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Best Refrigerators & Buying Guide

To find the best refrigerators, we reviewed:
  • 1. Features
  • 2. Cooling Ability
  • 3. Design
  • 4. Capacity
  • 5. Price
  • 6. Brand
Image with a man in a Rethority shirt standing in front of a bunch of fridges below the words best refrigerators and buying guide

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Best Refrigerators on the Market

With so many refrigerator brands and models on the market, it’s helpful to start your search with a shortlist of the best. After analyzing and comparing hundreds of refrigerators, we’ve come up with the 5 models that really stand out as the best in their category.

Our Top Picks

1. Best Door-in-Door Refrigerator: LG Electronics 26.8 cu. ft. Side by Side
2. Best Smart Fridge: GE Profile 27.9 cu. ft. Smart 4-Door French Door
3. Best Large Capacity: Samsung 28.2 cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator
4. Best Compact Refrigerator: Frigidaire 13.9 cu. ft. Top Freezer
5. Best Budget Refrigerator: GE 16.6 cu. ft. Top Freezer

Every appliance we review is evaluated based on the most important criteria for consumers. We look at the included features, cooling ability, design, capacity, and price to find the top fridge models in each category. Our list includes only the models that have passed our test with flying colors.

Find the top-rated, most recommended refrigerator in the most popular categories below. Whether you’re looking for an innovative, connected smart model or one that can fit 2 weeks of groceries inside with room to spare, there are some great options here.

Checking out the 5 best refrigerators is a great way to see some of the features and capabilities today’s refrigerators have to offer. Let’s get started!

Helpful Links:

Refrigerator CEE Tiers
Energy Star Guide

Best Door-in-Door Refrigerator

26.8 cu. ft. Side by Side Refrigerator with InstaView Door-in-Door, Non-Dispenser with Pocket Handles in Platinum Silver

LG Electronics 26.8 cu. ft. Side by Side Refrigerator

A unique solution for maximizing energy-efficiency and keeping food cold.

The best door-in-door model is, hands down, the LG Electronics 26.8 cu. ft. Side by Side Refrigerator. If anyone in your household tends to stand with the fridge door open while picking a snack or drink, this will fix the problem and cut your energy bills. The price is right, it’s well designed, and customers love it. Here’s a look at the features it comes with. 

Door-in-Door

Knock twice on the InstaView door to illuminate the contents and know exactly what’s inside without opening the door. Store the food and drinks your family grabs most often in the door-in-door compartments to reach them without opening the entire door.

When you open the full door, all the items in the door-in-door compartments are just as easily accessible. The door-in-door also has a special ColdSaver insulation panel that prevents cold loss and keeps food fresh longer. 

PrintProof Finish

The shiny, platinum silver finish of this fridge might look like it will be hard to keep clean, but it’s not. It has LG’s special PrintProof finish to prevent smudges. Just use a soft, dry cloth to wipe it down every now and then to keep it looking like new. 

Built-In Ice Maker

You won’t find a water dispenser with this model, but there’s a powerful ice maker in the freezer compartment. It automatically makes ice cubes so you’ll never have to worry about filling ice trays or running to the store for more ice. 

Sleek Design

Everything about this fridge says modern. From the InstaView door panel to the hidden hinges and minimalist-style exterior, this model would look at home in any kitchen.

The sleek exterior hides an unexpectedly big 26.8 cubic foot interior, which is very well designed. It comes with 4 shelves, 2 crisper drawers, plenty of on-door storage, and a roomy freezer. Customers appreciate the LED display inside that shows the temperature of the fridge and freezer. 

Cooling Power

The ColdSaver panel in the door-in-door compartment keeps food cold even at the front of the refrigerator. This model has built-in digital sensors throughout the interior.

So, it can sense when the temperature rises out of the setting and immediately compensates with a boost of cold air. So if you put hot food or unload a huge grocery haul, this fridge will still be able to maintain the perfect temperature inside. 

