Refrigerators: Ratings of Sources
Reviewed.com has some of the most extensive, well-documented testing of appliances that we see, and it manages to cover a plethora of models at all price points. Discussion is very in-depth and testing is hands on and well-explained. Top refrigerators draw Editors' Choice awards, and the site bestows annual Best of the Year designations on those that are the most impressive of that lot. At the other end of the spectrum, the editors are not bashful about identifying refrigerators that disappoint.
ConsumerReports.org tests far more refrigerators than any other source. The site currently lists ratings for more than 300 refrigerators, including top-freezer, bottom-freezer, side-by-side, built-in and compact models. Editors test the fridges' temperature performance under controlled conditions; measure their noise level; and assess energy efficiency, usable capacity and ease of use. Results appear in a chart that allows for easy comparison. The report also compares the overall reliability of specific brands.
CNET editors do not test as many refrigerators as either Reviewed.com or ConsumerReports.org, but, like Reviewed.com, testing is incredibly thorough and well-detailed. You have to scroll through the results to find which have actually been reviewed, but this is a great source for a detailed overview of any refrigerator that has made it to that step. Ratings are given both in 5-star format and as an overall points out of 10 measure that is an average of four categories -- features, design, performance and usability.
BestBuy.com is a great place to read user reviews of refrigerators. Many models are listed, and some have dozens and even hundreds of reviews. The rating and number of reviews each refrigerator gets are listed right on the main navigation page, and a handy sort feature allows you to view all the best-rated models on a single page. You can also sort listings by type, brand, price, size and color. While links are provided to also read reviews at manufacturer sites, most ratings here are drawn strictly from BestBuy.com users; however, in a few cases, reviews have been imported from the manufacturer's website.
More than 500 refrigerators are sold at Sears.com, and some have user reviews numbering in the hundreds -- a few have thousands. This is also the best source of user reviews for Kenmore refrigerators, since only Sears sells this brand.
HomeDepot.com has listings for more hundreds of refrigerators, split up into separate pages by type (top-freezer, bottom-freezer, and so on). User reviews are plentiful; we found many fridges here with hundreds or even thousands of comments. Refrigerators of different colors usually have links to each other on each color's page, which makes it convenient to find the various finishes. Some reviews are unique to HomeDepot.com's site, while others can be found at a variety of other retailer sites on the Internet as they originate from the manufacturer's website.
Searching user reviews at Lowes.com is a bit of a hassle. You can see the more than 250 refrigerators sold here on a single page and sort the listings in various ways, but the same model in different colors may show up several times in the list. Thus, you must search for a specific model number to make sure you have really seen all its reviews. Lots of refrigerators get plenty of feedback, but a good percentage of the reviews for many models is drawn from the maker's website -- and these same reviews can be seen on many other retailer sites as well.
H.H. Gregg is an appliance and electronics chain found in the Eastern U.S. It does not sell as many refrigerators as other retail sites, but we still found quite a few fridges here with hundreds of user reviews -- or more. Like Lowes.com, this site provides a handy summary of pros and cons for each refrigerator owners have reviewed, and the most helpful positive and negative reviews appear at the top of the comments. Some of the reviews here appear on or originate from other sites.
This retail site makes searching reviews easy. It's possible to view all the refrigerators sold here on a single page (or sort them by type if you prefer) and rearrange the entire list based on average rating or number of reviews. Brand names, model numbers, and even color choices are all easy to see at a glance. Some reviews are identified as originally being written at manufacturer sites.
DigitalTrends.com is better known as a reviewer of technology products but the site has good, in-depth reviews of eight top refrigerators. The reports are nicely detailed, and while heavily based on things like features and design, include credible hands-on testing. A couple of the reviewed refrigerators earn Editors' Choice status.
Amazon.com is a great place to find owner reviews of many products, but, unfortunately, refrigerators is not one of those. Though hundreds of models are listed on the site, few get much in the way of feedback. Most are not sold by Amazon, but by Amazon Marketplace sellers. Whether because of that, the small sample size, or other factors, many refrigerators score worse at Amazon.com than they do at other retail sites.