Woman opening a built-in side-by-side refrigerator in a kitchen with commercial-style appliances

TYPES OF REFRIGERATORS BY STYLE, SIZE, INSTALLATION AND FINISH

A refrigerator keeps your ingredients fresh and organized so they’re ready to use and easy to find whenever culinary inspiration strikes. And now, you’ve got more options than ever before. Discover the many different types of refrigerators to find the right configuration for the ingredients you store most, the right size and installation for your space and even the perfect finish to match your decor.

How many styles of refrigerators are there?

There are five basic styles of refrigerators, though configurations may vary by brand. The styles mainly refer to door designs and the interior layout. The five types of refrigerator styles include French door, side-by-side, top or bottom freezer and undercounter refrigerators or ice makers.

Stainless steel French door refrigerator type

French door refrigerators

French door styles feature two upper doors that open to reveal a full-width refrigerator compartment and in-door storage—much like a pantry. The freezer is located in a pull-out drawer below. This type of fridge often comes with more features and high-end finishes compared to other configurations. 


French door refrigerators are popular for their expansive fresh food storage space up top, where you can easily organize and reach items. The wide compartments allow you to store large items like platters or oversized dishes. This refrigerator style has narrower doors, making this a good choice for galley kitchens or placement behind an island.

Woman in pink sweater putting herbs in French door type of refrigerator

FRENCH DOOR REFRIGERATOR FEATURES:

  • Full-width fresh and frozen storage

  • Easy access to fresh items kept at eye-level

  • Larger refrigerator compartment vs freezer

  • Narrow doors for placement near islands

  • Exterior ice and water dispensers are common

  • Offers some of the largest overall capacity options

  • Higher-end finishes and features frequently available

BROWSE KITCHENAID® FRENCH DOOR REFRIGERATORS

French door refrigerators from KitchenAid offer an intuitive layout, premium touchpoints and innovative features. Keep food organized and at peak freshness with customizable interiors and temperatures for ingredients as varied as salmon and papaya.

Black stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator style with door open

Side-by-side refrigerators

This style features side-by-side refrigerator and freezer compartments. The two vertical spaces create flexible storage options for both the refrigerator and freezer, letting you place the items you access most—fresh or frozen—at eye level. You’ll also often find larger capacities and higher-end features available.

 

Having a bit more freezer capacity than French door models makes this a good option if you frequently preserve seasonal favorites in the freezer. The sleek, streamlined exterior features two narrow doors that help free up space to move around your kitchen when accessing the fridge.

Learn more about side-by-side vs French door refrigerators to see which one might be the best type of refrigerator for you.

Woman preparing food in front of side-by-side fridge type in modern kitchen

SIDE-BY-SIDE REFRIGERATOR FEATURES:

  • A bit more freezer capacity vs French door styles

  • Easy access to both fresh and frozen items

  • Adjustable shelves, door bins and more for customizable storage

  • Exterior ice and water dispensers are common

  • Two narrow doors—perfect for tight spaces

  • Large capacity options available

  • Higher-end finishes and features frequently available

SHOP KITCHENAID® SIDE-BY-SIDE REFRIGERATORS

KitchenAid brand offers a full lineup of side-by-side refrigerators with features designed to keep your food organized and fresh. Select models feature the Preserva® Food Care System with three technologies that work in concert to assure crisp produce and deliciously flavorful foods while helping to eliminate refrigerator odors.

Open stainless steel bottom freezer type of fridge with food inside

Bottom freezer refrigerators

This type of refrigerator offers a traditional look with a contemporary setup. Reach fresh food easily in a full-width top refrigerator with a freezer below that is accessible by either a door or pull-out drawer. You may find more compact options in this style along with a more streamlined set of features.


These types of fridges offer the conveniences of an updated top-refrigerator setup with some lower-priced options. While bottom mount refrigerators are less likely to offer premium features, some models are available with easy upgrades including select KitchenAid® models with optional ice maker kits.

Open bottom freezer refrigerator drawer with food inside

BOTTOM MOUNT FREEZER REFRIGERATOR FEATURES:

  • Easy access to fresh items

  • Larger refrigerator vs freezer compartment

  • Wide doors for continuous in-door storage

  • A traditional look with a contemporary setup

  • More streamlined set of features available

  • Large and compact refrigerator models available

SHOP KITCHENAID® BOTTOM MOUNT REFRIGERATORS

Find the best of contemporary conveniences with streamlined design in bottom mount refrigerators from KitchenAid. A wide pantry lets you properly store everything from meats to produce in a full width compartment. Select models feature the ExtendFresh Temperature Management System and Produce Preserver to help maintain the taste and texture of your freshest food.

