Does anyone actually prefer a side-by-side?

cottonpennyJanuary 29, 2012

Walking around Lowe's yesterday, checking out refrigerators. I'd love a built-in, but unless I find a smoking deal, I think we're sticking with a 36" freestanding for our new build.

DH likes the side-by-sides better. His logic - we use the freezer space a lot. We buy meat in bulk at Costco and freeze most of it. I freeze pasta sauce, stew, homemade rolls, etc. Plus frozen veggies, popsicles, and homemade baby food. He thinks a SxS would be easier to access the freezer portion than a french door, and we wouldn't have to dig through drawers.

We don't have any need for ice/water in the door, and I'd rather not have it since I don't like the look. But it seems the options of 36" SxS without water in the door are very limited.

Should I just get a french door and conform? Or keep searching for that magic cheap built in? ;-)

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Thinking that if you regularly buy in bulk for freezer, perhaps a separate freezer of appropriate size in another location might ease up the ref. decision a bit.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 4:27PM
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Do NOT, NOT prefer a SxS. In fact, I don't like FD either. I like single door, bottom freezer.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Asolo - we do have a chest freezer in the basement. That's actually the root of his dislike - he doesn't like digging through packets of frozen other things to get to the frozen what we need.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 5:24PM
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There is a huge difference between a chest freezer and a freezer drawer that glides out to you, bringing your stored items to you in clearly defined bins and secondary drawers. Side by sides have horrible storage compared to any french door fridge.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 5:45PM
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I think an S X S, 36" would be a bit small for us, but----
we have a 48" S X S and love it.

We are able to keep that which we use the most at the handiest height, for us, whether in the freezer or the fridge, (especially the ice) which is smack dab in the middle of the freezer and well lit.

With a 48" we have plenty of room in both sections, fridge and freezer, and no stooping, cept for an occasional rarely used item.

Ours has no ice or water thru the door, we had a GE with that before and tons of problems, and like you, we didn't like the look of it either, hard to keep the "Plastic and chrome plastic" looking nice, due to our extremely hard water here.

I know you're not looking for a 48 inch, but to answer your original question, yes there ARE those of us that love S X S
fridges, and we would never have anything else, especially at our age!

Be sure to check out the Jenn-Air fridges, they may have just what you want and without water and ice thru the door.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 6:37PM
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No on the SxS for us. We need some freezer space (big batches of sauce, meatballs, raviolis, soups, stock , bread and beverage ice) but not in the kitchen so we are doing a 36" integrated all refrigerator in the main kitchen and an all freezer (probably Elux) with an additional all refrigerator (prob Elux) in the pantry/catering area. We will fame the pantry units to appear built in.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 6:38PM
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I hated my side by side. Got a French Door Samsung a couple years ago and LOVE it. I thought it would be a pain with the two upper doors - not at all. Our city water is not the best, so I wouldn't be without filtered water in the door. I have an upright freezer, so the freezer drawer wasn't terribly important to us. But the storage in the french door refrigerator is so superior to that in the side by side. I would guess that the drawer holds more than the small freezer did in our side by side.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 6:38PM
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I hated my side by side. Nothing fit and the freezer was worthless.
I love my French door - but be sure to purchase one with a flapper closure. The gasket closures are problematic and leak downstream.
We have the elux side by side with the LED lighting. The freezer has special settings - rapid freeze, ice cube mode (to make extra ice more quickly, etc)
I love that I can even store ice cream in the freezer and it is solid - and if I want to defrost to serving temperature - I just pop it into the perfect temp drawer in the fridge at about 30-32 degrees and the ice cream is easier to dip!
I took my favorite serving trays to the store and they fit in this one.
I did want to keep it reasonable - I couldn't afford the super high end refrigerators.
We do have a chest freezer in the basement as well.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 8:50PM
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I like my s x s just fine. :) It works for a bad back and I don't have to dig around in the freezer to find what I'm looking for.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 9:16PM
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I don't know how helpful this is... but I'm considering going back to a SxS fridge. I currently have a FD - it's ok. The drawer freezer is a bit annoying - I go into the freezer a lot for pre-prepped items. I also have a stand-up freezer in the garage.

