The Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator for Your Kitchen
Side-by-side refrigerators offer a convenient split design with the freezer on one side and refrigerator on the other. This style has remained popular for decades thanks to spacious storage, easy access, and stylish built-in look.
But with updated features, finishes, and configurations now available, how do you determine which new side-by-side fridge is right for your kitchen?
This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know. We’ll explore top-rated models, key features to look for, pros and cons compared to other styles, frequently asked questions, and insider tips for choosing the perfect side-by-side refrigerator.
Let’s dive in!
The Best on the Market: Top 4 Side-by-Side Refrigerators
Side-by-side fridges are available across price ranges from brands like Samsung, LG, GE, and Whirlpool. Here are four highly rated options:
This fingerprint resistant stainless steel Samsung provides counter-depth convenience at an affordable price. The 22 cubic foot capacity is split between a spacious refrigerator and full-width freezer.
Adjustable shelves and gallon door bins make organization easy. The CoolSelect Zone allows you to turn up the chill for perishable foods. An external water dispenser is great for quick hydration.
LG packs smart technology into this 26 cubic foot capacity side-by-side. Wi-Fi enabled to monitor settings remotely. CustomChillTM drawer dials in the perfect temperature for meat and seafood.
The door-in-door design ensures excellent accessibility. Adjustable spill-proof glass shelves slide out for easy loading. An external ice and water dispenser delivers chilled filtered water.
This ADA compliant GE model offers style and convenience in 22 cubic feet. The easy-access design works beautifully for those with mobility needs.
Slide-out adjustable shelves in the refrigerator make finding foods a breeze. The ice and water dispenser features a night light mode. Climate control maintains proper humidity.
Counter-depth dimensions allow this 20 cubic foot Whirlpool to fit flush with surrounding cabinetry for a built-in look. Adaptive defrost and humidity controlled vegetable crispers keep foods fresher longer.
The intuitive touch screen dispenser eliminates fingerprint smudges on stainless. Interior LED lighting and adjustable door bins amp up usability. This is an attractive option at a wallet-friendly price.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Side-By-Side
Keep these criteria in mind when selecting the ideal side-by-side refrigerator:
Size and Dimensions
First, measure your kitchen space carefully including depth. Side-by-sides come in standard depths around 30” plus counter-depth models under 28” for a built-in look.
For capacity, consider your household size and eating habits. Feeding a family calls for 21-26 cubic feet. Empty nesters can size down to 16-20 cubic feet.
Design and Styling
Many side-by-side models can be customized with panels to match cabinetry. Choose universal metals like stainless steel or black stainless to coordinate with other appliances.
French door models offer more style flexibility, but side-by-sides work well for contemporary, uniform finishes.
Storage and Organization
Look for adjustable, spill-proof tempered glass shelves, adjustable door storage, and humidity controlled drawers for fruits and veggies.
Having flexible, roomy storage keeps items organized and easy to access in the side-by-side split design.
Seek conveniences like exterior ice and water dispensers, LED touch screens, door alarm warnings, and WiFi/smart connectivity for controlling and monitoring remotely.
Filters provide purified drinking water. In-door ice makers ensure access to ice.
Split climates keep the refrigerator and freezer at proper temps. Look for zones tailored for types of foods like meat, deli, and beverages.
Even cooling eliminates hot spots and helps food retain freshness longer.
Look for ENERGY STAR rated models that operate efficiently. Features like multi-pane glass doors improve insulation to require less energy for cooling.
Variable speed compressors adjust as needed rather than constantly running at high power. These save electricity.
Side-by-sides span from under $1000 to over $4000. Determine how much you can spend before shopping and stick to models in your range.
You can always buy a quality budget unit now and upgrade down the road.
Reliability and Reviews
Choose reputable brands known for performance and longevity like LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool. Compare ratings and feedback from other real owners.
Extended warranty options provide peace of mind. Review what’s covered if repairs are needed down the road.
Suiting Your Kitchen
Choose a cohesive look – panels and handles can be added to match existing kitchen aesthetics and appliances. Get the right counter depth or standard size to fit properly too.
Answers to the Most Common Side-by-Side Refrigerator Questions
New shoppers often have lots of questions about how side-by-side refrigerators compare to other styles and which features are most important. Here are answers to some top FAQs:
How much food can a side-by-side refrigerator hold?
