This website uses cookies

We use cookies to make sure this website can function. By continuing to browse on this website, you agree to our use of cookies.

Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators in 2021: Buying Guide and Reviews

By Luna Regina | Updated
Our recommendations are made independently through research and testing following our review procedure. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links at no additional costs to you.

The first step to choosing the best refrigerator for your kitchen is the choice between freezer on the top, or freezer on the bottom. Neither of these are the perfect ideal, but a side-by-side refrigerator gives equal access to both units. Often overlooked as a first choice, the best side-by-side refrigerator can also give you the best built-in look for your kitchen. And, although not as fancy nor as expensive as a French door refrigerator, they are often a more suitable choice.

Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators 2021

Guide to Side-by-Side Refrigerators

  • What is a side-by-side refrigerator?
  • Advantages of a side-by-side refrigerator.
  • Side-by-side vs French door refrigerators.
  • Five reasons to choose a side-by-side refrigerator.
  • Things to know about a side-by-side refrigerator.

What Is a Side-by-Side Refrigerator?

A side-by-side refrigerator has two full length vertical doors, which independently open up a refrigerator and freezer unit situated side by side. The refrigerator compartment will always be wider than the freezer compartment, and they often have factory installed ice makers and through door filtered water and ice dispensers.

What Is a Side-by-Side Refrigerator

What Is The Advantage Of a Side-by-Side Refrigerator?

Side-by-side refrigerators are a good fit for limited spaces because of their short door widths, and they don’t have a pull out freezer drawer. The freezer shelves stack like a typical refrigerator, so it’s easy to see, organize, and get at all types of food.

Other advantages are aesthetic. Their full length doors are quite elegant, and with no bottom freezer drawer, you get an uninterrupted contour. A counter depth side-by-side refrigerator can give you the best built in look of any refrigerator— and at an affordable price.

Side-by-Side vs French Door Refrigerators

These have a similar split door design with typical ice makers and through door dispensers, but key differences between them will help you decide which is better, a side by side or a French door refrigerator?

Side-By-SideFrench Door
Slightly wider right swing doorFront pull out drawers
Slightly smaller capacitySlightly larger capacity
Freezer stack shelvesFreezer mostly pull out drawers
More bending on averageRefrigerator at waist height
Narrower shelves and more door binsWider shelves and more adaptable
Simple food organizationMore complex organization
Better for tall objects and bin bottlesBetter for party platters and dishes
Fewer freshness featuresMore freshnes features
More affordableMore costly

Whereas the difference in door width is negligible, the average capacity of a side by side tends to be a few cubic feet less than a French door, and this may matter to some. Around 19 to 22 cubic feet is enough for a family of four, or roughly 4 cubic feet of usable space per adult, and 1.5 cubic feet per family member of freezer space is a good recommendation.

A Typical French Door Refrigerator

French doors are more likely to have humidity controls for both crisper drawers, a deli drawer with thermostat controls, turbo cooling, bottle chilling, air filters, twin evaporators, and multi airflow systems. For these features, they cost a lot more than side-by-sides.

Both types usually have an ice maker and a through door dispenser. These significantly increase the purchase price and energy costs, but there are a few models without these.

Five Reasons to Choose a Side-By-Side Refrigerator

  • You love your freezer as much as your refrigerator.
  • You have a lot of packaged or bottled items convenient for large door bins.
  • You need more space for taller items.
  • You don’t mind bending over to get at fruits and vegetables.
  • You want an aesthetic look that is more built in and cheaper than a French door.

If you feel a side-by-side is not for you, have a look at our guide and reviews of the Best French Door Refrigerators or the Best Bottom Door Refrigerators.

Things to Know About a Side-by-Side Refrigerator

Humidity controlled crisper drawers are a popular feature, but many side-by-sides only have adjustable controls on one of the drawers. Fruits and vegetables, however, should not be kept together, but humidity control is more important for leafy vegetables, than harder fruits.

Deli drawers for meats or dairy often don’t have an adjustable thermostat, so are in actual fact just snack drawers.

Spill proof shelves with raised border edges in the refrigerator are nice and less easy to break. There could be two to four shelves, but unfortunately extra shelves are difficult to get or very expensive.

