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Side-by-Side Fridges: Yay or Nay?


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We need a new fridge. DH is wondering if we should get a side-by-side because they looked to be cheaper than another French door fridge. Does anyone prefer side-by-sides? We tend to have problems with leftovers getting lost or ignored until the food goes bad.

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I hate side by sides because I can’t fit wide things in them.  Every once in a while I cook a big roast or put a large platter into the fridge and I would not want to give up being able to do that.  

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If you frequently want to refrigerate large cookie sheets, pizza ,etc, don't get one. I was super happy to have inherited (previous owner asked if I wanted it)  a small but very nice freezer bottom/fridge top model when we moved into this house.

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Hate being the contrarian - but I like my side-by-side.  We're not big freezer people and I hate digging through a  freezer for my stuff so I like the ability to have a shelf in the freezer (and fridge side) for each type of food - like frozen veggies on one shelf, frozen meat another, etc. and likewise on fridge side milk/of on shelf, yogurt/eggs on another shelf, etc.

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I LOVE my side by side.  I have a 28 cu foot model (before that I had a 31 cu and a 27 cu all side x side).  I'm always confused when people say they can't fit big things in it because with any of mine I've never had problems fitting multiple half sheet pans (on one of mine they were a perfect fit so I could even create an extra shelf with the pans if I wanted), my soup pot is 4 gallons and that will fit.  I regular store 3-4 gallons of milk in mine.  Plus the produce drawers are so much bigger.  I can fit between 1/2 and 3/4 of a bushel of produce in the 2 produce drawers.   Plus with more smaller shelves I find it so much easier to keep things from getting shoved around and lost in the back of the shelf.  I have a regular fridge as my basement fridge.  The only reason I have it was because I needed a second fridge and it was a scratch and dent I got for a couple hundred dollars.  But it's such a pain.  It doesn't hold nearly what my side x side does, the produce drawers are awful but it holds my milk and extra produce so it gets to stay.  I'd rather have a second side x side.

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22 minutes ago, JumpyTheFrog said:

We need a new fridge. DH is wondering if we should get a side-by-side because they looked to be cheaper than another French door fridge. Does anyone prefer side-by-sides? We tend to have problems with leftovers getting lost or ignored until the food goes bad.

I just finished my fridge search. I was all set on a GE side-by-side because

1) we require water and ice dispenser and we had problems in the past with french door fridges ice makers working in the fridge compartment. 

2) I wanted a spacious workhorse and SBS still have a better track record on repairs than FDF

3) I didn't want all of the bells and whistles. My thought is the more bells and whistles, the more there is to break. 

 

I couldn't get my GE fridge though. I had ordered it and they kept postponing it a month at a time. I finally went to the store and picked out something that was in stock. There wasn't much to choose from. Can't be picky in a pandemic.  😉 I ended up with a FDF with ALL of the bells and whistles. LOL Granted, I've only had my fridge for a few weeks now so I can't speak to repairs quite yet. 

I really like the way it looks. The only thing I didn't like about the GE was that it didn't have fingerprint proof ss. That is huge. This one has fp proof ss. I got the door-in-door which I absolutely love. We can quickly grab the milk or the butter without opening the whole fridge. As you know, FDF's have heavy doors and don't always want to close or they slam shut from the weight. Mine especially because all of the cooling is in the doors which is keeping my icemaker working. If you need a lot of ice, get the second icemaker in a FDF. They do not produce a lot of ice and it takes awhile to make ice. We go through a lot of ice here. I wasn't worried about freezer space since we moved our leaky fridge out to the garage. Now that it's not hooked up to water, it's fine out there and has plenty of freezer space. I chose the big freezer drawer instead of the 4th drawer style. My FDF is really deep and high. I feel so small looking into it. The 4th drawer made the fridge portion start higher. 

I'm happy with my choice. It depends on what you are looking for and what is available. 

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I hate side by side.  My mom recently bought one because it was a floor sample.  It has a fair amount of freezer volume, but it hard to use it effectively.  I also hate the small width compared to the depth in the refrigerator.  Stuff seems to get lost in the back especially on the top shelf.  I also hate having to crouch down to get the items on the bottom shelf.  I really like the freezer on the bottom with the pull out drawer.  I was so happy when freezer on the bottom came back into style.

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I've had a "wide by side" for years. The door isn't straight; the fridge and the freezer each have a wider half and a narrower half. It still is too narrow in the freezer area. Tons of wasted space. 

