Sleek design, easy access to fresh-food items, abundant innovations, and more have helped make French-door bottom-freezers the most popular refrigerator configuration. But if you’re making the switch from a top-freezer or side-by-side refrigerator, be aware that French-door refrigerators have a few drawbacks. They’re not deal breakers, but knowing them before you buy could help ward off buyer's remorse. 

Less vertical storage
Storing upright bottles of soda or magnums of white wine is no problem for most top-freezers or side-by-sides. But it could be hard to do in a French-door refrigerator, since the fresh-food shelves tend to be closely stacked, reducing the amount of vertical storage. Many French-door refrigerators, including the LG LFXS32766S, $3,600, come with split shelves, whereby one section slides out of the way, allowing for the storage of taller items on the shelf below.

Even with that feature, you might have trouble storing a large pot, Dutch oven, and other oversized items in a French-door refrigerator. The upside is that you get more horizontal space for catering trays, pizza boxes, and other wide items.  

Consumer Reports tests the LG LFXS32766S French-door refrigerator.
LG LFXS32766S

Higher price
The price tag on French-door models might surprise you, especially if you haven't bought a new refrigerator in a while. Most of the three-door models on our list of recommended refrigerators cost $2,000 to $3,000, while many top four-door models start around $3,000; some cost north of $5,000.

A handful of French-door refrigerators sell for less than $2,000, including the $1,500 LG LFC24770ST and the $1,800 GE GNE29GSHSS. But if you want to spend less than $1,000, you’ll have to go for a conventional bottom-freezer, such as the $950 Kenmore 69313, or a top-freezer, including the highest-scoring model in that category, the $950 LG LTCS20220S

External dispensers can be repair-prone
Many French-door refrigerators come with a through-the-door ice and water dispenser. But icemakers are a common failure point on refrigerators, so models with an ice dispenser tend to be more repair-prone than those without it. Check our refrigerator reliability data (available to subscribers) to find an icemaker-equipped refrigerator from a brand with a lower repair rate.