The LG InstaView Door-in-Door Counter-Depth refrigerator offers something other consumer home models don’t: a glance at what’s in the fridge — well, part of it, at least. While other fridges have the door-in-door design, LG doubles down on helping you keep food cold with the InstaView feature. When you knock, one door turns from tinted to see-through. While the door-in-door feature may seem like a gimmick rather than a purposeful design element, this is one trend we hope is here to stay. The design lets you place food and beverage items that you want to easily access on one of the door shelves, so presumably you’ll never have to dig deep into the fridge to get a soda or cheese stick again. Unless of course, you like to do that kind of thing. Keep reading our Energy-Star rated LG InstaView Door-in-Door fridge review to see if the rest of the appliance is as cool as the door.
Fridge with a view
The first thing you’ll notice about this refrigerator is that it’s a pretty appliance. The French door-style fridge comes in at about 69 inches high and almost 31 inches deep with the handle included. The finish is an attractive smudge- and fingerprint-resistant black stainless steel.
The tinted glass is the second thing you’ll notice because it takes up most of the space on the right door. Simply knock twice almost anywhere on the glass and the tint dissolves on command, like the high-tech windows on a 787 Dreamliner. You’ll be able to see inside for about 10 seconds before the glass darkens again. It’s a handy feature if you simply need to know, for instance, whether to buy milk. Sure, you could get the same effect with plain glass doors, but then you need to be vigilant about keeping things inside orderly. The tint helps conceal the clutter that will inevitably pile up inside.
See something you like in the right door? Press the button directly on the door handle, and the shelves open while the rest of the refrigerator stays closed, letting you grab an item quickly. A ColdSaver panel between the shelves and main compartment prevents cold air from escaping. It works, but it’s a little cumbersome when you open the full door and try to get something off the door’s shelf. The shelves aren’t adjustable, but you can easily fit as many as 12 beers or a gallon of milk on the large middle shelf, and the compartment is tall enough to fit an unopened bottle of wine standing upright.
The left French door has three narrow condiment shelves, but also houses the water and ice dispenser. An LED display on the outside of the left door shows the temperature of the fridge and freezer, the condition of the water filter, and the setting of the dispenser. The temperature displayed is the thermostat’s setting, not the actual temperature. Simply press the button to adjust the temperature to a lower setting. Unfortunately, there are no up-down arrows on this feature, which means you need to keep pressing the button to cycle through lower and higher temperatures. We did appreciate that there was plenty of room under the dispenser to fit a 16-ounce pint glass, and even a standard pitcher, at an angle.
Simply knock twice almost anywhere on the glass and the tint dissolves on command
Tired of putting a box of baking soda in the fridge to collect nasty smells? No problem. This LG model has a Fresh Air Filter to help keep the fridge smelling good even after food items have passed their expiration dates. The filter is in the top back panel of the fridge, and the panel will alert you when it needs to be changed. Use the setting on the control panel to switch between auto and power modes on the filter. Auto mode cycles on in increments of 10 minutes on and 110 minutes off, while the power mode stays on continuously for four hours with 10 minutes on and five minutes off. Leaving it set to auto works well, and you probably won’t need the “power” setting unless you forget about your salmon leftovers for one week too many.
Another setting called Ice Plus kicks the ice-making into high gear to produce up to 4.5 pounds — ideal for getting ready for a party. The panel also includes a light to illuminate the dispenser, a lock function (so others in the home can’t mess with your settings), and a door alarm. If you leave a door open for longer than a minute, the appliance will chime. Thankfully, the sound isn’t annoyingly loud, and you can always turn it off. Finally, an accompanying app can keep track of food stored in the fridge and freezer, show Food Channel recipes, create grocery lists, and monitor the health of your appliance. A Smart Grid function can receive notifications from your power company and adjust power consumption accordingly – turning down cooling turning a brownout, for instance.
Designed by an organized mind
The InstaView is a real head-turner, but it’s the thought-out design of the fridge and freezer’s internal compartments that make us a little weak in the knees. For starters, the French doors provide a spacious interior, which is impressive for a 24-cubic-foot fridge that lines up perfectly with the depth of the counter. This is particularly important for houses with small kitchens or tight layouts. In fact, although this is a smaller model, it does feel quite big inside.
