French Door Refrigerators vs Side-By-Side Refrigerators

by Lynnette

appliances, kitchens

Who knew that refrigerators would be such a hot topic on this site?! Not me.

Much like toilets (here, here and here)… you learn as you go. And I’m simply sharing what I’ve learned here on this site — so maybe others can benefit from this information.

One thing’s for sure (if you haven’t already figured this out)… any time I spend a good deal of time researching something that’s house-related, I almost always share that info here on this website. I figure, if it took a lot of my time to research & gather the info, then perhaps it will save someone else from having to put forth so much time researching the same thing. That, or maybe there will be one or two nuggets of info that will generally apply to everyone.

Anyhoo… here’s what I’ve learned about side-by-side vs french door refrigerators.



Side-By-Side vs French Door Refrigerators

One thing that I’ve recently had a change of heart about is my desire to have a refrigerator with french doors, rather than a side-by-side unit like we have now.

I had practically convinced myself (and my husband) that we needed a bottom-freezer unit with the french doors on top.

You see my biggest "complaints" about our side-by-side refrigerator are:

  • I can’t store enough food in the freezer.
  • Those 1 or 2 times a year that I want to store large platters or trays in the fridge, I can’t because the shelves aren’t wide enough.

See for yourself how much stuff people are storing in refrigerators of all shapes & sizes!


4 Reasons I Prefer Side-By-Side Refrigerators

After playing with all the different refrigerators in the stores the other day, I think I prefer a side-by-side unit for the following reasons:

#1 The door closes automatically (or easier, more naturally) on a side-by-side unit. With french doors, one door usually gets "hung-up" on the other and it simply pauses & won’t close all the way — not without an extra push. (Some french door units have an extra revolving door guard which helps the doors close and keeps out the air better. If I were to get a refrigerator with french doors, it would have to have this feature.)

#2 The long, thin plastic bins used for storing vegetables, the french door units seem flimsy — especially those which have an "auto-opening lid" (when you pull out the drawer, the lid automatically opens at the same time). Too much free-moving plastic just says "That’ll break!" to me.

#3 In the french door units, those pull-out drawers tend to be wider… yet they don’t have any better "glides" to help the longer & wider drawer pull out easier. I know in our current side-by-side unit, those plastic drawer bins tend to "catch" a bit when you’re pulling them out — rather than gliding perfectly. (It’s just the nature of sliding plastic on plastic.) So, trying to slide an even wider drawer would seem even more awkward (read: more likely to break, especially if you tug too hard in one direction when attempting to open or close the plastic drawer). Call me stereotypical… but just about every man and child that I know tends to be rough on things, and taking the time to pull out those drawers slowly and carefully (or sliding them back in without force)… is NOT likely to happen in this house!

#4 The freezer capacities on french door units are even less than the capacity in side-by-side units! Bummer. And just how often do I need to store long or wide items in the refrigerator?… Not often. So I think a side-by-side refrigerator meets our needs best after all.


Here is Good Housekeeping’s take on French Door refrigerators.