Freezer Week

Help! I’m Shopping for a New Fridge — Which Type of Freezer Combo Is Best?

published Aug 11, 2020
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lead for different types of freezers
Credit: Photo: Shutterstock, Graphic: Kitchn

For more years than I’m gonna own up to, I’ve been putting refrigerators and freezers through their paces. I’ve stored everything from whole chickens to heads of lettuce to frozen pizzas — prodding, poking, and sniffing over a period of weeks to see how well things hold up. In the process, I’ve considered how easy it is to load them up, see inside them, and rearrange the shelves. And I can tell you, there’s no one-size-fits-all best refrigerator/freezer combo that works for everyone. It all depends on the people in your household, your eating habits, and even what you want your kitchen to look like.

Here’s the lowdown on the various types of fridge-freezer combos so you can decide which is best for you.  

Top Freezer

This is the most basic style. It has a decently large refrigerator compartment with a smaller freezer above it. Each section has a single wide door. While it’s easy to grab frozen berries for a smoothie from the freezer, you’ll have to bend down to reach an apple in the crispers at the bottom of the fridge. You won’t find an ice and water dispenser in the door on this type but you can buy the appliance with an ice maker in the freezer. If money is tight, a top freezer unit will be the easiest on your budget. 

My pick: Samsung Top Freezer Refrigerator with FlexZone Freezer, $898 at Home Depot

Bottom Freezer

Are salads a big thing in your house? You’ll love this style with the crispers at waist level (and fridge shelves above those humidity-regulated drawers). No bending to pull out the lettuce and other veggies! However, if you depend heavily on frozen dinners, you may have trouble locating them in the large freezer drawer at the bottom. And if you are constantly grabbing ice cubes, you’ll have to bend down to fill your glass, as bottom freezer models rarely have dispensers in the door. 

My pick: LG Bottom Freezer Refrigerator, $1,438 at Home Depot

Credit: Chloe Berk

French Door

Right now, this is the best-selling design and with good reason. It’s a stylish variation on the bottom freezer with double doors to open the refrigerator compartment. Because the doors are narrower than on traditional models with a single wide door, they’re a good choice if an island or galley-style layout is limiting how much clearance you have to swing open the door. And although the doors are narrow, the shelves are wide, giving you plenty of room for party platters, sheet cakes, or a pizza box. Most have full width temperature-controlled drawers that you can use for meats, cold cuts, and fruits. French door models are usually available with ice and water dispensers in the door. 

My pick: GE French Door Refrigerator, $2,243 at AJ Madison


With the freezer on the left side and the refrigerator on the right, this style makes it easy to reach items in the middle of both compartments. If there are children in your household who like to help themselves to fresh and frozen snacks or a family member is in a wheelchair, you can store items where they can easily reach them. The main disadvantage with this type of appliance is that oversized items — like frozen pizzas and trays of appetizers — may not fit on the shelves. However, side-by-sides certainly are good looking and usually come with ice and water dispensers in the door. 

My pick: GE Side by Side Refrigerator, $1,599 at Home Depot

Which time of fridge-freezer combo do you have? Which type do you wish you had?