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As the name suggests, side-by-side refrigerators have two doors that swing out sideways. Behind the left door is typically a freezer, and behind the right door is typically a fridge. Contrary to a French door model, these compartments stretch down to the floor, so you can place commonly-used items like produce and last night's leftovers at eye-level. The rest of your items can be neatly organized in a bin that you can reach by gently squatting.
This is much more comfortable for some than bending over their freezer in order to find what they're looking for. In addition, many side-by-side models include an ice and water dispenser that's built-in and adds another level of luxury. You really can't beat that sort of convenience, and the opportunity to sort your grocery items on a number of shelves.
Here are the best side-by-side refrigerators to transform your kitchen experience.
Best Overall: GE GSS25GSHSS 25.3 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator with Ice and Water Dispenser
Ice/Water Dispenser: Both | Ice Maker Type: Single | Total Capacity: 25.3 cubic feet | Height to Top: 69 inches | Installation Depth: Standard-depth | Depth: 32.75 inches
Ice and water dispenser
Plenty of storage options
Can be noisy
Freezer could use more storage options
If you're looking for a spacious, reliable, and affordable side-by-side refrigerator, one of your best options is this model from GE. Measuring at around 69 x 35.75 x 32.75 inches, and with a 25.3-cubic-foot capacity that can accommodate around 26 bags of groceries, you can rest assured that it won't disappoint. Whether you're replacing an old refrigerator or searching for one for a second home, it will be a reliable and versatile pick.
The model includes a built-in water and ice dispenser, in addition to adjustable shelves, door bins, and crispers that allow you to customize the interior to suit your needs. Despite having the water and ice dispenser, the interior is nice and spacious, and the whole unit comes at a reasonable price. Ultimately, the long list of convenient features makes this side-by-side fridge our top choice for your space.
Best Budget: Whirlpool WRS321SDHZ 21 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator
Ice/Water Dispenser: Both | Ice Maker Type: Single | Total Capacity: 21.4 cubic feet | Height to Top: 65.63 inches | Installation Depth: Standard-depth | Depth: 31.63 inches
Has a deli drawer
LED dispenser night-light
In-door can caddy
Freezer isn't very spacious
No smart features
A side-by-side refrigerator is often an expensive choice, because it's sleek and stylish. However, if you're sticking to a budget, there are still options for you, including this Whirlpool model. This refrigerator is not only less expensive than most, but has a build that'll easily fit into any home. At 65.63 x 33 x 31.63 inches, the model has 21.4 cubic feet of interior room, which you can organize and customize to your liking. Make use of the in-door can caddy, ice maker, and ice and water dispenser.
Now, what really sets this appliance apart from others like it is the LED dispenser night-light. This feature ensures you can easily grab a glass of water in the middle of the night. On top of the typical shelving and door bins, a deli drawer will also make sure your lunch meats are stored properly. Just be aware: You may have trouble finding space for all of your frozen goods, as the freezer is limited. Otherwise, this Whirlpool model will be unbeatable, especially at such a decent price.
Best for Large Kitchens: Whirlpool WRS588FIHZ 28 cu. ft. Side by Side Refrigerator
Ice/Water Dispenser: Both | Ice Maker Type: Single | Total Capacity: 28.49 cubic feet | Height to Top: 68.88 inches | Installation Depth: Standard-depth | Depth: 32.75 inches
Very spacious interior
Ice maker is integrated with the door
Comes in four finishes
No adjustable shelving
No smart features
Large kitchens generally need a larger refrigerator to hold lots of food. One of the best side-by-side units for your big kitchen may be the Whirlpool WRS588FIHZ, which is the brand’s largest capacity side-by-side unit. This fridge measures 68.88 x 36 x 32.75 inches and has a whopping capacity of 28.49 cubic feet. (Think of all the groceries you could fit in it!)
Like some other units on the market, it has a built-in water and ice dispenser, but the ice maker is integrated into the door to save freezer space. The inside is well-designed and functional with wall-to-wall glass shelves, adjustable door bins, and humidity-controlled crispers.
Now, it's essential to note that you can't customize the spacious interior, because the shelving is not adjustable. However, with such a large amount of space, you won't feel the need to mix things up to squeeze in an extra jug of orange juice or container of ice cream.
