What are French Door Refrigerators?

Sheri Cyprus

French door refrigerators are named after the architectural structure of French doors: they are refrigerators with the same features of French doors. These machines also have a bottom freezer door with a separate handle.

The main advantage of a French door refrigerator is that only one side of the fridge needs to be opened at one time.
The main advantage of a French door refrigerator is that only one side of the fridge needs to be opened at one time.

French door refrigerators are fairly new in terms of appliances since they didn't become widely available for sale until 2005. The main advantage of this type of refrigerator is that only one side of the fridge needs to be opened at one time. Most of these types of refrigerators have glass shelves that run the entire width of the fridge. Of course, it requires organization to know which side of the refrigerator the desired food is on to avoid opening both doors at once. There is a small energy savings created by consistently opening only one door to access the French door fridge rather than two.

A French door refrigerator may have one or two bottom freezer drawers. Bottom freezer drawers allow easier access to foods than many fridges with freezers on the side, but some people prefer the access allowed by traditional fridges with a top freezer section. The storage capacity of these refrigerators with bottom drawer freezers many be a little less than the top freezer refrigerator type. However, if the food items are organized well, they may be easier to access than freezer items stored in top or side refrigerator freezers. Also, the types of French door refrigerators with two bottom freezer drawers allow for better organization since items such as meat can be placed in one drawer, while foods such as vegetables, fruits and desserts can be stored in the other freezer drawer.

Ice and water dispensers are included on most French door refrigerators. A typical French door fridge has four shelves that fit across the width of the refrigerator, plus two clear acrylic fruit and vegetable crisper drawers under the shelving. The glass shelves are usually adjustable and there are fridge door storage compartments just like in traditional refrigerator doors. The bottom freezer drawer has separate door access so that neither of the refrigerator's French doors has to be open to access the freezer.

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Discussion Comments


If you have children, they will open both doors. If you lack space for a full-size door to swing open, this might work for you.

Ergonomically, a top freezer compartment makes more sense. Items are near eye-level and you don't have to bend down to get at them. Frozen items tend to be heavy and slippery.


@KoiwiGal - Having one big fridge can also be more energy efficient than having a couple of smaller ones, or a fridge and a separate freezer. If you've got so many people in your house that you have made a collection of different refrigerators to accommodate them all, it's much cheaper to just have the one big one.


@croydon - Another good point to remember is what the rest of your kitchen looks like and how much space you have to work with. I've noticed in the stores that certain kinds of white-ware will have different price tags depending on the style, with no other differences.

So, French door refrigerators with a stainless steel finish might be much more expensive than the exact same model with a white finish. But, if you're trying to get a certain look in your kitchen, that might be worth it to you.

And a fridge with French doors can actually be a space saver, even though they tend to be bigger than the average fridge, because the two doors are going to be smaller than usual and able to open both ways. So if you have a space where there is enough room for the fridge, but it would be a squeeze to get an average door open, a French door fridge would be perfect.


@frenchdoor - Most refrigerator makers are making built in French door refrigerators these days, and I think it's a matter of looking up all the different reviews on fridges to see which is the kind that you want to buy.

I don't think there's one that is the absolute best. They probably all have their good points on energy savings, design and so forth, so it's a matter of deciding what you're looking for and then studying reviews to see who is selling the best fridge with those points.


Wondering which is the best maker of french door refrigerator?

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