Double Door Vs. Single Door Fridge Compared

For many people, deciding between a single-door or double-door refrigerator can be complicated. For refrigerators, they are typically classified by their design and configuration, such as the number of doors on a unit or if the freezer is above or below the refrigerator compartment. Some might consider models like a top freezer to be a single-door as the freezer and refrigerator compartments are stacked vertically and not next to each other. Then, there are side-by-side or French door units, which some may consider a double-door because the doors are next to each other.

This article will help you better understand the categories that consumers often call single-door refrigerators vs. double-door refrigerators. It will also delve into the pros and cons of each configuration so you can move one step closer to choosing the one that’s right for you.

Single vs. Double-Door Refrigerators

Many people are shopping on a budget and single-door fridges are typically less expensive than other configurations. Most models offer a streamlined set of features and, in some cases, have less interior space despite still offering plenty of room for wide items.

Single-door refrigerators come in these styles:

Bottom freezers are configured with the freezer compartment at the bottom of the unit. With this configuration, and depending on the model and brand, the freezer door can be either a swing door or a sliding drawer. It is also available in a built-in option.

KitchenAid Bottom Freezer Refrigerator

All-Refrigerators are units designed with a single-door refrigerator and no freezer. While this might seem unique, it is a great option if you want a lot of storage for fresh food. Buying an All-Refrigerator configuration doesn’t mean you can’t have a freezer. Simply pair it with an upright freezer or all-freezer. If you want, you can place these units side by side to achieve the look of a side-by-side fridge.

Double-door refrigerators come in these styles:

French door refrigerators are configured with a freezer below the refrigerator. The two refrigerator doors open independently and inside you’ll find a layout reminiscent of a pantry and specialized storage compartments. These models can sometimes have external ice and water dispensers or even a second icemaker in the freezer.

KitchenAid French Door Refrigerator

KitchenAid also offers the industry-first 5-door option in the French door configuration. This configuration ensures that your food is within reach, and features soft close pantry doors to provide an additional level of convenience.

KitchenAid 5-Door Option Refrigerator

Side-by-side units are configured with a full-height refrigerator compartment next to a full-height freezer compartment. This keeps both your favourite foods and frozen items accessible and at eye level. Owners can often enjoy more freezer space than other configurations, perfect for stocking up on frozen ingredients. Many side-by-side refrigerators also feature in-door or external ice and water dispensers.

KitchenAid Side-by-Side Refrigerator

If you are interested in counter-depth or built-in styles, then remember that double-door fridges are usually the configuration where this option is available.

Pros and Cons of Single vs. Double-Door Refrigerators

If your kitchen will allow for either a single or a double-door refrigerator then you will have to look at both options and decide what is best for you.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each configuration.

KitchenAid Bottom Freezer refrigerator with the door open. Inside are various produce, bottles, sauces and beverages. In the kitchen are a KitchenAid microwave, a KitchenAid oven and a KitchenAid dishwasher. KitchenAid Bottom Freezer refrigerator with the door open. Inside are various produce, bottles, sauces and beverages. In the kitchen are a KitchenAid microwave, a KitchenAid oven and a KitchenAid dishwasher.

The pros of single-door refrigerators include:

Cost - Commonly thought of as the more affordable option. You may have to sacrifice a more modern look, but you can still enjoy excellent performance.

Fit in Narrow Spaces - Kitchens that are smaller or more narrow should consider a single-door model. They are also good if you are looking to add a second fridge to your garage or basement as they tend to be smaller in size.

Cleaning - Less handles or units with pocket handles have fewer places for dirt and grime to cling on to so they tend to not get as dirty.

The cons of single-door refrigerators include:

Space - You should generally expect a touch less interior space as some of these fridges (primarily top freezer units) can have a smaller footprint. Owners can still enjoy plenty of room compared to many side-by-side models. You could also consider some larger and wider options that are available on the market. For example, the common approximate capacity for a 30” wide bottom freezer is 18 cu. ft. - 22 cu. ft.

Wide Door Swing - Certain models allow for the fridge door to swing wide when it opens. It’s important to keep in mind that the bigger the door, the bigger radius it needs to open. This might not matter if you have a spacious kitchen, but if you have a small kitchen or live in an apartment, this is something to definitely consider when shopping.

A KitchenAid French door refrigerator with a door open. Inside are various bottles, sauces, produce. A KitchenAid French door refrigerator with a door open. Inside are various bottles, sauces, produce.

The pros of double-door refrigerators include:

Space - This configuration tends to be quite big, offering excellent organization. Double-door refrigerators are usually designed with multiple drawers and tiers. In this category, side-by-side models can often feature more freezer space than other configurations. Additionally, many of the larger fridge models come with double-doors, which increases storage capacity. For example, capacity for 30” to 36” French door and side-by-side refrigerators generally range from 20-30 cubic feet depending on the width and depth of the refrigerator.

Kitchen Space - If you care about style, then this configuration offers a more premium look in addition to allowing for more room in your kitchen when the doors are open. There are two doors that swing in opposite directions, not just one, meaning that the required clearance is often less on a double-door fridge. Always measure your space (and double-check the measurements) to confirm what clearance space is needed. This category also offers counter-depth and built-in options.

Layout - In the double-door category, French door fridges are always equipped with the freezer on the bottom, typically as a pull-out drawer. This makes the food you most often want highly visible. Also worth noting is that the compartments inside a side-by-side refrigerator are narrower and have different sections, providing a bevy of options to organize the contents.

The cons of double-door refrigerators include:

Narrow Door Storage on Side-by-Side Models - The drawback to this unit style is that the door bins tend to be somewhat narrower due to the size of the door. On some fridges, for instance, if you want to keep large water bottles and condiments jars on your refrigerator door, you might have to arrange accordingly or get creative.

Cost - This is often the more expensive option as you will pay a premium for appearance, size and features that are considered to be higher-end compared to a single-door fridge.

Which Configuration Do You Prefer?

Review these single and double-door refrigerators to determine your preference:

KitchenAid Single-Door Bottom Freezer Refrigerator
Single-Door - Bottom Freezer

KitchenAid Single-Door Top Freezer Refrigerator
Single-Door - Top Freezer

KitchenAid Double-Door Side-by-Side Refrigerator
Double-Door - Side-by-Side

KitchenAid Double-Door French Door Refrigerator
Double-Door - French Door (3 door or even 4 or 5 door for certain brands)

Whatever refrigerator you buy will become an essential appliance in your household. Therefore, understanding the difference between single and double-door refrigerators is important and a necessary first step toward making your purchase.

Learn more about KitchenAid® single-door and double-door refrigerators.