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Home & garden.

18 October 2021

How to buy the best American fridge freezer

Do you want an American fridge freezer? From useful features to choosing a water dispenser, our expert advice has you covered
Lisa Galliers
American-4

American fridge freezers look impressive and promise the end to an overflowing fridge or crammed to bursting freezer.

If you're after a show stopper for your kitchen, then take a look at out the 10 best American fridge freezers, below. These are the top-scoring models from our independent testing. Some will be from our most recent testing, but you may spot one or two older models that we still recommend.

Looking for a different type of fridge freezer? See our Best Buy fridge freezers to select the best one for your kitchen and budget.

Which? members can log in to see our recommendations. If you're not a member, join Which? to unlock the table and gain instant access to all our product reviews.

Table updated: September 2021

Top 10 best American fridge freezers

  • 81%
    £2499.00

    This outstanding American fridge freezer aced many of our tough tests and didn't do poorly in any of them. It's so good we've made it a Best Buy. It's one of our highest scoring American fridge freezers.

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  • 80%
    £1499.00

    We were hugely impressed with this fridge freezer and you can rest assured that it will preserve your food brilliantly. It’s incredibly easy to find the right temperature in every compartment, and it won’t miss a beat if the temperature in your kitchen chops and changes. No wonder it’s a Best Buy. It’s also energy efficient enough to be an Eco Buy, so it will save you money on your energy bills and have a smaller impact on the planet.

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  • 79%
    £669.00

    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.

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  • 79%
    £1500.00

    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.

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  • 78%
    £1956.00

    This impressive all-round fridge freezer excelled in most of our tough tests and didn’t do badly in any of them. It’s a clear Best Buy. You can count on this super fridge to maximise the lifespan of your fresh food. It chills rapidly to help keep heat-loving bacteria at bay.

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  • 78%
    £529.00

    This is a brilliant American fridge freezer that is available at a bargain price. The fridge and freezer are both excellent at chilling and freezing, respectively. It’s energy efficient, and maintains a stable temperature in a variety of conditions, too.

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  • 78%
    £929.00

    This is a fantastic fridge freezer. Not only does it chill and freeze food rapidly, but it maintains the perfect temperature inside whatever happens to the temperature in your kitchen. It’s also spacious, energy efficient and quiet, so it’s no surprise that it’s a high-scoring Best Buy.

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  • 76%
    £1199.00

    If you’re after a show-stopping fridge freezer with plenty of space then this American fridge freezer will do the job. It’s excellent at chilling your food quickly and it’s energy efficient for its size, so we’ve made it a Best Buy.

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  • 76%
    £2499.00

    This American fiidge freezer costs the earth, but backs up the high price with stellar test scores. The vast fridge is brilliant at chilling food quickly, and maintains a steady temperature in either hot or cold rooms. It’s energy efficient too. The freezer is a little disappointing at freezing food quickly, but all things considered this fridge freezer is a worthy Best Buy.

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  • 76%
    £679.99

    This impressive American fridge freezer, which has been around a couple of years but is still widely available, wowed us in some of our tough tests and didn't do badly in any of them. It's also affordable for this type of appliance. It more than earns our Best Buy seal of approval.

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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 Best Buy fridge freezers.

What is an American fridge freezer?

Woman looking at food in a fridge

American fridge freezers (also known as side-by-side or American-style models) are wider than 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. However, 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 and cons

If you're considering buying an American fridge freezer, make sure you know the facts.

American fridge freezer pros

  • They 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 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.
  • They 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 into 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 a conventional freezer.

How big are American fridge freezers?

Silver American fridge freezer in a kitchen

They are large and bulky, so it’s crucial to buy one that’s the right size for your kitchen as 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:

Width

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 models are available, but they will always be at least 70cm wide – 10cm more than the width of a standard freestanding model.

Depth

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.

Height

American models are around 175cm to 190cm tall.

Storage space

The main appeal is the amount of storage space they contain.

As the graph below shows, the average model contains 390 litres of 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 vary significantly when it comes to usable storage space.

How much do American fridge freezers cost?

American fridge freezers are larger than conventional models, so are generally more expensive. Prices start at around £450 and go upwards 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 for more than this amount.

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.

Get a great deal on a fridge freezer: see our top five cheap fridge freezers.

What features do they have?

Vegetables in a fridge crisper drawer

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 feature of all as it saves you the laborious job of scraping away ice and mopping up water from your kitchen floor. Every American model we've tested has a frost-free freezer.
  • Fast-freeze function – This boosts fresh food freezing times, so it's 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, 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.

Which features should I pay more for?

Fridge display

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 times where you need to store extra food, 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 simply fill the removable tray with water and when the ice is ready you twist the dial to release it.

Find out more about fridge freezer features in Fridge freezer features explained

American fridge freezers with water and ice dispensers

Fridge freezer ice dispenser

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 price before you buy to avoid extra costs 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.

Read how to deep-clean your fridge for advice on cleaning a fridge water dispenser.

What type of back do American fridge freezers have?

Fridge freezer backing

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. In July 2019, new British safety standards were introduced which state that the fridge backing that covers refrigeration insulation can only be made from either metal or aluminium laminate.

Before these standards were introduced, plastic could also be used to make fridge backing. Our tests revealed that plastic backing is highly flammable which is why we didn't recommend any appliances with plastic backing. All fridge freezers with this type of backing were made Don't Buys, regardless of how else they performed in our chilling and freezing tests.

While newer models will all have metal backing, it is possible that some refrigeration appliances with plastic backing could still be on the market.

Find out more in our guide to fridge freezer safety.