A gorgeous side-by-side refrigerator offers easy freezer and fridge access and organization at eye level. We spoke with contractor and kitchen remodel expert Deane Biermeier about what to look for when choosing a new refrigerator. While top-freezer refrigerators are still common, side-by-side and French-door models are hot-ticket items.
So what exactly should you look for when selecting a side-by-side refrigerator? Biermeier explains, "Size and convenience first and then energy efficiency." The most important thing is to choose a refrigerator that fits the needs of your household and your food storage preferences to ensure that you'll be happy with your investment.
With Biermeier's advice in mind, we researched the top side-by-side refrigerators on the market, evaluating capacity, energy efficiency, door design, and overall value. Our top pick is the GE GSS25GSHSS, which comes with a convenient ice and water dispenser and flexible shelving and storage solutions, plus a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finish.
GE GSS25GSHSS 25.3 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator with Ice and Water Dispenser
Factory-installed ice maker
Edge-to-edge sliding glass shelves
Many finishes available
No smart features
Lacks advanced ice or water dispenser options
Our top recommendation for a side-by-side refrigerator is this reliable GE model. The GSS25G series comes in a wide variety of finishes to match your kitchen decor, including stainless steel, on-trend slate, and high-gloss black and white. Aesthetics aside, it offers plenty of capacity for fresh and frozen goods with helpful organizational features, plus a through-the-door ice and water dispenser.
The 25.3 cubic feet of space inside this fridge is split as follows: 16.07 cubic feet for refrigerating fresh goods and 9.25 cubic feet for frozen foods. On the fridge side, you’ll appreciate four glass shelves that span the full width of the fridge to make the most of the space available. For easier organization and access, the top three glass shelves are adjustable and have a sliding mechanism. Gallon-size jugs of milk or juice handily fit into two large-capacity door bins, while two smaller bins keep salad dressings and other condiments contained.
Open the freezer side of the shiny, stainless steel GE GSS25GSHSS, and you’ll find plenty of vertical storage for cold foods. A small shelf above the ice maker is dubbed the "Sweet Spot Shelf" and is ideally sized for ice cream, popsicles, or even ice packs. A pull-out wire basket at the bottom of the freezer stores bags of frozen goods, such as berries or vegetables. A must-have for many people is a factory-installed ice maker. This model includes one to ensure that you have ice on demand in cubed or crushed form. As you’d expect, the water dispenser is outfitted with a filtration system to remove impurities from drinking water.
Now it’s worth noting that this refrigerator is designed to be your kitchen companion—not a fixture in your garage. It’s not "garage ready" with the necessary components to handle widely fluctuating temperatures. But with all of these features to keep your frozen and fresh foods organized and accessible, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best side-by-side refrigerators. When combined with its reputation for reliability and an affordable price point, it makes a great choice.
Price at time of publish: $1,599
Frigidaire FRSS2623A 36 in. 25.6 cu. ft. Side by Side Refrigerator
Dual ice maker for dispensing and storing ice
Can be used in the garage
Audible alarms for warm temperatures, power loss, or a door left open
Limited shelving on the fridge side
Reduced freezer capacity due to ice bin
The Frigidaire FRSS2623A is a sleek, modern side-by-side refrigerator that only looks expensive. In reality, this stainless steel fridge is an affordable option to make the most of your appliance budget. Aside from the price point, other reasons to choose this model include its factory-installed dual ice maker, spill-resistant shelves, and helpful alerts if the unit becomes too warm, power is lost, or the door is left ajar.
Open the door to the 16.6 cubic foot refrigerator, and you’ll find a layout with three glass shelves and two crisper drawers. Two of the glass shelves are adjustable, but we wish there was one more shelf for greater storage options. Two gallon-size door bins are helpful for providing space for milk, soda, or large jars. On the freezer side, there is 9 cubic feet of room for frozen meats, pizzas, ice cream, and bags of fruit and veggies. Keep anything you need to stay ice cold organized with three shelves and a plastic bin.
