The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators for Your Kitchen

With so many options, it can be hard to stay cool when you're shopping for the best side-by-side refrigerator. Use this guide to help you decide on one of these space-saving models.

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option

Photo: Depositphoto.com

The refrigerator style you choose can be a very personal choice. While some folks might prefer a French-door or top-freezer model, others want the best side-by-side refrigerator for their kitchen. Side-by-side refrigerators split the refrigerator and freezer sections straight down the middle, and rely more on shelves than drawers for storing your food.

If you need help deciding on the best side-by-side refrigerator for your kitchen, this guide can point you in the right direction. Keep reading to learn about the best models out there, and the features and factors to keep in mind while shopping.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Whirlpool 28.4-cu ft Side-by-Side Refrigerator
  2. RUNNER-UP: Frigidaire 25.5 cu ft Side-by-Side Refrigerator
  3. BEST VALUE: Frigidaire FFSS2315TS 22.1 cu ft Side-by-Side
  4. UPGRADE PICK: KitchenAid 25 cu ft Built-In Side-by-Side
  5. BEST FOR SMALL KITCHENS: Whirlpool 20.6 cu ft Counter-Depth Side-by-Side
  6. BEST FOR LARGE KITCHENS: LG Electronics 26.8 cu ft Side-by-Side Refrigerator
  7. SMART PICK: Samsung 26.7 cu ft Side-by-Side with Family Hub
  8. ENERGY-EFFICIENT PICK: LG Electronics 21.7 cu ft Smart Side-by-Side
The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option

Photo: lowes.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator

Side-by-side refrigerators are different from French-door models in that one half of the unit, from top to bottom, handles refrigeration, while the other half does the freezing. The drawers are smaller, but there are more shelves for organizing frozen foods. The following considerations might help you decide if a side-by-side refrigerator will work for you.

Available Space

Consider space in two ways: the available space in the kitchen and the functional space inside the refrigerator. Side-by-side refrigerator doors typically are smaller than those on a French-door or top-freezer model. In tight kitchens, side-by-side doors can be the best option. Since the doors are narrow and there’s no pull-out freezer drawer, it’s easy to open the doors and get to food within a small footprint.

The available space inside the refrigerator can be a different story. Though their cubic footage might be similar to other models, side-by-side storage takes a different shape. A pizza box or sheet cake likely won’t fit in a side-by-side refrigerator, which can be a significant drawback for some. But those who like to meal prep and freeze food will likely find the stacked shelves far easier to navigate than a bottom freezer drawer.

Temperature and Humidity Levels

Some of the best side-by-side refrigerators feature adjustable temperature and humidity levels. While these features aren’t new to the world of home food refrigeration, they’re now better than ever at controlling energy consumption and food freshness.

The colder you keep your refrigerator, the more often it will need to run through the refrigeration cycle. However, according to the FDA, the ideal temperature for a refrigerator is 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjust your unit to maintain that temperature (use an outdoor thermometer if necessary), so you aren’t freezing the items in the back of the refrigerator and using more electricity than needed to keep food fresh.

Side-by-side refrigerators don’t usually have the same amount of drawer storage as other styles, so humidity control becomes even more important. Look for a refrigerator that allows users to adjust the humidity based on what they store in the drawer. Certain fruits like watermelon or bananas still ripening need a lot of humidity, while an open vent allows apples to stay crisp.

Energy Use

There’s one big reason to upgrade from an older refrigerator: energy use. Today’s refrigerators are far more energy efficient than the old clunky refrigerators from years ago.

Side-by-side refrigerators tend to be less efficient than top- or bottom-freezer models. However, they’re still far more efficient than older refrigerators. The precise temperature controls allow you to throttle your refrigerator’s energy consumption, a feature that’s lacking in some older fridges.

Display

A fun and functional advancement in modern side-by-side refrigerators is smart display technology. These touch-screen hubs come built into the front of the fridge. It might not seem like a display on the front of the refrigerator is necessary, but the screens offer plenty of smart features.

