Bottom-freezer refrigerators get more recommendations than top-freezers, primarily due to their more convenient layout. The top-rated model in this category is the 22-cubic-foot Whirlpool Gold GB2FHDXWQ (Est. $1,100) , which gets very good overall scores in two separate professional tests. Experts say it maintains a constant temperature in both the fridge and the freezer, and its vegetable crispers are great at retaining moisture. However, the freezer compartment does take quite a while to bring food down to freezing temperature, putting it at risk for freezer burn. The freezer is on the small side, too, and the built-in ice maker reduces the available space still more. This refrigerator is Energy Star-rated and comes in white, black and stainless-steel finishes, with stainless costing an extra $200 or so.
We found reviews for this refrigerator on several different retail sites, but most of them appear to be picked up from the Whirlpool website. However, even after weeding out the duplicates, this fridge has hundreds of reviews, most of them positive. Users say it makes very good use of space with features such as adjustable glass shelves, wire freezer trays and gallon-size door bins. They're also very impressed with its efficiency and styling. The main complaint about this refrigerator is that it's too noisy; reviewers describe a range of sounds from a "low hum" to a "clucking chicken." We also found several complaints about durability, many of them centered on the defroster drain, which tends to become clogged with ice. Some users are particularly annoyed that their refrigerators broke down just outside of the one-year-warranty period.
If the GB2FHDXWQ is too big for your space, you might prefer the 19-cubic-foot Maytag MBF1958XEW (Est. $1,200) . Available in white, black or a pricier stainless-steel finish, this refrigerator gets very good overall scores in professional tests. It matches the Whirlpool Gold refrigerator's excellent temperature control, and it's also somewhat quieter. Though not quite as efficient as the Whirlpool, it still earns an Energy Star certification. Convenience features include slide-out glass shelves with spill guards, adjustable gallon-size door bins, a built-in ice maker, slide-out freezer baskets, a freezer light and a reversible door. (A larger Maytag bottom-freezer, the 22-cubic-foot MBF2258XEW, has the same features and gets nearly identical ratings in tests.)
We found nearly 300 unique reviews for the Maytag MBF1958XEW at retail sites. Users praise its features, efficiency and style. Several reviews specifically mention its smaller size as a plus, saying it's rare to find a well-designed fridge that can fit into a small kitchen. Most owners are also happy with its noise level, although a few owners complain of "annoying" intermittent noises. Users generally say the fresh-food section is well organized, but there are some complaints that the freezer section is uncomfortably tight. A couple of owners note that the wide gaps in the mesh freezer basket allow smaller items to slip through.