You’ll notice that the freezer capacity is slightly reduced compared to other similarly sized side-by-side fridges. That’s largely because this model includes a dual ice maker, which not only dispenses cubed or crushed ice on demand but also deposits ice into a storage bin that can be used to fill coolers, pitchers, and plastic baggies.
If you’re looking for a budget side-by-side refrigerator for the garage, it’s worth noting that this model is specified as garage-ready by the manufacturer. No matter whether you plan to use this shiny stainless steel fridge in your kitchen or garage, it has plenty of room for your fresh and frozen food storage needs.
Price at time of publish: $1,499
Best for Large Kitchens
Whirlpool WRS588FIHZ 28 cu. ft. Side by Side Refrigerator
Large capacity refrigerator and freezer
Frameless glass shelves to maximize shelf storage
Measured fill water dispenser
Limited shelf positions
Noisy operation of ice maker
While side-by-side fridges are not known for being the most spacious, you can outfit your large kitchen with a side-by-side model that is capable of handling your family’s needs. Our top pick for a large capacity side-by-side fridge is the Whirlpool WRS588FIHZ. It has 28.4 cubic feet of total space, which makes it one of the largest side-by-side refrigerators we considered. It also includes functional features, such as an air filtration system, a through-the-door ice and water dispenser with measured fill, and frameless glass shelves to maximize space.
Inside, you’ll find a roomy 17.56-cubic foot fridge and a generous 10.93-cubic foot freezer. Frameless, edge-to-edge glass shelves maximize the width of each compartment, although it has been noted that there are some limits on shelf adjustability. This is because of the five shelves on the fridge side. Three are repositionable while two are created by the deli and produce drawers underneath. However, other features, like adjustable door bins with gallon-sized jug capacity and an ice maker that is integrated into the door, give both the fridge and freezer a helping hand for fitting more items.
And we definitely think this side-by-side refrigerator for large kitchens won’t be an eyesore. It’s available in modern finishes like fingerprint-resistant stainless steel, black stainless steel, and classic white or black.
Price at time of publish: $2,099
GE GZS22IYNFS 21.8 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator
Two bins of storage in the freezer
Digital control pad on the front of the refrigerator
Freezer capacity is on the small side
If you want a side-by-side refrigerator with a shallower depth that won’t stick out beyond your countertops or other appliances, a counter-depth model is the way to go. Our recommendation is the GE GZS22IYNFS because the model offers well-equipped space on the refrigerator and freezer side, along with a through-the-door ice and water dispenser in the same finish as the fridge for a more seamless appearance.
The counter-depth version of this fridge is available in stainless steel and slate for a modern look. The 21.8 cubic feet of space is divided between a 14.23 cubic foot refrigerator and a 7.56 cubic foot freezer. For fresh food organization, the refrigerator has four edge-to-edge glass shelves, three of which slide out for easy access. Popular features include gallon-size door bins, a deli drawer, and two produce drawers. The freezer side of this appliance is more limited in capacity but includes four shelves plus two bins for storing whole birds like chickens and turkeys or bags of frozen food.
The ice and water dispenser blends into the door but offers convenient access to cubed and crushed ice, along with filtered water. It also serves as the control center for the fridge, giving you a digital pad to adjust the operating temperature of the fridge or freezer. Hidden door hinges contribute to the built-in look of this counter-depth side-by-side refrigerator and help it fit right in to your kitchen configuration.
Price at time of publish: $2,099
KitchenAid KRSC703HPS 22.6-Cubic-Foot Side-by-Side Refrigerator
Independent cooling system for fridge and freezer
Specialized coating to resist fingerprints and for easy cleanup
Measured fill water dispenser
Lacks dual ice maker
Small refrigerator capacity
The high-end look and advanced cooling features of the KitchenAid KRSC703HPS justify its price tag. This counter-depth side-by-side refrigerator will fit right into a gourmet kitchen without extending beyond your cabinets or countertops for a built-in look.
