Fridges Explained

There are many types of fridges available, this is a no-nonsense guide to finding the right type of fridge for your home.

We all need a fridge. The humble fridge has come a long way - from an ice box used to keep our butter from melting, we now have fridges with multiple doors, multiple finishes, multiple functions, sizes, styles, brands, prices, there’s a fridge for every home and a home for every fridge. French door fridge, bottom mount fridge, top mount fridge, bar fridge, quad door fridge, side by side, what does it all mean?

How do you choose the right fridge for your home? Here’s an explainer to help you understand which fridge is which so you can make the best, informed choice for your home.

Size Matters

Firstly you should measure the cavity/space in your kitchen where the fridge will go. The fridge you buy should be slightly smaller than the space it's going to occupy, to give enough clearance at the sides and rear for the fridge to run efficiently. Each manufacturer has their own recommendations for how much space to leave on the top, sides and rear of the fridge.

Also make sure the new fridge will fit through the door all the way to the kitchen. Usually the fridge could be tipped back to fit under the door frame, but you need to make sure it’ll fit widthways too.

Top Mount Fridge

a hisense 205L stainless steel top mount fridge front view

A Top Mount Fridge is a fridge and freezer combo with the freezer section at the top of the unit.

This is the most traditional type of fridge and we’ve all seen and used one. They’re usually the least expensive to buy and run, and you can buy them in a range of sizes and finishes to suit your space, lifestyle and budget.

The main drawback is that you need to bend down to access the fridge compartment, which is the section most of us use most often. Consider your mobility needs when looking at this type of fridge.

It’s a classic design that finds its roots in the very earliest days of domestically used electric refrigeration, and still a mainstay in many homes over a century later.

Bottom Mount Fridge

A Bottom Mount Fridge is a fridge and freezer combo with the freezer section at the bottom of the unit.

This style of fridge was one of the first innovations made to the traditional fridge design when electric refrigerators became commonplace in family homes. It takes the classic design of a Top Mount Fridge and turns it on its head - literally.

The great advantage to these fridges is that the fridge compartment is at eye level, so you can see what perishables you have without having to bend down. Combine this with the same advantages as a Top Mount - a wide choice of size, brand and finish.

These fridges can be more expensive to purchase and run than a Top Mount Fridge, however this depends on the brand and design. This type of fridge is evolving to include luxury features often seen on the more expensive French Door style, such as ice or water dispensers in the door.

The cost to run varies by brand and model too. With the continued emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency, Hisense has recently brought out a Bottom Mount Fridge with a 7 star energy rating - at the time the highest energy star rating for a fridge in Australia.


haier hrf420bhc bottom mount fridge front view doors closed

French Door Fridge or Multi Door Fridge

A French Door Fridge has a freezer drawer on the bottom with a two door fridge at the top. A Multi Door Fridge has a two door fridge at the top and either a two door freezer at the bottom, or two freezer drawers stacked on top of each other at the bottom. Also known as a quad door fridge.

This type of fridge takes the Bottom Mount Fridge a step further, with more space and in many cases added features and luxuries.

westinghouse wqe5600ba quad door fridge front view doors closed

These are usually the most expensive type of fridge to buy, and a big fridge will cost more to run than a smaller fridge. You’ll need to carefully measure the fridge cavity as well as all of the doors between your driveway and the kitchen to make sure it’s going to fit through the door and into the space.

There are plenty of advantages. You can fit heaps in them, and buy a style to perfectly match your lifestyle. Some of the features include:

  • ice and water dispenser
  • differently shaped cubes or even crushed ice
  • slide back and flip up shelves
  • snack compartments in the space under the fruit and veg crispers
  • door in door shelves with a window that illuminates when you knock twice to see what’s inside
  • cameras inside the fridge so you can see what’s inside when you’re shopping
  • even a touchscreen on the external of the fridge to connect with your devices.

Side By Side Fridge

A Side By Side has a freezer section on the left and a fridge section on the right. Usually the freezer section is smaller than the fridge section.

This style of fridge is great for space and capacity and seeing everything that you have. You can get many of the extra features you would see on a French Door Fridge in a Side By Side - for example ice and water dispensers in the door.

They’re a good size for families. When looking at a Side By Side, consider if you’ll need wide fridge or freezer space, as some items (like a wide platter or a pizza box for example) may not fit in the narrow cavities. They’re also quite large in size like a French Door Fridge, so make sure you measure accurately and consider the space before buying.

Side By Sides come in a wide range of styles, sizes and finishes to suit the design of your home and the needs of your family.


hisense hr6sbsff624bw side by side fridge front view doors closed

Upright Fridge a.k.a Pigeon Pair

A Pigeon Pair is a separate upright fridge and freezer, designed to match each other.

A Pigeon Pair will give you the most space, so they’re great for large families. You can keep them separate or have them both together in the kitchen.

They take up a lot of space so you will need to measure the space where you want to place them, and due to the size they will cost more overall to buy and run.

Bar Fridge

A Bar Fridge is a small fridge, sometimes with a freezer space and sometimes without, designed to sit in a small space (like a home bar set up) and fit small things inside them

Although you can get tall ones, the classic bar fridge design is short enough to fit under a bench and is perfect to store drinks in.

hisense red bar fridge front angle view

Most Popular Fridges

Top Mount Fridges and Bottom Mount Fridges are still the most popular fridge in Australia.

Both these fridges make up nearly half of all sales.

They are versatile and relatively inexpensive.

French Quad Door fridges have become very popular in recent years with brands such as Haier, Electrolux, Westinghouse, Samsung, Fisher & Paykel and Hisense delivering great value French Door Fridges.

Buying Tips

  • Before you buy anything, measure the fridge space in your home.
  • How many people in your family? Larger families will need a bigger fridge.
  • Consider energy efficiency to cut the long term cost of the fridge.
  • Consider reputable brands with a warranty.