Best Counter-Depth: KitchenAid KRSC703HPS 22.6-Cubic-Foot Side by Side Refrigerator
Ice/Water Dispenser: Both | Ice Maker Type: Single | Total Capacity: 22.6 cubic feet | Height to Top: 71 inches | Installation Depth: Counter-depth | Depth: 26.88 inches
Sits flush with countertops
Has a deli drawer
Not as spacious as other models
Counter-depth models are known for being more shallow than traditional frdges. The result is that their interiors can't hold quite as much fresh and frozen food, but the unit itself sits flush with your cabinets and countertops. If you're in the market for this type of model, and believe its small and stylish build will be a good fit for your household, the KitchenAid KRSC703HPS is a great option.
It measure 36 inches wide, and has a capacity of 22.6 cubic feet. It features an in-door ice maker, which provides extra space in the freezer, and an ice and water dispenser with three programmed settings and two you can design yourself. Both the refrigerator and freezer portions have four shelves, which is plenty of space for a small to mid-sized family's groceries. A deli drawer will keep your meats and cheeses in the right environment, and KitchenAid's Preserva Food Care System will make sure air is flowing properly. All in all, this fridge will be a bit of an investment, but won't likely leave you wishing for more.
Best with No Dispenser: Maytag MSS25N4MKZ 25 cu. ft. Side by Side Refrigerator
Ice/Water Dispenser: No dispenser | Ice Maker Type: No ice maker | Total Capacity: 24.9 cubic feet | Height to Top: 68.63 inches | Installation Depth: Standard-depth | Depth: 31.63 inches
Plenty of freezer storage
Stainless steel handles
Affordable price tag
Drawers can stick
No smart features
While a dispenser can be a useful amenity for many households, you may want to opt out of this feature in order to save space and money. Ice makers can be known for breaking down often, and taking up lots of freezer space. The Maytag MSS25N4MKZ is a side-by-side pick without an ice maker or dispenser, and is sure to check off all of your boxes.
The appliance has around 25 cubic feet of space—with around 15 cubic feet of that space going to fresh storage, and 10 cubic feet going to frozen storage. Since it doesn't have a dispenser, the exterior is very clean. Your eyes will quickly be drawn to the stainless steel handles every time you reach for a snack. In terms of the interior, your household can make use of bright, LED lighting and seven (Yes, seven) bins in the freezer. This model is certainly a bit more basic, but gets the job done and comes at a decent price.
Best Smart: LG Electronics LSXS26366D 26.1-Cubic-Foot Side by Side Refrigerator with Door-in-Door
Ice/Water Dispenser: No dispenser | Ice Maker Type: No ice maker | Total Capacity: 26.1 cubic feet | Height to Top: 69.38 inches | Installation Depth: Standard-depth | Depth: 34 inches
Ice and water dispenser
On the expensive side
Doesn't sit flush with countertops
If you like high-tech gadgets, a smart fridge might be just the appliance for you. Smart models like this one from LG can connect to your smartphone, giving you advanced features in terms of control and troubleshooting. This particular model has SmartDiagnosis, which allows you to readily figure out what’s wrong with the refrigerator if it's broken and needs repairs.
As for its build, the appliance measures at 69.38 x 35.77 x 34 inches and has a 26-cubic-foot capacity. There's a built-in ice and water dispenser, and a door-in-door design that gives you quick access to your food and beverages. If you're a part of a larger family, this door-in-door feature really adds to the efficiency of the model, since the entire piece doesn't have to be opened up when grabbing a quick drink or snack.
Overall, this piece checks off several boxes. It's aesthetically pleasing, quiet, and functional. Not to mention, it's very spacious and can hold a ton of groceries.
If you're in the market for a side-by-side refrigerator, the GE GSS25GSHSS (view on Home Depot) is our top choice, thanks to its spacious design, customizable features, and good price point. From the adjustable shelving, to the built-in water and ice dispenser, this model covers all the necessary bases. Are you hoping to spend less? The Whirlpool WRS321SDHZ (view at Home Depot) has limited freezer space. However, you can make use of an ice maker, dispenser, and in-door can caddy.
