A person walking past a side-by-side refrigerator in a 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 in Consumer Reports’ latest survey results, 64 percent of new refrigerators bought by CR members were French-door models, compared with just 20 percent for side-by-sides.

But there are still plenty of good reasons to consider a side-by-side, which has tall and narrow dedicated compartments for fresh and frozen food:

• 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.
• They often cost less to repair, with a median repair price of $148 vs. $173 for French-door fridges, according to our 2018 survey.

More on Refrigerators

“Side-by-sides let you put some fresh food and some frozen items at eye-level, meaning you won't have to bend over as much as you would with a top- or bottom-freezer," says Larry Ciufo, CR's test engineer for refrigerators. "But the narrow compartments can make it difficult to store certain items, such as frozen pizza boxes."

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 that data—and then some—informs CR’s refrigerator ratings charts and each model’s Overall Score.

For more information on shopping for a refrigerator, read our free refrigerator buying guide. CR members with digital access can read on for ratings and reviews of six standout side-by-side refrigerators, in both 33-inch and 36-inch widths, in rank order. They include fridges made by Amana, GE, LG, and Whirlpool. 

Best 33-Inch-Wide Side-by-Sides

Top Picks

1

Temperature uniformity
Thermostat control
Ease of use

2

Temperature uniformity
Thermostat control
Ease of use
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Best 36-Inch-Wide Side-by-Sides

Top Picks

1

Temperature uniformity
Thermostat control
Ease of use

2

Temperature uniformity
Thermostat control
Ease of use
Unlock Refrigerator Ratings
Become a Member or Sign in