Customer Reviews

The LG Side by Side InstaView refrigerator is a crowd favorite. Customers give this refrigerator an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Almost 90% of those who own it say they’d recommend it to others. Plenty of space

Best Smart Fridge

Profile 27.9 cu. ft. Smart 4-Door French Door Refrigerator with Door in Door in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel

GE Profile 27.9 cu. ft. Smart 4-Door French Door Refrigerator

A flexible refrigerator that merges technology with 4-door flexibility.

If you’re in the market for a smart refrigerator, you should consider the GE Profile 27.9 cu. ft. Smart 4-Door French Door Refrigerator. This fridge may be on the pricier side, but it comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect, plus a few cool features that might surprise you. 

Built-in WiFi

What makes the GE Profile smart? It has built-in WiFi, so it can connect to any smart device. Get alerts to your smartphone if the door is left open or if the temperature goes up inside. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you’re always connected. 

Door-in-Door

This is a door-in-door model, so grabbing the snacks and drinks you reach for most is easier and faster. The shelving and bins that are usually fixed directly on a fridge door actually swing out and rotate in the GE Profile. You can push them flat against the door or swing them out, so it’s easy to grab your favorites. 

Ice and Water Dispenser 

An ice maker/water dispenser is included with this model. You can choose from chilled water and crushed or cubed ice anytime. We really liked the Hands-Free Autofill water feature. Place a glass in the dispenser, press a button, and it will fill it to the correct mark without overfilling.

The dispenser is located on the right door of the fridge for easy access. It uses a special XWF water filter to reduce chlorine, lead, BPA, and other impurities in tap water. 

Energy-Efficient

The Profile is super energy efficient, earning the ENERGY STAR qualification and using less energy than other appliances in the same category. The LED lights that keep the interior brightly illuminated use very little energy, and the unit runs quietly.

Even with the patented TwinChill cooling technology (keeps the fridge and freezer at their perfect temperatures), this model is anything but an energy hog. 

Easy to Clean

The fingerprint-resistant stainless exterior can be cleaned easily with a soft cloth: no special cleaners required. There’s a removable white liner in the drawers so you can pull it out, wipe it down, and replace it with no hassle. 

Storage Flexibility

Customers love the amount of customizable storage in this model. Not only does it have the door-in-door rotating storage bins, but it also has a removable caddy for drinks, a slide-out bottom freezer, and dedicated chill drawer with adjustable temperature. Plus, with 27.9 cubic feet of storage, you can fit plenty of food and drinks inside. 

Customer Reviews

The GE Profile is definitely a customer favorite. On Home Depot’s website, it gets amazing reviews and recommendations. From 1,532 customers, it has an average of 4.7 stars and a 95% recommendation rate.

Positive reviews cited the door-in-door, overall features, space, lighting, and design as their favorite things about it. A few reviewers said the ice maker could be bigger and wished the shelves were adjustable.

Best Large Capacity Fridge

28.2 cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator in Stainless Steel with internal water dispenser

Samsung 28.2 cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator

A great pick for large household, offering 10% more storage than most fridges.

If you need lots of room in the fridge, opt for the Samsung 28.2 cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator. It’s got 10% more capacity than most refrigerators, and it is packed with features. At this price point, it’s the best large capacity model you can buy. Here’s why.

Ultra-Large Capacity

Unless you’re going with a much more expensive built-in refrigerator, this Samsung french door model offers the most capacity on the market. Fit everything you need inside with 28.2 cubic feet of space in the roomy interior. It’s a french door refrigerator, so you’ll have easy access to anything inside with everything at an arm’s reach. 

Smart Storage Solutions

This fridge not only has 10% more capacity than others, but it also comes with useful storage bins and drawers that keep everything organized. There’s a full-width drawer that allows you to store big items that won’t fit in many fridges, like party platters and large pizza boxes. The middle shelf is adjustable to fit any item you put inside. 

Fingerprint-Resistant

No need to worry about using special stainless steel cleaning products to keep this model looking brand new. The exterior has a fingerprint-resistant finish to keep smudges from detracting from the look of the modern design.  