We are planning to move the (full depth) french door fridge into the mudroom and get a counter depth fridge for the kitchen. I have a family of 6 that definitely can use 2 fridges and a freezer well. :-)

I **think** if I could only have 1 fridge, I might choose a french door to have the width flexibility in storage (serving trays in fridge etc.), but since I'm keeping the french door fridge, the SxS will be a good choice for in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 9:59PM
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I've never had a french door refrigerator, nor a side-by-side. I have a separate freezer in my basement pantry, but like having some freezer storage in the kitchen itself. I love the look of the french door, although I also prefer no water or ice dispenser.

However, I was thinking about it the other day and realized a single door on the refrigerator portion of the appliance would be preferable to a french door, as I only have counter to the right of my refrigerator and it would be easier to load and unload items with a single door with hinges on the left. I am considering trying a single door refrigerator with bottom freezer, but I'll have to check them out first to see how I like them.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:23PM
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I thought I would want a sXs but bought a FD not delivered yet so not sure how i will like it. the fridge space in the FD is more open and flexible not sure how i am going to feel about the freezer. I well either fall in love day one or need to adjust a little.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:27PM
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I've never read any comment from anyone who liked SxS.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 11:48PM
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I have a french door and love it. I also have a small freezer in the garage for the bulk Costco purchases I make. I do a lot of entertaining and cook for large numbers on a regular basis, and the French door frig is the best. I'm amazed at how much I can cram into the french door frig. Much better then my old side by side.

fd fridge

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 1:08AM
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Some still like S x S. Not everyone did well in high school geometry.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 1:08AM
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Circus Peanut

My 75 yr old mother is a huge fan and won't have anything but side-by-side. They may not work for younger people with dozens of children and a predilection for frozen pizzas, but I think at her age she most loves how easy it is to access smaller frozen items.

To each their own.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 1:15AM
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I have a 48 SxS Kitchenaid built in. Would guess it is about 15 years old and still going strong. Nice plain front-- looks a little dated but not bad. No reason to complain about anything. Have never had any problems with it.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 7:23AM
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You sound just like us--we wanted 48" built in, but it was too much $$$. Then the debate became French door vs. SXS. We had the exact same concerns your DH has on the French Door fridge. We narrowed it down to French Door with 2 freezer drawers or a max capacity SXS. We ended up choosing the SXS and love it.

One big thing to remember as you read posts to your question is that every refrigerator mentioned was probably a different size capacity--overall, fridge side & freezer side capacities. So someone that states 'the freezer side was too little to use' may be referring to a SXS with a smaller freezer side capacity or one with a giant icemaker that took up 1/3 to 1/2 the freezer space. Someone stating that a 'French Door freezer drawer glides out to you with clearly defined bins' likely looked for and bought just that style. Many French Door fridges don't have clearly defined bins--its a big bin in the bottom with maybe a slide tray on top for the ice bin to sit in. By the same token, many SXS have a large fridge compartment & a small freezer compartment (some significantly smaller than others.)

My advice is to set a minimum capacity size, then go out and look in multiple stores (Lowes, HD, BestBuy, & Sears at minimum) and compare to narrow down what you want & need in a fridge. Open enough freezer compartments on either style fridge & it will help greatly in narrowing down the options. Start there and work your way through them. Write down the models you think would work for you then start weeding them out from there. I wouldn't even consult with a sales person until this point--everything you need to know size-wise should be on the description card for the fridge and in your line of sight. Lastly, make sure to check for reviews of the product online on multiple sites before you purchase.

