Bottom-freezer refrigerators get more recommendations than top-freezers, primarily due to their more convenient layout. However, their popularity is giving way to French-door fridges that are more convenient still -- replacing the sometimes massive one-piece door design with two piece doors that can be more easily accommodated in tighter kitchens. We cover French-door refrigerators, side-by-side refrigerators, top-freezer refrigerators and counter-depth refrigerators in their own sections elsewhere in this report.
Our top-rated model in the bottom freezer category is the 23.8 cu. ft. LG LDC24370ST (Est. $1,800). This refrigerator measures just under 33 inches wide (32.75 inches to be exact) and comes in a stainless-steel finish. It is also available in smooth white as the LG LDC24370SW ($1,700).
The LG LDC24370ST earns a Recommended label in one independent test, with scores of Excellent in temperature performance, energy efficiency and noise; it gets only a Good for ease of use. Reviewed.com also gives it a high score, 8.2 out of 10, and an Editors' Choice award. At CNET, Ry Crist gives it a similar score of 8.2 out of 10, and rates it at 4 stars overall. Neither Reviewed.com nor CNET report any of the ease-of-use issues related in that first-named professional test, nor do owners, who praise the LDC24370ST for its great performance and plethora of storage options. They also say it's very quiet and very attractive. Many say they chose it because they had to have a fridge that fits in their smaller space of 33 inches, and are thrilled that something they had limited few options in turned out to be so great.
The feature list on the LG LDC24370ST is good, including some nice touches like an alarm that can alert you if the door is accidentally left ajar. There's also an interior ice maker. The glass shelves are adjustable and easy to clean, users say. Door storage is designed to accommodate a variety of items of different shapes, heights and sizes, from a child's juice carton to a full gallon of milk. There are two crisper compartments and a full-width compartment for storing party platters, beverages, or any larger or awkwardly-sized item. Two drawers in the freezer compartment help you access items more easily.
The Whirlpool WRB322DMBM (Est. $1,400) is a little smaller, a little noisier, and a little cheaper than the LG LDC24370ST, but is very much worth considering for those on a tighter budget. It gets some of the highest ratings we saw from thousands of owners who praise its attractive styling and good storage options that are reported as easy to adjust.
Experts agree with users and the Whirlpool WRB322DMBM earns a Recommended label in one large comparative review. Temperature performance and energy efficiency earns kudos. However, the noise level is rated as no better than average. Like the LG LDC24370ST, this refrigerator is designed to fit into a 33-inch space (its width with the doors closed is 32.75 inches). It's not as feature rich as the LDC24370ST, but you'll find spill proof glass shelves, two slide-out baskets in the freezer, digital temperature controls and an ice maker.
The Whirlpool WRB322DMBM has a stainless steel finish. However, if you don't want or need that upgrade, you can get the same model in a more basic white, as the Whirlpool WRB322DMBW (Est. $1,300), or black, as the Whirlpool WRB322DMBB (Est. $1,300). Whichever option you choose, you get a solid performing, 22.1 cu. ft. workhorse that, according to reviews, pleases experts and users.
For those looking for a bottom freezer on an even tighter budget, the Kenmore 69313 (Est. $1,000) is also worth a look. It's rated a Best Buy among conventional bottom freezer refrigerators in one comparative review. It has a lower capacity (19 cubic feet) and is narrower (just under 30 inches with the door closed) than the two bottom freezers above. That's terrific for those looking for a fridge that will fit well in a kitchen where space is tight, but it may not be the best choice for those with larger families. The Kenmore 69313 has a stainless-steel finish. While occasional sales may negate the price difference, you can often save about $100 by opting for the white Kenmore 69312 (Est. $900) or black Kenmore 69319 (Est. $900) instead.
Features are more limited on the Kenmore 69313 than the other two fridges we detail here. There are glass shelves in the fridge, but the freezer lacks even an ice maker (though one can be purchased as an option). Still, if its dimensions and capacity are a match for your needs, testing reveals a strong performer in the Kenmore. Noise, the ability to maintain steady temperatures and energy efficiency all draw the highest ratings. User reviews are somewhat limited, and found only at Sears.com, but most are happy with this fridge.
Elsewhere in this report: