Look no further for the best side-by-side refrigerators. We’ve been reviewing these space-saving fridges for a decade, looking for the best balance of features, performance and price, to help you choose the right side-by-side refrigerator for your budget.
When considering side-by-side refrigerators, we looked for the standard features and options, such as adjustable shelves and a water and ice dispenser. We also examined some features that are useful bonuses, such as temperature- or humidity-controlled drawers and space-saving icemakers.
We also checked the flexibility that you get from the refrigerator’s design and the adaptability of the interior space. Although there is always a set amount of space in each refrigerator, its capacity can be expanded in a sense if you get a number of adjustable shelves and different sizes of bins.
Adjustable shelves are important so you can accommodate food and containers of all sizes. Many models include humidity-controlled crisper drawers, and some include temperature-controlled drawers. Some side-by-side refrigerators also include a deli or snack drawer for smaller items, and a few models include a can or wine rack for beverages.
Energy use was another important consideration in our evaluations since fridges operate night and day, seven days a week. The best side-by-side refrigerators are Energy Star compliant, which means they are about 9 percent more energy efficient than models that meet the minimum energy efficiency standard. The annual cost of running the fridges in our comparison ranges from $73 to $86.
Only four models in our lineup are Energy Star compliant, and this could make a difference in your electricity bill. This might seem small at first, but since you will probably keep a refrigerator for years, the differences add up, and perhaps more importantly, Energy Star-compliant fridges have less of an impact on the environment. Some models offer a door-in-door feature that is nice for energy conservation since you can access common foods without opening the full door.
Here we are going to go over the top 3 side by side refrigerators we consider the best.
The energy-efficient Samsung RS25J500DSR/AA is a well-designed side-by-side refrigerator with adjustable shelves and plenty of freezer space. This refrigerator offers all the storage space most people will need to keep plenty of food fresh and on hand for your family.
The Samsung RS25J500DSR/AA is one of the more affordable refrigerators in our lineup, and it’s easily one of the best that we evaluated. Its capacity is average when compared with other fridges we reviewed, but it has a nice distribution of freezer and refrigerator space.
One of the few complaints with this side-by-side refrigerator is it’s lacking in drawer space, both in the refrigerator and the freezer. There is no temperature control or snack/deli drawers in the fridge, but it does have a humidity-controlled crisper drawer. It’s shelf space, however, is impressive. Its shelves are adjustable, spillproof and slide-out, giving you all the features you need to customize the space to your needs and make the food easy to access.
The freezer is slightly smaller than average, but it is well-designed space, and there is both a quick freeze and quick cool feature to keep food fresh and to firm up ice cream that has been left out for a bit too long. The freezer has three door bins and four shelves. There is only a single drawer in the freezer, which is not uncommon for freezers in this price range. The freezer has plenty of shelf space however, with room for all kinds of frozen food.
The GE GSS23GSKSS has four color options for various décor. It is energy efficient and offers spillproof slide-out shelves that are adjustable so you can customize them to your needs. This fridge has features you don’t normally see in a model this inexpensive.
The GE GSS23GSKSS is an energy-efficient side-by-side refrigerator that is one of the more affordable models in our comparison and boasts some nice features, like spillproof shelves and three refrigerator drawers to store fruits, vegetables and snacks of all kinds.
The refrigerator capacity is slightly above average when compared with other units we reviewed, but the freezer has the lowest capacity of any side-by-side refrigerator we evaluated. The refrigerator’s space is well designed for food of all kinds and all sizes. It has two humidity-controlled crisper drawers, which are great for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh. There is also a snack/deli drawer to keep snacks separate and readily available.
The freezer space consists of one basket in the bottom and three shelves. The basket has a lot of space for wide and tall items. For many people’s needs the freezer basket may even err on the side of too much space, not leaving quite enough space for other items on the shelves above. On the plus side, there are three door bins for frozen food you want quick access to. This is an energy-efficient fridge with low estimated yearly operation costs and electricity use. It also comes in four different colors to match your kitchen’s décor.
The Electrolux EI26SS30JS is one of the most feature-rich side-by-side refrigerators in our reviews. This energy-efficient unit is one of the few refrigerators in our lineup that is Energy Star compliant.
It has a vacation mode, which switches the fridge into energy-saving mode if it remains unopened for more than 24 hours. It has a Chill Zone drawer that vents chilled air directly into the draw to keep contents extra cold.
It has one of the largest capacities of the refrigerators we looked at, with the single biggest freezer. It’s also varied and well-organized space. It has two oversized drawers you can use to keep large items separate and easily accessible and a small drawer above them.
There is also plenty of shelf and door bin space for all kinds of items like frozen dinners, veggies and juice concentrate. It’s not the most expensive fridge we reviewed, but it’s on the pricey side and it lacks convenient slide-out shelves. It is an attractive, feature-rich fridge with loads of storage space for a big family.
What Else Is Important to Look for in Side-by-Side Refrigerators
Certain less crucial items might seem like a luxury to one person but could be a deal-breaker for another. Among other things, we examined these features:
The water and ice dispenser is a helpful feature. All the models in our review include one mounted on the exterior of the freezer door, providing crushed or cubed ice as well as filtered water. On the inside, the icemaker may be mounted above the shelving area, which means it extends into the freezer compartment and uses up some of that storage space. Conversely, it could be contained in the door, which gives you more freezer storage space. In addition, we looked for such things as a door-ajar alarm to warn you if you forget to close the doors, a quick cool feature to pump extra cold air when it is needed, and spill proof shelves that are easy to clean.
Side-by-side refrigerators are among the most expensive fridges. The least expensive fridge in our comparison is about $900 and the most expensive is $2,400. When we looked at top sellers from Home Depot, Lowes and other big retailers, the majority of these fridges stayed in this price range.
Refrigerator buying tips: Four things to look for
There are four main types of refrigerators:
- French Door: This is the most popular model, with two doors that open the refrigerator compartment. This feature makes it easier to access the fridge, such as when a kitchen island might prevent you from fully opening a full-size door. These refrigerators also have the freezer section on the bottom.
- Side-by-side: These two-door refrigerators have the freezer compartment on the left side and the refrigerator compartment on the right. This style makes it easier to reach items in the freezer — you don’t have to bend down — but makes it harder to fit in wider items, such as pizza boxes and sheet cakes.
- Top freezer: As the name suggests, the freezer is on the top, with a single door below for the refrigerator. These models make it easier to get to the freezer, at the expense of having to bend down to reach the lower drawers of the refrigerator.
- Bottom freezer: With the freezer on the bottom, this style of refrigerator makes everything in the main compartment at waist level or higher. It’s better for those who don’t use their freezer as often.
Now you can make your choice clearly about the refrigerator of your choice and the one that best fits your requirement.