Hope this helps & happy hunting!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 10:15AM
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We like our SxS. I loved my top-freezer Whirlpool fridge in my condo (purchased in the late 80's as part of a kitchen reno), and hated leaving it behind. :-( When we'd moved to our house, we hated the small/narrow SxS in the house but made the best of it. When it came time to reno the kitchen, we 1) wanted a built in fridge, and 2) didn't like the newer top-freezer refrigerators (the refrigerator section seemed so much lower than in previous, or older models). That left us with SxS (no interest in FD or bottom-freezer).

Had we a larger kitchen, we might have gone with the larger model (ours is a 42"), more for flexibility than the need to store large quantities of food (we kept the old fridge, in the garage). Otherwise, ours works well for us and we like the layout.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:06AM
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"I've never read any comment from anyone who liked SxS."

"Some still like S x S. Not everyone did well in high school geometry."

Please check out some classes in reading comprehension, one can not do well, even with Geometry, unless they can read!!!


    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:46AM
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I hated the SxS in 36" or less. Sure the space was tall, but it was also narrow and at times a challenge to fit things in, especially things a little wider. I always felt like I was cramming things in. The only time I found SxS acceptable was in the 48" built-ins. I even thought the 42" built-ins were a bit cramped. Unfortunately, I didn't have the $5K+ to spend on refrigeration. If I had stuck with a 36" it would have definitely been a FD. I ended up with the Frigidaire Pro twins which when attached together effectively make it a SxS, albeit a 66" SxS. This I love.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 1:24PM
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My mom has a single door freezer on the bottom. I LOATHE that thing. Pretty much have to sit on the floor to find anything (it's packed full so the drawers aren't easy to pull out and I'm also prone to overfilling so I'd have the same problem).

I recently went to buy a new fridge. I "wanted" a French door because everyone says how great they are. I stared at it for an hour. I brought my husband back and we discussed for another hour (including rearranging shelves and testing out pans in the space) and it came down to for the things we store the French door does NOT give us more space/easy access.

First we store LOTS of produce. I regularly put 1-2 bushels of peaches/apples/cucumbers/oranges etc in my current side by side. The drawers are big and deep and when I use the meat drawer for produce I can store a serious amount of food in there. The produce drawers in the french door are microscopic in comparison (and I was looking at the 31 cu model) and the long wide meat drawer would be horrible for produce because there is no depth to the drawer.

I also frequently put half sheet pans of bars in the fridge. Because the don't quite fit flat I can balance them in the space above a shelf. In essence I can create extra shelves without actually stacking the food on top of each other. I can fit 4 pans in my fridge with my other food under the pans. With the french door there is no way to "hang" those trays in the fridge and so I would have to clear space to store the pans, which would mean I wouldn't be able to store an extra food. I also could see things getting shoved around in the french door model or knocked off the half shelves and spilling. So for us who pack our fridge to the gills we can actually get more stuff in the side by side than we can in a french door. SO we ended up with another side by side and are very happy with it.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 1:52PM
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I've gone around and around with this myself.

My mom used to have a SxS. In her upgrade she went with a FD. Now that she's had if for a while, she says she hates the freezer. Things get lost in the bottom.

My friend got a counter-depth 36" freezer and a matching fridge. She also has another upright freezer in the garage, and another top-freezer (beer) fridge. She loves the freezer. Things are easy to find.

I'm gravitating toward a FD fridge for the fridge part and a separate small upright freezer to put in my pantry right around the corner.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 3:55PM
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I went with SXS because I like the functionality of it for my purposes. I also like having the ice maker up a bit higher in the freezer, makes it easier to get at.

I know it's not something everyone likes, and the space may feel limited, but it works for me.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 5:00PM
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I've had a SxS (my first) for about ten years now. There are definitely times that the freezer's narrow width has been a challenge, but more than 95% of the time I appreciate just opening the door and grabbing what I want with minimal digging, rearranging or bending over. Fridge width has not been a problem.

I have "spent time" with a FD at my parents' house. Now there's a concept I simply don't get, unless you've got a real issue with swing room. They're happy, but I can't stand it.

