From Best Products
Your refrigerator is probably the most frequently used appliance in your home. When it comes time to upgrade, you should keep a few different factors in mind: price, allotted space, and personal taste. We know that refrigerators are a huge purchase and it can be difficult to find one that is reliable, relatively affordable, and in the finish that you need to match your space.
Refrigerators come in several different shapes, styles, and configurations to cater toward families of various sizes with different budget constraints, and multiple needs. Some people may prioritize having a water dispenser and filter, others need a large ice bucket, some want plenty of space for frozen foods, while others strive for as much fridge space for fresh veggies as possible. While there may not be a singular perfect refrigerator that’ll work for every home, knowing your household’s preferences is a good place to start in finding the best one for you.
Types of Refrigerators
When it comes to refrigerators, you have four distinct types to choose from: French-door, side-by-side, top freezers, and bottom freezers.
French-door fridges are the most popular model. They have two swinging doors that open to access the fridge and a freezer section (typically a drawer) at their bottom. They usually pack the most advanced features and are available in the most colors and finish options. Because of this, they’re pricier than other styles.
Side-by-side refrigerators have a skinnier freezer compartment on the left slide, and a larger refrigerator section to the right. They allow for easier access to your frozen goods since you don’t have to bend down or dig through a drawer to access them. However, they make it harder to store wide items like leftover pizza boxes, and they don’t have as many extra compartments for quick-and-easy access to drinks and snacks like French-door refrigerators.
Big surprise: Top freezers have their freezers on the top. They have a single swinging door to access things in the fridge. But you’ll have to bend down to access your fresh veggies in the crisper drawers. They’re typically the most affordable refrigerator style you can buy since they lack in-door extras like water dispensers.
Bottom freezers — you guessed it! — have freezers on the bottom, so everything in the main compartment is waist level or higher. They provide easy access to fresh items and offer more room for frozen food than top freezers, but you’ll have to bend down to access them.
Refrigerators also come in standard or counter depth — the latter is not as deep, which helps them be better aligned to your kitchen countertops and cabinets. Counter-depth models are typically more expensive. You’ll definitely want to break out the measuring tape before making a purchase to ensure you’ll have enough room for the fridge to fit.
CNET’s appliance editor, Ry Crist, says that a good rule of thumb for capacity is to aim for 4 to 6 cubic feet of storage space for each member of your family. He says a family of four should shop for a model with at least 20 cubic feet, but if you’re a Costco or Sam’s Club addict, you probably will want to splurge for a larger-capacity refrigerator.
The Best Refrigerators of 2020
How We Picked
We’ve sifted through hundreds of refrigerator models to help you discover which one is best for you, your budget, and, ultimately, your kitchen. We took a deep dive into the data to try to pinpoint which appliances are more prone to needing repairs. We’ve scoured the internet, reading reviews from authoritative publications, including our sister site Good Housekeeping — who tested the refrigerators in-house — and also read several customer reviews on sites like Home Depot, Best Buy, and Abt.
When you’re ready for an upgrade, you know you’ll have a gorgeous, reliable, and energy-efficient refrigerator that’ll last you for years to come. Check out our top picks below.
Best Overall Refrigerator
If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, the LG LFXS28968S won’t disappoint. The stainless steel French-door refrigerator offers plenty of features — like contoured doors, hidden hinges, and a slim ice maker — that give it a leg up over the competition. It’s also smart-home-enabled, compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and LG’s proprietary SmartThinq devices. LG is also one of the most reliable brands of refrigerators. Yale Appliance found that only 14% of LG fridges sold between 2017 and 2020 needed service in the first year of ownership. LG Appliances also earned the most J.D. Power Awards among other top appliance manufacturers three years in a row.
This fridge is luxurious-looking, but it’s extremely practical and offers a spacious 27.9-cubic-foot capacity (that’s enough room to store 28 bags of groceries). We’re big fans of its extra tall ice and filtered-water dispenser, which measures in at 12.6 inches tall. It can accommodate practically any pitcher or water bottle you put under it.
The fridge is equipped with three slide-out — and one folding — spill-proof tempered-glass shelves. They’re adjustable, sturdy, and easy to wipe clean. Inside, you’ll also find a four-compartment crisper system for freshly storing fruits and veggies. On the opposite sides of each double door are three 6-gallon-sized bins to stow several jugs of juice, condiments, and multiple gallons of milk.
Another clever feature: If you leave the door open, the fridge beeps to let you know.
