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Refrigerator Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on April 20, 2017

Editor's note:
LG, Samsung and GE refrigerators are the coolest fridges you can buy. Whether you need a top-freezer, bottom-freezer, side-by-side or French-door model they'll be a hit in your kitchen. We also have a great pick for a counter-depth refrigerator, the oh-so-flexible Samsung RF23J9011SR, with the option of converting one section from a fridge to a freezer, or vice-versa.

LG LTCS24223S Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Total volume (cu. ft.) - 23.8 Fresh food volume (cu. ft.) - 17.6 Freezer volume (cu. ft.) - 6.2

Best top-freezer refrigerator

Experts and owners agree, the LG LTCS24223S is a great choice for a family who needs a LOT of fridge and freezer space. At 23.8 cubic feet with plenty of organizational options, it might be a better choice for larger families than even a French-door style. It also gets good scores in professional tests for its consistent temperatures and excellent energy efficiency. Users agree, and also give it high marks for its quiet performance, attractive appearance, and generous capacity. It comes in four colors. See our full review »

LG LDC24370ST Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Total volume (cu. ft.) - 23.8 Fresh food volume (cu. ft.) - 16.3 Freezer volume (cu. ft.) - 7.5

Best bottom-freezer refrigerator

It's rare to see any major appliance get the kind of across-the-board raves that the 23.8 cubic foot LG LDC24370ST gets from both experts and owners. All agree that it's great at maintaining an even temperature and keeping food fresh. They also like the way it makes use of space with its adjustable shelving and gallon-size door bins. Features are sparse, but it does include a built-in ice maker and the fridge earns top scores where it counts, with terrific performance, low noise and great energy efficiency. See our full review »

Samsung RH25H5611SR Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Total volume (cu. ft.) - 24.7 Fresh food volume (cu. ft.) - 15.6 Freezer volume (cu. ft.) - 9.1

Best side-by-side refrigerator

The 24.7 cubic foot Samsung RH25H5611SR is the latest in a popular line of "door-in-door" refrigerator models that improve on the previous generation both in price and in performance. The design gives users quick access to the most frequently used items while keeping the rest cool as a cucumber, although in testing, experts say the temperature difference between the two sections is not particularly noticeable. Still, owners love that feature, as well as its attractive styling and LED lighting. It comes in four color options. See our full review »

GE Café CFE28TSHSS Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Total volume (cu. ft.) - 27.8 Fresh food volume (cu. ft.) - 18.6 Freezer volume (cu. ft.) - 9.2

Best French-door refrigerator

The 27.8-cu. ft. GE Café CFE28TSHSS does something no other fridge in our report can do: It dispenses hot as well as cold water. Even better, and certainly more important, performance is near perfect, experts say. Reviewers also give a thumbs up to this fridge's attractive exterior and its functional and flexible interior. Other plusses include LED lighting, an integrated icemaker, filtration to improve the quality of your drinking water, and quick returns to the proper temperature after the door is closed. It's also Energy Star certified. See our full review »

LG LFC24770ST Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Total volume (cu. ft.) - 23.9 Fresh food volume (cu. ft.) - 16.2 Freezer volume (cu. ft.) - 7.7

Value-priced French door refrigerator

If you want a solid performing, good looking French door refrigerator at a hard to beat price, the 25 cubic foot LG LFC24770ST is a top performer in expert testing, as well as a favorite of owner reviewers. Temperature control is rated as Excellent, as is noise and energy efficiency. The LFC24770ST is stainless-steel, but it also comes in in white as the LG LFC24770SW (Est. $1,800)and black as the LG LFC24770SB (Est. $1,800).

Samsung RF23J9011SR Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Total volume (cu. ft.) - 22.5 Fresh food volume (cu. ft.) - 13.6 Freezer volume (cu. ft.) - 8.9

Counter-depth French-door refrigerator

The 22.5 cubic foot Samsung RF23J9011SR is a four-door French-door refrigerator with a counter-depth cabinet for a semi-built-in look. It's a top performer in expert tests and is attractively styled with a stainless-steel exterior, although it's also available in black stainless steel as the Samsung RF23J9011SG (Est. $3,450). The highlight feature is a flexible compartment that can convert from a refrigerator to a freezer. Owners express very high satisfaction with this fridge, praising its roomy interior, flexible storage options and effective crisper bins.

There are a plethora of terrific refrigerators

If you're in the market for a new refrigerator, you have more choices than ever before. Basic cooling technology hasn't changed in decades, but there have been major advances in efficiency, organization options, and other features. The four basic types of refrigerators are top-freezer, bottom-freezer, side-by-side, and French-door models, and each style has a different set of pros and cons. If you need a very small counter-height or "cube"-style refrigerator, suitable for dorms and other small spaces, we cover those in our separate report on mini fridges. And, if you find you need more space for frozen goods than your refrigerator offers, we cover full sized freezers in their own report, too.

