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Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators of 2019

Easy access to fresh-food and freezer compartments gives these top-performing models their appeal

A person walking in front of a refrigerator in a modern kitchen

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 in the past 10-plus years, dropping from 32 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2017. In fact, in Consumer Reports' 2017 spring survey, 60 percent of new refrigerators bought by CR members were French-door models.

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 $176 vs. $204 for French-door fridges, according to our survey.

"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."

How We Test Refrigerators
We outfit each refrigerator 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 Kenmore, LG, and Whirlpool.

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

Go to Consumer Reports' 2018 Holiday Central for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.