Energy-Efficient

This is one of the most energy-efficient refrigerators on the market, despite its powerful cooling and large capacity. It’s earned the coveted CEE Tier I rating, which means it is among the top 25% most energy-efficient appliances. It meets all ENERGY STAR requirements with the Tier I rating as well. 

Interior Water Dispenser and Ice Maker

You can get cold, filtered water directly inside the fridge door with the included water dispenser. Filters snap in and out for easy changing as needed. The bottom freezer includes an ice maker that dumps 5.5 pounds of ready-to-use ice into a tray so you can grab it when you need it. 

Customer Reviews

With 70 customer reviews currently online, every single customer (100%) says they’d recommend this model to others. It has an overall rating of 4.9 stars out of 5. You likely won’t find another fridge with reviews and ratings this good!

Among the top reviewed features are the roomy interior, LED lighting, easy accessibility, large freezer, and internal water dispenser. One reviewer did note that the exterior wasn’t as smudge-proof as advertised.

Best Compact Fridge

Frigidaire 13.9 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator

A small but mighty choice for households with limited space.

Perfect for smaller spaces without sacrificing style or room is the Frigidaire 13.9 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator. This smaller unit packs a lot of features into the interior to maximize space. 

Compact, Not Mini

This model is far from a mini-fridge, offering almost 14 cubic feet of space inside. It has 2 glass shelves inside that span the width of the fridge for storing larger items. There’s a crisper drawer with adjustable humidity controls, a sliding deli for cheese and meats, and a nice-sized freezer for frozen items.

With LED lighting inside, all contents are clearly visible to ensure you don’t forget about those leftovers. The 3-rack door storage is big enough to fit items as large as a gallon of milk. 

Reversible Door

Another space-conscious feature this unit has is the reversible door. Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you can install the door to open from the right or left. If your kitchen is a little short on space, it’s nice to be able to have the door open from the side that’s most convenient. 

Energy-Efficient

This unit is rated CEE Tier III, making it one of the top 10% of all appliances in terms of energy efficiency. It’s also ENERGY STAR qualified and actually exceeds the requirements laid out for appliances to get the certification. You’ll save on energy bills and reduce your energy consumption with this compact fridge. 

Powerful Cooling

This small-but-mighty Frigidaire is a powerful cooling machine. You can adjust the temperature controls for the fridge and freezer to ensure everything stays in the temperature zone you want.

With Frigidaire’s EvenTemp cooling system, everything gets consistently chilled or frozen. Keep food from piling up in the freezer (which reduces cooling capabilities) with the full-width glass shelf and 2 door racks to give everything its own place. 

Customer Reviews

This model gets an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars in reviews, and about 82% of customers say they’d recommend it to others. Customers rave about this unit’s size, space, price, and features.

There are a few complaints about the durability of the plastic crisper drawer and lack of ice maker. Note that you can purchase one made by Frigidaire separately for about $89.

Best Budget Refrigerator

16.6 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator in White

GE 16.6 cu. ft. Top Freezer

GE is known for making quality appliances, and this model is no exception.

The best refrigerator under $1,500 (about the average price) is easily the GE 16.6 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator. While there are some even more affordable units on the market, they don’t get reviews and recommendations like this one. Here’s what makes it stand out as our #1 budget pick. 

Roomy Inside

With 16.1 cubic feet of space inside, this model is full size and has plenty of room. There are gallon door storage bins so you can keep the shelf space for other items. Clear crisper drawers make it easy to see your fresh fruits and veggies, while the adjustable wire shelves provide ample space for snacks, drinks, and ingredients. 

Reliable 

One study that covered all 14 to 18 cubic foot refrigerators found that this GE-made unit was the number one in quality and dependability out of them all. If you want an appliance that lasts and won’t break the bank, this is it. 

Organized Storage

The gallon door storage bins are perfect for milk, tea, juice, and water. With the included dairy compartment, you can conveniently store butter and cheese where it’s easily accessible and properly chilled. A wire shelf in the freezer doubles the amount of floor space so you can fit more items without stacking. 

Consistently Cools

The temperature controls are conveniently located at the front of the fridge, so you can set both the refrigerator and freezer temperatures with a touch. Venting throughout the unit ensures plenty of chilled air blasts through to consistently cool and freeze the items inside, even those in the door bins. 