The bottom freezer portion offers about 9 cubic feet of storage space that’s divided up into three drawers, with the bottom one being the largest and split into two separate sections.
If you’re looking for a quiet, efficient, and elegant refrigerator, this one offers impressive amounts of space, and it’s backed by a 1-year parts-and-labor warranty, a 7-year sealed-system warranty, and a 10-year linear compressor warranty. It comes in traditional stainless steel or black stainless steel colors.
Best Smart Refrigerator
GE’s PFE28PYNFS smart refrigerator is part of the appliance manufacturer’s modern-looking Profile series. GE has chosen to keep a tasteful and traditional design for its Wi-Fi-enabled appliance. We think other smart fridges like Samsung’s Family Hub or LG’s InstaView refrigerator feel slightly gimmicky with their large touch-screen — or in the case of the LG, a tinted-glass panel that allows you to see inside without opening the door.
Although Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator lets you share schedules, messages, shopping lists, and photos from its screen, we don’t think a touch screen belongs on a fridge — especially because they come with the added risk that your fridge manufacturer may stop updating the software for them down the road.
The GE PFE28PYNFS is the best smart refrigerator you can buy. Although it doesn’t have a video player, music-streaming apps, or the ability to sync with your online calendar like Samsung’s smart fridges, we don’t think these are features you need. Most people would rather watch shows on a TV or listen to music with a louder and more powerful Bluetooth speaker.
What GE’s smart fridge does have, though, is a convenient app that lets you control the fridge’s temperatures from your smartphone, and it gives you a push alert if the door is left open. You can also use the app to tell the fridge to heat up water, so it can dispense warm water for tea, or brew a cup of coffee with its built-in Keurig machine.
Smart features aside, we think the GE Profile fridge is a nice-looking, large fridge that’s easy to keep organized. Digital Trends called the French-door fridge “one of the best and most reliable ones on the market right now.” Our colleagues over at Good Housekeeping extensively reviewed the refrigerator, and also said it was the top in their tests and that it excelled at holding constant temperatures in both the refrigerator and freezer. They found during their lab tests that the fridge’s crisper kept lettuce “as crisp as the day it was purchased for a solid week,” and that it was “paramount for keeping food fresh,” adding that it extended the life of meat, poultry, and fish.
Best Side-by-Side Refrigerator
Compared with other refrigerator styles, side-by-side models are split vertically. On the plus side, all of your fresh and frozen goods are at eye level, but it’s difficult to fit larger, wider items like pizza boxes than it would be with a fridge-and-freezer combination that’s split horizontally in a French-door style. This isn’t to say that side-by-side refrigerators don’t offer enough room. In fact, this model has 24.5 cubic feet of space, and it’s slightly larger than our bottom-freezer pick.
It’s fitted with several drawers, storage bins, and a slim ice maker, which lets you store up to 25 bags of groceries. On the right side of the fridge, you’ll find spill-proof tempered glass shelves, plus dual crispers and a dairy bin to keep fruits, veggies, and cheese fresh. On the left side is the freezer, which is equipped with three large shelves that keep frozen food more organized than the large freezer drawers typically found in French-door fridges.
We were fans of the Samsung’s upper storage section that’s tall enough to fit items like frozen pizzas, and its bottom bin for frozen veggies. If you like the occasional midnight snack, the door has plenty of room for ice cream containers, too. This model comes in white, stainless steel, or a fingerprint-resistant black stainless steel variant, which costs an additional $100.
Best Top-Freezer Refrigerator
Over the years, French-door-style refrigerators have become increasingly popular, but if you still prefer the older, top-freezer style and don’t store a lot of frozen goods, Samsung makes a reliable and modern-looking one called the RT21M6215.
It’s about 33 inches wide, and it comes in white, black stainless, or standard stainless steel finishes. It has recessed and reversible handles, plus a fingerprint-resistant coating. It includes an ice maker that produces up to 3.7 pounds of ice each day.
This refrigerator is large and offers 21.1 cubic feet of space, which is enough for 21 bags of groceries. It is packed with bright LED lights, adjustable glass shelves, and several plastic bins for optimal food storage.
What makes it stand out though is its FlexZone feature, which converts its top freezer into a refrigerator, so you can store even more fresh food or beverages.
It also has a Twin Cooling Plus option that maintains the humidity level to keep foods fresh for longer, and helps to prevent freezer burn and frost in the freezer. If you need even more storage space for your food, consider this 24-cubic-foot fridge from LG, which received high marks from CNET for its impressive durability and performance.