Wire shelving in the freezer cuts the price tag, but glass shelves look much better. Freezers shelves are less adjustable, and on more affordable models the shelves are fixed.

Ice makers and through door dispensers are found on most models, so installation requires some DIY skill and a connection to a water source.The refrigerator water filter will need to be replaced every three to six months depending, but if the model comes with a bypass plug, you can use your refrigerator without a water filter, or connected to an alternative filtration option.

Reviews of The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators in 2021

Our selection includes two of the best 36 inch side-by-side refrigerators, the best 33 inch model, a small side-by-side refrigerator, and a side-by-side wine and beverage cooler.

  1. Frigidaire 36 Inch Side-by Side Refrigerator - Best to Buy
  2. GE 36 Inch Side-by-Side Refrigerator - Best Value
  3. FRIGIDAIRE FFSS2315 Side by Side Refrigerator - Best 33 Inch
  4. Avanti 31 Inch Side-by-Side - Best 30 Inch Small Sized
  5. Phiestina Side by SIde Refrigerator - Best Wine & Beverage Cooler

Here are our top picks for the Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators in 2021

1. GE GZS22DGJBB Side Refrigerator - Best to Buy

This GE GZS22DGJ with a through door water and ice dispenser is a counter depth installation. Despite the smaller capacity, it has reasonable shelving options. It’s big enough for two to three people, so not exactly a family sized refrigerator.

Frigidaire FFSS2615TS Side-by Side Refrigerator review
  • Humidity controlled crispers

  • 2 gallon door bins

  • Wide adjustable shelf range

  • Dairy box

  • 2 glass refrigerator shelves

  • Accessible ice box

  • 5 freezer door bins

  • Only top lighting

  • Freezer basket not so great

  • No deli drawer on standard model

The Refrigerator

For the price, this GE side by side refrigerator has some good features. The two humidity controlled crispers are good quality, and the shelves have a wide adjustable range. 

The capacity of the refrigerator is 14.2.cu.ft., so it may not be suitable as a family-sized refrigerator. Two of the door bins are gallon-sized. The bins are also quite deep so small items are unlikely to fall out.

For this basic model, there is a dairy hatch box. Some models, however, come with a deli box or others may have a twin evaporator and turbo cooling. Available color options include the following:

The Freezer

The 7.7 cu.ft. freezer is a good compromise for the two glass shelves and the 5 door bins. On the bottom is a wire basket, but rather poorly designed which is unfortunate. There is 1 wire shelf in addition to two adjustable glass shelves which lend a bit of shine.

There’s a small sweet box above the ice bin at the very top. Additionally, there are also two nicely positioned door bins right above the dispenser unit. It takes an MSWF filter certified to NSF standards 42 and 53, and there are generic replacements available.

Final Word:

Most people find the dispenser and ice maker works really well. The biggest flaw is the lack of floor to ceiling lighting. The lower levels are poorly lit. However, this is a good looking refrigerator quite suitable for a small kitchen. If the features are all that you need, it shouldn’t let you down.

Overall Score7.4Space utilization7
Features6Reliability 7
Customer satisfaction 8.5Price8.5
Check Latest Price on Amazon

2. Ascoli ASBS2100EW Side by Side Refrigerator — Best Value

If you’re looking for a good value side by side refrigerator without the hassle of a water and ice dispenser, this Italian inspired Ascoli is a recommended choice.

GE PSS28KSH 36 Inch best rated Side-by-Side Refrigerator review
  • Recessed handles

  • Spill proof shelves

  • Gallon door bins

  • 2 crystal crispers in freezer

  • Frost free

  • Manual ice maker in door

  • Not well known

  • More lighting needed

Ascoli is a brand that is registered in Italy. However,  Ascoli America is headed by two executives with previous long term experience with Haier and Whirlpool. You can register your product on their homepage and access customer service from there. 

The correct dimensions of this refrigerator are 70.08 inches high without the hinge and 72.64 with full installation. The width is 35.83 in and 38.11 in with the doors open. The depth without the door is 27.80 in and 29.53 in with the doors — so it can almost be considered counter depth. 

The nice thing about this refrigerator are the pocket handles and the quality look with glass shelves throughout. The freezer has two pull out bins like the refrigerator, and the shelves have a reasonable adjustment range.