Customer Reviews

This model gets an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars, tallying the results of more than 2,000 customer reviews. Overall, 90% of those who own one say they would recommend it for others.

The most commonly cited reasons for a good rating were the space inside, price, features, and overall value. A few reviewers complained that the temperature controls should be on the side as they seem to be in the way up front.

How to Choose the Best Refrigerator

A guy in a REthority shirt standing in front of an open red refrigerator giving the thumbs up

A refrigerator is no small expense. If you’re about to spend hundreds or thousands on a new one, you want to make sure you’re buying one that will last. It needs to have plenty of room inside and perfectly chill and freeze your food. If it lowers your energy bills in the process, that’s a major bonus!

But sifting through the hundreds of models online and in-store can be truly overwhelming. Is it worth spending a lot more to get the top of the line unit with smart home connectivity? Or should you spend less and opt for one made by a brand that’s proven to be reliable without the bells and whistles?

While every buyer’s needs will be different, there are few important criteria you should pay attention to as you shop for a new fridge. By making sure your new purchase checks all these boxes, you’ll end up with a unit that looks good, performs well, meets your household needs, and lasts for many years.

How can you make sure you get the best refrigerator for your household? Here are the factors you should consider before you buy. 

Refrigerator Type

Different types of refrigerators displayed in graphic form against a simple pink background

Start your search by deciding on what kind of refrigerator you’re looking for. There are a few general types you can choose from, and most brands make a variety of types.

1) French door
2) Side-by-side
3) Top freezer
4) Bottom freezer
5) Compact

Read more about each refrigerator type, the pros and cons, and who they’re best for below. 

1. French Door Refrigerators

The pros and cons of French Door refrigerators illustrated into a graphic

French door refrigerators have become really popular in recent years. These models have two equally-sized doors at eye level that open outward for refrigerator access and a freezer on the bottom. The freezer is typically a pull-out drawer.

Some models feature a freezer drawer and an additional chilling drawer to increase the space available for refrigeration. Most smart fridges are french door units.

Pros 

• Offer the most capacity (up to 34 cubic feet)
• More flexibility for storage with wider shelves than side-by-side types
• Bigger doors make eye-level refrigerator access easier; open 1 door or both

Cons

• Available in widths 28 inches to 36 inches, so won’t work for smaller spaces 
• The freezer is below eye level and less convenient to access than top-freezer models
• Total capacity is higher, but actual capacity is reduced due to the configuration

2. Side-by-Side Refrigerators

The pros and cons of side by side refrigerators illustrated into a graphic

Side-by-side refrigerators actually look pretty similar to french door types, but there’s an important difference. One side is the refrigerator, and the other side is the freezer.

Usually, the refrigerator side is larger than the freezer side. Both sides will be more narrow than the full-width freezers and refrigerators in other types of units, like french door, top-freezer, or bottom-freezer. 

Pros

• Good capacity offered with up to 28 cubic feet of space inside
• Narrow doors reduce the amount of space needed to fully open the doors – great for smaller kitchens
• Narrow shelving puts all contents front and center for access

Cons

• Not compact by any means, anywhere from 33 inches to 36 inches wide
• Narrow doors and shelving can make access more difficult
• Lack of full-width shelving makes it hard to store large, flat, or wide items like pizza boxes or deli platters

3. Top-Freezer Refrigerators

The pros and cons of top freezer refrigerators illustrated into a graphic

Top freezer models are a familiar sight to most of us. They feature the freezer at eye level with the refrigeration unit below it. These types have full-width doors. Typically, these types are the most affordable. You’ll find them with up to 23 cubic feet of space inside, measuring up to 33 inches wide. 

Pros 

• Best capacity-to-size ratio, so you’ll get increased use of the space inside
• Full-width doors and shelves provide easy access to fridge and freezer contents
• More affordable than most other types of refrigerators

Cons

• Refrigerator space is below eye level, so may require stooping to access
• Not as eye-catching as other types, like the french door style
• Full-width doors require a little more space in the kitchen to open fully

4. Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

The pros and cons of bottom freezer refrigerators illustrated into a graphic

Bottom freezer refrigerators are very similar to top freezer units. Instead of the freezer on the top, though, they feature the freezer portion on the bottom. This puts the refrigeration unit at eye level.

