When you're shopping for a new refrigerator, you'll see far more French-door models than side-by-sides.

It wasn't always that way. Side-by-sides were once the refrigerator style Americans aspired to own. But they have lost market share over the years, dropping from 32 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2017. In fact, in Consumer Reports' 2018 spring survey, 59 percent of new refrigerators bought by CR members were French-door models, compared with just 23 percent for side-by-sides.

But there are still plenty of good reasons to consider a side-by-side, with two dedicated compartments—one for fresh food and one for frozen:

• Side-by-side refrigerators are typically less expensive than French-door models and still plenty stylish.
• Their narrow doors are easier to open in tight kitchens.
• And they often cost less to repair, with a median repair price of $148 vs. $173 for French-door fridges, according to our latest survey.

More on Refrigerators

"I still prefer side-by-sides over French-door models,” says Joseph Pacella, who oversees Consumer Reports’ refrigerator tests and has a side-by-side at home. “I think they have better organization and make it easier to find what you want in each compartment."

To test each refrigerator that enters our labs, we outfit it with thermocouples in a climate-controlled chamber and monitor it for a month, collecting more than 5.4 million temperature readings that identify warm and cold spots, to determine which models will keep your food fresh longer. We also factor in survey data from thousands of CR members to judge brand reliability and satisfaction. All of that data—and then some—informs CR’s refrigerator ratings charts and each model's Overall Score.

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of five standout side-by-side refrigerators from CR's tests, including models made by GE, Kenmore, and LG.

All these models come in a stainless steel finish and feature icemakers, external water/ice dispensers, and digital controls.

The 5 Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators

Top Picks

1

Temperature uniformity
Thermostat control
Ease of use

2

Temperature uniformity
Thermostat control
Ease of use
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