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The best refrigerators

At Digital Trends, we regularly test and review appliances both large and small. We’ve formally tested more than 100 appliances from more than 50 different brands, covering a broad range of kitchen products. This is in addition to the informal testing we perform on dozens of other appliances. Based on roughly 10,000 hours of testing, our pick for the best refrigerator is the Whirlpool WRF535SWHZ, which is a practical and affordable model that looks good in just about any kitchen.

We have also picked refrigerators for a variety of specific purposes, including fridges for small spaces, beverage coolers, fridges with great top and bottom freezers, more affordable models, and so on. Take a look at the full list to see all of our recommendations.

Best refrigerators at a glance

Best refrigerator: Whirlpool 25.2-cubic foot 3-Door 36-in French Door Refrigerator

The Whirlpool 25.2-cu. ft. 3-Door 36-in French Door Refrigerator in a kitchen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why we chose the Whirlpool WRF535SWHZ:

This Whirlpool fridge doesn’t offer much in the way of smarts, but it manages to combine the right features with a beautiful design and plenty of space. It also comes with an affordable price tag, so you can add elegance and functionality to your kitchen without paying too much. You can choose between stainless steel, black stainless, black, or white, getting just the right style for your kitchen.

It includes large French doors with humidity-controlled drawers that keep produce fresh with FreshFlow Produce Preserver technology. Another thing we really like about this fridge is that it doesn’t frost produce and milk as often as other models we’ve encountered, even when you place groceries on the top shelf of the fridge. The interior water dispenser also provides EveryDrop water, so you have easy access to filtered water.

Overall, the Whirlpool WRF535SWHZ is somewhat basic when compared to some of the fancier, smarter fridges available (like the Samsung Family Hub or LG InstaView), but it works well, looks good, and gives you just what you need for under $2,000.

Best refrigerator for limited space: GE GLE12HSPSS

The GE GLE12HSPSS fridge in a kitchen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why we chose the GE GLE12HSPSS:

This 11.9-cubic-foot bottom-mount fridge measures 24 inches across (an excellent choice for narrow spaces), with high-quality, fingerprint-resistant stainless steel, so it’ll maintain its stylish appearance. It has reversible doors, making it even easier to fit the fridge in a smaller space. Plus, it’s counter-deep, which makes it fit flush with most counters and gives it a built-in look.

Although this fridge is small, it still has plenty of space, and it boasts quite a few cool features, including high-quality LED lighting, a removable wine rack, frameless shelves, and a no-frost freezer compartment. There’s also a Temp Zone Drawer where you can choose between three temperature settings for meat, beverages, or produce. It doesn’t come with an ice maker but does allow you to add one later on if you prefer.

Sensors in the fridge monitor and automatically adjust temperature and humidity levels, and Max Cool and Fast Cool options allow you to create the optimal cooling environment for your foods. The GE GLE12HSPSS might not be the best fridge for you if you have a large family and you cook at home a lot, but for those with smaller kitchens or who regularly eat away from home, this fridge is a solid option.

Best budget refrigerator: GE French Door GNE25JMKES

The GE French Door GNE25JMKES fridge in a kitchen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why we chose the GE French Door GE GNE25JMKES:

This fridge is well-stocked with features. Behind those sleek doors, you’ll find a water dispenser, while a drawer in the freezer fills up with ice, so you don’t have to make it yourself. Its crisp LED lighting helps you see inside the 24.8-cubic-foot interior (17.5 in the fridge, 7.3 in the freezer). That freezer is particularly large, making this fridge a good choice for those who like to keep a large stock of frozen goods. There are two humidity-controlled drawers, so you can choose settings for fruits or vegetables, plus another full-width drawer with temperature controls for cold or coldest.

If a recent grocery trip takes the fridge from empty to stuffed, the Turbo Cool button can help bring it back down to the correct temperature. The 6-gallon bins are adjustable, and a “quick space” shelf folds underneath to accommodate taller items. The glass shelves and clear bins will help you keep track of your food, too.

