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It’s all about access. That’s what I tell myself every night when I dig through my side-by-side freezer, searching for whatever it is I happen to have lost this time. My freezer is large enough, but it’s tough to organize. In my next house, I’m buying a bottom freezer fridge.
That’s because bottom freezer refrigerators—particularly the ones with the sliding drawers that help keep things tidy—have a way of bringing to the foreground those forgotten bags of rice, those sticks of butter I bought in, what, 2019? They keep us neat, protect us against our own worst instincts. They also look a little more modern in your kitchen, especially when you add in smart capabilities or flex drawer features. More of these extra features are being added to fridges nowadays. Of those extras, things like produce preservers or different cooling systems will allow your food to last longer, hopefully reducing your food waste and grocery bills.
From two very affordable models to a fancy smart fridge, here are the best bottom-freezer refrigerators to have in your kitchen.
Best Overall: Samsung RF220NCTASR 30-Inch Wide 21.8 Cu. Ft. French Door Refrigerator
What We Love: Fits in small and large kitchens, advanced interior cooling systems, door alarm for food safety control
What We Don't Love: Not incredibly large
Sometimes, shopping for a refrigerator can feel like starring in the real-life version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You just need something that’s just right for you. But this Samsung high-performer comes the closest to fitting the needs of practically everyone, with an affordable price point, 22 cubic feet of interior storage, spill-proof shelves, and lots of additional bells and whistles.
One of those bells and whistles is actually an alarm that lets you know if the door has been left open, which can be important for food safety, says Tamika Sims, Ph.D., senior director of food technology communications at the International Food Information Council. “It is great if your refrigerator and freezer have a built-in thermometer that regulates the temperature and can warn you if temperatures drop,” she says, which this winning model does.
The standard-depth fridge’s 30-inch wide frame means it’s narrow enough to fit into some tight spaces, and the contoured doors give it a high-end look. The fridge is available in black, white, and stainless steel, and even has an ice maker and removable ice caddy for easy evening cocktails. All in all, this fridge offers a little bit of everything.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 36.25 x 30 x 66.75 inches | Refrigerator Capacity: 14.8 cubic feet | Freezer Capacity: 7 cubic feet
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Whirlpool WRB322DMBM 22.07 Cu. Ft. Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator with Ice Maker
What We Love: FreshFlow technology, sleek design, affordable
What We Don't Love: On the smaller side
A streamlined design looks great in a lot of kitchens. If that describes you (or if sticker shock has you thinking that maybe a French door fridge isn’t for everybody), this versatile Whirlpool may be right up your alley.
With three different finishes and 22 cubic feet of interior storage, this is a great all-purpose fridge. It’s better suited for those with small families or for those living on their own (not sure it could contain all the frozen waffles required to run my own household), but it’s a functional, affordable, and sleek-looking alternative to some of the more expensive bottom freezer options on the market.
But actually, says Shirley Hood, appliance sales specialist at Abt, size can be deceiving. “Maximum flexibility is key,” she says of refrigerator capacity. “With refrigeration, it’s all about organization.” Sometimes, Hood says, having a smaller refrigerator is just fine because a smaller, more organized refrigerator can act just as functional as the bigger ones on the market—and this Whirlpool model is the perfect example of that theory at work.
An added bonus? The fridge has FreshFlow technology, which helps to absorb gases that spoil food, so it can help keep food fresher for longer.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 33.3 x 32.6 x 70 inches | Refrigerator Capacity: 15.6 cubic feet | Freezer Capacity: 6.5 cubic feet
Best French Door: GE Profile PVD28BYNFS 27.9 Cu. Ft. Smart 4-Door French Door Refrigerator with Door-in-Door
What We Love: Wi-Fi compatible, Energy Star-qualified, flex drawer
What We Don't Love: Expensive, door bins aren't adjustable
It's no secret that fridges use a lot of energy, so if you're looking to limit your carbon footprint, getting a model qualified by Energy Star should be a priority. This GE Profile model is not only qualified by Energy Star, it also offers a Wi-Fi system, individualized climate control sections for fresh and frozen foods, and even an LED-lit wall for items that may be hard to see. That is perfect for the parent who routinely forgets the half-eaten apple that needed to be excavated from the back of the fridge for more than a week now or the foodies who inevitably lose track of their condiments.
Offered in a smudge-resistant, stainless steel finish, this is a medium-sized unit, with 27.9 cubic feet of capacity. Some of that capacity, 3.2 cubic feet to be exact, is in the middle flex drawer, which can be used as extra fridge space or for slightly below-freezing chilling.
