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Refrigerators- What you need to know

Top-mounted freezer: Called such owing to the freezer-above-fridge configuration, these economical fridges are the natural choice for shoppers with space and budget constraints. Prices largely fall in the $600 to $900 range. But because these models generally offer the least interior capacity (16 to 22 cubic feet), they are less than ideal for large families or those who entertain frequently. Also, because the more heavily visited fridge area is located below the freezer compartment, consumers are forced to bend every time they need something.

Side-by-side: Because these models offer convenient access to both the freezer and the fridge, and more than adequate interior space (22 to 26 cubic feet), they are the most popular category on the market. There also is a wide range in prices, starting around $700 and climbing to well above $2,000. Because side-by-sides feature a pair of tall, slender doors, these appliances are great for kitchens with little clearance between appliance and island. In exchange for improved clearance, shoppers lose horizontal shelf, most often on the freezer side. The slender freezer compartment makes it difficult to store wide items like frozen pizza boxes and party platters.

Bottom-mounted freezer: Though they generally offer the same space as top-mounted freezers (16 to 23 cubic feet), bottom-mount freezers are more convenient simply because the main compartment is at eye level. Even the lower freezer compartment is easier to get into thanks to a pull-out drawer that can be accessed from either side (unlike a door). This convenience comes with a price as most bottom-mount fridges fall into the $800 to $1,200 range.

French door: The popularity of this style really soared over the last five years. A subset of the bottom-mount freezer category, French door models feature two opposing half doors instead of one large fridge door, requiring less clearance when open.






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