Choosing Between A Side-By-Side And A Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator

The repair technician said it would cost more to fix your old refrigerator than it's worth, so you're planning to start shopping. You've always had a stacked refrigerator with a top-mounted freezer, and you've become interested in switching to a different style. That could mean buying an appliance with the refrigerator and freezer compartments situated vertically from top to bottom, or one with the freezer under the refrigerator compartment. 

Consider some advantages of each style to help you make an informed choice.



Storage Space

These appliances are wider than stacked models. They generally have more refrigerator and freezer space than versions with a freezer at the top or bottom.

Vertical Freezer

A primary advantage involves being able to get to all the items in the freezer more easily. You don't have to dig through everything in the front of the freezer – or unload stuff onto a counter – to find something specific you're looking for.

Narrow Doors

Many consumers prefer the two narrower doors so they don't have to swing open a large door, which can be inconvenient in a smaller kitchen. However, because the appliance is wider, it takes up more space than the stacked versions when the doors are closed.


Some individuals simply like the way these appliances look. They feel this style suits their kitchen better than a stacked version. 

Potential Disadvantages

The refrigerator and freezer will both be narrower than what you're used to. If you like to store wide items such as veggie platters or large pizzas from the deli, make sure the refrigerator you choose is wide enough.

These appliances also tend to use more electricity than stacked versions. 



Refrigerated Food at Eye Level

With a top-mounted freezer, the freezer is at eye level for most adults. Reaching for many of the refrigerated items involves bending and stooping, which isn't comfortable for people with conditions such as arthritis or chronic back pain.

Fresh Foods Situated Higher Up

In your current refrigerator, your fresh vegetables and any fruit you refrigerate probably are at the bottom in the crisper. It's easy to forget about these foods since they are out of sight. With a bottom freezer, the crisper is in a more noticeable location.

Although this may not seem like much of an advantage, research indicates that people are more inclined to eat healthier foods when those items are at eye level in the refrigerator or cupboard. Choose a refrigerator with clear crisper drawers and make it even easier to remember to eat fresh produce before it goes bad.

More Freezer Space

Bottom-situated freezers typically have more storage capacity than those on top of a refrigerator, but less than in a side-by-side model.

The French Doors Option

Many bottom-freezer models have two narrow refrigerator doors rather than one big door to swing open. This is advantageous in a relatively small kitchen. It also can have an impact on energy use. That's because you can store items you need most often on one half of the appliance and only open one door to get them.  

As with the side-by-side versions, you might like the way this refrigerator looks in your kitchen.

Potential Disadvantages

There still is bending and stooping involved for retrieving food, only now it's for frozen items. If you eat a lot of frozen food and it's uncomfortable for you to bend and lift things, the bottom freezer may not be convenient. 


If you've ever thought about buying a chest freezer for more storage and ease of finding your frozen foods, the side-by-side refrigerator may solve these problems. On the other hand, you may prefer the advantages of the stacked model with a bottom freezer. Keep the advantages and potential disadvantages of both in mind when you start appliance shopping at stores like Arizona Discount Appliance so you make the selection that's best for you.