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I have not had French door style, but have preferred refrigerator above over freezer below for the freezer aspect.  Side by side narrow freezer was inconvenient. 

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I like my side by side pretty well, but I also have a second refrigerator (that is 100% refrigerator, no freezer, highly recommend!). 

Just a side by side can be annoying because it's so narrow. 

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I too prefer side by side. I hate the freezer on the bottom, digging through stuff. I've "lost" food because my mom and son pile things on top of it and then I forget. I don't do a lot of baking/cooking to need  large open spaces. I also like having more shelves in a side by side, it helps me organize better. I don't have one now and I miss it, as much as you can miss a fridge I guess. 

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56 minutes ago, JumpyTheFrog said:

We tend to have problems with leftovers getting lost or ignored until the food goes bad.

Do you mark the leftovers? That's critical ime. We put them in plastic containers and mark them with a strip of masking tape: "Red beans 7/24" and so on. 

If we don't mark it, we might as well throw it out from the get go. 

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We are in the process of getting a new fridge.  The old one broke, so we've been using a dorm fridge for two weeks.  One more week to go until the new fridge is delivered...

Anyway, we opted to get a French door after having a side by side.  The reason for that was because of the layout of our kitchen, with a wall immediately to the left of the fridge, we were never able to open the freezer door more than 90 degrees.  So, not only was the freezer narrow, it was very difficult to get into.

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I have a basic french door upstairs- it has no ice maker or water dispenser in the door b/c we needed the space (big family).  The bottom has an ice maker in the freezer, you have to pull out the door to access it, but it isn't a big deal.  It was much cheaper to get one w/o the ice/water in the door- plus our last one had lots of issues all related to the ice maker/water dispenser- we had to turn them off long before the refrigerator was going out.  Then we had all that space going to waste!  My main criteria for a fridge were space!  Sturdy shelves that would hold what we needed.  A side by side is fine if you don't often put larger things in it- we do.  I have a SbS downstairs as a second fridge (I go to the store once a week and have a family of 8- we need a second fridge).  It is fine for extra milk, cheese, butter, fruits and veggies- regular sized things 😉  I do have a few shelves out just to accomodate the items I keep in there.  I do not like the SbS freezer if you get larger things.  It works fine for meat packages, but if you buy turkeys, hams, ect. it will be tight.

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52 minutes ago, cjzimmer1 said:

I LOVE my side by side.  I have a 28 cu foot model (before that I had a 31 cu and a 27 cu all side x side).  I'm always confused when people say they can't fit big things in it because with any of mine I've never had problems fitting multiple half sheet pans (on one of mine they were a perfect fit so I could even create an extra shelf with the pans if I wanted), my soup pot is 4 gallons and that will fit.  I regular store 3-4 gallons of milk in mine.  Plus the produce drawers are so much bigger.  I can fit between 1/2 and 3/4 of a bushel of produce in the 2 produce drawers.   Plus with more smaller shelves I find it so much easier to keep things from getting shoved around and lost in the back of the shelf.  I have a regular fridge as my basement fridge.  The only reason I have it was because I needed a second fridge and it was a scratch and dent I got for a couple hundred dollars.  But it's such a pain.  It doesn't hold nearly what my side x side does, the produce drawers are awful but it holds my milk and extra produce so it gets to stay.  I'd rather have a second side x side.

Can we talk about this 4 gallon soup pot? That’s just glorious. 
 

I’m a dinosaur with the fridge on the bottom and freezer in top. It was never a problem until Corona made me drastically reduce trips. I just bought a 5 cu ft chest freezer and it feels luxurious. 

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We’ve had ours for 8 years, no problems. I’m glad they’re cheaper than others, in case we need one someday. I refuse to pay extra for useless( to me) crap like door in door, computer screens, subzero, etc. If it keeps my food cold or frozen, I’m fine. More doodads means more to break.

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I would love to know how long people with French Door Fridges have had them.  We inherited one with the house, it broke when it was five years old (unrepairable). We did a lot of research and found that FDFs have a lower reliability rating so we got a side by side GE.  We moved and inherited another five year old FDF.  It broke two days ago.  The compressor failed both times.  

I don't want to say it's a trend, but we are staying away from FDFs.  We got another GE side by side like our last one.  

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A lot of it comes down to the width you have for any fridge.  We can’t get a wider fridge in our kitchen.  If I could get a 40”, I would love a side-by-side.  We are thinking of getting a full-fridge and putting the freezer in the adjacent laundry room.   Our fridge is stuffed to the gills because dh is a. I dime you freak.  Twelve Kinds of jam, 8 kinds of hot sauce, 4 kinds of pickles.  😬. I love visiting my sister and her organized fridge.  

