Best Side-by-Side Fridges of 2019By Cindy Bailen, Jonathan Chan, Julia MacDougall, and Matthew Zahnzinger, Updated June 05, 2019
When it comes to refrigerators, French doors and top freezers hog all the glory, but you shouldn’t overlook the humble side-by-side. Each fridge type has its virtues. Side-by-sides save space by placing the freezer next to the fridge compartment while keeping everything at eye level. While side-by-sides aren’t as grand as French doors, they can offer high-end features like water and through-the-door ice dispensers.
Like any fridge, when we get a side-by-side in, we test it in our labs for temperature consistency, storage flexibility, and humidity retention. These three metrics determine how long your fridge can keep your groceries fresh and it's what we base our rankings on. Our favorite side-by-side on the market is the LG LSX26366S (available at AppliancesConnection for $1,495.40). It's a super unique three-door fridge that excels at temperature consistency and organization. However, if you're looking for a more standard design, there are plenty of those on this list as well.
Here are our favorite side-by-sides in ranked order:
- LG LSXS26366S
- Samsung RH25H5611SR
- Kenmore 41173
- Kenmore Elite 51773
- Frigidaire FGSC2335TF
- GE GSE25HMHES
- Kenmore 51112
LG LSXS26366SBest Overall
If you want a fridge that is capable of both high-quality food preservation and of being a conversation starter, look no further than the LG LSXS26366S three-door, side-by-side refrigerator. Yes, you read that correctly—it has three doors.
With a press of a button, you can access the door-in-door storage on the upper right side of the fridge, which allows you to easily grab the items you need frequently without disrupting the cooling of the rest of the fridge. If you don't press the button, the fridge opens normally. Between this very useful storage feature and food preservation that just won't quit, we'd highly recommend the LG LSXS26366S to anyone, especially if you're looking for a compromise between a side-by-side fridge and a French-door fridge. Read the full review.
How We Test
At first glance, most refrigerators don't look like anything special. All they have to do is keep your food and beverages from going bad, right? It turns out that there's a lot more to these big, heavy, cold boxes than meets the eye, and between our specially-calibrated refrigerator lab and our rigorous testing standards, the testers and writers at Reviewed can recommend specific fridge models, and back up those recommendations with hard data and personal experience.
The Refrigerator Test Lab
Just by living in the real world, you've probably noticed that appliances operate best in certain temperature conditions. Because an appliance involves a number of electronic and mechanical parts working together in harmony, the air in your home can inhibit certain parts from working at their best, especially in extremely hot or cold climates.
Refrigerators, in particular, can be very sensitive to ambient air conditions. To make a long story short, refrigerators pull in air and cool it down to temperatures cold enough (usually around 37°F) to preserve food and inhibit bacteria growth. In hot weather, the condenser and cooling coils have to work harder to cool the warmer air. In cold weather, the fridge struggles to operate in general. This is why, if you happen to have a second fridge in your burning hot or freezing cold garage, you may have noticed that the air inside that fridge is not as cold as the air inside your kitchen fridge.
To mitigate these possible temperature effects, we test each refrigerator in a special lab that conditions the air to a temperature of 72°F +/- 5°F, and a relative humidity of 50% RH +/- 15% RH (basically, room temperature). This way, each fridge can get the chance to perform at its best, and doesn't get inadvertently penalized for having to deal with warmer or colder air than its competitors experienced.
Over the course of a week (including a day for calibration), we put each refrigerator through its paces. After filling the fridge up with water ballast (since fridges operate better when there's less empty space), we measure the fridge's temperature, humidity loss, freezing time, usable space, and energy use.
• Temperature — Our ideal temperature settings for the fridge and the freezer are 37°F and 0°F, respectively. With fridge temperatures higher than 37°F, you might have to start worrying about bacteria growth, as 40°F is the start of the bacteria "danger zone". Freezer temperatures warmer than 0°F mean that the food isn't being truly frozen. Once we set each fridge to those temperatures, we collect temperature data throughout the week's testing that tells us not only how close the temperature in the fridge and freezer are to 37°F and 0°F, respectively, but how close the air temperature stayed to those ideal values.
• Humidity Loss — For this test, we focus on the refrigerator's veggie crisper. We add water to a floral foam ball, and then record how much of the water is evaporated away each day. Humidity loss rates are important because if the crisper is too dry, your leafy greens will dry out very quickly. If the crisper is too humid, then your fruits will rot. Fridges that can strike a balance between these two extremes will help you to preserve your fruits and veggies for as long as possible.
• Freezing Time — Once the fridge is plugged in, we measure the time it takes for the freezer to cool down from room temperature to 32°F (the freezing temperature of water). This is a good measure of how quickly your fridge and freezer can cool down food or beverages that have just been placed inside the refrigerator.
• Usable Space — One of the most common refrigerator specs is the storage capacity, or the volume of the inside of the fridge, in cubic feet. You'd think that a higher capacity means that you can fit more in that fridge, but that's not always the case. We measure the usable space, which is how much empty space is actually available in the fridge's interior. Any number of things can reduce the usable space in a fridge—the ice bucket and/or ice maker, a water filter, air filters, shelf arrangement, etc. The closer the usable space value is to the fridge's stated storage capacity, the more food you can fit in your refrigerator.