What to Look for in a Side-by-Side Refrigerator
The doors of a side-by-side refrigerator are amenity hubs. When shopping, you'll need to consider what door design is best for your lifestyle and budget. There are models with a dispenser, which is convenient if your household frequently entertains, prepares coffee and other drinks, or works out. The downside to this type of design is that the dispenser, and necessary ice maker, usually take up precious space in your freezer. There are also models with smart screens or a door-in-door design, which allows you to grab a snack without opening up your entire model. These fridges usually cost more to operate and purchase upfront.
The capacity of a refrigerator is measured in cubic feet, and includes both sections. The average side-by-side model has about 25 cubic feet of space, which is a higher average than that of a French door or narrow refrigerator. This is typically plenty of space for a family of four's weekly groceries, but can be stretched if your household requires more than the average. You can find side-by-side units with as little as 21 cubic feet and as much as 28 cubic feet of space. Just keep in mind: if you need a unit with a spacious interior, you should expect it's build to be wider and taller than others.
The storage and organization options in a side-by-side freezer can include adjustable shelves, door bins, baskets, a deli drawer, and a butter keeper. However, all of these features aren't guaranteed. If you want to make the most of your fridge's interior, you'll want to make sure that the layout fits your current—and even future—needs. Typically, a side-by-side refrigerator will have four shelves in both the fridge and freezer portions, one or two produce crispers, and a gallon of door storage.
A refrigerator with a door-in-door design essentially has one door with an extra layer. The "layer" gives you the ability to access items in the door bins, like juice or condiments, without opening up the entire fridge. This is convenient if your household has children or frequently entertains, as it can prevent the door from being open for too long and letting out the cold air inside. Ultimately, it can help to conserve energy, especially when accompanied by a swiveling door bin.
Beyond being equipped with WiFi and compatible with other devices, some side-by-side fridges with smart capabilities have a technology hub on one door. This hub is a large screen where you can get recipe recommendations, stream music or TV shows, and display photos. This modern feature does make the overall price of the refrigerator rise, but can be handy for home cooks who like to meal plan, multi-task, or stay connected.
Factory-installed ice maker
The advantage of a factory-installed ice maker is that it's already built into a side-by-side refrigerator. You don't need to purchase and connect a separate kit, as the brand installs the necessary parts prior to your appliance's delivery. In doing so, it becomes very unlikely that you'll need repairs, and deal with ice maker-related leaks. Any household with athletes, avid water drinkers, or remote workers will likely find this most helpful, especially if the ice maker is connected to an external ice and water dispenser.
Which is better, a side-by-side or French door refrigerator?
When deciding between a side-by-side and French door refrigerator, there is no one, perfect choice. A side-by-side refrigerator can be more accessible, since you don't need to bend over when grabbing an item from the freezer. In comparison, a French door refrigerator, which usually has a bottom freezer, is typically more energy efficient. This fridge also prioritizes fresh food storage, while a side-by-side one prioritizes frozen food storage. Consider what you're storing and how you'd like to access the fridge to find the best one for you.
How do I organize a side-by-side refrigerator?
When organizing a side-by-side refrigerator, you'll want to tackle one side at a time. In the refrigerator compartment, you'll want to first put juices and condiments in your door bins, since this area can be a bit warmer and you'll reach for these items often. You'll want to designate crisper drawers for produce that needs a high-humidity or a low-humidity environment. In the freezer portion, you'll want to follow the "first in, first out" rule, so you don't forget to eat items before they expire. For more, see our guides on how to organize the fridge and how to organize the freezer.
How do I level a side-by-side refrigerator?
To level a side-by-side refrigerator, you'll first want to remove any grille that's blocking the feet of the fridge. This will expose the feet and legs—which you can adjust with a wrench, screwdriver, and even your hands, depending on the model and brand. Rotate the legs up or down to make them even. Then, double-check your work by placing a level on top of the fridge. To move this process along, make sure your fridge is installed on a flat surface.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was edited and updated by Marisa Casciano, who is the large appliance expert for The Spruce. Throughout her career, she's researched the ins and outs of air purifiers, dishwashers, cooktops, and more in the home and lifestyle space. She's well-versed on refrigerator design and technology and, after living in multiple places, understands the convenience of certain amenities.