While shopping for your new refrigerator, you may have noticed two distinct styles available in the market: the classic top mount freezer and the newer style bottom freezer. While this may seem like just another gimmick, this little switcheroo will affect a fridges’ ergonomics in positive and negative way. Which brings us to this question: what is the difference between a top mount vs. a bottom freezer refrigerator? And which is better for you?
A bottom freezer refrigerator is easier to organize, has your most used items displayed at eye-level, and is stylish to boot. However, it is much more expensive upfront and costs more to operate compared to the standard top mount refrigerator.
In this article, we will flesh out our rationale on the top mount vs. bottom freezer refrigerator debate to help you decide which model is better for your home.
What are the differences between a top mount vs. a bottom freezer refrigerator?
As the name implies, a top mount freezer has its freezer perched above of the fridge, while a bottom mount will have its freezer positioned below the fridge. Here are the implications of this difference in design:
Bottom freezer refrigerators are the more ergonomic design vs. top mount models.
Since people open the fridge compartment more often than the freezer compartment, having the fridge at eye-level will make it easier on the back than having to bend down each time you have to reach something inside the fridge. This is the primary benefit of a bottom freezer refrigerator.
While you still have to bend down when accessing the freezer on a bottom mount model, its slide-out drawer type shelves will help you access the items on the freezer easier with no need of digging up frozen goods as you would in a typical refrigerator freezer or a chest type freezer.
Winner: Bottom Freezer. Since the most used compartment sits at eye-level, it is much more ergonomic compared to a top mount freezer refrigerator.
Bottom freezer models are often equipped with slide-out drawer shelves that will help your organize and access your frozen goods easier. This makes it easier to organize compared to a top mount model.
The pull-out drawers also allow you to lay out your frozen goods in a way that would save you from bending down to dig up items that are buried under other frozen goods.
More often than not, there are two or more drawers in a bottom mount’s freezer section. This allows you to separate meats and fish and other frozen goods.
Winner: Bottom Freezer. It’s built-in sliding drawers and compartmentalized freezer allows you to keep things separate and organized.
A top mount refrigerator is more efficient compared to a bottom freezer. Here’s why:
Refrigerators work by continuously evaporating and condensing a refrigerant gas known as Freon throughout the coils tucked inside its walls. As the Freon evaporates, it leaves a cooling effect in the area. This is what makes the air in the refrigerator cold. To cycle the Freon continuously, a device called the compressor needs to pump the Freon to the condenser then to the evaporator then back again to allow the refrigerator to work.
On a standard top mount fridge, the compressor is located at the bottom, and the evaporator is located at the freezer. The cold air from the evaporator is distributed to the other compartments of the fridge either passively (relying on the tendency of cold air to sink) or by fans located inside the fridge.
The compressor of a bottom freezer model is still located at the bottom. However, this also makes it less efficient as the freezer compartment is sitting next to the compressor. As the compressor works, it generates heat that can be absorbed by the freezer walls. This will force the compressor to work harder to keep the temperature stable and thus is less efficient compared to a top mount refrigerator.
Winner: Top Mount. Its design allows the heat-generating compressor to sit far away from the freezer evaporator.
Bottom freezer models tend to be more expensive compared to top mount freezer models.
Let’s take a look at Panasonic’s case:
|NR-BP260VD||9.0 cu.ft.||Top Mount||₱22,998|
|NR BV28CQKPH||9.0 cu.ft.||Bottom Freezer||₱25,998|
While they have similar capacities and features, the bottom freezer model is costs ₱3,000 more vs. the top mount refrigerator. This is also usually the case for other brands that have bottom freezer models like Electrolux and Samsung.
Winner: Top mount. It is the more affordable option of the two.
Unfortunately, there are only a limited number of bottom freezer models in the Philippine market. Almost all are no frost models, and two door models tend to be in the 8.0 – 15.0 cu.ft. range. French door models have bottom mounted freezers too, and they can go up to 30.0 cu.ft. Bottom line is, you have fewer options when it comes to bottom freezers.
Meanwhile, top mount refrigerators have a plethora of models. From direct cool to no frost, inverter and non-inverter, 1.5 cu.ft. – 20.0 cu.ft., you’ll certainly have a lot more options to choose from!
Winner: Top mount. With more options available, you can better choose which is the perfect fit for your home.
A bottom freezer refrigerator looks more sleek and premium compared to a top mount model. It is certainly a better fit for a cosmopolitan kitchen. However, you should always weigh in the pros and cons of a top mount vs. a bottom freezer refrigerator. While they have similar features, their difference in price points can be significant.
Miguel Mores worked for 5 years as a member of the product management team for a home appliance company in the Philippines. He started 101appliance to answer the most common customer questions that he has encountered during his time in the industry. He now works in the digital marketing field and manages a small online bookstore on the side.