- 1 Guide to French Door Refrigerators
- 2 Reviews of The Best French Door Refrigerators in 2021
- 3 Comparison Chart of the Best French Door Refrigerators
- 4 Installing a Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator
- 5 Conclusion
Large kitchen appliances don’t come cheap, but nothing beats that feeling when you know you have the best refrigerator for your home. A popular choice these days is a French door refrigerator. Apart from looking stylish and elegant, they store more food and it’s easy to reach inside. The best French door refrigerator for your kitchen depends on what you need in terms of storage space, adjustable shelving, through door water and ice dispensers, door-in-door access, or convertible quad units in the freezer.
Guide to French Door Refrigerators
The starting price of a mid range model is around the $1 500 mark, and a basic model from about $1 000. Apart from performance features that add to the price point, there are several advantages to the French door design:
- Easier access: The width of the open doors is much less than a single door, so they are especially good for restricted spaces.
- Greater capacity: Storage space can reach up to 28 cubic feet. Side-by-side refrigerators come a close second, and only built-in refrigerators can be larger.
- Better use of space: The larger interior allows for better space utilization, and there are more gallons door bins.
- Water and ice dispensers: These are mostly found on French door, side-by-side, or luxury range refrigerators.
- Less energy wastage: Because you have the option of opening only half your refrigerator, this helps with long term energy savings.
1. Best French Door Refrigerator Sizes
Popular French door refrigerators are between 34 to 36 inches wide, and just less than 70 inches tall or a little over. With anything smaller there’s not a lot to choose from, but one of our best selections is a 28 inch French door.
Most models are between 32 to 36.25 inches deep including doors and handles, and it’s best to check how far your refrigerator may protrude in front of a counter edge. Counter depth refrigerators are around 28 to 31.25 inches deep from the back to the handles, so will still protrude at least 3 inches in front.
- See the end of the reviews for more information on how to install a counter depth refrigerator.
2. Recommended Refrigerator Space
Popular French door refrigerators are typically around 24 cubic feet. However, a consumer report investigation found that usable space can be up to 20% less when actual space is measured between shelves and within door bins. This means that 20 cubic feet will give around 16 cubic feet of usable space—enough for a family of four based on 4 cubic feet per adult.
The freezer unit usually has a pull out drawer of around 6 to 8 cubic feet and a good space estimate is 1.5 cubic feet for each family member. If you need more freezer space, you should consider a side-by-side refrigerator, or a more familiar bottom freezer refrigerator design.
3. Temperature Control and Freshness Features
A French pantry or deli drawer is usually situated at the bottom below the produce crispers, or is the extendable draw in a four door model. The temperature range is usually adjustable from 29℉ to 42℉ (-1℃ to 5℃).
Dual evaporators or twin coolers maintain separate air circuits for both the refrigerator and freezer. This maintains higher humidity levels in the refrigerator and keeps out freezer odors.
Turbo cool and freeze allow you at the push of a button to speed up temperature stabilization after your refrigerator has been opened for loading or cleaning.
Multi airflow designs help distribute air more evenly across the shelves in order to maintain a uniform temperature, and they prevent odors from mixing.
Air purifiers eliminate bacteria and mold spores, but these are mostly found on high end models.
Water purifiers are found either in the inner roof, the door, or in between the crisper boxes of the refrigerator. Refrigerator water replacement filters increase running costs.
4. Types of French Door Refrigerators
- Three door
- Four door
- Quad door
- Five door
Three door refrigerators are the most popular and have the most storage space . There are two swing doors that independently open the main upper compartment, and one pull out freezer drawer below. The starting price is around $1 000 or slightly less for basic models or models without dispensers, but generally they retail from around $1500.
Four door refrigerators may suit people who value storage organization over capacity. A smaller additional pull out drawer is situated between the main refrigeration unit and the bottom freezer. This drawer is usually a French pantry or deli drawer with temperature controls. Four door refrigerators are generally over $1500.
The quad door is another type of four door refrigerator. The upper two doors open the main storage compartment, while the bottom two doors open up independent freezer units. In more expensive models one unit can be set to cooler or freezer mode. This way you can maximize refrigerator space, and have easier access to frozen foods. Budget models can sell at around $1 000, but convertible models are usually priced over $2000.
A five door refrigerator is similar to a standard four door, except it has two separate drawers instead of one. One or both of these drawers may be a crisper drawer. There aren’t many models with five doors, and they cost over $3000.
Door-in-Door refrigerators have a double hinged door on the right hand side. This gives easy access to door bins without having to open the main door completely, and they are a little more energy efficient. They can either be solid or with a see-through glass pain. They come as three door or four door refrigerators and cost at least $2000 and more.
5. Additional Features
Other features include how customizable the shelving is, or design variations in dispensers and ice makers.
- Full length shelves cost less, but split shelves are more adaptable. Split shelves can be half length or a split third.
- Sliding or fold up shelves can make room for tall objects.
- Double dispensers levers for ice and water require less button pushing and are easier for young children to use.
- Some dispensers dispense measured amounts of water and are useful for cooking.
- A few high end models dispense hot water or have inbuilt K-cup coffee makers.
