top-third of the refrigerator, which offers less space than a side-by-side unit. However, the freezer shelves are large and accessible. Many can even hold the larger frozen pizza boxes.

Top mount fridges might be a great option if you’re looking for easy access to frozen food, since the freezer holds food at eye level, unlike a bottom-mount fridge.

Pros of top mount refrigerators:

  • Large fridge space
  • Many styles, colors, and designs are available
  • Budget-friendly

Cons of top mount refrigerators:

  • You have to bend down to access fresh food and veggies
  • Storage space in the freezer is limited

Coast Appliances recommends the following top mount refrigerators:

 

Bottom Mount Refrigerator

A bottom mount refrigerator is the opposite of a top mount in that the freezer is, as you might guess, on the bottom. This type of fridge might be beneficial for those who like eating or preparing more fresh food than frozen, because the fresh food is easy to see and access.

 

Bottom-mount units are considered more contemporary than top-mount styles, so they might be a better fit for anyone who wants to create a clean, sleek, modern look.

Pros of bottom mount refrigerators:

  • Better storage and organization options
  • Modern appearance
  • Easier accessibility to fresh items
  • Minimizes lifting of heavy frozen items overhead
  • Many are energy efficient

Cons of bottom mount refrigerators:

  • Fewer models available
  • Usually more expensive

 

Coast Appliances recommends the following bottom mount refrigerators:

 

See our full selection of bottom mount refrigerators to view more.

Side-by-Side Refrigerator

Side-by-side refrigerators feature two separate compartments, each with its own door. One side is the freezer, while the other is for fresh food.

A side-by-side refrigerator might have more freezer capacity than the top or bottom mount fridges (although the space is narrower) and it lets you store both fresh and frozen items at eye level.

Pros of side-by-side refrigerators:

  • Ability to organize with multiple shelves and drawers
  • Frozen food is easily accessible
  • Half-sized doors need less room to open
  • Water and ice dispenser on the freezer door

Cons of side-by-side refrigerators:

  • Water and ice dispensers might require more maintenance
  • Need to have more width-space than top mount fridges
  • Large items may not fit in the freezer or fridge

Coast Appliances recommends the following side-by-side refrigerators:

 

See our full selection of side-by-side refrigerators to view more.

French Door Refrigerator

French-door refrigerators have two side-by-side doors and one or two drawers underneath, similar to the furniture piece known as a French armoire. There are two top doors for the refrigerator that open to the left and right, and there’s at least one bottom drawer for the freezer. Some French door fridges come with a third drawer that can be additional fridge or freezer space, depending on the make and model you choose.

Pros of French door refrigerators:

  • Good for families, as you can maximize space
  • Easily store big/bulky food items
  • Modern look

Cons of French door refrigerators:

  • Must bend down to get food from freezer
  • Narrow door storage
  • Can be difficult if your space is tight

Coast Appliances recommends the following French door refrigerators:

 

See our full selection of French door refrigerators to view more.

Not sure which French door fridge to get? Check out our article: Best French Door Refrigerators

Specialty Types of Refrigerators

In addition to top mount, bottom mount, side-by-side, and French door refrigerators, there are also specialty fridges for unique spaces and needs. Specialty refrigerators include:

 

  • Under Counter Fridges
  • Built In Fridges
  • Wine Fridges

Under Counter Refrigerator

An under-counter refrigerator is compact and usually used for storing beverages. Under-counter refrigerators offer extra capacity and are a modern addition to any kitchen design. This type of fridge is fantastic for people who entertain a lot, as guests can reach into the under-counter fridge to grab a drink without maneuvering around your main fridge's leftovers.

Coast Appliances recommends the following under counter refrigerators:

 

See our full selection of under counter refrigerators to view more.

Built-In Refrigerator

A built-in refrigerator is designed to be housed in your cabinetry or a custom-built surround. The sides of the fridge are flush with the cabinets on each side. Some built-in refrigerators have doors that protrude past surrounding cabinets, while others are streamlined.

 

Built-in refrigerators are made to last and often have a longer lifespan than some other stand-alone refrigerators. The other significant advantage of built-in refrigerators is the limitless options for customization. Various door styles are available, including custom paneling and see-through doors.

Coast Appliances recommends the following built-in refrigerators:

 

See our full selection of built in refrigerators to view more.

Wine Refrigerator

Although it’s harmless to store chilled wine in your standard fridge for a couple of days, any longer than that, the integrity of your wine might be at stake. A wine fridge is a perfect solution to keep your wine at the correct temperature, between 45-65°F (7.2-18.3°C). A standard fridge, however, is too cold for your wine, as it’s generally kept at around or less than 40°F (4.4°C). In addition, a wine refrigerator maintains the proper humidity so that corks remain impermeable and moist.

Coast Appliances recommends the following wine refrigerators:

 

See our full selection of wine refrigerators to view more.

Which Type of Fridge is Best for Me?

With 4 main types of refrigerators and specialty fridges, finding the right fridge for your kitchen may seem overwhelming.

 

Top mount fridges have the freezer on top, so if you need accessible freezer space, that might be a good choice.

 

Bottom mount fridges are the opposite, with the freezer on the bottom, and a modern design and lots of room to organize your fridge foods. If you need access to fresh food more often than frozen, and your space allows for it, the bottom mount style may be for you.

 

Side-by-side fridges provide equal fridge and freezer space, whereas French door models have a larger fridge capacity.

 

The following questions might help you with determining the type of fridge that's best for your needs:

 

  • How many family members will use this refrigerator?
  • How much space do I have?
  • Is this my primary fridge or a secondary fridge?
  • Do I want to be able to control my fridge's features over WiFi?
  • Do I entertain a lot?
  • Do I need space for large or bulky items (whole chickens, racks of ribs, sheet pans) in my fridge or freezer?
  • Am I okay with bending down to access freezer items?
  • How much freezer space will I need?

 

Not sure if a side-by-side or a French door fridge is right for your needs? Check out our Side-by-Side vs French Door Comparison Guide.

FAQs About Different Types of Refrigerators

How many types of refrigerators are there?

There are 4 main fridge freezer types: top mount, bottom mount, side-by-side, and French door. However, there are also specialty fridges that include under counter, wine, and built-in refrigerators.

Which type of fridge is best?

The best type of fridge is the one that works best for your needs. For some people, that might be a standard top mount fridge, while others might find the French-door style perfect for their space. The types of fridge lighting, storage, accessibility, and size will help you determine which type of fridge is best.

Which is better – top freezer or bottom freezer?

The top and bottom freezer options both have benefits, depending on your needs. For example, if you access the freezer a lot, you may want to consider a top mount freezer. However, if you use your fridge most of the time, a French door or bottom mount fridge might be better for your needs.

What are the different types of freezers?

You'll want to consider your freezer needs when purchasing a new refrigerator. The freezer types are top, bottom, or side. The top mount fridges have the freezer on top, while the bottom mount and French door fridges have the freezer on the bottom. Side-by-side fridges have a side freezer.

 

Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand more about the different types of refrigerators and freezers and the pros and cons of each.

 

Coast Appliances offers the most extensive inventory of major appliance brands in Canada. Browse our full line of refrigerators and search by fridge type, size, or brand. Not only do we offer competitive pricing, but we also have exclusive promotions, so you can walk away knowing that you received the best price on your new refrigerator. We’ll even deliver and haul away your old appliance!

 

Browse our full selection of refrigerators today!

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