The lights in the fridge are also well placed. The placement of the twinkle lights on the top and sides of the unit is a little reminiscent of a movie star mirror, but they are not overly bright. When you open the two refrigerator doors you’ll find four adjustable shelves and three sturdy Glide’N’Access shelves, which slide out so you can load and remove large or heavy items with ease. This feature is a real back saver! Additionally, you’ll find three drawers to store items like fruits, vegetables, and cheeses. On top of the three compartments there’s one long, thin Glide’N’Serve drawer with an adjustable temperature control that you can set to produce, meat, or .
Perhaps the most impressive design element is how LG handled the ice maker. Instead of utilizing precious space in the fridge or freezer, the company hid the ice maker in the left door and placed some narrow shelves around it, so you can make use of every square inch. The freezer also has thoughtful design elements, such as two sliding drawers to help better organize the placements of freezer items, and the big bin has an adjustable divider that can move in either direction. You’ll also find a separate ice storage bin on the top drawer, where you can transfer ice you make using the in-door ice bin for easy access.
First the good: We had the refrigerator installed in our office for a few months, and it did a great job of cooling items extremely quickly. A temperature gauge placed in the left middle door cooled from the 75.2-room temperature to 34 degrees in just 30 minutes.
The Fresh Air filter did a solid job of eliminating bad odors before they could settle in and stay. That leftover Thai food that was left in the fridge for a week? It was like it was never in there.
That leftover Thai food that was left in the fridge for a week? It was like it was never in there.
We also were impressed with just how quiet the fridge was – there is no loud motor to distract you with constant humming.
How often do you find yourself working hard to scrub those fingerprints off your stainless-steel appliances? LG took measures to prevent that with the smudge-resistant coating, which worked well. While the fridge got lots of use during testing, the outside showed minimal smudges, and fingerprints were easily removed with a cloth – no scrubbing required.
Oftentimes in refrigerators, the crisper drawers seem flimsy and don’t roll out quite so smoothly. Not the case with the InstaView. All three Glide N’ Access shelves and the Glide N’ Access crisper drawer, while made of plastic, pulled out smoothly and stayed on track. They were sturdy enough to hold heavier items such as fruit or blocks of cheese.
Now the not-so-good: While this LG is a stunner to look at and has impressive features, the right door did not stay as cold as the rest of the refrigerator. While the temperature of the unit was set at 36 degrees, the middle shelf of the right door hit 41 degrees during peak lunchtime usage. Even around 9 p.m. when our testing kitchen was not being used, the temperature remained at around 38 degrees. While the door has room for a gallon of milk, it might not be the best place to keep it if you’re worried about it getting too warm.
This wasn’t the case with the left door. Items stayed much colder on that side – in fact, even colder than the temperature setting. While the fridge was set to 36 degrees, the temperature dropped as low as 32 degrees on the middle shelf after several hours of the fridge remaining closed. Our guess is that items on the left door of the fridge remained colder than the right because of their proximity to the ice machine, which is located on the left door. Also, we found ourselves utilizing the door-in-door feature on the right side quite often, which meant that warm air was surging into the right side of the unit more often while the left door remained closed.
This model comes with a one-year warranty that covers parts and labor. There is also seven years of coverage of the Sealed System and 10 years for the linear compressor. You can request service online.Our Take
Overall, we loved testing this fridge and appreciated its beauty and functionality. The quick-grab feature on the right side was extremely convenient, and we can see ourselves using it for keeping things like beer inside for a quick grab during get-togethers. But the price and the temperature differentiation on the doors of the fridge are two things to be aware of when choosing this product.
Is there a better alternative?
There aren’t a lot of models that can compete with the InstaView door on the LG. If you can do without that feature, however, the Frigidaire FGH2366PF is a similar size, sports the same French-door style, and costs less. Like this LG model, the Frigidaire has both air and water filters and a well-organized, adjustable shelving system.
How long will it last?
Refrigerators tend to last anywhere between 8 and 10 years. If you maintain it and change the filters regularly, the LG should hold up for that long. Since it has Wi-Fi and an app (in time there will likely be an iPhone app), you know that you’ll be able to update it as new tech advancements come out and it should help the company keep track of when the fridge needs maintenance.
Should you buy it?
The LG InstaView French door refrigerator may not be cheap, but it does offer a lot for the price tag. The glass door is appealing, but it shouldn’t be the only reason you get this model. The real showstopper here is the amount of usable space you get in a relatively slim profile. If you’re looking for a model with a high-end feel to complete your kitchen design, this LG won’t disappoint.