In our search for the best French door refrigerator, we focused on finding one that makes the most of every square inch, helps you organize food, has a fair initial cost and keeps energy costs low. French door refrigerators are not generally the most energy efficient – that honor goes to the top-freezer styles – but they are considered the most stylish and easiest to organize. Also, they have smaller doors, so you can open them in even the most compact kitchens. If you prefer a French door configuration, we found some great options, including our best all-around pick, the LG LFX29868ST.
Best Overall: LG
With its slim icemaker and vast storage space, the LG LFX28968ST is the best French door refrigerator we looked at. It has extras like contoured doors, hidden hinges and a smooth interior, all of which make it a solid long-term investment rather than a quick replacement that just gets you by after your old fridge dies. This isn’t the most efficient model we considered, but its large capacity and feature set make the extra cost to run it worthwhile. Also, the initial price tag is relatively low, especially considering all the fridge’s conveniences.
Best Value: Amana
The Amana AFI2539ERM is our pick for the best budget-friendly French door refrigerator. It’s the only refrigerator we compared that costs below $2,000, and it still has great features. The freezer is relatively small, with just 7 cubic feet of space, but that is still enough room to store seven bags of groceries, and the refrigerator portion is quite capacious.
It doesn’t have a tall water dispenser for containers that are a little larger than the norm, but there are ways to work around this, and glasses fit under the water spout just fine. Based on the AFI2539ERM’s energy use, it’s estimated to cost $90 to run it per year – this isn’t the most energy-efficient model we looked at, but it is way more efficient than older-generation refrigerators.
Best Energy Efficiency
Best Energy Efficiency: Frigidaire Gallery
If efficiency and operating costs are your chief concern, the Frigidaire Gallery FGHF2366PF is a great option. This fridge is smaller than many others we compared, but it is so well organized, you aren’t likely to notice. It has nice features that make it user-friendly, not just wallet-friendly: A full-width drawer fits party platters and other large items, and some of the shelves have sliding or folding panels so you can store tall bottles and other oddly shaped items.
Best Extras: KitchenAid
If price is no object, you may want to invest in a fridge with some extra features, and the KitchenAid KRFF707ESS has lots of them. For example, even if it isn’t necessary to have two independent cooling systems to minimize odors and delay ripening, it is a definite bonus. This KitchenAid fridge also has a metallic interior and undershelf lighting that, while inessential, looks nice. This is the fridge you buy when you are ready to really upgrade and make an investment in your kitchen.
Best for Big Families
Best for Big Families: Kenmore
If you have a lot of mouths to feed, the Kenmore Elite 74003 is the best buy. It’s a large-capacity refrigerator, so you can keep plenty of fresh, nutritious food on hand and avoid regularly eating expensive takeout food. This French door refrigerator is also impressively energy efficient considering its size, so its operating costs fit in most family budgets.
French Door vs. Other Styles
The French door layout offers a stylish look and an ultra-organized interior that is perfect for many modern kitchens. The doors are smaller than the ones on top-freezer and bottom-freezer configurations, and that is handy for tight spots that cannot accommodate the wide swing of larger refrigerator doors. They are more convenient for pizza boxes and other odd-shaped items when compared to the side-by-side layout because you can access the full width of the refrigerator when both doors are open at the same time. And most French door refrigerators now offer in-door water and ice dispensers, the lack of which used to turn some people away from this design.
The French door design has certain drawbacks in addition to its pluses. It means bending down to access freezer items, for instance, and that is not for everyone. Also, top-freezer models generally offer more usable space than French door styles with the same overall dimensions. You likely won't notice, though, unless you have a large household that needs every spare cubic inch, especially since French door layouts are so well organized. Even if you won't store exactly as much as a top-freezer model, you will know where it all is in the French door version of the same-sized fridge. That can help cut down on the amount of forgotten food that you throw out.