These are more than just displays. They’re essentially high-powered tablets, many of which have supporting accounts that allow owners to access the refrigerator’s features from a smartphone. These hubs can show the contents of a refrigerator and display reminders for food expiration dates, or even update a shopping list for an item that’s running low. Maybe most useful of all is that these displays can tell you when other appliances such as the washer and dryer finish running—as long as they’re WiFi-ready.

You also can run music and video apps from these tablets, entertaining yourself while you cook or eat.

Water and Ice Dispenser

There are many good reasons for choosing a refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser built into the door, a feature in most side-by-side models, the most compelling being convenience and energy efficiency.

Water and ice dispensers are super-convenient features, particularly on hot days or when entertaining company. Instead of having to pop stubborn cubes out of an ice tray or chip chunks from a solid block of ice, you just place your glass under the dispenser. You’ll also save on water bottles, as water dispensers provide clean, cold, filtered water anytime you need it.

These dispensers also shine when it comes to energy efficiency. Instead of opening the door every time someone wants a cold glass of water or ice cubes, they can fill the glass from the front of the fridge. This helps the refrigerator maintain its temperature and reduces unnecessary cycling, saving energy and money.

Our Top Picks

There are so many side-by-side refrigerators available, from seemingly just as many retailers, that it can be a challenge to find the right one. This list lays the groundwork with recommendations by category. Choosing one of these side-by-side refrigerators surely will complement a kitchen’s size and a family’s lifestyle.

Best Overall

The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option:
Photo: lowes.com

For a side-by-side refrigerator that offers lots of storage and uses the latest technology, but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, the Whirlpool 28.4 cubic foot (model WRS588FIHZ) is a great choice. The unit uses an exterior ice and water dispenser with “EveryDrop” filtration to provide high-quality ice and water without opening the door. This model stores the ice in the door, which helps free up valuable freezer space. It uses Accu-Chill Temperature Management to cool food quickly and then return to normal cooling. The side-by-side unit has adjustable glass shelves and gallon door bins, making it easy to customize storage. It also uses an air filter that helps remove common food odors, keeping the fridge smelling fresh. It comes in four finishes, two of which are stainless and fingerprint-resistant surfaces.

Runner up

The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option:
Photo: lowes.com

Side-by-side refrigerators always lack some width storage-wise—particularly in the freezer, but not the large Frigidaire 25.5 cubic foot side-by-side (model LFSS2612TF). This unit uses full-width shelves to provide as much storage as possible. It also features a built-in water and ice dispenser, which stores ice in the door to free up freezer space typically taken by a bulky ice tray. Both the ice maker and water dispenser use a PureSource water filter to provide cleaner water. The interior of both the freezer and the refrigerator are highly customizable, with shelves that adjust and versatile door bins. Temperature control adjustments come via an LCD panel that’s both easy to use and read. It comes with three drawers in the refrigerator for meats, fruits, and veggies, and one bin in the freezer.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option:
Photo: sears.com

For high-end features with a budget-friendly price, the Frigidaire FFSS2315TS 22.1-cubic foot side-by-side refrigerator checks the boxes. It comes with a stainless steel, fingerprint-resistant finish, and a built-in ice and water dispenser. Both dispensers use the PureSource water filter, and feature an automatic filter alert so owners can keep up with changing dirty filters for the best quality water and ice. This side-by-side features shelves that span the entire width of the freezer to enable stacking as much frozen food as possible while keeping everything easy to find. The shelves and bins in the refrigerator are highly adjustable to help customize cooling space to fit large items when necessary.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option:
Photo: lowes.com

Not everyone needs a high-end side-by-side, but any shopper in the market for a commercial-quality refrigerator will find the KitchenAid 25-cubic foot side-by-side refrigerator (model KBSD602ESS) an impressive option. This stainless steel refrigerator uses PrintShield Finish to resist smudges and keep the fridge looking great. It has an automatic ice maker, and SatinGlide Crispers with ball-bearings to provide a smoother drawer pull than with many clunky plastic bins. The Produce Preserver feature absorbs gases emitted by fruits and vegetables, allowing them to stay fresher longer before over-ripening. It has LED lighting throughout and spill-proof shelves to keep accidents contained. This is a built-in style refrigerator, so it doesn’t have side panels to provide a nice finish on open sides.