On average, 22-26 cubic feet is optimal storage for most families, split between ample refrigerator and freezer space. Large households may want even more room.
Precise storage capacity depends on depth and organizational components inside too.
What are the differences between counter-depth vs standard depth models?
Standard depth units extend out about 30 inches from counters for maximum interior space.
Counter-depth models are under 28” deep so fronts sit flush with surrounding cabinetry for a sleek, built-in look. Capacity is slightly reduced.
Which brands are considered the most reliable?
LG, Samsung, GE, and Whirlpool have excellent reputations for side-by-side refrigerator quality and longevity. Compare real owner reviews.
Extended store or manufacturer warranties add extra peace of mind.
How do side-by-side refrigerators compare to French door models?
French door fridges feature a full-width refrigerator compartment with two separate doors. This provides easier access compared to a narrower side-by-side refrigerator section. French door units also come in wider sizes overall for more capacious storage.
Side-by-sides tend to fit better built-in with cabinetry and match a uniform aesthetic. For food storage flexibility though, French door wins.
What refrigerator dimensions will fit my kitchen?
Measure your kitchen space’s width, height, and depth. Heights are commonly around 68-70 inches. Width starts at 30 inches for slim units and goes up to 48 inches for commercial style models.
Standard counter depth is 30 inches; shallower counter-depth units squeeze into 28-29 inches. Ensure adequate clearance space around sides too.
How should I clean and care for a side-by-side refrigerator?
- Wipe interior shelves and bins with mild soap and warm water regularly
- Use baking soda and water solutions to deodorize
- Vacuum condenser coils on back every 6 months
- Change water filters every 6 months for clean ice and water
- Clean door gaskets with disinfectant spray every few months
- Give exterior surfaces a thorough wipe down as needed
Follow manufacturer guidelines for model-specific maintenance recommendations.
What smart features are available like WiFi, apps, voice control etc?
Many new models connect to your home WiFi network. Then you can monitor settings, temperatures, troubleshoot issues, and adjust controls using app dashboard interfaces on your smartphone or tablet.
Voice control through virtual assistants allows hands-free adjustment while cooking or entertaining.
How can I fix ice maker or water dispenser issues?
- Ensure water line is properly connected and supplying unit
- Replace clogged water filters
- Clean dust from condenser coils below to prevent freezing
- Disconnect and reconnect ice maker unit to reset
- Check for kinks in water dispenser supply line
For persistent issues, contact refrigerator service company to diagnose and repair since specialized expertise is needed.
How do I adjust refrigerator and freezer temperatures on a side-by-side?
Use digital display or app controls to lower or raise set temperatures in each compartment. Allow 24 hours to stabilize after adjustments.
Add more items to refrigerator section if having trouble keeping area cool enough. Limit freezer overloading.
How much noise do side-by-side refrigerators make? Are certain brands quieter?
Look for options marketed as “quiet” or “silent” models with enhanced insulation, vibration dampening, and noise reduction engineering. Brands like LG, Whirlpool, and Bosch emphasize quiet operation.
Compare decibel ratings – lower numbers mean less audible noise. Under 40 dB is considered very quiet. Standard models run 39-45 dB.
Expert Tips for Purchasing a Side-by-Side Refrigerator
Use this buying guidance to choose the optimal side-by-side refrigerator for your needs:
Measure your kitchen space carefully to determine proper width, depth, and height capacity. This prevents purchasing a unit that doesn’t fit.
Decide if you prefer standard or counter depth based on built-in versus visual depth priorities. Counter depth works in tight spaces.
Prioritize adjustable, spacious storage components like shelves, bins, and drawers to maximize use of side-by-side compartments.
Add a water line connection for ice and chilled water dispensers – this is a nice convenience that avoids constant filling.
Seek out energy efficiency certifications like EnergyStar to keep costs lower through increased appliance lifetime.
Read reviews and ask experts to gauge real-world quality, longevity, and potential issues of models you’re considering.
Note full warranty terms – labor or extended coverage varies. Understand what’s covered if repairs are needed.
Arrange professional installation and disposal – this ensures your new refrigerator is properly set up and junked correctly.
With the helpful information in this guide, you can shop for your ideal side-by-side refrigerator with confidence. Keep the key features and considerations in mind, and you’re sure to find durable, adjustable, and stylish equipment to keep favorite foods fresh for years to come. Happy shopping for the heart of your kitchen!