A nice French door fridge for the price, the GE French Door GNE25JMKES is a steal when it goes on sale.

Best French door refrigerator: LG LFDS22520S

The LG LFDS22520S fridge with French doors open.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why we chose the LG LFDS22520S:

While LG is often known for their high-tech appliances, they can also make solid, beautiful designs — and one of the best examples is this French door model, which combines useful features with the French dual-door style. This helps add extra room to the fridge (especially when it comes to shelf space) while offering a very large freezer drawer that can really pack in supplies.

But the 21.8-cubic foot LG fridge has more to offer than just room. There’s a smart cooling system that carefully maintains the atmosphere inside for maximum freshness, including multiple airflow channels. The two-tier freezer drawer allows for many different organization opportunities depending on what you want to freeze, while the water/ice dispenser is intelligent while still being easy to use and clean. You can go for a slightly larger model if you want even more room (and have the kitchen space for it), but this size makes the most of the French door design at a more affordable price.

Best bottom freezer refrigerator: Whirlpool WRB322DMBM

The Whirlpool WRB322DMBM fridge with the door open.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why we chose the Whirlpool WRB322DMBM:

Whirlpool’s 22.07-cubic-foot fridge includes an extra-spacious bottom freezer drawer to store all of your long-term supplies, plus a handy ice maker. It’s pretty smart for a freezer — the built-in defrost monitors the freezer environment and runs defrost cycles whenever they are necessary to help deal with frost conditions fast while also saving energy.

The upper portion of Whirlpool’s fridge also impresses with two large humidity-controlled drawers, spill-proof glass shelves, and a temperature management system that monitors temperatures and makes adjustments based on the type of environment you’d like to create.

Note that the Whirlpool WRB322DMBM comes in several different colors to more easily match the inside of your kitchen, and the door is reversible if necessary.

Best top freezer refrigerator: Maytag MRT311FFFZ

The Maytag MRT311FFFZ fridge.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why we chose the Maytag MRT311FFFZ:

Top freezer models tend to be affordable and strong options for users who don’t need a lot of freezer space but still use it for a limited amount of important items. This Maytag fridge, with its 6.09-cubic-foot freezer and 20.5-cubic-foot refrigerator compartment, is a perfect example. Available in multiple shades, the fridge includes bright LED lights and easy electronic temperature controls.

Maytag also includes what it calls a “PowerCold” feature, a button that instantly lowers the fridge temperature for a time to get everything in there cold again, an ideal choice if the fridge has been open for a long time while cooking or unloading groceries.

Other features of the Maytag MRT311FFFZ include an optional space for an ice maker kit, two humidity-controlled drawers, and spill-proof glass shelves. It’s not the most feature-rich fridge on the market, but it’s a solid top freezer model with Maytag’s high-quality components to rely on.

Best refrigerator under $1,500: Frigidaire FRSS26L3AF

The Frigidaire FRSS26L3AF fridge with doors open.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why we chose the Frigidaire FRSS26L3AF:

If you’re looking for an affordable fridge that doesn’t skimp on useful features, this Frigidaire dual-door model should hit the spot. It includes a sleek stainless steel design, water and ice dispensers, and 25.6 cubic feet of space. Frigidaire specializes in durable fridges at lower prices, and this model is one of the best examples of its work!

Other useful features include the EvenTemp cooling system, long-lasting and well-placed LED lights, and thorough water filtration with an indicator light so you know when it’s time to replace the filter. There aren’t a lot of extra features on this fridge, which helps keep the price low, but everything here is high-quality and ready to last, making it a great choice if you want to keep your spending under $1,500 but still want to get the best possible design.