Although the three upper door bins are gallon-sized, there is not much leeway to adjust them. There are no extras like a dairy hatch box, snack drawer, rapid chill, or an automatic ice maker.

Final Word:

For a really competitive price, you get all basic necessities and enough storage space for the size. If you don’t need all the extras, these Ascoli are a good choice. They look great, and there is no extra hassle to be had with an ice maker and dispenser.

Overall Score8Space utilization8
Features8Reliability 8
Customer satisfaction 8.5Price7.5
Check Latest Price on Amazon

3. Frigidaire Professional — Best Built In Side by Side Refrigerator

The Frigidaire Professional is a breath of fresh air when it comes to refrigeration. The freezer and refrigerator comes as two 19.0 cu.ft. independent units. You can install them side by side, separately, as a built-in unit, or as a stand alone installation.

Frigidaire FFSS2315 best 33 inch Side by Side Refrigerator review
  • 32-inch wide units

  • Deli drawer in fridge

  • Soft freeze draw in freezer

  • 3 dividers in humidity crisper

  • Air purifier

  • Ice maker

  • Water filter in-line

  • Comparatively tall

In more ways than one this Frigidaire Professional is unique — especially for the ample and equal storage space in both units. The refrigerator crisper bin has three dividing sliders, and it can be set to three different humidity levels. These are for fruits, vegetables, or in between for storage of both. 

The deli drawer in the fridge is not temperature controlled, but the equivalent unit in the freezer is a soft freeze zone. The compact ice box and ice maker are right at the top.

The staggered door bin arrangement is both practical and aesthetic. In the fridge you can store gallon bottles and there’s an additional dairy hatch. A number of half sized bins in each unit are adjustable. The freezer has plenty of door bins suited to an array of bronze dinners, tubs, or packets. 

Final Words 

If you never want to worry about refrigeration or freezer space again, this Frigidaire Professional is a unique and practical solution. They come well appraised, and you can even buy just a single unit instead of two together.    

* Although still available online, this is a discontinued product.

Overall Score7Space utilization7
Features5.5Reliability 7
Customer satisfaction 8Price7.5
Check Latest Price on Amazon

4. Avanti 31 Inch Side By Side Refrigerator — Best Small and Compact

If you’re looking for a small-sized side-by-side refrigerator, there’s not a lot to choose from, but this Energy Star Avanti is a good deal. It can fit under a counter, and its upholstery look with recessed handles blends in very well.

Avanti 31 Inch Side-by-Side Refrigerator review
  • Upholstery, inset design

  • 3.3 cu.ft. refrigerator

  • Crisper drawer

  • 2 Adjustable glass shelves

  • 3 Door bins

  • Energy Star certified

  • Free standing only

Avanti 31 Inch inside

This small side-by-side has similar features to a full sized model, and because it’s also suitable for long term storage, it’s more than just a mini refrigerator. Like a standard refrigerator, it has a crisper so you can neatly tuck away fruits and vegetables.

The fridge door bins are very handy and the freezer unit has two fixed shelves. There’s an adjustable thermostat for both units located inside the refrigerator. 

The other advantage of this Avant is that it fits below a counter or it can be placed on a countertop, as some people like to do. It requires 5 inches of clearance space at the back and is not intended as a built-in refrigerator.

Final Word: 

This is a true mini side-by-side refrigerator which also has a good amount of freezer space. It’s energy efficient, space wise, and you get a crisper drawer in addition to door bins. Apart from small kitchens, people also use these in studio apartments, AirBB rentals, small offices or holiday homes.

Overall Score 8.1Space utilization9
Features7Reliability 8
Customer satisfaction 8.5Price8
Check Latest Price on Amazon

5. EdgeStar 30-Inch Built In Dual Zone - Best Wine & Beverage Cooler

A side-by-side wine and beverage cooler with dual zone settings and a low temperature of 38 ℉. The wine racks are spacious enough for Chardonnays and Pinots, and they have safety stoppers too.

