Home Kitchen gadgets and appliances reviews Refrigerators Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators in 2020: Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators in 2020: Reviews and Buying Guide

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Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators 2020 Reviews

Understand the Benefits and Advantages of a Side-by-Side Refrigerator

When it comes to choosing a new refrigerator, there are a few things to consider. First, do you want a top and bottom unit, where the freezer is on top and over the fridge, or on the bottom, below it. Or, would you prefer a side-by-side unit, where there is one complete side for the fridge and one complete side for the freezer compartment? While some people like their freezer section above or below, the side-by-side fridge with the full-length vertical doors is a great choice as it gives you easy access to every area within the unit.

The convenience factor is amazing, because it allows you a quick, easy view of everything, and we think better organization.

When choosing a side-by-side refrigerator, here are a couple of the things you’ll want to consider. First, we’ll look at the advantages of this style of appliance, and then compare it to other styles so you get a complete overview.

We’ll also look at things you might want to know and may not have thought about. We’ll also show you a nice selection of top sellers and show you what’s to love and what may not work for you. With a solid view, you’ll be able to make a clear choice as to the best side-by-side for your kitchen.

And yes, just like other models, you can get water and ice dispensers on this style of refrigerator.

Why Consider a Side-by-Side Refrigerator

Do you like having to squat down, bend over, and dig through a full freezer, trying to see what you have? Who does? One of the best things about a side-by-side model refrigerator is that you can easily see what’s inside. Because you have so much storage space and shelving, it’s easy to organize your freezer, know what’s there, and not have to pull things out just to see what’s in the back.

And the units with the drawer on the bottom? Ugh! Who wants to bunch up and squat down, just trying to find that pack of ground meat you put in there, somewhere. Where was that again? Wait, if you move things over and pull them out, maybe you’ll find it.

If you like an organized freezer, the side-by-side is ideal. You can easily have a section for frozen dinners or pizzas, a section for meat, a section for frozen veggies or fries. Once you start using a freezer this way, you’ll wonder how you managed so long the old-fashioned way.

People often compare square footage when looking at the storage space, but if it’s all crammed in, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you have a little extra space. But, if you are all about the square footage, you may get a smidge more in the French door style.
Another consideration is do you prefer a swing outdoor, or a pull-out drawer? If you have a visual preference, this is something to keep in mind. In a French door styled fridge, the freezer drawer pulls out. One good thing about a pull-out drawer is if you have something very large to store, such as a large shrimp tray, large catering sizes of lasagna, or a lunch meat tray for a gathering, it may fit easier. Sometimes, those really large trays are harder to fit in the side-by-side, but how often do you need something like that? If you entertain a lot, this may be something to note.

If cost is an issue, a side-by-side may be a more affordable option, offering you a bigger choice selection. With French doors being trendy, the price tends to be a bit higher on them currently.

Things to Know About Side-by-Side Refrigerators: Size Wise

Again, the size of each refrigerator and freezer will be something to consider when it comes to what your family needs. What price range are you in? And do you prefer organization and extra shelves, or like it all together in one pull out drawer.

What’s the trade-off? Your side-by-side offers you a generous space on both sides of the unit. The French door style with a freezer on the bottom may offer you more space, but the bottom freezer is a trade-off.

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the different models, so we can compare them.

There are a few details about the French door units that stand out and may be of interest to you, such as extra options, but sometimes this raises the cost. You may find things like twin evaporators, bottle chilling, and special humidity and thermostat controls with crisper drawers. Because they add all these fancy features, they’re selling to a high-end client that doesn’t mind paying more. If you’ve got the budget, these things may be of interest like the multi-airflow system. The question is, how much more are you going to pay?

As for the water and ice dispenser on the door, most units have them now, but it does increase the cost. Though, to be honest, sometimes it can be difficult to find the units without them! Just be aware of what they will cost in energy and such.

Other details to consider

Do you love an ice maker? They can be great and handy to use, but one thing worth noting is they tend to cause higher repair bills. Consumer Reports says, “Another major drawback to in-the-door ice and water dispensers is that they tend to break down a lot. Repairs could set you back a few hundred bucks, including the cost of the service call. In Consumer Reports’ brand reliability surveys, refrigerators with icemakers have significantly higher repair rates.”

