How to buy the best American fridge freezer
By Ben Slater
Do you want an American fridge freezer? From useful features to choosing a water dispenser, our expert advice has you covered.
American fridge freezers look impressive and promise the end to an overflowing fridge and crammed-to-bursting freezer.
But before you get stuck with a bulky appliance that dominates your kitchen and costs a small fortune to run, make sure an American model really is the best type for you.
Best fridge freezers – see our top picks of excellent fridge freezers to select the best one for your kitchen and budget.
American fridge freezers (also known as side-by-side or American-style models) are wider then freestanding or integrated fridge freezers and always have at least one set of side-by-side doors.
Most commonly, there are just two doors, with the fridge sitting next to the freezer. But, sometimes the fridge and freezer will each have two side-by-side doors but the fridge will sit on top of the freezer. Alternatively, the fridge can have two side-by-side doors but the freezer underneath will have one or two large external drawers.
American fridge freezers are wider and deeper than conventional models, so they take up more space in your kitchen, but they also give you far more space to store fresh and frozen food.
See all our American fridge freezer reviews.
American fridge freezer pros
- American fridge freezers offer more storage space for fresh and frozen food than regular fridge freezers.
- Useful features – such as a frost-free freezer, door alarms and a fast-freeze function – often come as standard.
- They look great.
- They have lots of fridge shelves and racks for storing items of all shapes and sizes.
- Many come with water dispensers and ice makers.
American fridge freezer cons
- They’re pricey to buy and expensive to run.
- American fridge freezers take up a lot of space and may be too big for your kitchen.
- A water dispenser that offers unlimited chilled water has to be plumbed in to the mains water supply.
- Alternative water dispensers have refillable jugs, but you’ll have to keep topping them up.
- They have fewer freezer drawers than you’d find in a conventional freezer.
American fridge freezers are large and bulky, so it’s crucial to buy one that’s the right size for your kitchen – you don’t want it to dominate the space or block an area that you need access to.
You may also have to factor in extra space at the back, sides and/or top for air to circulate. With this in mind, it’s important to consider the following dimensions carefully:
The standard width of an American fridge freezer is 90cm, so it will take up more space in your kitchen but also gives you far more space to store fresh and frozen food.
Slimmer American models are available, but they'll always be at least 70cm wide – 10cm more than the width of a standard freestanding model.
They’re also deeper than standard models – typically 70cm or more. So make sure you factor this in if you’re planning to put your new fridge freezer in a different place.
American models can be too deep to manoeuvre through front doors and internal doors, so measure your doorways to see whether you’ll be able to get it into your kitchen. If you’re unsure, ask the retailer whether they will remove (and reattach) the fridge freezer doors when they deliver it – and whether this will cost extra.
American models are deep – so measure your internal doorways to check you’ll be able to get it into your kitchen.
American models are around 175-190cm tall.
The main appeal of American fridge freezers is the amount of storage space they contain.
As the graph below shows, the average American-style model contains 390 litres is usable space, which is enough for around 20 supermarket carrier bags' worth of shopping.
Unlike manufacturers, who measure fridge freezer volume with all the shelves and drawers taken out, we measure how much space you can actually use for storing food.
As a result, models with exactly the same external dimensions can very significantly when it comes to usable storage space.
American fridge freezers are larger than conventional models and so are generally more expensive. Prices start at around £450 and go well over £2,000.
You don't have to spend a fortune to get a great model, though. As the graph below shows, we've uncovered more Best Buys costing less than £900 than we have costing more.
Prices vary hugely between brands and whichever brand you choose, you’ll pay more for features such as a stainless steel finish, digital displays and water and automatic ice dispensers.
Scroll down to see the best cheap American fridge freezer we've tested.
Lots of American fridge freezers come with extra cooling and storage features as standard. These can include:
- Frost-free freezer – This is probably the most useful fridge freezer feature of all, as it saves you the laborious job of scraping away ice and mopping up water from your kitchen floor. Every American fridge freezer we've tested has a frost-free freezer.
- Fast-freeze function – This boosts fresh-food freezing times, so food is fresher when you defrost it. This setting also consumes more energy though, so it's best to use it sparingly.
- Extra storage features – American models often have extra compartments, such as chiller drawers to help keep meat and fish extra-cold and shielded from the warm air that seeps in whenever you open the door.
- Adjustable shelves – Look for these in the fridge and freezer, so you can arrange the space as you want it.
- Door alarms – These alert you when you've left the fridge or freezer door open for too long, so you don't need to worry about whether you've accidentally left the freezer door open.
It depends on your budget and the brand you want – as premium features, such as automatic ice dispensers and a stainless steel finish, are nice extras that inevitably bump up the price.
If you want an American model with the very latest mod cons and cooling technology, consider choosing the following:
- Separate thermostats – These allow you to create more accurate fridge and freezer temperatures.
- Convertible zones – These allow you to convert part of the freezer space into extra fridge space, which could be handy at busy times, such as Christmas.
