Single Door Vs. Double Door Fridge Explained
Typically, refrigerators are classified by their design and configuration. This can include the number of doors a unit has or if the freezer is situated at the top or bottom of the unit.
Often when people think about single or double-door fridges, they are wondering where fresh food is kept and how the doors are visually split. Some even label a top freezer as a single-door because the freezer doors and refrigerator compartments are split between the top and bottom. Incidentally, side-by-side fridges are called double-doors simply because the doors are next to each other. As you can see, shopping for a fridge for the first time can get a little confusing.
This article delves into the categories commonly referred to as single-door refrigerators vs. double-door refrigerators and will look at the pros and cons of each. The goal is to help you make the most informed choice for your household.
Single vs. Double-Door Refrigerators
If you’re looking for a less costly option, then single-door fridges are worth considering. The cost is lower than other configurations because they offer a streamlined set of features and sometimes have a bit less interior space. Don’t worry too much, though, as there should still be plenty of room for wide items compared to a side-by-side fridges.
The market offers single-door refrigerators in the following styles:
All-Refrigerator is a single-door refrigerator with no freezer. This is great for those who aren’t big on frozen food and prefer to dedicate their refrigeration space to fresh food. You can pair it with an upright freezer or all-freezer unit, giving you space for both fresh and frozen foods. These units can be placed side by side or apart to fit your kitchen’s layout.
Bottom freezer means that the freezer compartment is at the bottom underneath the refrigerator compartment. Based on the model and brand, bottom freezers may provide flexibility as the freezer door can be either a swing door or a sliding pull-out drawer. They are designed with accessibility in mind as they keep fresh food at eye level and within reach.
Top freezer means that the freezer compartment is at the top, above the refrigerator compartment. This keeps frozen foods at eye level. The freezer door is a swing door and owners can choose whether to install it so that it opens to the right or left side.
The market offers double-door refrigerators in the following styles:
Double-door fridges are the configuration that is most often available in counter-depth style. They tend to offer a look that is best described as more premium in addition to an integrated design.
French door refrigerators are configured with the refrigerator compartment above a freezer compartment. The two doors open independently, revealing a pantry-like layout with specialized storage compartments so you can find what you need when you want it. They commonly feature external ice and water dispensers and sometimes you’ll even find an additional icemaker located in the freezer.
Pros and Cons of Single vs. Double-Door Refrigerators
If your kitchen can fit either a single or a double-door refrigerator, it comes down to what is best for your lifestyle.
What are the pros and cons of each configuration? Let’s review.
The pros of single-door refrigerators include:
Cost - Considered by many to be the more affordable option. The look might not be the most modern but you can still enjoy optimal performance that will keep your food as cool as needed.
Cleaning - Since there are fewer handles or pocket handles (meaning no handles at all) there is less opportunity for dirt and grime to cling to the surface of the appliance.
Ideal for Narrow Spaces - This is a good option for smaller kitchens or for people looking to add a second fridge to their home as single-door refrigerators tend to come in conveniently smaller sizes.
The cons of single-door refrigerators include:
Wide Door Swing - Certain models are designed for the fridge door to swing wide when opened. What’s important to note is that the bigger the door, the bigger radius as it opens. This is particularly important if you’re living in an apartment or have a small kitchen.
Space - It’s best to anticipate less interior space as some of these fridges (mainly top freezers) may have a smaller footprint. You should still be able to enjoy plenty of room for wide items (trays, deli platters, etc.) compared to many side-by-side models. Certain larger and wider options are available.
Here are common approximate capacity ranges for:
30” Top Freezer: 18 cu. ft. - 22 cu. Ft.
30” Bottom Freezer: 18 cu. Ft. - 22 cu. Ft.
The pros of double-door refrigerators include:
Space - Owners may enjoy excellent organization options. A double-door refrigerator typically comes with multiple drawers and tiers so you can divide your food into well-organized layers and make meal prep easier. Side-by-side models usually offer more freezer space than other configurations. In addition, most of the larger double-door refrigerators provide greater capacity.
Layout - French door fridges always have the freezer on the bottom and it is usually in the form of a pull-out drawer. This way, your veggies, fruits, beverages and other daily favourites are always visible and easy to reach. Side-by-side fridges feature narrower compartments and a layout that allows for optimal organization. Lastly, you can keep your favourite freezer and fridge items right at eye level.
Kitchen Space - Offers a premium look and more room in your kitchen when the doors are open. Because it offers two doors swinging, instead of one, the door clearance is less on a double-door model. You should always measure your space to confirm what clearance is needed. This category also offers counter-depth and built-in options, if you’d prefer to have more space in front of your refrigerator and in your kitchen.
Features - Compared to single-door, double-door refrigerators (mainly French doors) tend to come with some innovative higher-end features.
Maytag features refrigerators with:
- PowerCold® Feature: Quickly chill the refrigerator with a single touch. This helps keep everything inside your fridge cool even if the doors are constantly being opened.
- Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel: Fingerprint resistant stainless steel is easy to clean and can resist smudges so your fridge will look as good on the outside as it works on the inside.
- BrightSeries™ LED Lighting: Long-lasting BrightSeries™ LED lighting casts a bright white light. It uses less energy than incandescent bulbs to boot.
The cons of double-door refrigerators include:
Cost - This configuration is typically more expensive as you have to pay a premium for the appearance, size and specialty features compared to single-door fridges.
Narrow Door Storage on Side-by-Side Models - There is a drawback to the style of these units, which is that the door bins are narrower. This means that on some fridges, you will have limited space to store milk cartons, large water bottles and condiment jars.
Which Configuration Do You Prefer?
Review these single and double-door refrigerators to decide what your preferred configuration might be:
Single-Door - Top Freezer
Single-Door - Bottom Freezer
Double-Door - French Door (3 door or even 4 or 5 door for certain brands)
Double-Door - Side-by-Side
Now that you better understand the ins and outs of single and double-door refrigerators, you should be all set to choose the configuration and the model that will meet your needs.
Learn more about Maytag® single-door and double-door refrigerators.
Standard Refrigerator Dimensions Explained How to take refrigerator space measurements and determine the dimensions you need. Use the fridge sizes guide from Maytag to get a better sense of what will fit in your kitchen.
Discover the Best Refrigerator for Your Home Should you choose a refrigerator with more shelves? What’s the best large capacity or small refrigerator? Maytag can help you find the best refrigerator.