Don't be shocked by the sticker price

The MSRP's (manufacturer's suggested retail price) on some, if not most, refrigerators are enough to give you a cold chill. Some of the French door refrigerators in this report have MSRP's that top out at $4,700 or more. We still use MSRP as our price guideline, only because the sale prices can vary so much depending upon which retailer you're shopping at. However, it's extremely rare to find a refrigerator that's being sold at full price. Most are hundreds or even thousands of dollars less on sale -- we spotted a couple that were less than half the stated MSRP when compiling this update. So, don't let our prices put you off, go to the retail website and take a look for yourself. We offer other buying strategies in the buying guide section of this report.

Types of Refrigerators

Top-Freezer Refrigerators

The least expensive option, top-freezer refrigerators offer more usable space for their size than other types, while using less electricity. (A typical top-freezer fridge costs between $40 and $65 a year to run.) In addition, they are less repair-prone than other fridges. Their biggest downside is convenience: since most people use the fridge more than the freezer, they'll have to bend over frequently to reach the lower half of a top-freezer's refrigerator compartment. Also, most top-freezer models have more limited organizational options -- especially in the freezer, which often has just a single shelf. In professional tests, top-freezer fridges also tend to be a bit noisier than other types and not quite as good at maintaining a consistent temperature.

Bottom-Freezer Refrigerators

These are pricier than top-freezer types. However, they're generally more convenient to use because the more frequently accessed area is on top. On current bottom-freezer models, the freezer compartment is often a drawer, which makes it easier to see the contents at a glance, though some bottom freezers are accessed via a door, the same as top freezers. Regardless of the type, you'll still have to bend over to reach the food. Baskets in the freezer compartment of drawer-style freezers help with organization, while the best door-type bottom freezers will have pull-out bins.

Side-by-Side Refrigerators

The biggest advantage of side-by-side refrigerators is their narrow door clearance, which can be a plus in a narrow or galley kitchen. They're also convenient for families with kids, who can reach both the fridge and freezer compartments easily. Side-by-side fridges don't use either space or energy as efficiently as other models, though some, more innovative models do much better than others when it comes to sipping kilowatts. Their narrow widths may not easily accommodate common wider items, such as pizza boxes, and food stored in the back may be hard to reach.

French-Door Refrigerators

These attractive bottom-freezer appliances feature a full-width refrigerator compartment with a pair of side-by-side doors, instead of one large door. That design lets you open just one side of the fridge so less cool air escapes while still providing space for wider items such as sheet cakes and pizza boxes. French-door models are the priciest refrigerators overall; however, they provide a lot of machine for the money. Many fridges of this type also include through-the-door ice and water dispensers. The bottom freezer is often a full-width pull-out drawer, but some French-door refrigerators have four doors, splitting the freezer section into two independent compartments. Some models also have an extra pull-out drawer between the refrigerator and freezer section for frequently-used items, like deli meats.

Counter-Depth Refrigerators

Specially designed so that they don't protrude beyond the edges of cabinets and countertops, these come in side-by-side, bottom freezer and French-door styles. Some models accept panels that match your cabinets so they seem to almost disappear in your kitchen. Counter-depth fridges create a streamlined look, but are generally the priciest type of refrigerator overall. Another major downside is that counter-depth refrigerators are the least-space-efficient type. They also lag in energy efficiency, though many are efficient enough to earn Energy Star certification.

Finding The Best Refrigerators
Our Sources

ConsumerSearch editors looked at dozens of refrigerators, narrowing it down to the top picks by examining reviews by experts and owners. Up-to-date, hands-on expert reviews can be found at a few sites, most notably ConsumerReports.org, Reviewed.com and CNET.

Owners are very passionate about their refrigerators, rightfully so for such a big investment, and it was not unusual to find hundreds of reviews for individual fridges at sites like BestBuy.com, HomeDepot.com and elsewhere -- a few even had thousands. The one issue is that sometimes those reviews have quite a bit of overlap as these appliance stores usually mix in reviews from the manufacturer's website with their own, unique reviews. We took the existence of those duplicate reviews into consideration in deciding which refrigerators are truly Best Reviewed. It's worth noting that at least a few sites, such as BestBuy.com, largely continue to keep their user ratings unique. Sears.com provides the best user feedback for Kenmore fridges.

Once all of the review data is analyzed and distilled, we consider features, performance, energy efficiency and appearance to help you find the perfect refrigerator for your cold storage needs.

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