Phiestina Side by Side Refrigerator review
  • Easy cabinet fit

  • Built-in or freestanding

  • 38‒50℉ / 40‒68℉ zones

  • Chardonnay and Pinot bottles

  • Stopper shelves

  • No door locks

  • No wood shelves

There are several reasons why this two door wine and beverage refrigerator comes out tops. It’s an ideal size for many cabinet spaces and with a height of 33 inches, it’s a perfect built in size. The wine cooler shelves are spacious enough to take Chardonnay and Pinot bottles, although champagne bottles are a bit of a tight fit.

The wine cooler zone ranges from 40‒68℉ so it is ideal for either a mix of reds and whites, or as a single zone for either white or reds— which need a higher temperature of 65‒68℉. It can take 20 wine bottles, and 78 standard 12 oz soda cans in the general beverage compartment.The general beverage compartment ranges from 38‒50℉, so it isn’t going to give you super chilled drinks. The temperature is, however, lower than a standard wine refrigerator and not bad for champagnes and crisp white wines, which can also be chilled more in an ice bucket before serving.

Final Word:

This side-by-side wine and beverage cooler is the one that keeps most people the happiest. The lowest temperature is better than average, the wine racks are spacious, and it’s not noisy at all. A couple of drawbacks are no lock for either door, and the wine cooler doesn’t have wooden racks, but the polished stainless steel looks good too.

Overall Score 7.6Space utilization8.5
Features8Reliability 7
Customer satisfaction 7.5Price7
Check Latest Price on Amazon

For single door wine coolers, or to know more about wine and wine storage, see our guide and reviews of the Best Wine Refrigerators.

Comparison Table for The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators in 2021

ModelCapacities cu.ft.
Fridge / Freezer
ShelvingFreshness > Extras
Frigidaire 36 Inch16.5 / 9.02 glass
5 bins / 2 gals bins
Auto defrost
Energy saver
Ge 36 Inch17.5 / 10.93 adjustable, 1 sliding,
3 gallon bins
Turbo ice 10 lbs
Door alarm
Frigidaire 33 Inch 14.2 / 7.92 glass shelves
5 bins; 2 gals bins
Auto defrost
Energy saver
Avanti 31 Inch3.3 / 2.22 glass shelves
3 door bins
1 crisper
Energy Star
Phiestina 24 Inch20 wine
78 soda
12 adjustableShelf stoppers
38℉ low temp.

The Best Style and The Least Hassle: Two Worthy Mentions

We have two niche recommendations that some people might appreciate: A side-by-side for those who want to show off a little, and one for those who are happy to do without an ice maker and a water dispenser.

Blomberg BSBS2230SS - Best Style

Blomberg BSBS2230SS review

Blomberg counter depth side-by-side refrigerators usually sell as part of an appliances set, but they can be bought separately. These more high-end models have a smooth, stainless steel finish and they look very stylish on the inside as well. There are four high quality glass shelves and a chrome bottle rack, but no 1-gallon door bins.

They include freshness and performance features such as twin evaporators, two crispers which deploy blue light technology for longer food preservation, as well as a charcoal air filter and a negative ion generator.

Blomberg’s side-by-side is also Energy Star rated and manufactured with 85% recyclable components. For the value and style they offer, these refrigerators are also very reasonably priced, although a lot more expensive than the more everyday brands.

Whirlpool WRS315SNHM - Best Without an Ice Maker and Dispenser

Whirlpool WRS315SNHM review

There are a number of advantages to having a side-by-side without an ice maker and no water dispenser. These extras add to the price tag, cost more to run, and come with extra installation requirements for water connections. Ice makers also tend to be noisy, take up space, and are the number reason for repair callouts.

There isn’t a lot to choose from if you don’t want these two extras, but fortunately Whirlpool has a few select models with an optional icemaker. They’re very affordable and this model has 15.46 cu.ft. for the refrigerator and 9.61 cu.ft for the freezer.

The fridge has two crisper drawers, three spill proof glass shelves, three adjustable 1-gallon door bins, a fixed door bin on the bottom and a top hatch box. The freezer has five wire shelves and six door bins, so there’s a ton of available space in this side-by-side.

Conclusion

In our selection of the best side-by-side refrigerators, we’ve tried to include models that have the best freshness features, are energy efficient, and maximize space at affordable price points for the value they offer. If you’d like to add anything, or would like to ask a question, please use the comment feature below. We are always here for you.

Luna Regina

A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen. Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it. Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.