• Home  / 
  • Types of Refrigerators – Finding a Refrigerator that Meets your Needs

Types of Refrigerators – Finding a Refrigerator that Meets your Needs

Gone are the days of every appliance being nearly identical.  With better technology, there is a wide range of innovation, and that benefits consumers greatly.  Instead of buying a product that they really do not like and only meets some of their needs, consumers can find a refrigerator that is perfect for them. 

With so many types of refrigerators out there, finding the perfect refrigerator can be confusing.  What is the difference between the various types of refrigerators?  If you have ever seen an appliance ad and wondered what some of the terms meant, this article is for you.  Know exactly what the types of refrigerators are so you can make a better choice for buying one for your own use. 

Top Freezer

Top freezer refrigerators are the standard refrigerator model, and they have a freezer section at the top and the refrigerated section below the freezer.  These are usually the less expensive refrigerator models and are generally very reliable.

The advantage of these is that the freezer is easy to get to, perfect for those models that do not have automatic ice dispensers.  Top freezer refrigerators have two doors, the freezer door and the refrigerator door.  The downside to this layout is that if you use your crisper drawers often, you have to bend down to get to them since they are at the very bottom.

Bottom Freezer

Bottom FreezerBottom freezer refrigerators are refrigerators that have the refrigerated section on the top, and the freezer is the lower section.  There are two sections to bottom freezers.   The freezer can be either a door that swings open or a drawer that pulls out. These are efficient, reliable and less expensive than the other models, with the exception of top freezer refrigerators.

If you use the crisper drawers in your refrigerator a lot, this design will be good for you because you will not be bending over as much to get to them. However, if you use your freezer a lot, such as to get ice, then you will be bending to use the freezer. 


Side-by-side refrigerators have the freezer section and the refrigerated section next to each other instead of one over the top of the other.  The freezer section is usually narrower than the refrigerated section, but because it gives you more height, many people find that they can store items easier and organize the freezer better in this model than a top or bottom freezer. 

You get more freezer space than a top or bottom freezer refrigerator, but side-by-side refrigerators cost more.  Because the refrigerator is narrower than the top or bottom freezer refrigerator, items that are wide, such as large sheet cakes or platters may not easily fit. 

French Door 

French door refrigerators have the best of both worlds of the bottom freezer refrigerators and the side-by-side refrigerators.  The top section is the refrigerated section, and it has two side-by-side doors that open up, some models have door-in-door features as well.  Three door French door refrigerators have single freezer drawer.  Some models have four doors, with an additional section being either a refrigerated section or an extra freezer compartment. 

These refrigerators are stylish and offer a lot of versatility when it comes to organizational and storage options.  These are more expensive than the models previously discussed but are one of the more popular types of refrigerators out there because of their sensible design and their features, which typically include ice and water dispensers.

Built-in / Cabinet-Sized

These are refrigerators that are built into the kitchen cabinets, so they are smaller than average refrigerators.  For smaller kitchens, there may not be enough room for a standard size refrigerator to go and so instead of leaving the room for a stand-alone refrigerator, space for one is built into the cabinets. 

Built-in refrigerators are smaller, and have less depth, so they are usually flush with the cabinets and counters that are around them.  Often, built-in refrigerators can be customized with exterior panels to match the cabinets so that they blend in.  The idea is to have the refrigerator blend in instead of standing out. 



Compact refrigerators are small refrigerators, which are also known as dorm refrigerators or mini refrigerators because they are only a fraction of the size of a regular refrigerator.  These are small, designed for small spaces so they have a smaller capacity and may or may not have a small interior freezer compartment. 

Compact refrigerators are good for use in bedrooms, offices, or dorm rooms because they hold only a few things, perfect for one person who is not doing a lot of cooking.  They are small, easy to move around and range from inexpensive to moderately expensive. 


A freezer less refrigerator lacks a freezer.  The entire unit is for refrigeration only, so this is perfect for when you have no need for a freezer.  If you are looking for a way to store perishables only, or a secondary refrigerator, then this is a good choice.  Many people choose to use full size freezers for their frozen food and a freezer less refrigerator for perishables because they get more space that way.

Wine and Beverage Coolers36-Bottle EdgeStar Built-In Dual-Zone French-Door Wine Refrigerator

Wine and beverage coolers are not designed to hold food, but are specifically designed to hold and chill beverages and wine only.  They can be compact, or they can be full-sized, and the cost depends fully on the size that you get.  Wine coolers can be complex, offering several zones so that various wines can be stored at different temperatures, keeping them at their optimal temperature.  These are good for those who do a lot of entertaining, wine drinking or for restaurants and bars. 

When choosing a refrigerator, you want one that suits your needs the best.  The above list covers the most common types of refrigerators, but there are wide variations on the different features that are available for each type.