The sleek stainless steel finish is protected with a coating that resists fingerprints and makes cleanup as simple as wiping with a damp, soft cloth. This side-by-side model is a splurge, but it’s worth it for the independent cooling systems that regulate temperatures in the freezer and refrigerator sections of the unit. Known as the Preserva Food System, KitchenAid has designed this side-by-side refrigerator to operate efficiently while minimizing the chances of food spoiling and loss. Aside from the dedicated refrigeration unit, an air filter keeps odors under control and a mechanism in the crisper drawers absorbs ethylene gas to delay over-ripening of fruits and vegetables.
The counter-depth dimensions of this side-by-side refrigerator mean you’ll sacrifice some storage space, especially on the refrigerator side, which has 13.7 cubic feet of room. Standard-depth side-by-side refrigerators usually have about 16 cubic feet of space in the fridge portion of the unit. However, KitchenAid compensates with smart and modern organization options. The refrigerator has four glass shelves, along with a deli drawer for keeping lunch meat, cheese, and other snacks accessible. On-the-door storage includes gallon-sized bins. All four bins are removable, giving you an option for more easily transporting condiments from the fridge to the counter or table. A built-in wine rack is a nice touch for keeping glass bottles chilled and within easy reach.
On the freezer side of the unit, you’ll find top-to-bottom storage with four shelves, two drawers, and 9.0 cubic feet of total space. The ice bin is integrated into the door to keep it from occupying shelf space. The through-the-door ice and water dispenser gives you access to cubed and crushed ice, plus an option for a measured water fill that takes the guesswork out of filling a glass or bottle.
Price at time of publish: $3,499
LG LRSOS2706S 27 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Smart Refrigerator with Craft Ice and InstaView
Equipped with a craft ice maker
Larger InstaView door than previous models
Works with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa
Specialty ice has limited daily production
Elevate your appliance setup by choosing a smart side-by-side fridge, like the LG LRSOS2706S. We recommend this model because it helps eliminate long debates of what to have for a snack while you hold the door open. Instead, this model is equipped with LG InstaView. Tap on the glass twice to illuminate the contents of the upper right section of the fridge. It’s worth noting that the frameless, shaded glass area is 23 percent larger than past LG models equipped with InstaView, meaning that you can scope out even more shelf space at a glance.
Adding to the appeal is the fact that this fridge is equipped with Wi-Fi. Using the LG ThinQ app or a smart home assistant (like Amazon Alexa or Google Home) you can adjust the operation of your appliance, including raising or lowering the fridge and freezer temperatures or increasing ice production. Ice making is another way that the LG LRSOS2706S stands out. Equipped with a craft ice maker, it can create specialty ice spheres that melt more slowly for use in cocktails, iced coffee, or any other beverage. But be mindful you'll have to limit your ice sphere parties: The fridge creates only three ice spheres per day. If you run short of specialty ice, the dual ice maker also dispenses standard cubed and crushed ice. Smart features and functions aside, this side-by-side refrigerator gives you plenty of food storage space and 27 cubic feet of total room.
Price at time of publish: $2,221
Best With No Dispenser
Maytag MSS25N4MKZ 25 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator
Excellent freezer storage options
24.9 cubic feet of storage space
Sleek, modern appearance
No deli drawer
Lacks sliding shelves
Keep the look of your kitchen simple by choosing a side-by-side refrigerator without a dispenser. The Maytag MSS25N4MKZ is a modern fridge that skips the through-the-door ice and water dispenser in favor of a smooth stainless finish. Instead, you’ll admire the sleek look of this appliance and its long handles that look reminiscent of professional kitchen appliances.
Without an ice maker, you gain more storage space on the interior of the freezer—9.61 cubic feet, to be exact. There are seven shelves in total on the freezer side of the appliance, including door shelves. That extra shelf space is especially useful to families or anyone who likes to keep their freezer well-stocked and organized. The 15.3 cubic foot refrigerator is also well-equipped with four shelves and two produce drawers, plus gallon-size storage bins on the door.
