Refrigerators have come a long way since the first modern models from the 1930s. Today, you have a dizzying amount of choices from the standard one with the freezer on the top to smart appliances and even models with a coffee maker built in the door.
Double door refrigerators come in two basic styles, side by side and French door. Each one has their pros and cons with lots of variation in between. Let’s run down the best door double refrigerator by type with some thoughts about their features.
What You Should Consider When Buying a Refrigerator
Perhaps the two most important criteria for making this major purchase are price and size. Both will narrow down your choices considerably, but that’s a good thing when you’re faced with dozens of models. Other things to factor into your decision include:
- Counter Depth
- Dispenser and Icemaker Options
- CEE Tiers and Energy Star Compliance
- Smart Home Capability
Some will play a significant role in the price. Budget-minded buyers might consider passing on the WiFi with the Keurig K-Cup coffee maker.
Refrigerators aren’t cheap, especially when you add extra bells and whistles. Your basic run-of-the-mill side by side model starts around $500 and can go into the thousands. This type has an advantage over the French door with about an $800 price tag on the low end. However, it’s not a cut-and-dry decision until you look at the other features.
Before you even start looking, measure your space first. Be sure to include the height, width, and depth. Leave some room at the top for storing snacks. And don’t forget to take into account the swing of the door. Ideally, you’ll have some room in the back and on the sides for ventilation and to make it easier to move.
Capacity is often a deciding factor too and perhaps is the reason that you’re shopping around for a new fridge. It’ll run anywhere from 15 on the low side to over 30 cubic feet. The best way to get a handle on it is to look inside and see how it compares to what you have now. Keep in mind your typical use as well as peak times like holidays and other family gatherings.
The layout comes into play when you look at the lateral width. It highlights one major difference between a side by side versus a French door refrigerator. The former typically has a freezer on one side and the fridge part on the other. That means you’ll sacrifice some storage area with smaller shelves. However, it trumps the latter when it comes to organizing.
The French door refrigerator makes it easier to access that part of the appliance with your foods at eye level on full-width shelves. The freezer part is a separate pull-out drawer on the bottom. The disadvantage of this layout is that everything gets thrown into the freezer without a simple way to arrange things.
A recent trend in kitchen design involves appliances like refrigerators which as counter depth rather than jutting out into the open space. Aesthetically, it gives the room a more polished look. After all, let’s face it. A fridge isn’t the most attractive thing. However, the layout is important to take into account the swing of the door.
Color and Finish
Color, of course, is a matter of opinion. Suffice to say that you have more choices than white. Stainless steel models look striking but have the downside of showing fingerprints. Grease is more obvious too. Textured finishes offer a nice balance but make cleaning harder to get into the little crevices.
Dispenser and Icemaker Options
Here is where the price can take a huge leap. You can find refrigerators with water only, ice and water, and cubed and crushed ice too. Some use an external filter or an internal one. You’ll also see models with hot water dispensers too. An icemaker is convenient—as long as it works. They have an irritating penchant for malfunctioning sometimes.
CEE Tiers and Energy Star Compliance
Electricity use is another factor you should consider. It’s one area where a French door refrigerator has an advantage over a side by side. The annual cost for the former is around $65 versus $80 for the latter, using the Energy Star Refrigerator Calculator.
Speaking of that, compliance with Energy Star is a must if just to get a handle on your utility bills. The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) Tier rating gives you more information about the efficiency of an appliance. The higher it is, the greater is the energy efficiency.
Smart Home Capability
The Internet of Things has exploded in recent years with a flood of smart devices including refrigerators. The advantage they offer is the ability to customize its operation to your needs. You can schedule different functions with an accompanying app or even view its contents remotely.
You’ll find models that work with proprietary systems such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Others have WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities. You’ll even see voice-controlled appliances.
It’s crucial to choose a refrigerator from a reliable manufacturer. It isn’t cheap to lose a fridge-full of food. Reputable brands include:
No matter which one you purchase, make sure it includes a warranty. Read the fine print to understand its terms. Use caution when buying lesser known brands.