This also comes with a water and ice dispenser, both of which are on the unit’s left door. The right side of the fridge, though, has a door-in-door as well as a rotating bin that can hold taller objects like 2-gallon sodas or bottles of wine. Lastly, the freezer features two levels, both comprised of white plastic bins as opposed to wire baskets.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 36.75 x 35.6 x 70 inches | Refrigerator Capacity: 15.7 cubic feet | Freezer Capacity: 8.6 cubic feet
Related: The Best French Door Refrigerators
Best Smart: LG LFCS27596S InstaView 27 Cu. Ft. French Door Refrigerator with Ice Maker
What We Love: Tons of storage, a well-conceived ventilation system
What We Don't Love: Only available in one finish
If you often find yourself with your hands full (hello, busy parent here), this might be the fridge for you. One knock on the glass of this refrigerator reveals the contents through an emergent window. Once you’re done looking, the image disappears again. Don’t worry; no guests have to bear witness to the mess that’s inside.
That useful, energy-saving trick is just one offering from this 27-cubic-foot refrigerator, which also has a Smart Cooling system that vents air out above the door and through the back of the fridge. It has a water filter and dispenser, as well as crisper drawers and a freezer with sliding drawers so that you can use every square inch of the 8.8-cubic-foot freezer. “Some of the higher end ones tend to give you drawers within the freezer,” says Hood, which, she notes, can really do wonders for organization.
LG's proprietary app is included with the unit, and it allows users to troubleshoot any problems quickly and efficiently via smartphone. Its stainless steel finish is smudge-resistant and perfect for those with young kids.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 34.25 x 35.75 x 69.75 inches | Refrigerator Capacity: 18.2 cubic feet | Freezer Capacity: 8.8 cubic feet
Related: The Best Refrigerators
Best Counter-Depth: KitchenAid KRFC300E French Door Counter-Depth Refrigerator
What We Love: Available in multiple finishes, comes with wine rack
What We Don't Love: On the small side
There is plenty to like about this KitchenAid counter-depth refrigerator, which comes in three available finishes: black stainless steel, white, and stainless steel. The French door configuration has a produce preserver system within the fridge, which will help keep fruits and vegetables lasting a little longer. On the interior, there is also a removable metal wine rack to help with organization.
This fridge has a 20-cubic foot capacity, with humidity-controlled crisper drawers and a full-width deli drawer that has its own temperature controls. Though there is no exterior ice or water dispenser, there is a small water dispenser in the fridge’s interior and an automatic ice dispenser in the freezer. Adjustable shelving and interior shelves made from easy-to-clean glass round off this user-friendly model.
Dimensions (DxWxH): 30.5 x 35.75 x 70.1 inches | Refrigerator Capacity: 14.3 cubic feet | Freezer Capacity: 5.6 cubic feet
Related: The Best Counter-Depth Fridges
The Samsung RF220NCTASR 30-Inch Wide 21.8 Cu. Ft. French Door Refrigerator (view at Home Depot) is a flexible, affordable, and easy-to-like refrigerator that's perfect for smaller spaces and still useful in larger ones. If you aren't keen on the French door style, the Whirlpool WRB322DMBM 22.07 Cu. Ft. Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator with Ice Maker (view at Home Depot) is a great option for a bottom-freezer fridge with only one door.
What to Look for in a Bottom-Freezer Fridge
Refrigerator capacity is measured in cubic feet. Refrigerators that run on the smaller side typically provide between 14 and 20 cubic feet of space, while larger models provide up to 30 cubic feet. When shopping for a fridge, you’ll want to note the cubic feet of the interior, as well as the cubic feet of the freezer (this figure is often grouped together with the overall measure). From there, think about whether you need a larger fridge or freezer space.
Ice and water dispensers do tend to take up a lot of refrigerator space, and so they are not for everyone. If you do find yourself on Team Dispenser, before you go shopping decide if you prefer an exterior or interior dispenser, if you prefer filtered water, and whether or not you care if your ice and water dispenser are separate from one another. Note that some dispensers may end up taking up a lot of fridge or freezer space, which means less storage for you.
Refrigerators can offer any number of features, from Wi-Fi compatibility to adjustable (and removable) drawers to horizontal drawers that expand the usable space of your freezer. Depending on your individual need, some of these features may feel extraneous and some may feel necessary. When shopping for a refrigerator with a bottom freezer, read what extras are included, and decide what qualities (like space, technology, or flexibility) are central to you and your home.
What is the difference between counter-depth and standard-depth?
Counter-depth refrigerators are 30 inches deep and are designed to be flush with the counter or cabinets, whereas standard refrigerators protrude past the cabinetry and counters. They frequently have more space, but the look is less finished.
Are bottom freezers better than side-by-side?
This is largely a matter of preference. A well-designed bottom freezer with sliding storage bins can be an extremely useful organizational tool, and it can often be easier to retrieve items from it. It can fit wider objects than your typical side-by-side freezer. Side-by-side models tend to be slightly more affordable and it's easier to see everything you have.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Hannah Selinger has written about food and drinks for local and national publications since 2015. A former sommelier, Hannah has worked for some of New York’s top restaurant groups, including Laurent Tourondel’s BLT group and David Chang’s Momofuku group. Her work has appeared in Eater, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, and more. Hannah is also a graduate of the International Culinary Center and a mother of two smudge-fingered young children.
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