Best Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator
If French-door-style refrigerators just aren’t your thing, we think the bottom-freezer style is the next best option — and Whirlpool offers one of the best ones you can buy. What makes this style ideal is that it puts your food at eye level, so you can easily see and quickly grab what you’re looking for. The bottom-freezer style is a better pick for those who want quick and easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Just know that if you need to pull something out of the freezer, you’ll have to bend down some.
The WRB322DMBM — which comes in stainless steel, white, and black finishes — offers 22 cubic feet of storage space, and it has plenty of organizational bins and drawers. Puls repair technicians say that Whirlpool fridges are some of the most reliable, since they don’t need to be repaired as often as other brands.
We love the fridge’s LED illuminated interior, glass shelves, and its easy-to-use temperature controls. Since the fridge has adjustable compartment door bins, there’s plenty of room for tall items, like wine bottles or 2-liter bottles of pop. Plus, it has a deep freezer drawer for all of your frozen goods.
In terms of overall performance, you can expect this fridge to keep even temperatures and maximize food freshness. An editor at CNET said if you’re shopping for a bottom freezer and you value performance, he’d “have a hard time finding a reason to recommend anything else.”
Best Luxury Refrigerator
If you have a big family and need a big fridge, or you just want one of the nicest ones money can buy, this one from LG is packed with all the bells and whistles you could want. We just wish it were a little cheaper. We love its fingerprint-resistant exterior and dual freezer drawers, which help keep things organized.
Another cool feature is the “InstaView” door, so you can knock twice on the glass panel to illuminate its interior and see what’s inside without even opening it. If you see something you want to grab, you can open a panel on the right door to access its bins without opening the door entirely so that cold air doesn’t escape the main cavity.
The fridge is 36 inches wide, and you have the choice of standard stainless steel or black stainless steel. Some fridges are not well equipped to store items like pizza boxes, casserole platters, roasting pans, or large cases of beer, but this 28-cubic-foot model can hold all those goodies simultaneously and then some.
On the inside are four adjustable glass shelves, three humidity-controlled crispers for produce, and six bins for storing anything from snacks to condiments. The freezer offers plenty of depth, and it has two drawers, making it easy to organize frozen food.
Besides packing plenty of space, the fridge is incredibly feature-filled. It offers Wi-Fi connectivity to control it, and you can even pair it with your smart speaker. All in all, if you have deep pockets, LG’s four-door refrigerator delivers outstanding performance, polished looks, and a ton of space.
Best Budget Refrigerator
For those on a budget or who are looking for a fridge to put in the garage or basement, you can’t go wrong with the GE GTS18GTNRWW. It’s hands-down the best budget refrigerator you can buy. Considering its $700 price, we think it looks quite good, too. This option, which is also a Wirecutter top pick, has a smooth and glossy finish, and it comes in black, white, or stainless steel (the latter will cost you a little extra).
Inside are full-width, adjustable spill-proof glass shelves, which is an impressive feature considering that other budget fridges have wire shelving. The fridge’s dual crispers have basic humidity controls and the rest of the interior does a fine job at keeping things fresh and cool. We also liked that the door offers plenty of storage for beverages and jugs. This fridge offers 17.5 cubic feet of storage, which is plenty of space to store food for a family of four.
The freezer has one wire shelf dividing it in two. Unfortunately, there’s no light or ice maker, but the freezer door does have two shelves for storing items like frozen veggies and ice packs.
Best Mini Fridge
Don’t let its compact size fool you: This mini fridge is big enough to hold a 24-pack of water bottles, 14 cans of pop, a large container of juice, a bottle of wine, a jar of mayo, a carton of strawberries, and a bottle of ketchup, with space for leftovers to spare. In total, you get 4.4 cubic feet of storage. The fridge comes in black, white, or stainless steel, and it typically costs less than $200.
It’s equipped with a nifty slide-out tray for deli meats and cheeses, a convenient soda-can storage rack on its door, an egg tray, and a surprisingly spacious freezer. The fridge is about 33 inches tall, so it should fit under most counters (just make sure you measure your office desk to ensure the proper fit if you want to bring it into work).
One thing to note is that Danby doesn’t recommend using this fridge outdoors or in a garage, so keep that in mind. If you want an even smaller fridge, consider the Midea WHS-65LSS1 instead. It’s a super compact, no-frills budget buy with just one shelf. It typically costs around $100, but does a great job at keeping food and drinks chilled.
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