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5 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

I would love to know how long people with French Door Fridges have had them.  We inherited one with the house, it broke when it was five years old (unrepairable). We did a lot of research and found that FDFs have a lower reliability rating so we got a side by side GE.  We moved and inherited another five year old FDF.  It broke two days ago.  The compressor failed both times.  

I don't want to say it's a trend, but we are staying away from FDFs.  We got another GE side by side like our last one.  

That’s exactly what I was reading. We bought a Whirlpool FDF in 2006 and the icemaker failed so many times into he first few months that the store took it back and we picked out a Samsung 4 door. They were both early models of this style. At least the 4 door was like a side by side in that the icemaker was on the freezer side. I liked it but it leaked. That’s what’s in the garage now. 
 

When I bought my new FDF I got the 5 year warranty plus the manufacturer had an extra year on their warranty. The store offered 50% off water filters with their warranty which pays for the warranty if I keep up on it. 

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2 hours ago, JumpyTheFrog said:

We need a new fridge. DH is wondering if we should get a side-by-side because they looked to be cheaper than another French door fridge. Does anyone prefer side-by-sides? We tend to have problems with leftovers getting lost or ignored until the food goes bad.

NAY!!!

lol. I hate side by sides! There was a nice one in the home we bought and we had left our bottom freezer in our old home.  Hated it everyday day for 7 years until we finally bought a bottom freezer French door one at the sears outlet. Now, my food finally fits and I can find stuff 😃

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Edit to add- we did not get a water thing on the door.  That seemed to be a big issue in problems.  Freezer has an ice make and that is fine.  We stuck a filter under the kitchen sink and get our water from the faucet.  I haven’t missed the refrig water thing.

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We recently bought a side-by-side after having a French door.   I realized that almost every time I needed something in the French door I had to open both doors.  Some of the areas, like the deli drawer was ONLY accessible if both doors are open.  So, I open the left door with my left hand, the right door with my right hand, then what hand do I use to get the item out with?  I would have to get the item out and put it down then go back to the fridge and shut both doors.  I would NOT buy a Samsung. 

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We had our side-by-side for 20 years and then switched to a French door freezer on bottom 7 years ago which we love. We can fit so much more food in this one than the old one. People keep mentioning wider, but they haven't used my favorite example--it fits a pizza box. If you're too lazy to wrap your leftover pizza in foil, or if you have a kid at a sports practice who is coming home later for dinner, it sure is nice to be able to just put the pizza box in the refrigerator.

I could see a side-by-side before you have kids or in the empty nest years, but if you need to pack in a lot of food (and who doesn't during a pandemic), the French door is really nice.

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26 minutes ago, rebcoola said:

Side by side are great if you can have a huge one.   

 

This is probably true.  If freezer part were big it would probably be nice like an upright freezer.  Mine only had about an 8” wide front to put things into it. 

 

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1 hour ago, KungFuPanda said:

Can we talk about this 4 gallon soup pot? That’s just glorious. 
 

Yes it is, although I can't tell you how many times, I've come close to overfilling it.  My mom had a 3 gallon pot and that is how I learned to make soup.  I have no idea how to make a "small" quantity of soup.  As my family grew, I upgraded to the 4 gallon. I have an induction stove so my canner has a flat bottom so it can also double as a soup pot.  It's 5 gallons.  There are lots of stainless steel choices on amazon.

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31 minutes ago, Ali in OR said:

People keep mentioning wider, but they haven't used my favorite example--it fits a pizza box. If you're too lazy to wrap your leftover pizza in foil, or if you have a kid at a sports practice who is coming home later for dinner, it sure is nice to be able to just put the pizza box in the refrigerator.

Since you pointed it out, yes I can fit a 16 inch pizza box flat on the shelves of my side by side.  But I've only done it once or twice in my life because we don't really have leftovers to put away.  I just leave it on the counter and it's gone before the night is over.

 

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We had a couple large/deep side-by-sides and I loved them!!!

For the last fridge, dh wanted a French door for something "different," so we got a counter-depth French door one. I do like it... but can't fit & organize as much into it as our old side by side. (Which, as our kids begin leaving the nest, won't be a problem anymore). We kept the old side by side in the garage and I use it more than the one inside 😂
 

So- if you do get a side-by-side - just get a large one! 

