Why are refrigerator freezers on the bottom these days?

Why are refrigerator freezers on the bottom these days? Why were they on the top to begin with?


Both styles and lots of hybrid styles with double doors, removable compartments etc. are still available if you want them. It is just a matter of balancing energy efficiency and practical use. Freezers were most commonly placed on top of the refrigerator because cold air sinks and the much colder freezer will also help keep the refrigerator compartment cool most efficiently in that configuration. However, the refrigerator is typically used much more commonly than the freezer so it makes more functional sense to place that compartment at a more convenient level so that you can just reach in at waist or eye level without bending down. As appliances have gotten more efficient and fancier in general, the energy efficiency for having a freezer on top have lessened so other configurations that emphasize function have become more common.

You think that’s weird, OP, buy my parents bought a fridge last week and one that wasn’t under consideration is designed to be a fridge or a freezer depending on how cold you set it. Never seen anything like it before.

It’s also partly just style and fad. Side-by-sides seem to be going out of fashion, which is annoying because I need a new one and the manufacturer only seems to be making one low-to-intermediate trim model in that style now.

I think it’s partly that back in the day, there was just one cooling element, and the fridge was chilled by coolth* leaking out of the freezer. Today, the two compartments are separately insulated and controlled, and there are more choices as to where to put each part.

Putting the freezer at the bottom has two advantages. I maximizes the convenience of the fridge space, which most people use more, and because the freezer can a pull-out drawer, it makes it a little more efficient, and a little easier to get to that thing the back.

If I had to get a new fridge, I would get that arrangement. Side-by-side was popular last time I shopped, and I had to get a low-end fridge to get freezer-on-top. I often put large things in the freezer and fridge (a pizza, a whole goose, etc.) and those don’t work with the narrow side-by-side style.

  • yes, I know that’s not a word, and technically wrong. But you know what I mean.

I much prefer the freezer on bottom. It isn’t used as much and I don’t need to be squatting down on my knees every time I want an apple. Side by side is the worst option, in my opinion, because you can’t fit anything wider than a shoebox in either compartment, and you still have to get on your knees to get stuff from the bottom either way.

One good thing about side-by-side refrigerators though is that they come with a water and ice dispenser on the freezer side. I haven’t seen any other kind with that feature. But pouring a glass of water isn’t that hard, and that will never be the make or break feature for me when shopping for refrigerators.

Here is the one we bought that is kind of a side-by-side hybrid in that it has french doors for the fridge and a bottom mount freezer.
I like the pull out freezer on the bottom, and as noted above, I don’t have to do squats to get the carrots out of the veg crisper.

That looks really nice! A bit pricey for me, but probably worth it. I like the pull-out freezer. Not all bottom freezers are pull-out, and I like the idea that you can rummage around in there without all the cold spilling out, plus having the regular part of the fridge higher up.

We had a bottom mount model before that the door swung open and it was a PITA. The pullout is MUCH better. Running the water line was a pain but I think the payoff was worth it. We didn’t pay anywhere near that msrp, though so not as dear to the wallet as you think.
The freezer section has partitions so organizing it is pretty painless.

Still, if I had the bucks I’d be shopping for Sub-Zero and Thermador but I haven’t won the lotto yet…:slight_smile:

I want something like this Maytag, though I’d gladly sacrifice the water-and-ice dispenser for a second plain door with more storage space.

This is the one I got and I love it. Especially the freezer drawer. Bought it on sale for under $1000 ( and just for kicks, I put it in the cart- it’s $898 right now)

I ended up buying this one as a Black Friday special paid $1K.

So far I’m happy with it, I cheaped out of buying something more expensive. Features are nice but you pay a lot more for them. I wanted a through door ice maker for convenience but those were about $400 more on average, for that cash I can scoop ice.

We as a state agency are precluded from buying fridges with freezers on top because the freezers are not handicapped accessible. I have no idea whether this is state law, or a result of a lawsuit against the state about this, or a determination by the WI Department of Administration (essentially the landlord of all the other state agencies).

Perfect username/post combo.

Since the question has been answered factually already, I will offer a data point: bottom mount freezers aren’t incredibly new. My aunt had one that certainly dated from at least the late sixties. I don’t remember the brand, but it was pink, with an ice maker, and wasn’t new when I first remember it in the early seventies. And gigantic compared to the standards of the time. I was kind of sad when my aunt replaced it in the late eighties/early nineties. (Probably because of childhood recollections of the tub of lime sherbet that was always within my reach!)

Careful burning yourself on it.
No I’m serious. Samsungs are (were?) notorious for failing which is why they only have a one year warranty. We got a stainless Samsung and after 14 months it broke down. I forget what exactly broke down but I remember that the problem was fairly well known to Samsung and their response to people with this issue was “Too f**king bad. One year warranty.” The breakdown caused the center (i.e. between the refrigerator and freezer section) to get so hot I got burned just touching it. We eventually scrapped it for fear that it was a fire hazard.

Actually, coolth is as good a word as warmth. It is in the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, which is a compendium of entries from four North American collegiate level dictionaries.

A one year warranty is the industry standard and pretty much all of them are terrible at helping beyond the warranty date.

I did get a protection plan on it that covers all repairs for 6 years. I’m likely to move before that point and may or may not take this one with me.

My parents have always had one, at least as long as I can remember (1980 or so). I’m sure it is because my mom is short and when she was picking out appliances for the first time as an adult she was like “fuck freezers on the top, man! I want my ice cream!” My parents’ fridges never seemed any larger than my friends’ parents’ fridges.

Having grown up with them on the bottom, freezers on the top always seemed odd to me.

I’ve got a top freezer, but I’d probably go for the freezer-on-bottom fridge next time I buy one. I don’t like the side-by-side models at all.

And I looooove my large-ish chest freezer in my garage. It’s about as old as I am, but seems to work just fine and I keep it pretty well stocked.