Biermeier says this about built-in ice and water dispensers: "They’re convenient and can be filtered easily and inexpensively; however, running a new water line and the initial appliance costs are more expensive than a standard refrigerator." So if you don't have an existing water line at the fridge location, you can save some money on your kitchen remodel by choosing a refrigerator without a dispenser.
Price at time of publish: $1,599
Best for Small Kitchens
FORNO FFRBI1805-33SB Salerno 33 in. 15.6 cu. ft. Side by Side Refrigerator
LCD screen for displaying and adjusting temperature
Vacation mode to reduce energy consumption
Counter depth saves floor space
Smaller capacity may not accommodate large families
Side-by-side fridges can be a good fit for small kitchens, thanks to the more narrow doors that won’t span the whole width of the appliance. Our pick is the affordable and compact Forno FFRBI1805-33SB Salerno. It features counter-depth dimensions for more space-saving benefit while still offering 15.6 cubic feet of total food storage space.
The Forno Salerno has 9.5 cubic feet of fridge capacity and 6.08 cubic feet of freezer space. Despite the slightly different dimensions, both sides of the appliance have the same organizational features: four shelves, two pull-out drawers, and three door bins. Keep in mind that this small side-by-side fridge might not have capacity for large families. Despite being relatively frills-free, it does feature an easy-to-read LCD screen on the door so you can monitor or adjust the temperature of the refrigerator or freezer sections without even opening the door.
Price at time of publish: $1,547
The GE GSS25GSHSS is our top choice for a side-by-side refrigerator, thanks to its spacious design, customizable features, and good price point. It stands out for having adjustable shelving, a through-the-door ice and water dispenser, and a number of finishes. For an even more affordable option, we recommend the Frigidaire FRSS2623A. It has slightly more capacity and covers all the bases for an affordable side-by-side fridge, including an ice maker, dispenser, and audible alarms in case the door is left open or internal temperatures become too warm.
What to Look for in a Side-by-Side Refrigerator
Hands down, the doors of a side-by-side refrigerator are amenity hubs. When shopping, you'll need to consider which 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 needs to replenish after exercising daily. That's why we chose the GE GSS25GSHSS as our top choice for a side-by-side refrigerator. The ice and water dispenser blends into the door but offers convenient access to cubed and crushed ice along with filtered water. The downside to this type of design is that the dispenser and necessary ice maker usually take up precious space in your freezer. Other models have smart screens or a door-in-door design, which allows you to grab a snack without opening up the entire unit. As a result, these fridges usually cost a pretty penny.
Size and capacity
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. In a side-by-side model, more space is usually dedicated to the refrigerator side of the appliance. Typically, you’ll find 13 to 15 cubic feet of space for fresh foods and 8 to 9 cubic feet for frozen goods.
A side-by-side refrigerator typically has plenty of space for a four-person family to store a week’s worth of groceries, but it might be a challenge if your household requires more than the average. You can find side-by-side units with as little as 15 cubic feet and as much as 28 cubic feet of space. If you need a unit with a spacious interior, you should expect its footprint to be wider and taller than others. At the same time, side-by-side fridges are often picked for their space-saving nature. Instead of having a door that is as wide as the appliance itself, the half-width doors mean that you can open the fridge or freezer without needing as much clearance in your kitchen.
The storage and organization options in a side-by-side fridge can include adjustable shelves, door bins, produce drawers, 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, 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 door storage bins. Some refrigerators have gallon-size storage bins on the door that are sized right for milk, juice, or other large containers.
Ice maker and dispenser
A popular feature on many side-by-side refrigerators is an ice maker and dispenser. There are two primary types: a single and dual ice maker. Dual ice makers have an ice storage bin but also create ice to be dispensed through the door. On the flip side, single ice makers dispense ice only through the door.
