What are Side-By-Side Refrigerators?

Molly Land

Side-by-side refrigerators are those that are divided in half lengthwise, with a freezer on one side and a refrigerator on the other. These refrigerators have two doors, which swing out from the middle so the freezer door stays closed while the refrigerator door is open and vice versa. Side-by-side refrigerators differ from traditional refrigerators, which usually have a small freezer above or below the main refrigerator compartment.

Side-by-side refrigerators have a freezer on one side and refrigerator on the other.
Side-by-side refrigerators have a freezer on one side and refrigerator on the other.

It's relatively easy to organize the freezer contents in a side-by-side refrigerator, since there are several shelves. The freezer's contents can be easily seen when opening the door. With a traditional freezer, the frozen food packages are usually stacked on top of each other, since there are often few or no shelves. This can make it difficult to read the package labels, and to get to items in the back.

Most major appliance companies manufacture side-by-side refrigerators, as the style is very popular. There are budget models and luxury versions. The price of the refrigerator will depend on its size and features. For example, a higher-end side-by-side refrigerator will probably have an ice and water dispenser built into the door.

Other optional features found in side-by-side refrigerators include ice makers, wine racks, adjustable shelves, crispers, and can dispensers. These refrigerators are available in white, black, and other colors, just like a traditional model. Stainless side-by-side refrigerators are very popular in gourmet kitchens.

Another type of refrigerator that has become popular has two refrigerator compartments side by side, with a freezer at the bottom. This is often called the French Door style, and it helps increase energy efficiency since only one half of the refrigerator needs to be opened at a time. These models tend to be more expensive than standard side-by-side refrigerators, and usually have less flexibility in shelving arrangement.

When shopping for side-by-side refrigerators, one should measure the width and depth accurately, as these appliances may be wider or deeper than a traditional refrigerator. Consider also that the doors will swing open in both directions, and that the doors meet in the middle, so it won't be possible to reverse door directions like is sometimes done with a traditional refrigerator.

Owning a side-by-side refrigerator does have some potential drawbacks. One of the most appealing features of many side-by-sides, the in-door ice and water dispenser, is also the most common component to malfunction and require repair. Additionally, side-by-side refrigerators are said to be the least energy efficient of all refrigerators, which means operating costs might be higher than with a traditional model.

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