Typically, these units range in width from about 24 inches up to 36 inches. They can be suitable for smaller spaces if bought in a more compact width.

Pros 

• Internal capacity second only to the french door style (as high as 30 cubic feet), which is enough for a large family
• Refrigerator compartment at eye level for easier access to fresh goods
• Freezers come with organizing compartments for easier storage

Cons

• More expensive than top-freezer refrigerators 
• Must bend down to reach the freezer contents
• Slightly less energy efficient than top freezer units

5. Compact Refrigerators

The pros and cons of compact refrigerators illustrated into a graphic

Compact refrigerators have everything a modern refrigerator should. It’s just squeezed into a smaller package. You won’t get nearly as much capacity with these types.

But, they may be the best option if you have real space limitations. Typically, compact fridges are the same height as full-size types. They are just much narrower. 

Pros

• Can fit into smaller kitchens where other fridges won’t fit
• Much more affordable than full-size models 
• Work well for garages or other spaces where limited food and drink is stored

Cons

• Offer only about 25% of the capacity that full-size models do
 Temperature controls may be less accurate than full-size units
• Narrower width means storing bulky or large, flat items may be impossible

Refrigerator Brand

Featured image titled the Best Refrigerator Brands and showing the six most reliable fridges

Once you’ve got an idea of the type of refrigerator you’re after, you should start thinking about the brand you want to buy. There are lots of companies making refrigerators today, but some brands are much better than others.

For an appliance that should last you and your family for years, it’s a good idea to avoid the cheapest. Instead, go for the most reliable and highly-rated brands.

Saving a little money upfront can turn into higher expenses down the road if your fridge needs many repairs or an early replacement. We’ve reviewed the top brands of refrigerators in the U.S. and found that these are the best:

1. Frigidaire
2. LG
3. Samsung
4. General Electric (GE)
5. Maytag
6. KitchenAid

Choosing a model made by any of these brands means you’ll get a solid warranty, a well-made product, and high manufacturing quality.

If customer reviews are important to you, you’ll find that Kenmore and Haier are two brands that rank low in customer satisfaction. Consumer Affairs shows a rating of 2 out of 5 stars for Kenmore. This brand does not manufacture its own appliances. Instead, manufacturers like Whirlpool and Roper do.

Haier has an even worse star rating, with just 1.2 stars out of 5 on Consumer Affairs. While you might be able to find a good fridge from either of these brands, it’s better to stick with the highest-rated brands.

Read more: Best Refrigerator Brands: 6 Solid Picks

Cooling Ability

Cooling ability of a fridge including various features that you would expect to find on the best refrigerator on the market

A refrigerator’s cooling and freezing quality is another factor to weigh in. You want to keep your fresh food at the right temperature for safety and keep your frozen food from thawing out. A strong compressor and adequate venting throughout the unit will help a fridge’s cooling ability. Here’s what to look for.

Quality temperature controls: You should be able to easily and accurately adjust the temperature for both the fridge and freezer spaces. Some models will have a dial, others a sliding gauge, and some will have a digital pad and LCD readout you can adjust with a touch. Typically, higher-priced models come with digital temperature controls. 

Additional cooling features: Brands will advertise special cooling features that help the unit maintain a constant temperature, evenly and consistently cool the interior, or offer a burst of cold air to bring the temperature down if it rises. Make note of these features and seek models that have them. 

Special compartments: Some models come with special compartments that receive additional cold air to ensure the contents stay at the right temperature. Beverage caddies, dairy bins, and humidity-adjustable crisper drawers are all examples. Units with these features may offer more reliable cold temperatures throughout the unit. 

Capacity

French door fridge open with plenty of food and drinks and stuff inside

Let’s face it – how much stuff you can pack into the fridge without creating a hard-to-access mess is essential to think about. The size of your household is the main factor to determine the minimum capacity you need.