Color, finish, and design
Most side-by-side refrigerators are available in a range of finish options. Standard black and white are available alongside modern choices like stainless steel, slate, or black stainless steel. The decision largely comes down to whether you want to match other appliances in your kitchen and how often you’re willing to wipe down the exterior of your refrigerator. Stainless steel finishes have become popular to give your kitchen a sleek look but are known to attract fingerprints. Luckily, many appliance manufacturers now offer a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finish, which can reduce streaks and other visible smudges.
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 cold air escape. Ultimately, it can help to conserve energy, especially when accompanied by a swiveling door bin.
Beyond being equipped with Wi-Fi and being 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 makes the overall price of the refrigerator rise but can be handy for home cooks who like to meal plan, multitask, 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 house members who work from home will likely find this most helpful, especially if the ice maker is connected to an external ice and water dispenser.
Advanced ice maker functions
If you’re an ice aficionado, then look for a side-by-side refrigerator with advanced ice maker functions such as a specialty ice maker. While most refrigerators with an ice maker can produce cubed or crushed ice, some produce craft ice, such as slow-melting ice spheres. Add these to beverages that you don’t want to become rapidly watered down from ice cubes.
Another innovative feature to look for related to ice making is a refrigerator with the option to increase the speed of ice production. This can be useful for entertaining or on hot summer days that leave you reaching for another glass of ice water.
If having enough storage space is a top priority, then put edge-to-edge shelving at the top of your wish list for a side-by-side refrigerator. The shelves span the width of the fridge, which is more narrow than what you’ll find in a top-freezer refrigerator or a French door refrigerator, so making the most of the horizontal space you have available is important. By minimizing the framing and plastic at the edge of the shelves, you’ll have more surface space on each shelf. Plus, this type of shelving makes it easier to clean the refrigerator in the event of a spill.
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 because 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, tackle one side at a time. In the refrigerator compartment, first put juices and condiments in your door bins because you'll reach for these items often. Then designate crisper drawers for produce that needs a high-humidity or a low-humidity environment. In the freezer portion, 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, first remove any grill that's blocking the feet of the fridge. Adjust the legs 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.
How much does a side-by-side refrigerator typically cost?
You can expect to spend between $1,200 to $1,800 for a side-by-side refrigerator with average capacity and features like an ice and water dispenser, gallon-size door bins, and a stainless steel finish. Smaller models with fewer features may cost as little as $1,000. In general, side-by-side refrigerators cost more than top-freezer refrigerators but less than many French door refrigerators.
Are side-by-side refrigerators more efficient?
As a category, side-by-side refrigerators are less efficient than other styles of refrigerators, such as bottom-freezer or French door models. Side-by-side refrigerators use tall, vertical compartments to store your food. Because hot air rises, the compressor must work hard to keep the entire space chilled and at a safe operating temperature, especially on the freezer side of the unit.
Are side-by-side refrigerators out of style?
Choosing the right refrigerator for your kitchen is a matter of personal taste and style. While it’s true that French door refrigerators have become ultra popular for the accessibility they offer to fresh foods, side-by-side refrigerators still have a place in the modern kitchen. They’re an especially good choice for narrow kitchens where you need to ensure that the door won’t take up too much floor space. If you’re concerned about choosing a side-by-side refrigerator that looks modern, choose a finish like stainless steel, slate, or black stainless steel to keep the look elevated and sleek.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Erica Puisis, a freelance writer for The Spruce with extensive experience researching large and small appliances. Having used a variety of refrigerator models, including the Frigidaire FRSS2623A, she has come to understand the advantages of different features and organizational aspects. For this article, she considered side-by-side refrigerators from leading manufacturers like LG, GE, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, and more. Models were compared based on their capacity, organizational features, and smart features, among others.
Erica also interviewed Deane Biermeier, a contractor with experience guiding homeowners in the selection of kitchen appliances. Deane shared relevant details about what to look for when choosing and installing a side-by-side refrigerator.