We found more recommendations in our sources for French-door refrigerators than for any other type. They are the best overall performers in professional tests, and users love their convenient layout, useful features and stylish looks.
The 27.8-cu. ft. GE Café CFE28TSHSS (Est. $3,100) is an update of GE Cafe CFE29TSDSS (Est. $3,100), only better, say the editors at Reviewed.com -- a high compliment considering how much they liked the latter's performance. The site's Matthew Zahnzinger opens his review of the CFE28TSHSS by saying that it's "the best standalone refrigerator you can buy." It earns a perfect 10.0 score, Editors' Choice and Best of the Year awards, and is rated to be better than any refrigerator the site has ever tested.
User reviews, while not yet plentiful, seem to be following the same trajectory as the CFE29TSDSS (which is officially discontinued but still available at retail) and that's very good news. Based on hundreds of reviews, the old model earns scores in the neighborhood of 4.5 stars. To date, the new GE Café CFE28TSHSS scores similarly, albeit on just a handful of reports.
There are a lot of bells and whistles on the CFE28TSHSS, but the scene stealer is the unique ability to dispense hot water in addition to cold. Of course, the refrigerator can also dispense ice and cold water though the door. Rather than a mundane LED display, you get a small touch screen for things like setting temperature. You can personalize the display by uploading photos from a USB thumb drive to play back slide-show style. Inside, you'll find twin crispers and a full-width slide out bin that can be set to different temperatures for storing different types of perishables. The spill proof glass shelves are adjustable, and there's tons of on-door storage. This fridge is offered only in stainless steel. The cabinet measures 35.75 inches wide and 36.25 inches deep.
Performance tests out to be impeccable in most regards. "There simply aren't any major flaws in this fridge," says Zahnzinger. There is a minor one however. Items stored at the bottom of the freezer crept to just above zero in Reviewed.com's tests. Though the freezer's excellent temperature stability minimizes the risk that that could give rise to freezer burn in items stored long term. The fix is simple: "If you turn down the thermostat, you shouldn't have any problems."
If three doors make a stylish and practical statement, why not four? Samsung says why not indeed, and offers the 31.7 cu. ft. Samsung RF32FMQDBSR (Est. $3,200) as proof of just how versatile and useful a four-door fridge can be.
In the RF32FMQDBSR, the bottom compartment is split French door-style, just like the top. This is not just an aesthetic feature however. Instead of a single freezer compartment, you get two half compartments, one a conventional freezer, the other a flexible compartment that can be set to one of four temperatures to hard freeze, soft freeze, chill or cool foods.
Expert reviewers are blown away by this kind of flexibility, but do offer a caveat -- wide items, such as a full-sized frozen pizza won't fit, at least not sitting flat. Otherwise, depending on how you elect to use the convertible compartment, there's capacity galore.
There are plenty of other features as well. There's a through the door icemaker and water dispenser (cold only). The fridge's digital controls are door mounted as well, and the display shows the actual internal temperatures. Inside, the glass spill-proof shelves slide in and out for easy access, and some flip up to accommodate tall items on lower shelves. Despite the French-door style lower doors, access to the lower compartments is easy as each has two pull-put bins and a pull out shelf. This stainless-steel refrigerator has the capacity to hold 30 bags of groceries, Samsung claims, and to accommodate that the cabinet is large: nearly 36 inches wide and 36 inches deep.
Experts love the Samsung RF32FMQDBSR. It's the top-rated four-door fridge in one expert review. At Reviewed.com it's both an Editors' Choice and a Best of the Year winner. "Low energy consumption and steady temperatures help keep long-term expenses like electricity and food waste down, while the huge interior capacity makes it a perfect fit for large families," says the site's Zahnzinger.
User reviews are a little more of a mixed bag, and feedback varies widely between sites. Ratings and comments at Amazon.com are particularly disappointing, but that site also hosts the least feedback, fewer than 25 reviews. Elsewhere, the Samsung RF32FMQDBSR scores better. At BestBuy.com, for example, more than 110 users grant the fridge an overall score of 4.4 stars. At HomeDepot.com, the RF32FMQDBSR earns a 4.1-star rating following 90 reviews. In the final analysis, most owners are pleased, or very pleased with this refrigerator, but some sore spots emerge. The icemaker -- as is typical -- sometimes fails. Samsung's customer service department draws some catcalls as well.
If there's an issue with either of the fridges above, it's that they are a little on the pricey side. If you want a solid-performing French door refrigerator that leaves out some bells and whistles, but also leaves some dollars in your wallet, the Kenmore 71603 (Est. $1,900) looks to be a top choice. It's rated a Best Buy by one independent testing organization, and gets good feedback at Sears.com -- 4.5 stars based on more than 250 reviews. The Kenmore 71603 comes in stainless steel. You can save a little more by opting for the otherwise identical Kenmore 71602 (Est. $1,600), which comes in white; Kenmore 71604 (Est. $1,600), which comes in bisque; or Kenmore 71609 (Est. $1,600), which comes in black.
Experts give Kenmore 71603 top grades when it comes to maintaining temperatures, energy efficiency and low noise. This is a 25 cu. ft. fridge, smaller than the French door fridges above but still big enough to fill the needs of most families. It's also still fairly large, at 34.25 inches deep (with the door handles) and 35.75 inches wide. In terms of features, things are pretty sparse, though some niceties are present. There's no through the door ice dispenser -- or a water dispenser of any kind -- but an internal ice maker is built-in. There are also digital controls to set the fridge and freezer temperatures. Glass spill-proof shelves are present as well, as is now expected in all except the most basic fridges.
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