• Energy Use — Using an electric meter, we measure the fridge's energy usage (in Watt-hours) over the week of testing. The less energy used, the more efficient that fridge is, and the more money it'll save you on utility bills in the future.
We also use each fridge in a more casual sense so that we can answer usability questions about the fridge's specs and features, like the doors, shelves, controls, water/ice dispenser, and extras like smart connectivity, door-in-door or flexible storage options, etc. If a refrigerator keeps the temperature at a perfect 37°F, but it's very difficult to open the doors and the control panel makes no sense, we're going to penalize that fridge with respect to its ease of use.
We test each fridge from two perspectives—first, from a data-driven objective point of view, and second, as a regular person trying to get at the leftover Chinese food. The combination of these two types of experiences allows us to recommend the best fridge for you at any price point.
Other Side-By-Side Fridges We Tested
The RH25H5611SR has door-in-door storage on the entire right side door that allows you to easily access condiments and drinks without letting the cold air out of the rest of the fridge.
This 25 cu. ft. side-by-side fridge makes the most of its storage space, but will still fit in most kitchen cut-outs. In addition to its dimensions, we like its stainless exterior and the bright LED lighting inside. While the fridge ran a little hot at the 37°F setting, you can bump the temperature down a bit to increase the fridge's food preservation abilities. Happily, the freezer easily maintained sub-zero temperatures throughout our testing. For a side-by-side fridge that emphasizes convenience and style, be sure to check out the Samsung RH25H5611SR. Read the full review.
Where To Buy$999.99 Sears Buy
The Kenmore 41173 is a respectable fridge at a more than respectable price. The major complaint about side-by-side fridges is that the fridge/freezer shelf space isn't wide enough to fit a frozen pizza, or a baking sheet full of cookies, or other wide/large food items. As it turns out the 41173 can fit a frozen pizza in the freezer, which is a major hurdle other side-by-side fridges can't overcome. Other than its slightly wider profile and nice stainless steel finish, though, this fridge also has lots of storage space on the door and adjustable glass shelves.
With respect to temperature, the freezer runs a little hot, so be sure to adjust the temperature downwards to a cooler setting than the default value. If you're on a budget, but can't abide a top-freezer refrigerator, we'd recommend the Kenmore 41173 side-by-side refrigerator. Read the full review.
Kenmore Elite 51773
Kenmore Elite 51773
The Kenmore Elite 51773 has an attractive design that adds class to any kitchen without breaking the bank. We dig the stainless steel exterior and modern handles, and admire the door-mounted ice maker and water dispenser with cool blue lighting and symbols.
Inside, you'll find a matching silver trim and convenient gallon-sized shelves. Overall cooling performance is pretty good too, but the crisper really steals the show with respect to performance; based on our testing, your fruits and veggies will have no trouble staying fresh. For a fridge that both looks and performs like more expensive models, the Kenmore Elite 51773 is a solid bet. Read the full review.
With the Frigidaire FGSC2335TF, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck. While it may look like a normal side-by-side fridge with a smudge-proof stainless steel finish and through-door water and ice dispensing out the outside, on the inside, there are a few neat features that really add to the overall value of the fridge.
Once you open the door, the clever design touches become apparent: there's a third cold drawer (in addition to two crispers) with adjustable temperature settings, multiple lights throughout the refrigerator, and wine/bottle holders on the bottom of the refrigerator door. While both the fridge and the freezer run a little hot, you can easily bump the temperature down on the control panel to compensate. With this pleasantly surprising feature set and low price, the Frigidaire FGSC2335TF is an easy choice to make. Read the full review.
Where To Buy$1,613.00 AppliancesConnection Buy $1,799.00 Home Depot Buy $1,619.00 Abt Buy $1,619.99 Best Buy Buy
The GE GSE25HMHES is a pretty basic side-by-side fridge on the inside, and a conversation piece on the outside. GE is the only company producing appliances with the "slate" finish. Slate is a matte finish, which means that the outside of the fridge is fingerprint-resistant, and therefore lower maintenance than its stainless steel, fingerprint-smudged cousins.
Once you open the doors, you'll find that this fridge has everything you need and not a whole lot extra. Happily, there is plenty of deep shelf space on the door, a reach-in ice bin in the freezer, and a small deli drawer that sits above the two crisper bins, but everything else is pretty standard. As with most side-by-side fridges, the temperature tends to run a little hot, so be sure to set the temperature values to slightly cooler values than you would normally use. If you want a fridge that looks great on the outside and gets the job done on the inside, the GE GSE25HMHES is the fridge for you. Read the full review.
Where To Buy$999.99 Sears Buy
The Kenmore 51112 is a bare-bones, no-frills refrigerator. We tested the basic white model, but it also comes in black, stainless steel, and fingerprint-resistant stainless steel. The controls for the ice/water dispenser and the fridge/freezer temperatures are easy to see and use, although we recommend that you adjust the fridge temperature to a colder level than usual, since our testing showed that the fridge tends to operate at a slightly higher temperature than we prefer.
There are no surprises on the inside of the fridge. This fridge has three drawers (one of which is the crisper), plenty of shelf space on the doors, and a reach-in ice maker in the freezer. The Kenmore 51112 is a workhorse fridge that won't break the bank. Read the full review.