If you're buying a new fridge and you want to opt for something bigger and fancier than the old-school top- or bottom-mount models, you may be considering a French-door fridge.
Favoured for their stylish looks with multiple doors, good storage capacity and added features (always dreamt of having a built-in water dispenser?), these fridges are billed as a great option for large households or keen entertainers.
But here's the catch: they're among the priciest models on the market, with some costing more than $5000.
So, are French-door fridges worth it, and which is the best to buy?
Price doesn't always equal performance
CHOICE experts have put several French-door fridges through their paces in our labs and note that each has slightly different features and performs differently. And price doesn't always equal performance – some that cost several thousand dollars failed to impress our testers.
Here we explain some pros and cons and, exclusively for CHOICE members, we reveal which ones came out top in our tests.
What is a French-door fridge?
French-door fridges have double doors that open outwards – you can open a single door at a time or both – to reveal wide shelves inside. They may have one or two large freezer drawers on the bottom, or another 'cupboard-style' freezer.
They're typically larger than other types of fridge:
- Average width: 920–960mm
- Average height: 1700–1800mm
- Average depth: 900–960mm.
Best things about French-door fridges
- Modern and stylish: If you've spent thousands on a luxe kitchen renovation and want a top-of-the-range fridge that looks the biz, a French-door fridge fits the brief.
- Large with good storage capacity: It's easier to fit wide platters or dishes in both the fridge and freezer than in a single-door unit, and they usually have larger door bins than traditional fridges.
- Multiple configurations and styles available: Their large size means they have many options for shelving configurations based on your needs, and you can opt for a drawer-style freezer or cupboard-style freezer.
- Lots of added features available: These include built-in ice and water dispensers and multi-use compartments. One brand's French-door fridges also include an 'auto-fill' water jug.
Disadvantages of French-door fridges
- They're bigger so they use more energy and cost more to run: The 10-year running cost for French-door models in our current test ranges from $1020 to $1950. By comparison, the 10-year running cost for top- or bottom-mount fridges in our current test ranges from $606 to $1401.
- Ice makers and water chillers can take up a lot of fridge space: Ice makers, for example, can take up to 30% of your freezer capacity.
- Large physical form: They can take up a lot of space and can't fit in a tight corner.
- More expensive than other styles: The French door fridges we've tested in our labs range in price from $1558 to $4649, with the average price being about $3000. By comparison, the top-mount fridges in our test cost from $349 to $1425, with bottom-mount fridges starting at $999.
Which are the best French-door fridges?
We independently test and review dozens of new fridges each year in our onsite labs, and we recommend fridges that achieve a CHOICE Expert Rating of 75% and at least 60% for all aspects of temperature performance.
Our detailed fridge testing data is available exclusively for CHOICE members. If you're not yet a member, join CHOICE to get instant access to all of our expert, independent reviews.
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