I suppose if I had to buy a new fridge today it would most likely be single door, bottom freezer. But I know I'd miss the SxS's freezer.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 5:34PM
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We chose a SxS when we remodeled our kitchen two years ago and are quite happy with it.

The freezer is perfect for our needs - storing meats, breads, and enough blueberries to make it though the winter! And everything is easy to find.

The width of the refrigerator hasn't been a problem. I do like the counter depth better than our previous fridge - we never seem to "lose" anything in the back of the shelves.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 7:32PM
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Not to hijack this thread but we're going through this same dilemna right now and I suppose that if I was young and had young children I could see a huge advantage to having a FD - especially the new ones with the middle drawer that is easier for little ones to access.

BUT, now that we are older I am drawn to the SxS simply because it would be easier to see what's inside and I just don't cook as much (quantity wise) as we used to when we had kids at home.

We have a smaller frig in the garage that I could use for larger trays in the event that I needed that kind of space.

While I personally think that FD's "look" snazzy - esp in the stainless - digging through a bottom freezer is not at all appealing to one who has back problems. (My MIL used to have a frig with a bottom freezer that you stepped on a release to open. THAT was a great feature!) My other question with most FD's is that you have to open both top doors in order to get to & open the one large flat drawer on the bottom. What part of that movement is convenient?

So it's looking like SxS for us - if we had room for two I would definitely go with the 1 frig/1 upright freezer combo. That would be perfect it seems.

Now, which SxS is the best under 69"?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 10:48PM
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RNmomof2 zone 5

We just had a new SxS delivered today. It replaced a still working 21 yo SxS. We needed a new convection/microwave and decided to replace the frig before it died on us at an inconvenient time.

We looked and thought we were going to get a french door unit. A counter dept SxS kept calling me. When I went to order I really planned on getting the french door but took one last look and had Eureka! moment.

We are a 2 liter and wine drinking family and there is not much room for those type of items. The salesman agreed and stated that they have to lay them on their side in his fridge. I don't like that option. My DH homebrews beer and his growlers wouldn't fit anywhere either. I make soup freq and would have had to remove a shelf to fit my pot in the frig. The unit we were looking at was an LG one with the ice in the door, which gave you more shelf space but does take up door storage.

The SxS that we got has all of the ice and water in the door leaving all of the shelves free for storage. I already appreciate having frozen dinners at eye level. The frig door is stocked with liters and wine bottles. We are happy at this point with our decision.

The salesman did state they he had several people that had an french door replace it with a SxS for the next frig because they were tired or unable to bend to get in the freezer anymore.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:53PM
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sippimom brings out a good point I forgot about when looking at the French Door refrigerators--we only found 2 that allowed you to have decent clearance to remove things from the freezer section without having to open the refrigerator doors. I can't even tell you how many FDs we looked at as there were so many!

In answer to your question, sippimom, on the best SxS under 69" we liked the full depth Samsung RSG309AARS or RSG307AARS and the Samsung RSG257AA or Kenmore Elite Sears Item# 04641003000 : Model# 4100 (same Samsung counter depth fridge with KE badging & KE handles) for a counter depth model. We eventually chose the Kenmore Elite referenced above as we needed counter depth, the interior setup worked the best for our family & I simply liked the KE handles better than the Samsung handles and to me, they were worth the price difference between the two. If we could have made a standard depth fridge work, we would have chosen either of the 1st 2 Samsung models referenced above. We are very happy with our fridge & I would definitely purchase it again. Good luck with your refrigerator hunt!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 12:30AM
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You are so kind - thank you! I will be looking at those models this weekend. Hope you enjoy your new frig too!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 8:25PM
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No one else has mentioned this, so I thought I would bring up something I remember reading when we were making the same decision between a SxS and a bottom freezer - that the SxS is not as energy efficient, since every time you open the door, cold air escapes along the entire length, but when you pull out the drawer, cold air doesn't rise.

