Here 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, which does an exceptional job of combining useful smart features with a spacious fridge that can do everything.
We have also picked refrigerators for a variety of specific purposes, including fridges for small spaces, 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: Cafe 27.8-inch Smart French Door CVE28DP4NW2
- Best refrigerator for limited space: GE GLE12HSLSS
- Best budget refrigerator: GE French Door GNE25JMKES
- Best French door refrigerator: Samsung RF23J9011SR 4-Door Flex
- Best bottom freezer refrigerator: Samsung RF18HFNBSR
- Best top freezer refrigerator: Maytag MRT311FFFZ
- Best refrigerator under $1,500: Kenmore Elite 79043 Refrigerator
Why we chose the Cafe 27.8-inch Smart French Door CVE28DP4NW2:
Not all smart fridges have features in which the average buyer would be interested — cameras inside your fridge are nice, but not exactly something that adds a lot of value to the model. But this Cafe fridge manages to combine the right smart features with a beautiful design and a ton of space. The refrigerator includes large French doors with adjustable, humidity-controlled drawers that allow you to set temperature and moisture levels for each. It also includes two separate evaporators for fridge and freezer, a high-quality feature that allows for better temperature management.
The water dispenser is also worth praise: It can pour hot or cold filtered water and has Precise Fill settings to add a specific amount of water to dishes (hands-free, too, in case you have to hold a bowl). App controls allow you to preheat water remotely, which is great for getting ready to make a cup of tea. The LCD screen on the door can also accomplish other tasks, and even show off uploaded family photos.
Finally, note that you can customize the handles and knobs to match the steel selections in your kitchen.
Why we chose the GE GLE12HSLSS:
This 11.9-cubic-foot bottom-mount fridge comes in 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 enough 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.
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. This might not be the right fridge for you if you have a large family and you cook at home a lot, but for those with smaller kitchens or those who regularly eat away from home, this fridge is a solid option.
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, it’s a steal when it goes on sale.
Why we chose the Samsung RF23J9011SR 4-Door Flex:
If you’re in the market for a unique fridge, the Samsung 4-Door Flex Fridge offers a full compartment that can be either a freezer or warmed up for more fresh food storage. It’s sort of like the Kenmore’s temp-adjustable drawer, but bigger and with a larger temperature range.
The Power-Cool feature is very handy if you need to quickly cool down that six-pack before the game. There’s also a similar Power-Freeze tool for the freezer. Both of these can be selected on the front touchscreen panel. If you want it to be an ice cream holder, one of the four settings is for a soft freeze. The drawback is that because the bottom of the fridge is split in half, you can’t store large frozen pizzas in it — the individual compartments just aren’t wide or tall enough.
As for the design, the Samsung model is a bit shallower than full-sized models. Thankfully, the middle shelves can be repositioned for greater flexibility. Three gallon-sized bins are positioned on the right door to keep bulkier items to the side. The shelf in the middle can be lowered or raised as needed.
It has 22.5-cubic feet of capacity, it’s 36-inches wide, and costs about $2,500, so it’s meant for a very specific market, but those looking for a large model that’s family-friendly will find plenty to appreciate here. If you have a more technological fridge in mind and love the smart features, you should take a look at the Samsung Family Hub, a pricier model that’s packed with cool smart features.
Why we chose the Samsung RF18HFNBSR:
Bottom level freezers offer a lot of accessibility advantages and usually include extra space compared to top freezers (and often even side freezers, if an ice maker takes up space). This Samsung model, with a 17.5-cubic foot total capacity, is particularly impressive with a spacious bottom freezer that features a separate cooling system providing drier air to the freezer, which means less frost and easier control over the cooling level.
There’s also a power freeze option, which allows you to quickly drop the temperature in the freezer to swiftly chill something you need to be extra cold or frozen. The refrigerator portion has a similar power cool option as well. Samsung’s LED lights provide excellent illumination for all compartments, and the well-balanced freezer is easy to pull open and close without strain (or while juggling an armful of groceries).
An automatic filtered ice maker is built into the freezer, which does take up a little room, but it’s surprisingly compact and leaves ample space for all your items.
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 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.
Why we chose the Kenmore Elite 79043 Refrigerator:
At a fair price for this solid model, you get a spacious 24.1 cubic feet of combined storage room, which including adjustable shelves, two crisper drawers, and a particularly large pantry drawer with a two-tier bottom freezer. There plenty of room here for frozen pizzas or large platters, while the fridge door also has adjustable options for storing especially large bottles.
Digital controls allow you to customize the fridge to your ideal setting, while multi-air flow helps to balance the cool air through your fridge so the items on your top shelf aren’t frozen and the foods on the bottom aren’t too warm.
For those who want a reversible door, you can install the door on either side of the fridge. While this fridge has a lot to offer, you do give up some perks when you go for a fridge at a lower price point. For instance, the shelves are plastic instead of glass, and there’s no fast-freeze option.
Researching and buying tips
- What’s the best brand of refrigerator?
- What size refrigerator do I need?
- What’s the best refrigerator organization?
- What about ice makers, water dispensers, and vegetable drawers?
- Do smart refrigerators exist, and should I buy one?
- What’s the best refrigerator organization?
- How we test refrigerators
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 equally. 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. But, 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.
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 of the fridge 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 through to get the refrigerator into the space.
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.
Consider the freezer organization too, and how you organize your frozen foods. Many bottom-freezer fridges have drawers and they’re wider and shorter, while the freezers in side-by-side fridges typically have shelves and are taller and narrower.
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 bottled water. 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; and, you can store your fruits and veggies that wilt, like lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage, in a high-humidity drawer.
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. They may also offer remote troubleshooting options, or have a touchscreen interface on the front of the fridge, for instance.
If you value these types of features, you should absolutely buy a smart fridge, provided you’ve done your homework on the appliance.
Absolutely. According to Energy Star, if you replace your old fridge with an Energy Star Certified one, you can save more than $300 over the next five years. In addition to the savings, you’re also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
When choosing a new appliance, the overall aesthetic is definitely something to consider. After all, a refrigerator is a large focal point in any kitchen. It may be the best refrigerator ever constructed but if it’s unsightly or unnecessarily bulky, do you really want to showcase it alongside your other appliances? Probably not. We also like to focus in on specific special features. What does this appliance do that others simply cannot? Many of these bonus bells and whistles will certainly affect the price of the unit but then again, many of these options are the selling points on a specific model.
Outside of basic square footage limitations in your kitchen, internal refrigeration/freezer capacity is key. How large is the refrigerator? How large is the freezer portion? Adjustable housing and aftermarket customization can also affect the capacity of the unit. You can read more about how we test products here.
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