Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Jun 30, 2014 07:36 AM

Switching from side-by-side to french door fridge... help wanted!

We're looking at replacing our teenaged side-by-side fridge, and although my DH was instantly sold on the idea of a french door one (so things don't fall out of the freezer and go flying like they do now!), I am not there yet.

To those who have made this switch: how easy was it to adjust to having the freezer on the bottom? Is it a royal pain having to bend down and get stuff out of the freezer? Would you mind sharing a photo of what your freezer looks like with food in it? I know that's a strange request, but I am having a hard time picturing a fully loaded freezer drawer. For what it's worth, we will be keeping the old side-by-side in the garage for extra storage, so we're looking at a new fridge in the ~26 cu ft range.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hi truman,

    I made the switch 10 years ago, to a 25cuft model with ice maker. It wasn't difficult at all. I was 50 then, 60 now, and find that if you don't have a bad back, it's no big deal to root around in the freezer.

    You really want photos? Ok, but don't blame me for retinal damage. The first pic shows the large bin, with the door on the left. The second photo is the narrower bin next to the large bin (door on bottom of photo). We use this one mostly for frozen veggies. The third photo is the upper drawer, on the right side. I use that mostly for homemade things stored in freezer bags. It's great for flat bags or thin boxes. Things stack easily in it. Ice maker is on the upper left, not shown. Also not shown is the tilt-out drawer across the front of the freezer. We use it to store small items that would get lost in the large bins.

    I know it seems a jumble, and it is, to a certain extent. But it's not that deep, maybe 18", so there's no deep diving involved. I do like the additional room it gives me, that's a big deal.

    1. I made the switch back in December. The one negative I never thought of was that with the side by side, you had taller storage space in the freezer. The bottom drawer doesn't allow me to stand my sport drink bottle (which is about 10") upright. There is a sliding rack above the lower section which interferes. Plus there is a bit more stacking of items, which means less visibility.
      As far as drawer on bottom and bending over, it's not an issue for me. But my cat is fascinated when that drawer comes out, she sticks her head in!

      1 Reply
      1. re: BeeZee

        My oldest cat who was there for the reveal has never lost his fascination. He wants so very, very badly to crawl in behind the drawer. I think it's the cold that stops him. He's like me, born for the tropics. ;-)

      2. Generally people go to their freezers far less often than their fridges so you'll be bending over less. Mine has two areas, one the bottom/main area and the other a relatively shallow pullout wire basket.

        I loathed my side by side. With its narrowness, things got lost in the back. And I adore the width of the FD one. The first time you have a big tray (leftover turkey?) you will love that FD :)

        1. Our "spare" fridge is a French door model. Great on the fridge side, not so much on the freezer side. The wire pull-outs are somewhat limited on space and it's a pain to get things to fit well.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ferret

            I believe you may mean that your spare is a side by side, no?

            1. re: c oliver

              I didn't meant "freezer side" literally, I meant freezer side of the equation, as in I'm half-satisfied. It's a bottom freezer with weirdly shaped wire drawers. Our Sub-Zero is also bottom freezer but we have practical rectangular wire drawers. With the French door fridge they have to configure it around the icemaker and the odd contours of the fridge bottom.

          2. My mom has had one for years, frankly I'm not impressed. The ice maker in the bottom tends to make a mess, and finding stuff in there is worse than my chest freezer that at least has bin partitions to section the area.

            5 Replies
            1. re: rasputina

              Ours has a divider in the bottom basket and the top one is shallow enough that it's not a problem.

              1. re: c oliver

                Yup, ours too. Plus, as I wrote before, they're shallow enough so you don't feel like you're on a deep dive to find stuff. Normally, moving one or two items from the top layer will reveal anything I'm seeking from the bottom of the basket.

                The ice maker is very tidy, ice stays put in it's bin.

                In short, my experience with 10 years owning one is not at all as rasputina describes.

                1. re: DuffyH

                  Oh right, the icemaker. Mine is like yours. Works great...and tidy. Did I mention that for about the first year I had it I would hug it periodically? :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Yeah, you can get treatment for that. To paraphrase Janeane Garofalo in The Truth About Cats and Dogs, "It's ok to love your appliances. Just don't LOVE your appliances."


                    1. re: DuffyH

                      Oh, whew. Definitely lower case love. But, seriously, to OP, I MIGHT give up just about any (is that ambivalent enough?) appliance before my FD fridge.