We were replacing an old 36" SubZero bottom freezer and I didn't love having to rummage in that bottom basket either, where everything seemed to fall into the most distant corners, but in the end, with the energy efficiency and both my kids loving those frozen pizzas, we ended up with another SubZero 36" bottom freezer. Nothing is perfect. But that fridge comes close!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 5:58PM
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When we were shopping for our freezer the FD's had just been out a while in major brands and the reports of problems with them were everywhere. We looked at what Sears had and found a SXS that suited us just fine. Don't recall the size, but it was much larger than the one it replaced. We came to love the handiness of access to everything in it. It was a Kenmore upper but not highest line and was made by Whirlpool, not Maytag. Maytag was having a lot of problems then. The newer ones must be better. Ours has slide out glass shelves and large bins with useful controls on the bins. It's about 4 years old now.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 12:31AM
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Yes, the FD and bottom freezers are more energy efficient
Also, the food keeps better with the freezer having a separate thermostat.
We can open our freezer without opening the fridge doors.
I keep the milk on the door and most of the common use items on the right so I just open the right door and the right bins.
If I need the center drawer - I do have to open both doors (and the same with the right drawer)
As above - we have the elux with the LED lights - so much fun to open the doors - but I try not to be tempted.
My only wish - I wish all Stainless had no finger prints like my Miele DW

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 9:14PM
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I hated my side by side. There wasn't room for anything and I could never find what I needed. I replaced it with french door bottom freezer and love it. I have an Amana. It had a few problems but customer service was great and all was fixed in a timely fashion.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 11:29AM
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I hated my SxS. I'm sure if I had space for a 48", it wouldn't have been an issue, but the 36" was awful. The freezer width was so narrow, that I would routinely let out a string of expletives aimed at the freezer. I bake a lot and often times items need to chill for a bit before going into the oven. I could never chill them on a baking sheet because it just wouldn't fit. Lots of swearing when I'd forget. We replaced ours with a french door that I love.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 1:46PM
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I prefer the side by side. We just recently had the need to shop for a new fridge. Our galley kitchen will only allow for either a side by side or a french door type unit.

I seriously considered the french door because of the looks, but it was not practical for our family.

We are water drinkers and having water and ice in the door was essential. The ice maker takes up so much valuable fridge space in the french door units with that feature it really soured us on the concept. Plus, unless you have the extra fridge drawer, the deli drawer requires both doors to be open in order to access things inside the drawer. That's a bad design idea, but present in all brands.

Finally, digging through the freezer is just not ideal for our family. If things are not front and center they get forgotten about and double purchased. We have a 36 in fridge and never have issues with pizzas or anything else not fitting. Worst case scenario, we store things vertically. I guess I just don't entertain enough to have deli platters that don't fit. I honestly can't remember a time when I thought the fridge or the freezer was too narrow. The biggest thing I store in either side is a turkey around the holidays and it fits fine in the freezer space and the fridge space.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 4:00PM
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Just looking around a bit, the bottom freezer do seem to be a bit more efficient, perhaps $10 difference a year if your electricity is particularly expensive. Hardly worth a mention. I believe the loss of cold air when opening doors is of minimal consequence even in an active residential setting. Especially considering we're just talking about the freezer section; the fridge door is hinged vertically in either configuration. Assuming the freezer is reasonably full, the loss of cold air when opening the door won't make much difference.

Based on what's been posted thus far, clearly the answer to the OP's question is, "Yes, some people actually do prefer side-by-side." There's no right or wrong answer for which is better, and liking SxS is an indication of personal needs and peferences, not a lack of intelligence.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 7:51PM
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We just replaced a basic 30" top freezer with a 33" SxS (i.e. very small narrow freezer), and are totally in love! At first we were looking for a French Door, but our cabinets were not high enough for them (unless we chose a 30" unit), a mistake we made when remodelling 5 years ago. We looked into the SxS since it gave us more options, and really liked the idea. Ice & water dispenser in the door (we love ice but I hate to make it, so I would just buy some packages of it every few weeks), easy access to fridge items, and some basic freezer stuff.