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2 hours ago, BusyMom5 said:

  (I go to the store once a week and have a family of 8- we need a second fridge).   

I have a family of 4 and also need a second fridge, lol. And a separate freezer. 

I guess I could get by without them if I had to, but I sure wouldn't like it. 

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Measure what you normally put into it before you buy one.

I live in  an older rental, and the landlord came by shortly after we moved in and told me what they had replaced when they bought it. One of the things they replaced was the refrigerator. She had searched and searched and found a side-by-side that fit the space and was so taken by it. Well, the refrigerator part is just short of 15" wide. I go crazy all the time trying to fit things in there because there truly is so little room. In our previous house, I was fine with shopping once a week. With this one, one of us has to pick up groceries twice a week because there is so little room. 

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Yes, measure carefully....both the opening for the fridge if it has cabinets around it...as well as the insides 

My last house we bought a side by side as we wanted ice and water in the door.  That was great.  The issue was that our opening was so small we needed a smaller fridge.   That then meant the fridge and freezer space was so small.  Hated that fridge all 8 years I lived in that house....other than the ice and water in the door.

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We have a side-by-side refrigerator. I can fit a pizza box in there (on top of one of the shelves). I haven't had anything I wanted to put in there that won't fit. I do have an upright freezer in the garage where I stick my full size cookie sheets/jelly roll pans when I'm freezing stuff. Those definitely wouldn't fit! I do have an extra fridge in the laundry room, so we haven't had any problems fitting everything in both (laundry room is a side-by-side too).

I did look at the freezer on bottom/fridge on top last time I was shopping, but I couldn't bring myself to pay $500+ more for them. Are they really worth the extra investment? 

(Disclosure - I did have a hard time talking my DH out of the old freezer on top/fridge on bottom refrigerators because they are so very inexpensive (but small, and no water/ice in door!)

 

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My mother has a side by side and it is great for her.  It is not big though.  I have a fridge with a small freezer above it beside an upright freezer.  If I had to replace them both I would go for a matching upright pair.

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Oh dear, don't get side by side unless your finances dictate that.  We bought a side by side (because it was cheaper) to tide us over to prepare to move and didn't want to sink a lot of money in appliances for new owners.

Small, crammed and not efficient in terms of layout.

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7 hours ago, Pen said:

 

This is probably true.  If freezer part were big it would probably be nice like an upright freezer.  Mine only had about an 8” wide front to put things into it. 

 

I love our side by side and it might be because the freezer is more than 8" wide. That would be hard to deal with! We can fit a full sized frozen pizza box in our freezer and lay it flat. It's slightly wider than that, so however many inches a big pizza box is. 🙂

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4 minutes ago, AmandaVT said:

I love our side by side and it might be because the freezer is more than 8" wide. That would be hard to deal with! We can fit a full sized frozen pizza box in our freezer and lay it flat. It's slightly wider than that, so however many inches a big pizza box is. 🙂

 

That would make a big difference.  Possible I would have loved the side freezer had it been wide like that.   

 

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I wasn’t a fan of the side by side and went with the French door one when ours quit.  We use a lot of fresh veggies and stuff so this works much better for us.  Mine has a shelf that can fold back and I can put a large stock pot in.  I do have the water and ice maker in the door and an extra ice maker in the freezer.  It is 4-5 years old and works great.  I would get another one in a minute. 

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8 hours ago, Bootsie said:

We recently bought a side-by-side after having a French door.   I realized that almost every time I needed something in the French door I had to open both doors.  Some of the areas, like the deli drawer was ONLY accessible if both doors are open.  So, I open the left door with my left hand, the right door with my right hand, then what hand do I use to get the item out with?  I would have to get the item out and put it down then go back to the fridge and shut both doors.  I would NOT buy a Samsung. 

 

Wait why couldn't you close each door with the same hand? Close the left door first with the left hand and the right door next with the left hand?  Did you fridge require them to be closed at the same exact time.  Just curious because I'm confused by the comment

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45 minutes ago, hjffkj said:

 

Wait why couldn't you close each door with the same hand? Close the left door first with the left hand and the right door next with the left hand?  Did you fridge require them to be closed at the same exact time.  Just curious because I'm confused by the comment

I like to get the refrigerator closed as quickly as possible; I grew up in a very hot climate and I can still hear my mom yelling, "Close the fridge!"  So, I could close one door and then close the other, but it would leave the fridge open longer.  

