Bottom Freezer Refrigerators: Really Better?

Are bottom freezer refrigerators really better? Let’s briefly compare the three major refrigerator types.

Bottom Freezer Advantages

  • Bottom freezer refrigerators place the most frequently used refrigerator space directly at eye level. This provides easy access and great convenience, especially for those who store a lot of fresh foods.
  • The main compartment runs the full width of the appliance, making it easy to store large items like party trays.
  • Some manufacturers add lift-out baskets and tiered shelving to the freezer compartments making it easier to reach frozen foods.
  • Bottom Freezer refrigerators have been growing in popularity and are generally more energy efficient than their counterparts.

Bottom Freezer Disadvantages

  • Fewer models of Bottom Freezer refrigerators than Side-by-Side and Top Freezer configurations.
  • Most tend to have capacities ranging from about 18 to 22 cubic feet, so they are better suited for small to medium sized households.
  • Generally, Bottom Freezer refrigerators will cost more. (You’ll probably recoup this added expense over the life of the appliance due to energy efficiency.)

Top Freezer Advantages

  • The eye level position of the freezer provides easier access to frozen foods, minimizing the chance that items will be forgotten.
  • Both refrigerator and freezer compartments are full-width, making it easier to accommodate oversized items.

Top Freezer Disadvantages

  • People open their refrigerators about 10 times as often as their freezers. Since the refrigerator compartment is below the freezer, it requires constant stooping - perhaps one reason why low lying vegetable crispers go untouched for so long.
  • While the capacity of the freezer section may be comparable with a bottom freezer, it’s not as easy to organize.

French Door (Side by Side) Advantages

  • The most popular configuration, it is ideal for those who don't have a lot of space in their kitchen since the doors don't swing open as widely.
  • The refrigerator section is at eye level and having two doors is a good organizational feature.

French Door Disadvantages

  • Most people tend to open both doors several times making this configuration less energy efficient than a bottom mount refrigerator.
  • Smaller interiors (due to door design) make it more difficult to store larger items in the refrigerator compartment.
  • Many manufacturers offer an interior or through-the-door ice maker/water dispenser as an option on all side-by-sides. While a popular feature, it’s also the most frequent cause of repair for these models.