Today’s refrigerators offer a flexibility and convenience that consumers couldn't have imagined decades ago, with styles that combine multiple doors and drawers, through-the-door ice and water service and even touchscreens with Wi-Fi® access.
This classic refrigerator design positions the freezer at the top of the appliance and uses a full-width door for each compartment. Some top-mount models include reversible doors to accommodate kitchen layouts that favor openings to the right or the left. Wide storage cavities can enable you to make efficient use of interior space and gain ready access to items at the back of shelves. How well their freezers accommodate your foods depends on shelving.
Turn the top-mount refrigerator upside down and you have the bottom-freezer configuration, which puts refrigerated foods at eye level and makes accessing the freezer a bending-and-stretching exercise. Drawers within the freezer compartment can overcome some of that inconvenience. Like top-mount models, these units use full-width doors which may not be the best fit for narrow spaces.
Side by Side
With a refrigerated compartment on the right and freezer on the left, these models offer full-height storage for each cooling category. Their narrower doors match up well in kitchens that lack the space. However, reaching the backs of shelves and making space for wide foods can be a challenge because of those narrow compartments.
Combine side-by-side doors with one or two bottom drawers and you have the French door configuration, in which both doors reveal refrigerated food and the freezer sets below them. Full-width freezer compartments remove the narrow-cavity disadvantages of side-by-side models while the split refrigerated cavity enables you to grab what you want without opening up the full storage space.
Some new refrigerator designs include four side-by-side doors—two up, two down—with storage areas you can convert from frozen to refrigerated-food use. These designs place regular refrigerated compartments on top and freezer/convertible areas below. Their narrow doors offer the advantages and drawbacks of side-by-side models.
Additional options and refrigerator styles offer convenience in specific installation settings or applications. Shallow or cabinet-depth units fit into the same front-to-back dimensions as regular cabinets, enabling you to install them with a built-in look that suits high-style kitchens. True built-in models can separate refrigerator from freezer storage, placing the freezer in drawers. Compact single-door refrigerators typically serve in dorm rooms or as garage-based beverage centers. Wine coolers provide chilled storage for your favorite vintages in units filled with bottle racks.
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