Over the last year, smart fridges have taken center stage in kitchen appliance lineups. Led by impressive additions such as the Samsung 4-Door Flex Fridge, 2020’s slate of refrigerators are designed to save you space and stress while cooling or freezing your cold.
Compartmentalization is perhaps the standout feature of 2020’s refrigerator lineup, including temperature-adjustable drawers and crispers. Below, we’ve tested some of the best fridges for 2020 that keep your food fresh in style.
Best refrigerators at a glance
- Best refrigerator: Whirlpool Double Drawer WRV986FDEM
- 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: GE GTE18GMHES
- Best refrigerator under $1,500: Kenmore Elite 79043 Refrigerator
Why we chose the Whirlpool Double Drawer WRV986FDEM:
A fridge so nice, it makes twice the ice. The Whirlpool Double Drawer French Door is 25.8-cubic feet of compartmentalized storage. In addition to the conventional French doors and bottom freezer, this Whirlpool model has two fridge drawers in between. One is a produce drawer, while the other has specialty temperature settings. You can chill specific items like cheese, meat, drinks, and snacks or thaw frozen items more safely than on the counter.
With 18.2-cubic feet for fresh items and 7.6 for frozen, the unconventional design does suck up some space. But inside the main compartment, you’ll find a triple crisper bin, giving you even more space for fruits and veggies. There are also smaller compartments for items such as butter or string cheese. The doors have gallon bins, and the left side holds one of the ice makers. The other deposits ice in a bin in the freezer. That’s also the site of a pizza pocket, a special spot just for your frozen pizza. LED lights, glass shelves, and an in-door water dispenser are all features to be expected on a fridge of this price.
With everything divided up so nicely, it should cut down on the number of mystery leftovers that often linger in the back of disorganized fridges.
Why we chose the GE GLE12HSLSS:
This 11.3-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-depth, which makes it fit flush with most counters and gives it a built-in look.
Although this fridge is small, it fits a lot of food, and it boasts quite a few cool features. It has LED lights inside, so you can easily find that jar of mayo hiding in the back of the fridge. It also has a removable wine rack, frameless glass shelving, and a no-frost compartment in the freezer.
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:
Behind the sleek doors, you will 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). We’ve seen some larger-capacity fridges with smaller freezers than that, trading it for more fresh food space. There are two humidity-controlled drawers, so you can choose settings for fruits or vegetables. Another full-width drawer has 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 more versatile. It’s both bigger and offers a larger temperature swing.
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.
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.
As for the design, overall, 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 GE GTE18GMHES:
GE’s basic fridge model is an excellent choice for those looking for a more affordable refrigerator that includes a traditional top freezer compartment with air tower cooling and frost-free defrosting. The freezer includes two fixed shelves, and a spill-proof floor that’s easy to clean out when necessary.
In the main compartment, you will find two adjustable humidity drawers, a snack drawer, and plenty of clear space. This fridge is also Energy Star rated for energy efficiency, which we always like to see on the largest appliances in the house. The slate surface on the outside, meanwhile, is designed to resist fingerprints and makes cleaning easier.
The overall width of the fridge model — at 28 inches — is ideal for those who need a narrow fridge to fit in a smaller space, but be sure to mind how the door swings.
Why we chose the Kenmore Elite 79043 Refrigerator:
This affordable bottom-freezer fridge is pretty large, at 24.1 cubic feet. It has flexible storage options, including adjustable shelving, two crisper drawers, a full-width pantry drawer that can fit larger items like pre-made pizzas and dessert platters, and a two-tier bottom freezer. The fridge’s door storage bin even moves out of the way for when you need to store tall bottles in the door.
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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