BEST FOR SMALL KITCHENS

The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option:
Photo: lowes.com

In some small kitchens, side-by-side refrigerators are the only answer, and if space is particularly tight, the Whirlpool counter-depth (model WRS571CIHW) is an attractive option. This 20.6-cubic feet fridge’s counter-depth profile means it won’t stick out past lower cabinets. This leaves more floor space in front of the refrigerator—a must for small kitchens. It has a built-in ice maker and water dispenser, with in-door ice storage to keep the freezer space as free as possible. Both dispensers use the EveryDrop filtration system to keep water fresh and clean. The shelves in both the refrigerator and freezer adjust easily for making space on the fly. The Accu-Chill temperature management system adjusts to cool new foods quickly, and then returns to normal cooling to maintain the temperature.

Best for Large Kitchens

The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option:
Photo: hmoedepot.com

Families with a large kitchen and some serious food storage needs should check into models like the LG Electronics 26.8-cubic foot side-by-side refrigerator (model LRSES2706V). This unit’s huge storage capacity measures more than 26-cubic feet and features a convenient InstaView Door-in-Door feature. With the InstaView, users can see the items stored in the refrigerator’s door without opening it, and gain access to often-used items through a secondary outer door. This door saves on electricity and adds convenience by allowing for quick grabbing of items without opening the entire refrigerator. LG uses PrintProof fingerprint and smudge-resistant finish to keep this refrigerator looking clean and new. The fridge also has several digital sensors to monitor the conditions inside constantly, making necessary temperature and humidity adjustments automatically.

Smart Pick

The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option:
Photo: bestbuy.com

The Samsung 26.7-cubic foot Family Hub-powered side-by-side (model RS27TFF61SR) is a great choice when looking to make the most of smart-home technology and WiFi-enabled appliances. This refrigerator offers an ice and water dispenser, as well as adjustable shelving and more than 26-cubic feet of storage. It also has a high-end touch screen smart hub. The screen can support watching movies, listening to music, installing apps, checking on security cameras, and other activities. Programming other WiFi-enabled appliances to work with the Family Hub gives you control over everything right from the kitchen. The fridge can even alert you when the appliances finish running. Family members can also log in to the account and leave notes, voice messages, and upload family pictures to display on the front of the fridge.

Energy-Efficient Pick

The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator Option:
Photo: homedepot.com

The Energy Star-qualified LG Electronics 21.7-Cubic Foot Smart Side-by-Side (model LSXC22396S) is worth checking into when considering an eco-friendly and smart refrigerator. This fridge exceeds federal energy standards, lowering electric bills, and environmental impact. It uses the InstaView door to help maintain the refrigerator’s interior temperature by allowing users to reach in and grab an item without opening the entire door. The InstaView door consists of three layers of glass to help keep cold air in and warm air out, maximizing the system’s efficiency. It features water and ice dispensers using the Slim SpacePlus Ice System to free up more shelf space in the freezer. It also includes digital sensors to monitor the refrigerator’s temperature, making automatic adjustments when required.

The Advantages of Owning a Side-by-Side Refrigerator

Side-by-side refrigerators are ideal for those who want to prepare food ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Since side-by-side refrigerators use shelves, there is no need to dig to the bottom of a freezer drawer to find an item.

Side-by-side refrigerators require less floor space than French-door or top-freezer refrigerators. Since the doors aren’t as wide as a top-freezer refrigerator and they don’t have pullout freezer drawers, they can fully open within a much tighter footprint.

Another benefit of side-by-side refrigerators is their built-in ice and water dispensers. While some French-door models have this option, they’re usually far more expensive than comparable side-by-side refrigerators. The layout of a side-by-side refrigerator makes it easier for the ice maker to fill the storage hopper and keep it from melting, while French-door models require a lot of energy and extra equipment to keep ice from melting in the refrigerated space.

  • Freezer storage is easy to sort through with a side-by-side refrigerator.
  • Tight floor plans benefit from a side-by-side refrigerator’s small doors.
  • Side-by-side ice dispensers are far more efficient than French-door models.