Top freezer refrigerators

This classic style of refrigerator features a freezer up top and refrigerator below. Frozen items are easy to access, but you may need to bend or stoop for fresh items in the lower refrigerator compartment. Top mount refrigerators are frequently available with a streamlined set of features and an entry price point. You’ll also find some of the smallest sizes in this style if you’re looking for a compact refrigerator.

Top freezer refrigerator features:

  • A traditional look with freezer on top and refrigerator below

  • Easy access to frozen items

  • Wide doors with continuous storage

  • Wide selection of sizes including compact

  • Entry price point models with less features available

Undercounter refrigerators with food and drinks inside

UNDERCOUNTER REFRIGERATORS, WINE CELLARS AND ICE MAKERS

Undercounter refrigerators offer several different types of refrigerator and freezer styles. They may not offer the capacity or full functionality of larger kitchen refrigerators, but do provide additional cool storage sometimes made for specific items like wine. Undercounter models are installed within cabinets, making them a kind of built-in refrigerator. Most feature one compartment that may contain specialized shelves, racks or temperature zones.

Open undercounter refrigerator with appetizers and drinks inside

UNDERCOUNTER REFRIGERATORS

Undercounter refrigerators can be installed in a kitchen island for extra storage of your favorite ingredients. Or, add one to your entertainment space to keep beverages and appetizers on hand. Shop KitchenAid® undercounter refrigerators for a range of finishes or panel-ready models that blend into surrounding cabinets so you can entertain in style.

Open beverage center type of fridge with wine bottles and drinks

BEVERAGE CENTERS

What sets this type of undercounter refrigerator apart is dual temperature zones that allow you to store multiple types of beverages or foods at their ideal temperature. Select KitchenAid® beverage centers feature metal or wood-front racks to hold up to 14 wine bottles below with room for drinks and food on the full-width shelves above.

Open wine cellar style of refrigerator full of red and white wine

WINE CELLARS

This type of refrigerator is dedicated to wine bottle storage. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate multiple temperature zones in some wine cellars that allow them to preserve white or red wine in optimal conditions. Select KitchenAid® wine cellars hold up to 46 standard Bordeaux-size bottles and temperature monitoring systems for added peace of mind.

Hand opening undercounter ice maker full of ice

ICE MAKERS

An undercounter ice maker helps you keep plenty of fresh ice on hand. Supplement your refrigerator’s ice maker for special events, or install one in your rec room bar area or wherever you entertain guests. Select KitchenAid® ice makers feature Clear Ice Technology to create a uniform cube size and shape that is ideal for everyday use. Choose from a range of finishes or panel-ready designs.

REFRIGERATOR SIZES

Residential refrigerator capacities range widely but are most commonly found from mini 5 cubic foot models for supplemental storage up to around 30 cubic foot models. Choose the size and capacity that makes sense for your household, your kitchen space and the amount of items you want to store. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing the right size refrigerator:

  • What’s your grocery shopping style? Do you like to keep ingredients on hand or do you prefer to shop and cook immediately? This will help you determine your needed cubic feet. Look for refrigerator features that help keep produce fresh so you can stock up on your favorite fresh items.

  • How much fresh vs frozen food will you keep on hand? This will help you choose configurations with the right size refrigerator vs freezer capacity.

  • What are the measurements of your installation space? Always measure before shopping so you know what will fit.

  • How much room do you have to move around it when the doors are open? Is it near a kitchen island or adjacent counters?

Beyond capacity, you’ll also need to choose between a standard-depth fridge and a counter-depth model to find the best type of fridge for your kitchen layout.

Black stainless steel full-depth refrigerator style in kitchen

FULL-DEPTH REFRIGERATORS

Standard-depth, or full-depth refrigerators usually measure 35–36 inches from front to back. If you install this type of refrigerator between counters or cabinets, it will likely stick out past them by as much as half a foot or more. This is considered a full-sized fridge and offers a few more inches of front to back storage than slimmer models.