- Dispensers usually dispense both ice blocks and crushed ice.
- A few models have dual ice makers— one in the door or refrigeration compartment, and another in the freezer.
6. Installation Tips for French Door Refrigerators
French door refrigerators almost always require a piped connection to a POU water source. For this reason they require some degree of DIY skill, or may have to be installed by a skilled technician. Check the online manual before you make your purchase to see what installation parts are included, or tools you may need— or check your online retailer for installation options.
Reviews of The Best French Door Refrigerators in 2021
Our selection of the best French door refrigerators includes our best to buy, and four other counter depth French door refrigerators.
- GE GNE25JSK 33 Inch French Door – Best to Buy
- Thor Kitchen HRF3601F 36 Inch Counterdepth – Best Rated
- Frigidaire FFHD2250 36 Inch – Best Counter Depth
- Haier HRF15N3AGS 28 Inch French Door – Best Value
- Haier HRQ16N3BGS 33 Inch 4 – Best Quad Door Refrigerator
Here are our reviews for the best French Door Refrigerators in 2021:
1. GE GNE25JSK 33 Inch French Door– Best to Buy
A spacious 33 inch refrigerator with an ice maker, an indoor water dispenser, eight door bins in total, and all the key freshness features the best French door refrigerator should have.
Spacious With Adaptable Shelving
For a 33 inch refrigerator, this GE is about as spacious as a 36 inch. Partly this is because there’s no through door dispenser. Instead, there’s an indoor filtered water dispenser in the main compartment, which allows for a lot more door bin space.
Both doors have four identical bin arrangements. The regular sized lower bin is fixed at a convenient height for children, and can take snacks and juice packs. There are two adjustable middle gallon door bins, and a fixed upper bin. The gallons door bins have enough height above to take extra tall bottles.
The shelving options aren’t overboard, but good for the price. There are five shelves in total— one full length above the crispers, and four adjustable half length shelves. One of these is a sliding shelf to make room for tall objects.
Both crispers have humidity controls, and the deli drawer has an adjustable thermostat. This drawer is quite large and spacious, with a clear see through glass top. The refrigerator filter for water and ice is a little bulky, as with most GEs, and sits up in the top right corner. There’s also a turbo cool function to stabilize the temperature faster after opening the door for cleaning or restocking. This refrigerator has an Energy Star rating so it’s up to 15% more efficient than a non-rated refrigerator.
The freezer is standard in that it has a pull-out drawer with a sliding divider, and a fully extendable upper tray which houses the ice caddy. The ice maker will produce 100–130 cubes or 10lbs and more in a 24 hour period, depending on freezer compartment temperature, room temperature, number of door openings.
Things That Are Cool and Not So Cool
Although largely well received, many users find this refrigerator noisier than previous ones. People love the spacious interior, but most feel the indoor water dispenser needs a longer spout. Another gripe is the quality of the plastic drawers—somewhat of a trend with many otherwise nice refrigerators.
2. Thor Kitchen HRF3601F 36 Inch Counterdepth – Best Rated
If you’re looking for a high quality refrigerator with an extended warranty, and not one that shouts the largest space, this Thor should not disappoint.
This is a four door refrigerator with two pull-out freezer drawers for better food organization and access. It also has two evaporators so refrigerator and freezer air don’t mix. The pantry drawer doesn’t have thermostat control, but the crispers have adjustable humidity.
The refrigerator is quite spacious enough with 15.6 cubic space, and no water dispenser means you have plenty of door bin space. The doors are identical in their design with a dairy hatch box for each. However, unlike most other refrigerators, the 4 gallon bins are made from tempered glass and are extra sturdy. There are a standard five shelves, with four of them being adjustable and sliding, so you can easily make space wherever you want.
There are various controls on the food panel. One of them will switch off the ice maker if you don’t need it, and there’s a special energy saving mode. This sets the refrigerator temperature at 7°C and the freezer at ‒15°C. The “AUTO” mode default settings are 5°C and ‒18 °C, respectively. This Thor, however, is not Energy Star rated. Their equally well appraised HRF3602 model with inset handles is the one with an Energy Star rating.
Things That Are Cool and Not So Cool
Thor appliances carry a two year warranty and not the standard one year. A few other nice features are the soft closing freezer drawers that also have an alarm, and the outside body is fingerprint resistant. On the other hand, there’s no built-in ice maker, but if your water is too hard or not good enough for ice, you can easily hook up an inline water filter.
3. Frigidaire FFHD2250 36 Inch – Best Counter Depth
The Energy Star refrigerator has unique stackable crisper bins, three performance alert monitors, and three tier water filtration for urban dwellers.
For a fairly average price, this best counter depth refrigerator has more value in its specs and features than one would expect. It’s Energy Star rated for its efficiency, has turbo cooling, and an air filter. Their PureSource Ultra II water filter has three standards, namely NSF 43, 53 and 401. It’s rather pricey, but will filter out most metals as well as pharmaceutical contaminants.
The inside door panel has water and air filter alerts, and there are additional alerts for an open door, temperature spikes, and power failure. If the fresh food temperature reaches 55°F or greater, the alarm will sound and the temperature light will flash.