Now, take in mind that report was from 2014, so things may have improved some. Either way it’s important that if you want a water and ice dispenser that you do your research on the best brands, so you can make sure to save yourself that hassle. Oh, and while you may not be aware, there’s a filter you’ll need to replace regularly.

We’ve done the work for you and chose models that are highly reviewed and are reliable. This will help you avoid costly repair bills. Now that we’ve covered all the bases, let’s take a closer look at a couple of models that are worth considering.

Top-rated Side-by-Side Refrigerators Comparison Table in 2020

So, what is the best side-by-side refrigerator?

Model Fridge / Freezer capacity (cu.ft.) Shelving Rating
GE PSS28KSH 36 Inch
Great Livings Editor's Choice of 2020
17.5 / 10.9 3 adjustable, 1 sliding, 3 gallon bins
5 out of 5 stars
Check price
Frigidaire FFSS2615TS 36 Inch
Best to Buy Fridge
16.5 / 9.0 2 glass 5 bins / 2 gals bins
4.8 out of 5 stars
Check price
Frigidaire FFSS2315
Best 33 Inch Fridge
14.2 / 7.9 2 glass shelves, 5 bins, 2 gals bins
4.6 out of 5 stars
Check price
Avanti 31" Unit
Best Space-saver
3.3 / 2.2 2 glass shelves 3 door bins
4.9 out of 5 stars
Check price
Phiestina 24 Inch
Best for Wine and Beverages
78 soda or 20 wine 12 adjustable shelves
4.3 out of 5 stars
Check price

Reviews of The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators of 2020

Comparing Two Similar Units in a Standard 36” Size

There are a lot of names in appliances, but two brands most people have come to trust and are well known are General Electric or GE and Frigidaire. It’s important to look at the reputation of a company, and opt for something you can rely on. Also, take in mind that some companies have different names for different levels of products.

Just like DeWalt and Black and Decker are the same company, one is made more for the everyday handyman, while one is more for a higher-grade professional. In appliances, for example, GE and Hotpoint are from the same parent company. Knowing these connections can be handy when comparing details. In Frigidaire’s case, it’s their American consumer brand, whereas in Europe they’re called Electrolux.

Here are our top picks for the Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators in 2020.

1. Editor’s Choice in 2020: GE PSS28KSH 36 Inch Side-by-Side Refrigerator

GE Offers a Stellar 36” Model Worth Checking Out. We think that the General Electric 36-inch Side-by-Side Refrigerator offers a strong value and should be considered when looking at these units. Keep reading to find out why.

You’ll get strong value and a fair price. When it comes to spacing capacity, you’re looking at over 28 cubic feet, which means plenty of space for the family. They offer convenience with lighting that makes it easy to see inside. This unit offers multiple adjustable door bins, which can easily hold gallon-sized jugs.

Other features include a sliding shelf, crisper boxes, and premium glass freezer shelves. Generally, lower-priced units usually have wire shelving.

This side-by-side refrigerator keeps convenience in mind and offers the ability to store over 10 pounds of ice. Who doesn’t love a super, quick and strong ice maker? That comes in extra handy in summer when you want to cool down quickly, or if you’re entertaining. Also, the water dispenser is something nice and avoids the constant need to open the door for refills. We love that the ice is available both as cubed or crushed via the door’s dispenser.

While most of the shelves are adjustable, not all of them are. This might be a downfall if you need more flexibility, but with three out of four shelves being moveable, it should be more than ample when it comes to creative food storage. One last note, the humidity controls are not ideal if you like more control over your crisper drawers.

One interesting feature worth noting is the door alarm. Yes, you read that right. It’s perfect for mom’s with curious toddlers!

A few other points worth mentioning is that the freezer offers flexibility and plenty of space for larger items, like hams or turkeys. That can be hard to find in some units, but this one has you covered. Otherwise, you’ll find general bins, glass shelving, and a couple of door sections.

GE PSS28KSH 36 Inch best rated Side-by-Side Refrigerator review

Pros

  • Strong value
  • Fair priced
  • 28 cubic feet capacity
  • Over 10 pounds of ice storage
  • Door alarm feature
  • Huge freezer

Cons

  • Humidity controls are not ideal

 

Click to Check the Price
 

2. Best to Buy in 2020: Frigidaire FFSS2615TS 36 Inch Side by Side Refrigerator

Next, we’ll look at the Frigidaire Side-by-Side Unit, Frigidaire really impresses with a 36” Model. This is another strong value, and one to certainly keep on your shortlist.

