Jeff Flowers on March 3, 2016 14 Comments Few appliances are harder working than the ordinary, everyday refrigerator. Working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep your food cold and safe is a pretty big job. Although most refrigerators are functional, new models of refrigerators aim to go beyond the standard features and offer consumers a host of high-end options. One common feature that is growing in popularity is the bottom freezer. A bottom freezer refrigerator offers consumers several advantages over a traditional top freezer or side-by-side model, but also a few drawbacks. I personally own one of these refrigerators and wanted to discuss some of the pros and cons to give you a better idea of whether this refrigerator style is the best fit for you and your family. The Pros First, let’s look at some of the advantages of refrigerators that feature a freezer down below. 1. Space Saving Design Unfortunately, side-by-side refrigerator/freezer combinations have a reputation of being space hogs. It’s not uncommon for people to complain that they have trouble fitting larger items, especially in a cramped freezer. By comparison, the bottom freezer utilizes the lesser-used space at the basement of your refrigerator. Unlike top freezers that house the ice maker, the ice maker in a bottom freezer refrigerator stays in the top section, which frees up more freezer space down at the bottom. Most come with a variety of space-saving features as well. From pull out drawers to adjustable shelves, newer refrigerators offer customizable space to allow their owners to determine what works best for them. 2. Convenience For most people, the refrigerator gets heavy daily use, whereas the freezer is opened far less frequently. By moving the freezer to the bottom, the refrigerator portion occupies more easily accessible space. Putting food closer to eye level not only means that it’ll be easier to reach, it will also be less likely to get lost in a dark corner at the bottom of the refrigerator. Additionally, most bottom freezers come equipped with handy pull out baskets, making storage and access even more convenient. We use the large space in the freezer for items like frozen pizzas and family-sized meals, and then keep our frozen veggies or fruits stored in the rolling storage drawer in the top. This not only helps us stay organized, but also is a more efficient use of the space. 3. Variable Temperature Settings The advantages to this newer style of refrigerator doesn’t stop at the freezer, either. Several models feature a convenient pull out drawer directly above the freezer. This drawer can be stocked with frequently eaten snacks or beverages and set at a different temperature than the main portion of the refrigerator. My family uses this drawer for a variety of drinks, including water bottles, juice boxes and sodas, and then changed the temperature to a pre-set “drink setting” that is featured on the drawer itself. In essence, this eliminates the need to have a separate beverage fridge. Likewise, some models also allow for the vegetable crisper drawers to be set at a different temperature than that of the main refrigerator. This helps keep your produce fresh for longer, helping you waste less food and save money. 4. Smaller Footprint For people who need a smaller refrigerator, several models that feature bottom freezers are small enough to slide into a tight space. If you live in an apartment or have a small kitchen with limited space for a refrigerator but want a better-than-basic model, you may find a good option in a bottom-mounted freezer. The Cons Now that we know of some of the advantages, let’s now look at some of the disadvantages of refrigerators that feature a freezer at the bottom. 1. Cost By far, the biggest drawback of a bottom freezer refrigerator is the cost. Obviously, the total cost is always dependent on the size, brand and features within the unit, but as a whole, this type of refrigerator tends to be more on the expensive side. On top of that, the higher costs don’t stop at the purchase price either. Many bottom freezer refrigerators opt for French door access for the top section. Unfortunately, this design is not as energy efficient as other styles. As a result, the monthly usage cost may be slightly higher. While these costs are going to be minimal, they do add up when you consider the overall life expectancy of your average refrigerator. 2. Heavier Items at the Bottom Frozen foods, like turkeys and hams, can be quite heavy. Having them nestled in a bottom freezer means more bending to get to them. This is obviously something that should be of concern for the elderly, as lifting these heavier items may pose problems. Additionally, if you or anyone in your family has a bad back, bending and lifting heftier items can often be a dangerous combination. However, if you’re like me and only buy a frozen turkey at Thanksgiving, then this may not be a major concern or factor in your decision. If you or anyone in your family fit into either of these categories, then a bottom freezer refrigerator may not be a best choice for you. Types of Bottom Freezer Models If you do opt for a bottom freezer refrigerator, you will have several models and styles to choose from. The freezer component comes in two basic choices. It is either a pull out drawer or a swing-door freezer. For the refrigerator design, you typically have to choose from the following three options: Single door top refrigerator. Dual French-door top refrigerator. French-door with additional pull out drawer in the middle. Like other refrigerators, those featuring a bottom freezer are available in a range of colors and finishes. Whether you are looking for a sleek stainless steel refrigerator or one with a black or white finish, they are all available in this type of fridge. Buying Tips We have another article that discusses what you need to know when buying a refrigerator, and if you are currently shopping for one, I would strongly recommend you give that a read. But, just in case you’re reading this while standing at the store looking at refrigerators, I’ve compiled a quick checklist to help you evaluate refrigerators. Here are a few things to make sure are on your list to check: 1. Energy Efficiency Rating Refrigerators are sold with the Energy Star ratings and average annual operating cost clearly marked. Don’t just look at the rating, however, because efficiency standards actually vary widely between types of refrigerators. Instead, compare the annual expected operating costs, which will give you a better comparison between different types of refrigerators. Be sure to look at a variety of floor models so that you can compare the costs associated with each choice. Take your time analyzing how efficient each model is, because it will play a role in what you have to pay on a monthly basis. 2. Measure Your Space It’s easy to get caught up in the latest bells and whistles. However, even the most loaded model will be a major disappointment if you get it home, and it won’t fit. To avoid these unpleasant surprises, measure your space carefully before heading out to shop. Be sure to measure height, width, and depth. Check the specifications for each model to make sure they match the space you have available. I especially want to highlight the importance of measuring the depth. This is because I failed to do so when buying our refrigerator. After going through the process of selecting the one I thought was right, I got it home and discovered that it protruded out past the cabinets and eats up some of the space when you walk by. I’ve bumped into it and stubbed my toes on countless occasions. Don’t make the same mistake as me; make sure you measure the depth. If you haven’t done that, go home and do so. 3. Budget Don’t forget to set a budget for your purchase before you go shopping. Faced with shiny new refrigerators, it is easy to get carried away and spend far more than you were intending. After doing a bit of online research, you should be able to identify a price range that won’t break the bank. Add that magic number to your list before you head to the store, and then stick to it. When the shopping excitement fizzles and you see your bank account drop like a rock, you’ll be happy you did. Takeaways When you are in the market for a new refrigerator, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not considering one with a freezer at the bottom. Consider your needs and your typical use when selecting which model is best for you. Visit a showroom and compare bottom freezer refrigerators with other styles in person. This will give you a better idea of whether or not it’s the right fit for your kitchen.