Things That Are Cool and Not So Cool
One unique feature on this fridge are the two humidity controlled crispers which can stack on top of each other instead of just being side by side. On the downside, the ice maker is quite bulky so you lose out on fridge storage space what you gain in the freezer. As such, there are only three adjustable half length refrigerator shelves, one smaller shelf next to the ice maker, plus a gallon bin for each door.
4. Haier HRF15N3AGS 28 Inch French Door – Best Value
This is a very nice refrigerator with inset handles and a simple, clean look. It can store enough for two to three people, and is an affordable option for a French door refrigerator.
For a 28 inch model, the interior is spacious enough (9.6 cu.ft.) with 3 full length, rimless glass shelves and the upper two are slightly adjustable. The two pull out freezer drawers (5.4 cu.ft) are exactly what you need if you’re fussy about easy storage and access.
The door bins are not gallon-sized as such, but some gallon jugs can fit although it’s a tight squeeze. Only the middle bin is adjustable, while the other two are fixed. The only disappointment on this refrigerator is that a lot of potential door space gets wasted, and the shelving is basic too.
For the price there’s only one full length crisper with no humidity control, but there are other features which make up for this. The temperature controls are high up on the outside door and there’s a child lock. There’s also a turbo cool and freeze function, but this refrigerator doesn’t quite qualify for an Energy Star rating.
Things That Are Cool and Not So Cool
An uncommon feature on this Haier is a dehumidifier that you activate according to the bar level indicator. To compliment its good looks, the exterior is also smudge proof, and there’s a door alarm for some peace of mind. One thing to be mindful of is the height of this refrigerator. If you intend to have it under cabinetry, it’s slightly taller with 71 inches to the tip of the top hinge.
- If you like this Haier, but feel you’d prefer something a little larger with a slightly different design, and an Energy Star Rating, carry on to the next review!
5. Haier 33 Inch 4 Door Bottom Freezer – Best Quad Door Refrigerator
This Energy Star quad door refrigerator has humidity control for the entire refrigerator, a humidity filter for the vegetable crisper draw, and adaptable shelving for the freezer units.
This 33 inch French quad door refrigerator has some similar design specs to the 28 inch Haier model reviewed above. The refrigerator layout is similar in that the door bin design is the same, as is the interior with two adjustable glass shelves. The refrigerator capacity of this 33 inch is a little larger by 1.45 cubic feet, but the total freezer capacity is much the same.
This Haier quad door has some improved performance and design features. The left crisper is set for vegetable storage and it comes with a replaceable humidity filter that is part of the humidity control system (HCS). The right hand crisper is designated for low humidity produce such as hard fruits.
Other features are much the same such as turbo freeze and cool, and there’s a control panel with a child lock on the door. It also has a dehumidifier alert for the general refrigerator, and auto defrost for the freezer. This refrigerator is also a little taller than normal at 71 inches including the top hinge.
Things That Are Cool and Not So Cool
The freezer units have adaptable shelving for easy storage. Each unit has two enclosed slide-out bins and there’s a pull-out tray for the top storage level. This tray can be used as an upper shelf, or it can be removed, turned upside-down and replaced if you need room for taller items below like large frozen pizza.
Comparison Chart of the Best French Door Refrigerators
|Product Model||Fridge / Freezer||Counter Depth||Key Features|
|17.5 / 7.3 cu.ft.||NO||Energy Star, deli drawer, turbo cool.|
|15.6 / 5.69 cu.ft.||YES|
D x 26.6 inch w/o door
|Twin evaporators, 2 hatch boxes, glass gallon bins.|
|15.1 / 6.8 cu.ft.||YES|
D x 28.5 inch w/o door
|Energy Star, stackable crispers, 3 alerts.|
|9.74 / 5.58 cu.ft.||YES|
D x 26.5 inch w/o door
|Dehumidifier, turbo cool, smudge proof.|
|11.19 / 5.54 cu.ft||YES|
D x 26.5 inch w/o door
|Crisper controls, turbo cool, adaptable quad shelf.|
Installing a Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator
Before you make your purchase, always check exactly how much depth you have from the back of your wall to the front of the adjoining counter overhang.
- The standard countertop depth is 25 inches which includes the overhang, although some overhangs may add a little more.
- If there’s a built-in backsplash on the wall behind your refrigerator space, this could reduce the depth by up to an inch.
- Also, you will need to keep an inch or so at the back of your refrigerator free of air circulation, piping and cabling.
- Most counter depth models are between 28 to 31.25 inches, and this is measured from the back to the front handles.
- With door dimensions excluded, the refrigerator is usually 24 to 25 inches deep.
Most online manuals or product spec sheets will list the various dimensions such as depth with handles, depth without handles, and depth without door.
Unlike true built-in refrigerators, the doors will always need to protrude enough beyond the counter overhang in order for them to open properly. Some doors are sleeker than others, some have bigger handles, but inset door handles will give you the best built-in look.
Our reviews of the best French door refrigerators are mostly popular counter depth refrigerators, including the best quad door refrigerator. If you have any comments, or if you’d like to ask a question, please use the comment feature below. We are always here for you.