Refrigerators: Ratings of Sources
Total of 16 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentThe editors of ConsumerReports.org test about 60 refrigerators each year. The results are published on their website, which currently provides ratings for hundreds of top-freezer, bottom-freezer, side-by-side, built-in and compact models. No other reviewer comes close to testing this many refrigerators. Each is rated based on temperature performance, energy efficiency, noise, usable capacity and ease of use, and results are reported in chart form. User reviews are also now available for many models. The accompanying buying guide -- which can be viewed without a subscription to the site -- notes that refrigerators with through-the-door ice and water dispensers generally have the most problems.
by Editors of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute
Our AssessmentGood Housekeeping Research Institute editors test 23 French-door and side-by-side refrigerators by measuring temperature fluctuations and evaluating ease of use. They also place calls to customer service to evaluate each brand's level of support. Each fridge receives a letter grade from A through D; none is judged a failure nor earns a perfect grade. Although energy use and noise aren't evaluated, the write-ups for individual models are detailed and insightful.
by Matthew Steen
Our AssessmentThis Australian website is very similar to ConsumerReports.org, and its tests are every bit as thorough. Here editors evaluate more than 60 refrigerators for energy efficiency, noise, temperature control and ease of use. A few of the brands tested are available in the United States, including Samsung, LG and Whirlpool. However, none of the recommended refrigerators corresponds to any model sold in the U.S.
by Editors of Which? magazine
Our AssessmentWhich? magazine is the U.K.'s equivalent to ConsumerReports.org. In their latest round of testing, editors evaluate 90 refrigerators for energy efficiency, ease of use, usable space, noise, cooling power, freezer compartments, uniform temperatures and temperature stability. Results from a reliability survey are included. Twenty-seven models are named best buys, including nine marked as "energy savers." Many of the brands tested are available in the U.S., but most are either compact or "tall" fridges, a narrow, single-compartment style.
2011 Home Appliance Study: Refrigerator
by Editors of J.D. Power and Associates
Our AssessmentIn the latest customer satisfaction survey from J.D. Power and Associates, more than 5,000 consumers rate the refrigerators they have purchased in the past two years. Each brand receives scores in seven categories: overall satisfaction, ease of use, performance and reliability, styling, features, warranty and price. Luxury brand Sub-Zero is rated the best refrigerator brand overall, earning top scores in every category except price. Samsung comes in a close second with high scores in every category. LG, Maytag and Whirlpool are also deemed "better than most," while Hotpoint, Bosch and Frigidaire receive the lowest scores overall. Survey respondents are asked only about brands rather than specific models, so the results are more useful for gauging brand loyalty and associations than for judging specific refrigerator models.
by Contributors to BestBuy.com
Our AssessmentBestBuy.com is a great place to read user reviews of refrigerators. Lots of models are listed, and the rating and number of comments each fridge gets can be found on the main navigation page. A handy sort feature allows you to view all the best-rated models on a single page. While most refrigerators receive only one or two reviews, others have enough feedback to provide a good impression of how happy owners are with their purchases.
by Contributors to AJMadison.com
Our AssessmentThis retail site makes searching reviews easy. You can view the complete collection of refrigerators sold here on a single page, or sort them by type and rearrange the entire list based on average rating or number of reviews. Like HomeDepot.com, this site has a specific page just for reviews, but it doesn't accurately reflect the full selection of products available. Brand names, model numbers and even color choices are easy to see at a glance. The most popular refrigerators sold here are French-door and bottom-freezer models from LG, most of which sell for $2,000 or more.
by Contributors to Sears.com
Our AssessmentSears.com is another retailer that allows readers to review appliances on its website. This is a great place to find user feedback on Kenmore refrigerators, since only Sears sells this brand. Although reviews aren't as easy to navigate as at BestBuy.com or AJMadison.com, this site does list the most commonly cited pros and cons for each model and notes what percentage of buyers would recommend the fridge to a friend. However, we noticed an occasional glitch: With some refrigerators, the site displays only the list of pros and cons and doesn't show full reviews.
by Contributors to HomeDepot.com
Our AssessmentHomeDepot.com allows users to post reviews of products they own. Although most refrigerators receive only a few comments, several have 50 or more. However, navigating the reviews is a challenge: Not only are refrigerators split up into several pages by type, but the average rating and number of reviews for each product don't appear on the main page, requiring users to click on each fridge to compare ratings. While a separate section does allow users to browse product reviews by rating or number of reviewers, this page isn't up to date and doesn't show the actual number of reviews for most products.
Refrigerators for Consumers
by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy
Our AssessmentThe Energy Star program identifies refrigerators that consume 20 percent less power than current federal standards require. A continually updated list identifies refrigerators that are Energy Star-compliant, as well as models that meet the even stricter CEE Tier 2 and Tier 3 requirements -- which means they're 25 percent and 30 percent more efficient than federal standards, respectively. Other useful tools here include purchasing tips, a savings calculator, and information on how to recycle your old refrigerator or freezer.
by Contributors to Viewpoints.com
Our AssessmentViewpoints.com allows users to review brands and models of numerous products, including refrigerators. While the site provides a handy summary of pros and cons for each unit reviewed, the total volume of user comments is too small to be very helpful. Most refrigerators have no more than a handful of reviews, and many of the rated models are discontinued. The only currently available refrigerator to earn a significant amount of positive feedback is the Samsung RFG297AAWP.
by Contributors to Epinions.com
Our AssessmentEpinions.com is a user review site similar to Viewpoints.com, but it isn't especially helpful for finding opinions on large appliances such as refrigerators. While more than 100 fridges are rated here, most models get just one or two reviews. With lower-rated models garnering more comments, it seems owners use the site as a forum to complain about unsatisfactory products.
Top 10 Refrigerators
by Editors of RefrigeratorPro.com
Our AssessmentWhile there's a lot of useful information here, there's also a heavy emphasis on marketing. Although editors say the refrigerators they recommend have undergone "in-house RefrigeratorPro.com testing," they don't describe their testing methods or provide ratings. A visit could be worthwhile for information gathering, but specific refrigerator recommendations should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
Buy Green: Side-by-Side Refrigerators
by Brian Merchant
Our AssessmentPlanetGreen.com, part of the Discovery.com network, offers a buyer's guide to the most energy-efficient side-by-side refrigerators. Although there's some interesting general information on energy use here, the five recommended models appear to have been chosen based on stated efficiency, features and price rather than any formal testing. Moreover, four of the five are now discontinued.
by Contributors to GardenWeb.com
Our AssessmentGardenWeb.com features forums where users can discuss household questions and issues. There are several posts about refrigerators in the appliance section, but it takes some time to search through the hundreds of topic threads. The focus here is primarily on luxury appliances, and most threads dealing with refrigerators aren't very long or detailed. Samsung fridges and freezers get a fair amount of positive feedback in one recent thread, but one owner calls the company's customer service "abysmal."
Buy Green: Bottom Freezer Refrigerators
by Brian Merchant
Our AssessmentThis guide to bottom-freezer refrigerators has the same limitations as the similar guide to side-by-sides. It's three years old, the fridges don't appear to have been tested, and most of the recommended models are now discontinued. Still, there's some interesting information on eco-friendly refrigerators here for the green-minded consumer.