Best smart refrigerator: LG Studio Smart Wi-Fi Enabled 23.5-cubic foot Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator

The LG Studio Smart fridge with one door open.
Why we chose the LG SRFVC2406S:

If you’re looking for the ultimate smart fridge, this Wi-Fi-enabled fridge by LG is loaded with bells and whistles. It has the door-in-door InstaView feature, with a mirrored-glass panel that lets you see inside the InstaView door and an adjustable bin that glides up and down to fit larger snacks and drinks. You also get dual ice makers with this model, so you can have regular cubes, crushed ice, or round craft ice. Craft ice is especially fun, as it lasts for so long in your drink and is a huge hit with guests.

The 23.5-cubic-foot fridge has the basics like temperature-controlled drawers, water filtration, and the ability to keep your foods evenly cooled. It even has digital sensors and delivers blasts of cool air to reach every corner of the fridge. Since this is a smart fridge, it also works with Alexa and Google Assistant. Plus, it boasts features like a door alarm, a child safety lock, and more.

What’s not to love about the LG SRFVC2406S? The price for one, which comes in at close to $4,500. Also, even though this fridge makes excellent use of the space, you can find models with much more space inside for your groceries.

Researching and buying tips

What’s the best brand of refrigerator?

Whirlpool tends to receive high marks from both consumers and analysts. Yale Appliances ranks Whirlpool as the most reliable appliance brand based on the number of appliances sold versus the number serviced. LG and Samsung rank second and third, respectively. Many of the larger brands like GE, KitchenAid, and Kenmore also tend to receive respectable consumer ratings.

While Whirlpool is typically a safe bet, not all refrigerators from the same brand are created equal. You may find a GE fridge that’s better than a similar model Whirlpool, or you might find a Samsung fridge that’s better than a GE. There is no one-size-fits-all way to determine the best refrigerator brand, so researching each refrigerator model individually is the best approach. However, you can hold some comfort in knowing your fridge is made by a trusted brand like Whirlpool. You can find more information about the best refrigerator brands here.

What size refrigerator do I need?

This depends primarily on the size of your household, the size of the space, and the way you want the fridge to look in your space. You’ll need a minimum of 4 to 6 cubic feet for each adult in your household. You’ll probably also want to add an extra 6 cubic feet of storage space for occasions like dinner parties and holiday gatherings. If you’re a household of two and you don’t eat at home a lot, 14 cubic feet should be fine. However, if you’re a couple who eats at home and hosts gatherings at your house, you’ll probably want at least 18 cubic feet. Families of four who eat at home and have older kids will want at least 24 cubic feet.

To find the right size fridge for your space, measure the height, width, and depth of the space. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough space for the fridge door to open and make sure you have an additional inch or so behind the fridge and at the top for things like plugs and ventilation. You also have to make sure your fridge can fit through all of your doors, hallways, or any areas you have to navigate to get the refrigerator into the space. Refrigerators tend to come in 30-inch, 33-inch, and 36-inch sizes, so spaces in kitchens often fall into one of these sizes.

What’s the best refrigerator organization?

Before choosing a refrigerator, consider your shopping habits and how you organize your produce, meats, lunch meats, and frozen foods. If you’re the super-organized type (maybe you label everything in your fridge), you might want a fridge with extra compartments. These extra compartments make it so you can separate fruits from veggies and lunch meats from cheeses. Modern refrigerators have a lot of different tools to help you, like humidity controls for more sensitive vegetables or drawers designed to keep prepared foods cool before you eat.

Consider the freezer organization, too, and how you organize your frozen foods. Many bottom-freezer fridges have drawers that are wide and short, while the freezers in side-by-side fridges typically have shelves that are taller and narrower.

What about ice makers, water dispensers, and vegetable drawers?

When you’re shopping for a refrigerator, features like an ice maker and water dispenser might feel like extras, but these are important factors to consider. When you’re going through your day-to-day routine, you might wish you had an ice maker (or didn’t have one). Some people value having an ice maker because it lets you have ice on demand, while others feel like it takes up too much space or that it’s a leak hazard if the power goes out while you’re on vacation.

Most water dispensers require a filter, and you have to change it every six months. If you use the water dispenser regularly, changing the filter is a small price to pay for the cost savings and environmental impact associated with using the dispenser instead of drinking from water bottles. However, some people don’t want to deal with the hassle of changing the filter, or they already have an existing water filtration solution in their home.

