The Three Main Types of Refrigerator
Side-by-side refrigerators typically offer through-door ice and water dispensers.
Running all day and night, refrigerators use a great deal of energy and take a beating from every member of the family. That's why refrigerator trends point toward more energy-efficient models with plenty of storage space. Attractive options such as French doors and counter-depth styling have become available on freestanding as well as built-in refrigerators, while features such as slide-out shelves and temperature-controlled compartments are more often standard amenities rather than upgrades.
Although it is possible to purchase an all-refrigerator model, most household refrigeration units have both a refrigerator and a freezer compartment. They come in three main styles:
Top-Freezer Refrigerators (also called Top-Mount Refrigerators)
This is what most of us grew up with: a smaller freezer compartment on top of a larger refrigerator compartment, each with its own door.
Pros: Give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to space. Often the most reasonably priced of all models. Easy to reach the freezer.
Cons: Ergonomics. Assuming you store more food in the refrigerator than in the freezer, you’ll spend more time bending down and crunching your back.
Price: $300 to $2,000 for freestanding models; $3,900 to $6,000 for built-in models
Bottom-Freezer Refrigerators (also called Bottom-Mount Refrigerators)
Just like it sounds, these refrigerators are the reverse of the top-mount models—the freezer is on the bottom. The freezer compartment may consist of one or two drawers, while the refrigerator may have one door or two French doors.
Pros: Keep the fridge at a height that requires little bending or awkward movements. French door refrigerators look elegant and require less door clearance.
Cons: You have to crouch to reach the freezer. Usually more expensive than top-freezer and side-by-side refrigerators of the same size and similar features.
Price: $600 to $5,800 for freestanding models; $4,900 to $7,200 for built-in models; $1,000 to $6,800 for French door models
In these models, the refrigerator and freezer compartments sit next to each other, with the freezer usually behind the door on the left and the refrigerator on the right.
Pros: Important refrigerator and freezer products can be stored at a height that makes them accessible without hunching over. They also require less door clearance.
Cons: Space is often sacrificed for convenience. While their listed cubic-feet is comparable to other refrigerator models, the usable amount of space side-by-sides provide often is less because of the skinny vertical shape of the fridge and freezer compartments.
Price: $800 to $3,800 for freestanding models; $4,500 to $12,000 for built-in models