- Independent cooling systems – Some have separate fridge and freezing cooling circuits. This helps keep moisture in the fridge and minimise food dehydration, which is good for preserving food with a high water content – such as salad.
- Digital display – From setting the thermostat to programming functions such as fast-freeze, a digital display looks good and can make fridge freezers easier to set up and use.
- Water dispenser – Whether plumbed-in or refillable, a water dispenser provides instant access to chilled water.
- Ice maker – Automatic ice makers are usually integrated with water dispensers and supply cubes of crushed ice. You’ll find manual ice makers in the freezer section – you fill the removable tray with water, and when the ice is ready you twist the dial to release it.
Chilled, filtered water and instant ice are tempting features of American fridge freezers, but most models have to be plumbed into the mains water supply. This will affect where you can put it in your kitchen and can make them expensive to install.
Also, you’ll have to change the water filters every six months or so. Replacement filters can cost anything from £20 to more than £90 each, so it’s worth checking the cost of these before you buy, to avoid costly surprises later on.
Some models have removable water jugs that you simply top up from the tap. This means you won’t have to factor in plumbing costs, and you can put the fridge freezer anywhere in your kitchen. But you’ll only get two to three litres of water before you’ll need to refill the jug.
What type of back do American fridge freezers have?
All refrigeration appliances need insulation to keep cool. This insulation is flammable, so it's essential that it's sufficiently protected in the event of a fire. The backing protecting this insulation is currently made from either plastic, metal or aluminium laminate.
Our tests have revealed that plastic backing can be highly flammable. We're not recommending any appliances with flammable plastic backing. All fridge freezers with this type of backing have been made Don't Buys, regardless of how else they performed in our chilling and freezing tests.
Watch our fridge freezer fires video to see what happens.
Best Samsung American fridge freezer
If you’re set on an American fridge freezer, look no further than this stylish and spacious model. It chills and freezes rapidly, the recommended thermostat setting gets the best performance out of the fridge and freezer, and, unlike some models, the internal temperature remains stable when it’s hot or cold outside.
Best American fridge freezer with ice dispenser
If you're looking for an American fridge freezer with a plumbed-in ice and water dispenser, you'll find few better than this. It's not cheap, but it's packed full of features and it has a super-stylish matt stainless-steel finish. Most importantly, you can count on it to maximise the lifespan of your fresh food, preserve your frozen food in top condition and maintain a safe and stable temperature whatever the weather.
Best cheap American fridge freezer
The average price of the American fridge freezers we've tested is £1,000, with the most expensive costing more than £2,000.This excellent model is better than almost all of them and costs a fraction of the price. You should be able to fit 10 supermarket carrier bags of food in the spacious fridge and you can count on this fridge to rapidly chill all of it, helping to maximise the freshness of your food.
Best Kenwood American fridge freezer
This is the best Kenwood American fridge freezer we've seen, which is saying something given the number of impressive models we've tested from this brand. It's both powerful and energy efficient for its size, which is great news for both your food and your wallet. It also has a an ice maker, a manually refillable water dispenser and door alarms.
Best black American fridge freezer
This impressive model, which is only available in Currys, has plenty of storage space and yet is exceptionally energy efficient for its size. It aced our tough chilling and freezing tests, too, so you can rely on it to keep heat-loving bacteria at bay. You won't look forward to cleaning it, but that's pretty much the only downside.
Best LG American fridge freezer
It’s not cheap and you won’t look forward to cleaning this cavernous American fridge freezer, but there are many more positives than negatives with this model, so it’s still well worth considering. The fridge and freezer are lightning-quick to chill, which is great news for your food, and it’s one of the quietest models we’ve seen. You'll be able to show-off the snazzy window on the door, which becomes transparent when you knock on it, allowing you to see what's inside without opening the door.
Best slimline American fridge freezer
At 71cm-wide this American fridge freezer is worth considering if you want double doors and more storage than a conventional fridge freezer, but don’t have enough space for a full width American model. This energy-efficient model flew through most of our tests, and the fridge and freezer are both fantastic.
Best American fridge freezer non-plumbed
Having to plumb in an American fridge freezer can be a pain, so if you like the idea of chilled water at the touch of a button, why not consider a model with a water tank that you refill manually? This is one of the best non-plumbed models we've seen and one of the freezer compartments can be converted into extra fridge space, which could be handy at Christmas.
Best Beko American fridge freezer
This is the best Beko fridge freezer we've seen in years. At 76cm-wide, it's slimmer than many American-style models but you still get a respectable 332 litres of usable space - enough for around 17 supermarket carrier bags' worth of shopping. Although the freezer isn't quite as powerful as the fridge, this model didn't do badly in any of our tests and is well worth considering.
Best white American fridge freezer
While white freestanding fridge freezers are widespread, white American-style models are much less common. This Argos-exclusive is one of the best, boasting quick chilling and freezing and excellent temperature stability in warm and cold rooms. It's not the quietest or easiest to use, but it's still a bargain for the price.
None of the above take your fancy? Don't worry – we've tested more than 100 of the most popular models to help you find the perfect fit for your kitchen.
See our full list of the best fridge freezers.