When it comes to price, we feel like this offers a nice selection of features that you’ll find handy, while delivering excellent performance. If you like extra bells and whistles, you’ll like the detail that went into this unit such as the light that notifies you about needing a filter change.

Keep in mind, it is a little smaller in size overall than the GE we just talked about. This one comes in at 25.5 cubic feet. It’s still large enough for most families, but we wanted to point out that difference, in case you have a larger family and are looking for something a little bigger.

The Frigidaire Side-by Side 36” Refrigerator has a lot of good points, such as the popular 24-hour energy saver mode, along with things like a larger snack drawer and crisper, though it doesn’t offer humidity control, which some people find critical.

Though, on a positive note, the doors are soft close, so no worry about slamming them.

The other thing worth noting is there’s less flexibility when it comes to freezer shelves, since they are fixed, and aren’t adjustable. The key is in knowing how you’ll use the space. If you’re looking for a more flexible space, consider the GE.

Otherwise, keep reading, because the Frigidaire does have some quality key points for the value and price it’s offered at. When it comes to how the sizing of the unit is split up, 9 cubic feet are portioned to the freezer, while the fridge space holds 16.5 cubic feet of space. Also, the shelving in the refrigerator size of the unit is adjustable, which comes in handy if you need to move things around. We really like that the door shelving at the top can be moved as needed to fit things, such as big jugs or bottles.

As for water dispensers, it’s a pretty standard one. You have a slot for water and another for ice. The ice like most units can be selected as cubed or crushed.

Your freezer space has a segmented area for smaller items like ice cream, and the shelving on this unit is wired for the most part. Also, there’s flexibility with the freezer door bins. Overall, it’s a solid choice, though a little less roomy than the GE.

If you need something a little smaller, Frigidaire does make a 33” unit. We’ll look at it a little closer, so you can do a solid comparison between the two units.

Frigidaire FFSS2615TS Side-by Side Refrigerator review

Pros

  • 25.5 cubic feet capacity
  • 24-hour energy saver mode
  • Large snack drawer
  • Soft close doors

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer humidity control
  • Fixed freezer shelves

 

Click to Check the Price
 

3. Best 33 Inch Fridge in 2020: Frigidaire FFSS2315 Side by Side Refrigerator

A 33” Frigidaire Side-by-Side Refrigerator Review for Those Looking for Something a Little Smaller

One thing to keep in mind when looking for a non-standard size unit is pricing. Sometimes it’s not about sizing, but that it’s not the regular, standard model. When looking at smaller units, do a quick comparison to see what’s offered. Of course, we did the work for you this time, so you don’t have to.

It has the standard auto-defrost, and the popular energy saver mode as the larger model Frigidaire, and even offers generous crisper drawers. Just keep in mind, like its big brother 36” model, there’s no humidity control, and the shelving is fixed. By opting not to include fancy extras, it does help keep the price down, so that’s something to consider. Oh, though, you do still get your in-door water dispenser that so many people love.

When it comes to capacity, that’s one of the things you lose by needing a smaller, narrower unit. This one will allow for 22 cubic feet of storage space. Speaking of storage space, the doors have shelving, with fixed smaller ones on the bottom, and larger bins at the top for things like gallon sized milk bottles.

While the freezer is pretty basic, it does offer one bin that pulls out, while the rest is standard shelving. Nothing fancy, but it does the job and is a solid performer.

Looking for something even narrower? Maybe you’re in a tight space.

Frigidaire FFSS2315 best 33 inch Side by Side Refrigerator review

Pros

  • 22 cubic feet of storage capacity
  • Automatic defrost
  • Spacious drawers

Cons

  • No humidity control
  • Fixed freezer shelves

 

Click to Check the Price
 

4. Best Space-saver Fridge: Avanti 31 Inch Side-by-Side Refrigerator

Consider the Avanti 31” Unit. This Side-by-Side Refrigerator/Freezer Model is a Solid Value.

Let’s be honest, when you get into the smaller sizes, the choice becomes a little tight. It’s just that not as many people buy them, so the demand isn’t as high. That’s why you really want to do your homework and make sure you check out the different options. Of course, that’s probably why you’re here! Don’t worry, we have your back. Let’s take a closer look at this model and see if it suits your needs. This would be a great choice for an office or studio apartment.