Stainless steel counter-depth refrigerator style in kitchen

COUNTER-DEPTH REFRIGERATORS

This type of refrigerator is usually around 24 inches deep, matching the depth of cabinets and counters for a nearly flush installation. This helps create clean lines in your kitchen design, and can create a built-in look even with freestanding refrigerators. Counter-depth fridges are sometimes a little wider or taller than standard-sized fridges so you won’t lose much in capacity.

TYPES OF REFRIGERATOR INSTALLATIONS

Once you’ve honed in on the style and size you’re looking for, you’ll want to consider how you plan to install your new fridge. Consider these two types of refrigerator installations that will give you a different look depending on which one you choose.

French door refrigerator in contemporary kitchen

FREESTANDING REFRIGERATORS

This is the most common type of refrigerator installation. Freestanding fridges can be placed just about anywhere with the necessary hookups—power and/or water, and the required clearances around it. Make sure you measure ahead of time to ensure it will fit your space. Freestanding models offer the most options in refrigerator types, sizes and finishes vs other types of fridge installations. You can usually find a freestanding model in any of the refrigerator styles discussed above.

Shop KitchenAid® freestanding refrigerators in French door, side-by-side and bottom freezer options for refrigerators that offer flexible installation with a bold blend of professionally-inspired styling and sleek touches for the home.

Built-in refrigerator style installed in white cabinets in modern kitchen

BUILT-IN REFRIGERATORS

Built-in refrigerators are affixed to the wall and installed inside cabinets, allowing for a seamless integration and a premium look. Some built-in refrigerators are even panel ready so you can match the exterior to your existing cabinets. It is more common to find French door and side-by-side refrigerators with built-in installation, though KitchenAid offers a range of built-in refrigerator styles

This refrigerator type is often taller with extra wide options available up to around 48 inches. The width can make up for some loss in depth since built-ins are often flush with cabinets at 24 inches deep. Because built-in refrigerators sometimes require custom cabinetry, they are considered more permanent than freestanding models.

TYPES OF REFRIGERATOR COLORS AND FINISHES

Whether your kitchen is sleek and contemporary, warm and eclectic or classically traditional, you can find a refrigerator color and finish to match. Some brands offer premium finishes that help resist smudges and fingerprints so your kitchen will always look its best, even in the middle of your messiest makes.

Black stainless steel refrigerator style in dark, modern kitchen

STAINLESS STEEL AND BLACK STAINLESS STEEL REFRIGERATORS

Stainless steel is a durable, versatile finish that can bring a modern or industrial look to kitchens or serve as a contrasting focal point for more traditional styles. Classic stainless steel is a popular choice offered by most brands in many configurations. Some brands now offer black stainless steel refrigerators for an updated twist that lends a rich depth to this kitchen favorite. 

Look for select KitchenAid® stainless steel and black stainless steel refrigerators with PrintShield finish for an exterior that resists smudges and fingerprints. The specialized coating for stainless steel is easy to clean with just water and a soft cloth, so you can spend more time cooking and less time cleaning up.

White French door style of refrigerator

BLACK AND WHITE REFRIGERATORS

Black or white refrigerators are a classic choice and can pair well with a range of styles. You may find entry price points for this type of refrigerator finish, depending on the model. Neutral black refrigerators can help ground colorful kitchens while white adds a bright touch of freshness and is right at home in popular all-white kitchen designs. 


KitchenAid brand offers a selection of white refrigerators with premium design touchpoints that may have you seeing this traditional color in a new (contemporary) light.

Minimal kitchen with gray cabinets and panel-ready refrigerator

PANEL-READY REFRIGERATORS

For a completely seamless integration, opt for a panel-ready refrigerator. This type of fridge allows you to affix your own custom panel on the exterior to match your cabinets. From off-white farmhouse cabinets to minimal modern designs, even a large appliance like a refrigerator can blend in.

Shop KitchenAid® panel-ready refrigerators in French door, side-by-side and even undercounter styles to seamlessly integrate the refrigerator of your choice into your kitchen, rec room and more.

What is the best type of refrigerator for your kitchen?

The best type of refrigerator for you will fit effortlessly into your kitchen, your design aesthetic and the way you make. Consider your space and layout along with the types of ingredients you use the most. Then consider which color or finish will best elevate the look of your kitchen. Explore the entire lineup of KitchenAid® refrigerators to get started. For more help choosing, our refrigerator buying guide can narrow down your options so you bring home your perfect match.

 

 

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