Bear in mind that I have standalone manual defrost freezer in the basement where I keep most stuff anyways, so here go the frozen turkeys and most of that. Clearly a turkey wouldn't fit in the freezer part, but I can defrost it in the fridge part.

We also kept the old fridge as an overflow, for big packs of beverages, and because we need more than just the space available with one unit: I buy tons of fresh produce every week, and pre-prepare meals on the week-end to reheat, so on Sundays my old fridge would be Tetris party, and it also meant some extra stop at the grocery at the end of the week for produce.

Regarding the old concern, most platters & cookie sheet fit in my SxS, so I really have no issues with that either. The freezer access is indeed harder, most of all because of the bulky ice maker in the door, but we only store some ice cream, a bread loaf, ice packs, and some vodka & rum bottles in there.

Lots of stuff is eye level now, doors are easy to open, fridge part is big, nice produce drawers, easy access to water & ice, we feel very happy with our purchase. We really thought that one out, and all the minus were OK for us. I guess there are many other in our situation.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 9:11PM
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42" SXS built in KA with panels. Going strong since 1998. I hate bending over to get into the freezer.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 11:09PM
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Definitely look at the dimensions of the SxS freezer. I have a SxS and it works fine for me, except when trying to accommodate a 24 lb turkey. If the turkey is higher than it is wide, it will not fit. However, this almost never occurs since if I am cooking a 24 lb turkey (for the holidays), it is going directly into the frig part to start thawing!

Take some measurements of the food you currently freeze and see if a SxS will accommodate those dimensions. If they don't, go with a french door or traditional freezer on top frig. If they do, you may like a SxS since you can put items you use often on the upper shelves and items for long term storage on the bottom. No matter which you decide on, look at the automatic ice maker placement. Some frig's ice makers are huge and take up a lot of space!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 2:07AM
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Love our cabinet-depth S x S. We have 2 kids and keep plenty of fresh produce, milk, juice etc. In a previous house we owned a Sub Zero bottom freezer and didn't like that it was so hard to see anything in the freezer. The fridge space in that SubZero didn't feel substantially bigger than our SxS is now (ours is 72" high).

Friends who renovated their kitchens before we did bought french-door fridges and neither one likes them. The one with the 36" complains that it feels smaller than her old SxS. The friend with the 42" french-door says she always has to open both doors because you never know where anything is. I wanted to be able to just use one free hand to open the frdige, so we went with the SxS.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:16PM
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I did not like my SS but not all that thrilled with my FD either. If I had the money I'd have a single upper door with lower pullout such as SubZero. The FD lower freezer is very small, even for just the two of us. PITA. But the SS there were things in the lower portion of the freezer that were relics of the stone age. Once they went below eye level they seemed to be forgotten. Same with the fridge side. It was as if I was using half of a SS. I like the FD for the eye level visual of all the food but I hate the two doors, I end up only putting things on one side and the other side has very little. It's not the perfect solution at all. I don't love it, I do like it better than the side by side by a mile. The FD freezer will prob not work for you if you have a large family.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 6:03PM
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I had a SS in a rental years ago and didn't like it. Both sides seemed too narrow. Then I had a single door with freezer on top. I didn't have any complaints, but switched it when I changed appliance finishes. I actually went with a counter depth FD with less cubic feet. I was concerned initially, but I really like it. Everything being at eye level, means the fridge gets cleaned out more often. Milk and soda go on the door. It is a kitchen-aid and I swear they put different types of containers in there, because everything from turkeys to pizza boxes slide right in. The freezer took some getting used to and I do have a deep freezer for bulk items. I don't have to open the fridge door to get into the freezer bins.

The only issue I do have is that my dd is too short to reach things at the top of the fridge, so her items have to be kept on the lower 2 shelves.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 12:30PM
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