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Side-By-Side vs French Door Refrigerators

Jake Stone, Appliance Specialist, Frederick

Posted on Feb 14, 2020


So, your refrigerator has finally died. You woke up this morning to find that the avocado green icebox passed down through your family by your parent’s parent’s parents, with the freezer sitting overtop of the fridge is no longer cooling and the repairman told you that the company that used to make the replacement parts went out of business before you were born. In a nutshell: it’s time to get a new fridge. But as you walk into your local appliance store, you’re greeted by row after row of unfamiliar, alien refrigerator styles. Oh my gosh, you think to yourself, What will I do?

Okay, it’s probably not quite that bad, but you get the idea. We’re often asked what the major differences are between the two most popular refrigerator styles are, so today we’re going to explore the ins-and-outs of the side-by-side and the French Door refrigerators. Specifically, we’re going to compare two popular KitchenAid models; the KRSF705HPS and the KRFF507HPS. While both are great units, each one offers different features and configurations.

Side-by-side refrigerators have been around for a long time (since the 1950s, actually) and most people are familiar with their configuration. On one side, you’ve got a narrow, full-length door that opens into the fresh food compartment, and on the other side, you’ve got a similar opposing door that opens into the freezer. Recent models almost always have a water and ice dispenser on the freezer door, giving you a convenient way to fill a glass or a pitcher. Inside the fridge itself, there are four or five shelves stacked on top of one another and two or three produce drawers at the bottom. The freezer will have a similar setup, except there will be an icemaker stacked somewhere inside as well, and the doors will both have shelves as well for more storage space.


As far as side-by-sides go, the KitchenAid is one of the best. It gives you as much space as it possibly can and offers a dual evaporator cooling system to keep the temperature and humidity levels right where they should be. It also has LED lights throughout the interior to keep things well-lit. The biggest appeal is that the icemaker sits on the inside of the door itself instead of on a shelf inside the freezer, which is a huge deal for reasons I’ll go into in a moment.


French Door fridges are significantly newer, having come into being in the early/mid-90s. They feature two narrow doors like a side-by-side, but when you open them it’s one wide fresh food compartment. Instead, it includes a pull-out drawer on the bottom for the freezer compartment. This has a number of advantages, the number one being that you get all that width back. You can fit a platter in or lay a pizza box flat. Also, they’ve (you know, “They”. Top Men) found that the average person goes into the fresh food compartment of their fridges five or six times for every one time they go into the freezer during the day, so more of what you want is in easier reach from your waist up, instead of having to squat down to get to your produce.


The disadvantage is that the freezer drawer tends to turn into a sort of big bucket where all your frozen foods end up piled on top of each other, making it slightly more of a pain to sort through. The KitchenAid addresses these issues by including multiple drawers and organizers to keep items separated and easier to get to. They also feature a “Pizza Pocket” in the freezer door that fits a number of flat boxes for even more organization.


So now the pros and cons. The side-by-side offers superior organization, allowing you to stack everything on top of each other where you can see. The KRSF705HPS also has the dual-evaporator system for better temperature regulation. Additionally, you get the on-door icemaker to maximize space which is important since the major con of side-by-side refrigerators is that you get very, sometimes restrictively, narrow space due to the compartments being next to each other. This can make it hard to fit normal/wide items like cakes or platters.



The French Door fridge offers far more usable space while retaining the advantage of having narrowing doors. The width allows it to have split shelves to maximize your storage needs. You get lots of LED lights and you still get an on-door icemaker. The cons include a less organized freezer, although this is mitigated somewhat with the compartmentalized design of the KitchenAid. They also tend to be slightly deeper in general, not great if kitchen space is limited, and this model lacks the dual-evaporator system of the Side-by-Side.

 

 

Both styles have pretty rabid fan bases and not all Side-by-Side or French Doors are created equally, so use the above information to figure out what features are most important to you and use that to narrow your search.

 


Shop these 2 popular refrigerators here:

 

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