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Top Freezer Refrigerators - Contrasting Bottom, Side-By-Side, and Top Freezer Refrigerators - Top Freezer Refrigerators, Side-by-Side Freezer Refrigerators

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Contrasting Bottom vs. Side-By-Side vs. Top Freezer Refrigerators

There are three schools of thought in freezer positioning for modern refrigerators: top, bottom, and side-by-side. Side-by-side units are usually more expensive than others, in part due to the stylish double-door design. Bottom freezers sit under the main refrigerator with claims to efficiency and comfort. Top freezer refrigerators are the old standard, providing familiarity and a rich array of options across a variety of prices.

Top Freezer Refrigerators

The traditional style top freezer refrigerator has been in use since the 1940s and positions the main cooling unit beneath the freezer. Top freezer refrigerators continue to be a standard across the country, due in particular to the large number of inexpensive models available. Prices for such models begin at around $400 new for models like the Avanti FF1008W ($473.95) or the Kenmore 6880 ($390).

A common critique of top freezer refrigerators is their lack of convenience. With stored frozen foods at the top and vegetable/meat trays on the far bottom, many fridge owners find that they spend more time bent over than at eye level. For those whose diets consist more of pizza rolls and hot pockets, the top freezer refrigerator becomes the de facto choice for both convenience and price.

Side-by-Side Freezer Refrigerators

Most cooling units provide far more real estate in their refrigerator sections than their freezers—not so with the side-by-side design. With equally-sized sections on either side for either purpose, the side-by-side freezer refrigerator is ideal for cooks who like to keep large collections of frozen foods. Consumer Guide reports that side-by-side models are the most popular refrigerator style on the market for its modern philosophy and aesthetic appeal.

Side-by-side models tend to fall between bottom and top freezer refrigerators in terms of price, ringing in at $900-$1000 for simple models like the Amana ASD 2522 ($999) and the Samsung RS261 ($1099)

Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

Bottom freezer refrigerators are considered one of the most practical freezer designs, and this draw has led to some aesthetic innovations that have led them into the limelight as some of the most desired (and expensive) freezer refrigerators on the market.

Bottom freezer refrigerators offer convenience and efficiency. They limit the amount of time a cook will spend bending over, as freezers are generally accessed far less often than the refrigerator proper. Most designs use a tray rather than door approach, allowing for frozen foods to be piled on top of each other. The traditional door design of top freezer refrigerators do not account for the durability that being frozen provides to food—while fresh vegetables will bruise if piled too high, few if any frozen foods are damaged by having some weight on top of them.

There is also an energy efficient aspect to bottom freezer refrigerators. Hot air rises; thus, natural convection properties pull slightly less cool air from the bottom to the top. Top freezer refrigerators cool less efficiently as lost cool air simply filters into the kitchen.

A highly popular “French door” design positions double doors that provide access to different halves of the cooling unit, combining the elegance of side-by-side freezer refrigerators with the practicalities of bottom freezer units. The LG French 4-door lines ($2000) go a step further by providing two bottom-mounted freezer trays that aid organization and limit lost cold air.

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