Appliance Questions: Top mount or bottom mount fridge?

June 15th, 2015

Appliance Questions Appliance Talk Fridges & Freezers

A fridge is a long-term investment, so you’ll want to make sure you choose the best model to suit your kitchen, your home, and your family’s needs.

The two most popular fridge designs are the top mount fridge (with the freezer on top of the fridge) and the bottom mount fridge (with the fridge on top of the freezer).

top mount bottom mount fridge

While these two fridge designs are fairly similar in appearance (one pretty much looks like the other, but standing on its head), it’s easy to assume that one choice is just as good as the next when it comes to your kitchen.

But what if I told you that the small differences between these two fridge styles can make a big impact on your kitchen’s performance?

Let’s take a look at top and bottom mount fridges, and how each arrangement can help benefit your lifestyle:

Top mount fridges

This design is what most people think of when you say the word “fridge”. This classic fridge layout has endured through the years for a few reasons, not the least of which is its energy efficiency.

393L Samsung Fridge SR392MW393L Samsung Fridge SR392MWR

Most fridges keep their compressor at the base of the fridge’s rear. Like any electrical appliance, the compressor generates a small amount of heat while operating. As the freezer section requires the most energy to keep cold, positioning far away from this heat-generating compressor helps to reduce this level of require energy a bit.  And by sending the coldest air up to the top of the appliance and allowing it to follow the principle of convection (e.g. hot air rises, cool air falls) the rest of the fridge can be kept naturally cooler without using extra energy.

The other great reason to choose a top mount fridge is the easy access to the freezer. If you make regular use of frozen foods, whether by heating frozen pizzas or regularly defrosting meat to cook, a top mount fridge places the freezer right at your eye level, where everything can be easily viewed and accessed, without having to rummage around in the cold.

The biggest disadvantage of a top mount fridge is that the section of the appliance that’s generally used the most – the fridge – is positioned lower than eye level, meaning you’ll need to duck down or bend over in order to view and retrieve your stored food and drink. This can be a genuine concern for anyone with a bad back.

Bottom mount fridges

The bottom mount fridge, which places its freezer at the base, is a design with user-friendliness in mind.

403L Fisher & Paykel Fridge E402BRXFD4403L Fisher & Paykel Fridge E402BRXFD4

With the fridge on top, all of your everyday food and drink is positioned conveniently at eye level, where it can be effortlessly accessed without having to bend over too much. This is not only handy for anyone with a bad back, but people who regularly cook with fresh ingredients will benefit from things being that little bit more ergonomic.

Because the freezers in bottom mount fridges have a lower position, they more commonly make use of storage drawers rather than the shelves that are more often found in top mount designs. It makes sense – by looking down into an open drawer, you can see all of the frozen food you have available at a glance, without having to bend down to look over shelves.  Drawers also allow your frozen food to be nicely packed away, which is especially handy if you prefer to buy groceries in bulk and preserve them until they’re needed most.

One disadvantage of the bottom mount fridge is that in some cases, the crisper drawers can be colder than necessary to preserve your fruits and vegetables, due to their close proximity to the freezer. And of course, they tenmdn to be less energy efficient than top mount designs, as the freezer is located near the compressor, and the cool air must be pumped through the fridge agains t the natural flow of convection.

So which is better?

Ultimately, it’s really up to you.

Okay, that’s a bit of a cop-out answer. But it comes down to what kind of fridge your home needs.


If you’re after an affordable fridge that offers efficient performance, thus reducing your home’s environmental footprint and overall running costs, then choose a top mount fridge. A top mount is also a better choice if you use your freezer regularly.


If you prefer to regularly cook using fresher ingredients, and mostly use your freezer for longer-term storage, then a bottom mount fridge may be more your style. You can access all of your everyday items without bending over.

different fridges

Of course, there are plenty of other fridge configurations to choose from, such as side by side, French door and upright fridges, which can be set up in pigeon pair arrangements. But that, as they say, is another story…

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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