There are several different groups of refrigerator freezer layouts. The best model for you will depend on your lifestyle. The four main groups of refrigerator models from basic to trendiest are explained here along with their pros and cons.
Group 1: “Old-fashioned Style” – top freezer, fridge below
The freezer on top model of refrigerator is a great layout which has stood the test of time. If you need one with an icemaker, be sure to check out how this is laid out in the freezer – it won’t have through-the-door delivery. Be aware some models in this group come without an ice-maker.
- excellent space utilization
- isn’t always available in the larger widths
Group 2: “New standard” – top refrigerator, freezer below
This group of models is a newer variation on the previous group; now featuring the freezer below, usually drawer-style. It makes sense to have the freezer on the bottom from the point of view that warmer air rises.
Bu it does mean that whenever you go into the freezer you have to bend down quite a lot to find your items. If you already tend to rummage around a lot to find things in the freezer this could be a problem, but if you are predominantly a refrigerator user, than this may be the layout for you. You’ll also need to check how the icemaker is laid out.
- makes sense from an energy standpoint
- if you have small children, you may prefer that they are not able to get to the freezer
Group 3: “Side by Side” – freezer on one side of double doors, fridge on the other
In this group of models, the freezer is accessed by one of the side by side doors, fridge via the other. This model’s popularity is due mainly to its through the door ice and water delivery. An added bonus is that by opening two smaller doors instead of having just one big one, less total outward swing space is needed.
- can get ice water and ice without having to open the door: energy-efficient
- may offer a better door-opening layout by having 2 small doors needing less ‘swing space’ outward than one big door.
- poor space layout and organization in freezer; tall narrow vertical shelves make it very difficult to fit things efficiently. Depending on the exact model there may be problems trying to store frozen pizza boxes or other wide items.
- can be expensive to fix if something goes wrong with through-the-door icemaker
Group 4: “French Doors” – double doors on fridge, freezer below
This latest and trendiest model is popular because you can open one or both of the double doors to get what you want from the fridge, making access simple and convenient, even for the further back corners. It also requires less total swing space outward, which is a bonus. The freezer below in contrast has one drawer instead of two doors, making for a nice balanced look. These models usually feature through-the-door ice delivery.
- great aesthetics.
- may offer a better door-opening layout by having 2 narrower doors needing less outward swing space than one big door.
- easy to accidentally close doors on fingers when closing one fridge door & the other swings shut after it.
- can be expensive to fix if something goes wrong with through-the-door icemaker.
- if you have small children, you may prefer that they are not able to get to the freezer.
The bottom line on choosing the best refrigerator for you
The right fridge freezer for you will depend on your lifestyle. Think carefully first about which features you consider essential.
Make sure you inspect the fridge freezer in person before buying. When doing so, imagine yourself actually putting away your typical groceries into the refrigerator and freezer to assess space. A model with a lesser cubic feet of storage space can sometimes actually perform better than a bigger one if the space is laid out in a more usable manner. So don’t go by numbers alone for cubic capacity. On the other hand, you will need to go by hard numbers for the width, height and depth of the appliance: it will need to fit properly within its designated nook and with enough room available to open the door.