In general, for every adult or teen living in your home, you’ll need about 5 cubic feet of space. For small children, you’ll need a little less.

So if you have 2 adults in the home, you’ll need a refrigerator capacity of 10 cubic feet at minimum. If there are 2 adults and 2 children in the home, you may need a minimum capacity closer to 16 cubic feet. There’s no harm in choosing a capacity that is a bit larger.

No one knows your household and food storage needs as well as you. If you tend to cook a lot with fresh ingredients or have a lot of frozen food on hand, opt for a larger capacity. Likewise, if anyone in your home is a “big eater,” a larger capacity may be the best choice.

You’ll find refrigerators in sizes that range from compact (generally less than 15 cubic feet) to ultra-large capacity (up to 32 cubic feet). Choose a big enough size to hold all your food and drink items, but not so large that it will be mostly empty much of the time.

Remember that the different refrigerator types also factor in here. In general, french door units offer the most capacity, with bottom freezer units coming in second. Top freezers, side-by-sides, and compact offer less. 

Price

Refrigerators by type cost guide in graphic form

How much do you want to spend on your new fridge? Your budget is one of the most essential criteria to consider. The price of refrigerators varies widely. You can find some compact and top-freezer models for as little as a few hundred dollars. Built-in models will cost you somewhere in the $10,000 range.

Overall, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 on a new fridge. Many models are cheaper, and many are more expensive. The median price for a new refrigerator is about $1,500.

In addition to the appliance cost, you may need to spring for appliance delivery and installation, too. Delivery and installation for a new fridge may run you anywhere from $150 to $250. If a water line needs to be installed (for the ice maker or water dispenser), you may pay an additional $70 to $130.

Refrigerator Price by Type

It’s helpful to get a clear idea of how much refrigerators cost by type. Here’s what you should know:

Top-freezer price range: $390 to $1,000
Refrigerator only price range: $580 to $1,490
Side-by-side price range: $950 to $2,400
Bottom-freezer price range: $1,000 to $2,500
French door price range: $1,200 to $2,600
Smart fridge price range: $2,000 to $4,100

The more features and modern style you opt for, the higher the price. That’s why using a buyer’s guide like this can be helpful. You’ll know exactly what to look for to make sure your choice is affordable while meeting all your needs. 

Choosing the Best Refrigerator for Your Household

The various types of fridges in a row as images for a piece on the best refrigerators

You’ve seen our top 5 picks for the best units on the market and checked out our buyer’s guide. Now, you’re ready to pick out the best refrigerator for your household. Here’s a quick summary of the factors you should consider in your choice.

The type of refrigerator you choose will dictate how it’s laid out, the space limitations, and the overall appearance. Choose from french door (most modern), side-by-side (vertical freezer and fridge), top-freezer (freezer at eye level), bottom-freezer (fridge at eye level), or compact (tall and narrow for smaller spaces). 

The brand of refrigerator you choose should be one that has a good reputation, offers exclusive features, and offers models in a range of prices. The top brands we’ve found are GE, LG, Maytag, Frigidaire, Samsung, and KitchenAid.

A fridge’s cooling ability is another important thing to think about. If it looks good but doesn’t keep food at the right temperature, it’s a waste of money. Look for additional cooling features (like quick chill), quality temperature controls, and special compartments with their own temperature settings.

The capacity of a refrigerator should be top of mind during your search, too. Your household size can help you determine the right refrigerator size for your needs. Remember that each adult requires about 5 cubic feet of space in the fridge.

A refrigerator’s price is the final point of consideration. While the cost can vary from as little as $350 to tens of thousands for built-in models, the average price is around $1,500. Smart-enabled french door models are usually the most expensive, while top-freezer and compact units are the most affordable.

Our top 5 picks listed in this guide are a great place to start your search. These models all receive excellent reviews from customers, come with exclusive and helpful features, and are available in a range of price points.

Your next refrigerator will be an important purchase, so take time making your decision. By using a buyer’s guide like this, you’ll be one step ahead and able to make the best decision for your household. 

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