Modern-day refrigerators are manufactured in a wide variety of different styles, including traditional top-mounted (freezer on top and refrigerator on bottom), French door, and side-by-side doors. Each of these styles has its own strengths and weaknesses, which is why it’s important for consumers to educate themselves when shopping for a new refrigerator. While top-mounted models are the most popular, French door and side-by-side models are close behind.
French Door Refrigerators
Originally invented in the late 1990s, French door refrigerators feature two doors on top and a single slide-out freezer drawer below. To access the freezer compartment, you must bend down to pull out the bottom drawer. This is a serious disadvantage for people with back pain, as constantly bending down to open and close the freezer may worsen a person’s condition.
With both doors offering access to the main compartment, French door refrigerators offer a substantial amount of storage space. If you have a large family that goes through groceries in a short period of time, you may want to choose a French door model for this reason alone. The increased storage space will allow you to keep more groceries available in your fridge.
French door refrigerators also have a luxurious style that’s not found in other models. Some homeowners purchase them strictly for their aesthetics, and there’s some belief that upgrading to a French door refrigerator will increase a home’s selling value.
Introduced into the consumer market in 1949 by the Amana Corporation, side-by-side refrigerators feature two doors: the left opens the freezer compartment, and the right opens the refrigerator. There are no other drawers or doors, either above or below. Although prices vary depending on a number of different factors, side-by-side refrigerators typically cost less than their French door counterpart.
Unlike the French door style, a side-by-side refrigerator does not require you to bend down to access the freezer compartment. If you want to add or remove frozen food, you simply pull open the left door. Being that the freezer is located in the center of the unit rather than the bottom (or top), you’ll have more space to store frozen goods. On the other hand, this also means you’ll have less space for refrigerated foods and beverages.
A potential disadvantage of using a side-by-side refrigerator is its increased energy usage. Opening the large freezer door allows valuable cold air to escape; thus, forcing the unit to work over time in an attempt to regulate the temperature.