Want to learn more? Check out this video by Learn Engineering to find out how a refrigerator works.
The Frigidaire FGHF2367TF Gallery Series ticks off a lot of boxes which we’d expect with a product at this price point. It has a 22 cubic foot capacity with dimensions of 69 ⅞ by 36 by 28 ½ inches. It is frost-free. It has a dispenser for water and crushed and cubed ice. It includes both water and air filters within the unit. There are also two humidity controls.
It is gray with a textured finish with a protective coating to prevent fingerprints and smudges. The freezer has an upper and lower basket with an adjustable divider. Because of the filters, there is extra maintenance with replacing them every six months. It includes an ice maker with an ON/OFF switch. The refrigerator is energy efficient too.
GE GNE25JSKSS - Best French Door Double Door Refrigerator
The GE GNE25JSKSS comes in at 32 ¾ by 69 ⅞ by 37 ½ inches with a 24.8 cubic foot capacity. It has a stainless steel finish that looks great. It has both an ice maker and water dispenser. The latter is on the inside which isn’t a bad thing because it comes out very cold. The amount of space is deceiving since there is a lot of room inside of it.
We liked the fact that there are two drawers in the freezer to help with organization. One has an adjustable divider. Though the ice maker seems bulky, it is quite efficient. The crisper drawer is a generous size. Temperature control is outstanding in both units. You can get a four or five-year optional protection plan. Curiously, the five year is more than double the cost of the four.
The Kenmore 50043 comes in 21.9, 25, or 28 cubic feet capacity. You also have your choice of black, stainless steel, or white. The price includes installation and haul-away of your old unit which some companies charge extra. Bear in mind that there is a limited delivery area. It has a generous amount of space with shelves to accommodate gallon-sized containers.
It has bright LED lights that actually make your food look more appetizing. It comes with a one-year warranty, though you can bump it up for longer coverage. It does have an internal water filter that you’ll need to change every six months. It has a smooth rather than a textured finish, so you’ll see the fingerprint marks. The dimensions are 34.2 by 38.2 by 71.5 inches.
The Frigidaire FFSS2615TE comes in your choice of black stainless steel, stainless steel, black, or white. It has a 25.5 cubic foot capacity with dimensions of 69 ⅝ by 35 ⅝ by 31 ¾ inches. It has both a water and ice dispenser as well as an ice maker. The LED controls on the front door are a welcome addition, though the unit is larger than we’d expect.
The refrigerator succeeds by optimizing the use of space with its unique shelving features. It has the gallon door bins that we like to see along with a deli drawer and a full-width freezer shelf. On the downside, it is not an Energy Star appliance. However, it does have a water filter and will alert it when it’s time to change it. It’s a good value for the price.
Kenmore 73025 - Best Double Door Refrigerator Without Ice Maker
The Kenmore 73025 stands out for the number of options you have for capacity and color. The former ranges from 19.5 through 30.6 cubic feet for its Elite version. It includes a stainless steel with active finish option. That gives you the slick look without the fingerprints. The price includes delivery and hook-up with optional haul-away too.
Its dimensions are 35.38 by 35.9 by 68.58 inches for the 26.1 cubic foot model. We liked the option to monitor humidity to keep food from spoiling. The drawer placements in the refrigerator portion optimize the space. It also has a full-width drawer to hold veggie trays. It comes with a 13-month limited warranty.
Today’s refrigerators are more than just places to keep our food cold. They are more efficient with the attention to details that reflect real life. The Frigidaire FGHF2367TF Gallery Series stood out from the bunch on several fronts. Its outstanding energy efficiency helps justify its higher upfront cost. And LED lights are always welcome.
We liked that it had both a water and air filter, especially the latter. Foul fridge odors are the bane of having this appliance. The organization options were another feature where it succeeds. A refrigerator isn’t a frequent purchase, thankfully. But we prefer one that can provide reliable service while running efficiently.