French door refrigerators are not the most energy efficient. Top-freezer models are more energy efficient than all other layouts. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a top-freezer costs about $45 annually to run, a side-by-side about $77 and a bottom freezer about $70. If you are replacing your avocado-green behemoth from the 70s, though, any modern refrigerator is going to save a lot of money and energy. And there are lots of things you can do to make sure your French door fridge is as energy efficient as it can be, including obvious things like not opening the door as often. The average refrigerator is opened 33 times a day, and getting the temperatures back to the ideal range after each opening takes energy.
Counter Depth Considerations
If aesthetics or limited kitchen space are substantial concerns, then cabinet-depth refrigerators might be the best choice. They typically are 25 inches deep and stand flush against your cabinets. This imparts a uniform look to your kitchen and avoids issues with doors that would otherwise swing open too far. However, cabinet-depth refrigerators generally have less interior space. All the French door refrigerators in our comparison are deeper than the average countertop depth.
The old-fashioned single-door refrigerator offers an average 18-21 cubic feet of space, including the freezer area. However, the top-brand French door refrigerators we examined ranged from 24 cubic feet to more than 30 cubic feet of space, with most leaning toward the higher end. In the refrigerator world, 1 cubic foot of space equals a standard bag of groceries, so just a few extra feet gives you far greater capacity.
What We Evaluated, What We Found
In seeking out a group of French door refrigerators to recommend we looked at a number of factors. Of course the first question is one of capacity for most people – getting the most food storage space possible while staying within your budget. A relatively small refrigerator that is well organized can be a great fit too, though, even for bigger households. We looked for French door refrigerators that offer a lot of capacity organized in a logical way. Bigger is generally better, but once you increase capacity there is a significant increase in energy costs, and initial price tag to go with it. It can get unnecessarily expensive.
The best appliances in our comparison offer lots of storage options. You should be able to rearrange shelves and bins to accommodate extra-large containers of all different types. Spill-proof shelves are another selling point that can help you keep one clean-up from becoming two. We also gave credit to the units that have humidity-controlled bins that can help food stay fresher for longer.
What Else Is Important in Selecting a French Door Refrigerator?
There are several things to evaluate when shopping for this type of refrigerator. Here are a number of other worthwhile features that might tip the balance as you consider which one to purchase:
The best French door refrigerators have a control panel on the outside that you operate with either a touchscreen or electronic touch controls. Electronic touch controls need just a touch rather than pressure to make them work. You can customize temperature settings from the control panel.
Water & Ice Dispenser
For many consumers, an icemaker is a welcome feature, and its location is important. Although refrigerator icemakers have a reputation for being finicky and needing repairs, their quality has improved in recent years. The best are found in the door rather than the refrigerated compartment, because that saves space and cuts down on freezing issues. If you use plenty of ice all the time, you no doubt would appreciate a refrigerator with dual icemakers for both cubed and crushed.
Warranties & Support
All refrigerators come with some kind of warranty, but the best French door refrigerators include reasonably long coverage for the moving and sealed parts of the appliance. Often, a manufacturer will also cover labor costs for repairs or replace defective parts.
Our favorite French door refrigerators come with a diagnostic tool that makes it easier for a technician to identify any problems. Some refrigerators use a fault code, while the best use a tonal signal that can be transmitted over the phone to a customer service agent. These diagnostic tools save time because you can find out whether you can fix a problem yourself or if you need a technician. You also have access to a user manual as well as different ways to contact the manufacturer, such as email, phone and chat.
A French door refrigerator has a convenient layout, especially for small spaces. The relatively small doors make it easy to fit this type of refrigerator into small kitchen passageways. When the doors are open together you get an impressive amount of space for pizza boxes, party platters and other wide containers that span most or all the width of the refrigerator. The French door layout can be especially helpful to people who prefer not just lots of storage but well-organized storage, because it is usually divided into lots of containers and bins on the doors and everywhere else. Read our French door refrigerator reviews for details on the features of each unit.