Although standard top-freezer refrigerators are generally less expensive and more reliable than other types, they don't get as many recommendations as the pricier bottom-freezer and French-door models. We found the best reviews overall for the Maytag M1TXEGMYW (Est. $750) , which is our top pick for the second time. This Energy Star-rated, 21-cubic-foot refrigerator does well overall in professional tests, getting very good results for temperature control and excellent scores for energy efficiency. However, its noise level is a bit loud, and it's not very easy to use. Like most top-freezer refrigerators, the M1TXEGMYW doesn't have a lot of features, but it does include a built-in ice maker and humidity-controlled crisper drawers. Also, unlike many top-freezer models, it's available in a stainless-steel finish (for about $200 extra).
We found more than 900 user-written reviews for this Maytag refrigerator at HomeDepot.com and AJMadison.com, most of them positive. Users like its capacity, superior energy efficiency and ease of cleaning. They also like the adjustable glass shelves and adjustable storage bins in the door, which are large enough to accommodate a gallon jug. However, one complaint that shows up frequently is that the M1TXEGMYW has only a single control dial for the fridge and the freezer. Many owners find it difficult to get the freezer section cold enough without freezing the food in the refrigerator. Users are split over the Maytag's noise level; some describe it as quiet, while others complain of constant and disruptive noise. Also, users who had problems with the fridge during the one-year warranty period complain that getting service from Maytag is a hassle.
Another highly rated top-freezer model is the Haier HT21TS77SP (Est. $700) . This 20.7-cubic-foot refrigerator comes in white or black and carries an Energy Star rating. Its scores in professional tests are nearly identical to the Maytag's, and it has similar features as well: a reversible door, adjustable glass shelves, adjustable gallon-size door bins and humidity-controlled crispers. Unlike the Maytag, it doesn't come with a standard ice maker, although one is available as an option. However, it does have an adjustable freezer shelf, a freezer light and separate temperature controls for the fridge and freezer compartments.
The main reason the Haier isn't our top pick is that it doesn't garner as many reviews overall from consumers. We found just under 50 owner-written reviews at retail site HHGregg.com, one of the few sites that sell this model. However, the comments we found were much more uniformly positive than those for the Maytag. Owners almost universally praise the Haier's temperature control, efficiency and well-organized space. There are a few complaints about the refrigerator's noise level, but these are far outnumbered by the reviews that say it's very quiet. We found only one complaint about durability in the lot, and that owner says a replacement Haier fridge is working just fine.