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The Different Types of Refrigerators and Freezers

by Dale Dauterive


These days, there’s more to a fridge than just its size. There are a few styles to pick from. Which is best for you?

The days of the boring old refrigerators and freezers are gone. There are many types of refrigerators these days. Manufacturers are constantly innovating, thinking outside the icebox if you will, to bring new technologies, designs, and features to customers.

French Door Refrigerators

Love side by side refrigerators but don’t want that pesky freezer in the way? Then the French door configuration is a great combo for you. The French doors are located at the top, offer a lot of space inside, and store everything from large platters to pizzas. Plus, if you’re a bit anal retentive, they come in 3-, 4-, and 5-door models, you can organize til your heart’s content.

french door fridge

Along with being highly versatile for an array of configurations, these refrigerators are definitely stylish. Many have a bottom-mounted freezer. The extra door options are typically counter-height for convenience, or have extra temperature controlling features.

But if storage capacity is your main goal, then say oui, oui to French door fridges. If not, there are many other types of refrigerators to choose from.

Side By Side Refrigerator

If your food storage needs are equal parts fridge and freezer, this style is probably more your game. Both the fridge and the freezer take up the full height of the appliance. Organizational options are fewer than that of a 5-door French door model but there’s still a lot of wiggle room.

There are adjustable shelves for optimal flexibility and some models even feature some nifty door organization options. These appliances are a good fit (pun intended) for narrow kitchens. The side by side has less of a door swing which can be an issue when space is limited.

The main benefit to this configuration really is the freezer. If your family is of the frozen dinner persuasion, these have more space than other styles.

side by side fridge
Counter-Depth Refrigerators

This is more of a feature on side by side and French door style appliances but worth noting on its own. Appliances that are counter-depth have a shallow profile compared to other refrigerators. In short, they don’t stick out beyond the counter. This gives them a seamless, built-in look, which is a nice touch if you favor both fashion and function.

Top Freezer or Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

This is probably the most common style of fridge: a top freezer or bottom freezer configuration. Just as it sounds, with a top freezer, the freezer is placed above the refrigeration unit. With bottom freezers, it’s the other end.

fridge with a freezer on top

These refrigerators come in smaller sizes and as a result can be much more wallet-friendly than the above models. If you don’t freeze many food items or don’t need a lot of food storage in general, this is the option for you. The freezer usually takes up about a third of the total size.

On the other side, if you are looking for a second fridge because you have too many food items, these make a great choice due to their size and cost.

Freezerless Refrigerators

The name pretty much says it all. The whole thing is a fridge. There is no freezer to be found. If you have a lot of fresh food, this is a great option. This is also a better option if you happen to already have a full freezer.

Compact Refrigerators

Famous for their dorm room presence, these miniaturized versions of traditional refrigerators are more than just a collegic indulgence. They are also great for game rooms, (wo)man/caves, home bars, or the office. Most of them have a tiny freezer located within.

The biggest benefit to these is location, location, location. There are many places they can go, giving you a lot of flexibility.

Wine Refrigerators

lady getting wine from a wine fridge

These appliances are like a second cousin to compact refrigerators. They are designed specifically for beverages, and more to the point, for people who drink booze. It isn’t required, but keeping your white wine between 49 and 55 degrees is far more of a thing than the perfectly chilled Cherry Coke.

While they are usually of the compact variety, you can purchase full sized ones also. They have room for hundreds of bottles. If you are a wine connoisseur, this is the fridge for you! You can also find models with multi-zone temperature control if you really want to geek out over your vino.

Chest Freezers

Just like there are refrigerators with no freezer, the same goes for freezers. Chest freezers hold a lot of food but they also have a large footprint. Because of their mechanics, they are less likely to cause freezer burn.

Another benefit of their design is how they keep the cold in. The cold air doesn’t escape from them as quickly as with upright freezers. It’s that whole heat rises thing. Well, the cold doesn’t so when you dip into them, they are a bit more efficient than their vertical brethren.

Upright Freezers

As expected, these appliances operate much like the freezerless fridge but as a freezer. They have a lower physical footprint than the chest freezer, so that is something to consider. They also have door storage which the chest version does not because of things like gravity.

The architecture of these appliances come with all the benefits that your fridge has, like adjustable shelving.

You now know the many options there are when it comes to storing your food and the different types of refrigerators and freezers. If you are looking to upgrade but still unsure of exactly what you need, give our appliance experts a call.