But, for the longest time I felt like I was meeting myself coming-and-going at the fridge--it just felt uncoordinated; reaching from the right to close the right door and then reaching with the right hand to close the left door would mean having to cross my body and reach around the back side of the door.  It took me a while to realize that for almost everything I wanted out of the fridge I had to open both doors, not just one.    

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2 hours ago, sheryl said:

 Small, crammed and not efficient in terms of layout.

The layout is one of the things I actually really like about my side by side. It has a lot of slots for shelving, so we added extra. The shelf space for the eggs and butter is just tall enough to comfortably get the cartons in and out, no wasted space. 

I do think ours is on the big end for a side by side, and it's not our only fridge. An extra fridge is super common around here; people who don't have space for it inside just put it outside, lol. 

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1 hour ago, Bootsie said:

I like to get the refrigerator closed as quickly as possible; I grew up in a very hot climate and I can still hear my mom yelling, "Close the fridge!"  So, I could close one door and then close the other, but it would leave the fridge open longer.  

But, for the longest time I felt like I was meeting myself coming-and-going at the fridge--it just felt uncoordinated; reaching from the right to close the right door and then reaching with the right hand to close the left door would mean having to cross my body and reach around the back side of the door.  It took me a while to realize that for almost everything I wanted out of the fridge I had to open both doors, not just one.    

gotcha

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I don’t have experience owning a side by side, but my mom has one.  I don’t accept the argument that it makes things less likely to get lost in the back... it’s just as deep as my French doors! When I visit her, I feel like all her food is Jenga’ed in. She routinely feeds 5 or so people. I routinely feed 6 or so people. My fridge isn’t always neat and easy, but it’s generally neater and easier than hers.

I will say that the one negative of my French door bottom freezer is that we all have a knack for leaning on the freezer when it’s open.  It’s never actually caused a problem, but I have this fear that it will break from that.

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8 hours ago, katilac said:

The layout is one of the things I actually really like about my side by side. It has a lot of slots for shelving, so we added extra. The shelf space for the eggs and butter is just tall enough to comfortably get the cartons in and out, no wasted space. 

I do think ours is on the big end for a side by side, and it's not our only fridge. An extra fridge is super common around here; people who don't have space for it inside just put it outside, lol. 

Oh, well, on layout I'm referring to the chopped "layers"/shelves  in the freezer on a s/s.   My next fridge will have french doors with "freezer chest" below.

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Are there any tips to adding vertical dividers in a drawer freezer? I like the shelves in my SBS. I freeze meat by laying them flat in a ziplock. Shelves work better for that. I could freeze them in the interior shallow drawer and then move them vertical if I could add more dividers for support. I’m thinkIng a pot lid rack or letter rack? 

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We just ordered a new refrigerator--the shelving system inside the 'fridge' part has broken beyond repair-- it was 16 yrs old.   We will pass it along to someone as the rest of it works great... I'm temporarily using closet organizing shelves for the bottom two rows/drawers!

Old one was an LG FD and I really liked the layout-- just not the cheap interior (literally started breaking inside the week after the extended warranty was up!).

New one is also a FD but we are switching to an upper line of GE.  I have to wait until October (hopefully sooner)-- but at least old fridge works...

-

I looked at the almost-half-price side by sides-- but no way could I go back to the narrow shelves-- plus I do not bend-- so lower half would be useless...(we have a separate upright freezer so bottom freezer part of fridge is mostly for ice cream).

 

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I had one once and hated it. Never again. There's not enough room on either the refrigerator or freezer side. Both sides are too narrow. I currently have one with French doors on the fridge and a bottom freezer and I love it. Those are a bit pricey though. If I was looking for the best style at a lower price I'd go for a regular refrigerator with a bottom freezer. In addition to never having another side by side I'd also never want one with a top freezer again.

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13 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

I had one once and hated it. Never again. There's not enough room on either the refrigerator or freezer side. Both sides are too narrow. I currently have one with French doors on the fridge and a bottom freezer and I love it. Those are a bit pricey though. If I was looking for the best style at a lower price I'd go for a regular refrigerator with a bottom freezer. In addition to never having another side by side I'd also never want one with a top freezer again.

Mind saying why?

We're probably going to be in the market for a new fridge soon (pro-actively, our current one is 14 years old but still working okay) and I'm mostly only considering basic/regular refrigerators. I don't want or need bells or whistles or acres of space, and our kitchen is small. But my mom had a freezer on the bottom refrigerator and I never really liked it, although I never could put my finger on the reason(s) why I didn't like it.

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