If you store a lot of fruits and veggies in your fridge, it’s a good idea to look for a refrigerator with two separate humidity-controlled crisper drawers. This way, you can store your fruits and veggies that rot, like peaches, pears, and honeydew, in a low-humidity drawer. You can also store your fruits and veggies that wilt, like lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage, in a high-humidity drawer.

Do smart refrigerators exist, and should I buy one?

Smart refrigerators, like the Samsung Family Hub and LG InstaView Door-in-Door Smart Fridge, connect to Wi-Fi, and this allows for additional features. They may have internal cameras, so you can see inside of your fridge while you’re away from home, or doors that automatically close when left open. They may also offer remote troubleshooting options or have a touchscreen interface on the front of the fridge.

If you value these types of features, you should absolutely buy a smart fridge, provided you’ve done your homework on the appliance.

Does refrigerator energy efficiency matter?

Absolutely. According to Energy Star, if you replace your old fridge with an Energy Star certified one, you can save more than $200 over the life of the product. In addition to the savings, you’re also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the best month to buy a refrigerator?

Specific times of the year can largely sway the cost of your new potential refrigerators. Fridges are a unique home appliance, and they don’t follow many other market trends. New refrigerator models are released in the spring, unlike any other large home appliance. Manufacturers release fridges like they do the greatest coolers; spring is the best time to prepare for hot weather. March through May is the best time to lock in a new fridge or an excellent sale on last year’s inventory. Memorial Day is a prime time for exclusive fridge deals.

What Should I Look for in a Refrigerator Repair Warranty?

In addition to the length of the warranty — one year, two years, etc. — check exactly what’s covered. It’s common for a manufacturer warranty to cover one year of parts and labor, which is just enough time to protect you in the event that your fridge had issues from the start. However, it’s best to find a warranty that offers extended coverage for the compressor, which tends to be a common issue later on down the line.

Do Bottom Freezer Refrigerators Have More Problems?

The biggest issues with bottom freezer fridges tend to be access issues, as they often cost more, involve more bending to reach items, and they allow small children to more easily reach items inside of the freezer. However, in terms of repair issues, fridges/freezers with ice makers tend to have more issues than those without ice makers, as the ice maker is somewhat of a common failure point.

How Do You Know Your Fridge is Dying?

If your fridge is older (12 plus years), if you’ve been having to perform a lot of repairs, or if it’s not cooling the way it’s supposed to, these are obvious signs you might need a new unit. Sometimes, the signs are more subtle though. You might notice a lot of heat coming from the back of the unit, your electric bill might be increasing, or perhaps the fridge is making a loud noise.

How Do You Get Rid of Your Old Fridge?

You can donate or sell your old fridge on your own, or you can ask if the delivery service for your new fridge will take your old fridge with them. Most areas offer some sort of appliance donation, but you can also contact a local recycling center. If you have a working fridge, consider selling it on a local yard sale site or on a site like letgo.

How we test refrigerators

One of our definitive markers for what makes an excellent refrigerator is its appearance. It’s the center of your kitchen, and if it has a terrible, non-functional design, not only will you hate looking at it, but it won’t work efficiently. Appearance is a significant part of our ranking system. Whether a fridge has any unique, defining characteristics can improve its functionality, as well. If your fridge can do things that others can’t, it’ll feel like your investment is tailor-made to your home.

While our ranking system values your kitchen’s space constraints and the fridge’s aesthetics in our final numbers, the appliance’s internal volume and ratios are just as essential. We also heavily consider performance. Keep an eye out for aftermarket customization options, which can impact the amount of space inside your fridge. We have more details on how we test refrigerators and other appliances here.

Editors' Recommendations

Erika Rawes
Smart Home Evergreen Coordinator
Erika became a professional writer in 2010, and her work is published all over the web on sites ranging from USA Today to…
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