We like the Avanti 31” Side-by-Side Model for a couple of reasons. One thing you’ll notice right away is how nicely it blends into the décor. Of course, when you’re looking at smaller units, space is usually a commodity. You’ll love the way the handles are recessed, giving it a premium look and feel.

This unit is notably smaller, but if you’re in a tight space, it may be exactly what you’ve been looking for. Also, it’s an Energy Star certified appliance, so that’s always a win. Another win is the humidity control for the crisper shelves, which if you read above, the Frigidaire units lacked this feature. If you store a lot of fruits and veggies, this is a factor you’ll truly appreciate.

You have standard shelving you can adjust, and they are glass shelves, not coated wire which gives it a higher-end feel. You also have door bins, which are what you’ll expect with most today, so with clever arranging, you can fit a lot in. Lastly, you’ve got temperature control, so you can set it how you like.

Avanti 31 Inch Side-by-Side Refrigerator review

Pros

  • Energy Star certified
  • Nicely blends into décor
  • Premium look and feel
  • Humidity control for the crisper shelves

Cons

  • Only free standing

 

Click to Check the Price
 

5. Best for Wine and Beverages: Phiestina Wine and Beverage 22 inch Refrigerator

In the Market for Something a Little Different?

Maybe your regular fridge works fab, but what you’re looking for is a wine and beverage cooler! Perfect timing. We’ve got a great beverage cooler right here for you. Check out the Phiestina Side-by-Side Refrigerator, today.

When you’re in the market for a wine cooler, there are different features to be aware of. But, with dual temperature zone settings, this model makes it super easy to choose it. You’re able to get a nice low-temperature setting, just how you like it.

The roominess is another factor worth considering because let’s face it, not all wine bottles are sleek and streamlined. Some are rounder and wider than others and finding coolers that allow for all these different wine bottle styles can be a hassle. Thankfully, the Phiestina Side-by-Side has you covered. Oh! Speaking of covered… there are stopper shelves, too.

You’ll love that it offers two doors, and plenty of space, but just a heads up that there aren’t any locks on the doors if that’s important to you. The Phiestina kept convenience in mind by building a model that easily fits under counters, by making it the right height. You’ll appreciate how you’ll be able to blend it in easily to your design.

Depending on the type of wine you drink, the ability to set your temperature comes in handy, as different wines need to be stored at different temperatures. And on top of that, say you’re storing other things such as seltzer, club soda, or other mixers like soda—the dual temperature controls make this a total win.

For the price, this is a solid offering, and we consider it a great value.

Phiestina Side by Side Refrigerator review

Pros

  • Dual zone temperature settings
  • Roominess for different wine bottles
  • Stopper shelves

Cons

  • Doors don’t lock

 

Click to Check the Price
 

Reasons Worth Choosing a Side-by-Side Refrigerator

  • Great organization options with moveable shelves and easy to see areas
  • You don’t have to do deep knee bends like you do for freezes at the bottom of some units
  • Door slots and spaces for things you want in easy reach, or for bottles and the sort
  • Sleek look with two streamlined vertical doors
  • Usually a more affordable option that trendy French door units

What you’ll love…

Convenience and price are two great reasons to choose side-by-side refrigerators. But, what are some finer points worth checking out?

While each company has their own highlight reel and different price ranges, you’ll find that they all usually have basics like crisper drawers, deli drawers, and many have moveable shelving.

With the trend in glass shelves with a small lip or rim, you’re less likely to worry about spills. Also, they make for easy clean up if something does leak.

With that in mind, while the refrigerator portion usually has these glass shelves, the freezers generally rely on wire racks which makes for good air flow and keeps them more affordable and efficient.

Check the individual units if you want things like humidity controls. Take in mind how much produce space you’ll have based on the unit you buy. Some families will rely on larger produce drawers, while maybe you don’t require as much. See if the humidity can be adjusted, or if it comes preset.

Side-by-Side Refrigerators Affordability, Flexibility and Value are Strong Considerations

You’ve got two standard side-by-side units in the 36” size to look at, two smaller units, and a wine and beverage cooler. When it comes to refrigerators, most offer the standard basics, but it’s in the small details that can make or break a model for needs.

For example, the lack of humidity controls in some units may bother you. On the other hand, the convenience of spill-proof shelves may be something that stands out. Whether it comes to the space capacity, the flexibility of moving shelving around, or you’re looking at the bottom line, price, you truly can’t go wrong with the units chosen above.

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