In the market for a new fridge? Don’t waste your money on a brand known for breakdowns! We’ll show you which refrigerator brands to avoid based on real customer reviews, Consumer Reports data, and more.
Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.
Avoiding the Worst Refrigerator Brands
When it’s time to buy a new refrigerator, one of the savviest things you can do as a consumer is research – lots and lots of it.
If you’re spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on a new appliance, you want to make sure it’s reliable and highly rated! At the very least, you’ll need to ensure you’re not choosing a model made by one of the worst-rated refrigerator brands.
Customer reviews are a great place to start, but they don’t always tell the full story. It’s important to look at unbiased data on refrigerator repair frequency, service calls, and overall reliability by brand in order to get a clear picture of which refrigerator brands to avoid.
To make your search a little easier, we’ve done the research for you to find out what the 5 worst refrigerator brands to avoid are. As it turns out, refrigerators made by some of the most well-known brands are prone to breakdowns and need repairs more often than others.
Just because a brand is well-known or has been around for a long time doesn’t automatically make their refrigerators a smart buy. If you’re not in the know, you could end up purchasing a faulty fridge that won’t last anywhere near the expected 13 years.
So take a look at the data we’ve compiled and see what the 5 worst refrigerator brands are. We’ll also share a few of the most reliable refrigerator brands to consider instead, plus how to know when it’s time to replace or repair your current fridge. Let’s get started!
5 Refrigerator Brands to Avoid
Knowing the refrigerator brands to avoid is just as important as knowing the brands you can trust. You don’t want to get stuck with an expensive lemon that you’ll need to repair or replace sooner than later!
Below, you’ll see the 5 worst refrigerator brands and what customers have to say about them. The brands that made our naughty list have a combination of bad customer reviews and are ranked poorly for reliability and performance by Consumer Reports and Puls.
Tip: Just looking for the refrigerator brands you can trust? Scroll on down to Top Rated Refrigerator Brands to Consider.
Where We Got Our Data
We got our data from a few reliable sources to give you the clearest picture of the reliability of different refrigerator brands. Here’s where we’ve sourced our brand reliability data for this guide:
- Consumer Affairs: A customer review website that collects and verifies reviews
- Trustpilot: A customer review website with more than 120 million reviews online
- Consumer Reports: An independent, non-profit organization that conducts research and product testing and analysis
- Puls: A nationwide network of appliance repair technicians who service major brands
By pulling data from a variety of sources, we minimize the effects of any biased or unfair reviews. With 4 robust data sources, you can trust that the info we share below is a good indicator of the refrigerator brands that are known to be the least reliable.
Let’s dive in!
We want to love Sub-Zero’s classy built-in refrigerators. We really do. But they are consistently ranked among the worst refrigerator brands for a reason. The average consumer rating for Sub-Zero refrigerators is just 3.1 stars – sadly, that’s the highest average rating of any brand on this list.
Here’s a peek at what customers have to say about Sub-Zero refrigerator reliability:
“I have a Sub-Zero refrigerator 2 1/2 years old. It stopped working 2 times last year. Now again is not working and the service calls and parts are very expensive. I lost everything inside the refrigerator for the 3rd time. It doesn’t worth the price of the Sub-Zero refrigerator vs the quality.” -Lilianne in Boca Raton, FL on Consumer Affairs
“We bought a Sub Zero fridge 5yrs ago, it has had the normal yearly service all has been fine. However it stopped working 50 days ago, 3 engineers have been and a spare part ordered and fitted that came from the USA and still not working. The fridge cost us just under 25K, the quality is really bad, really did expect better from this famous brand. We have chased them constantly over the last month to get engineers back to make it work. Just not impressed and would stay well clear of this company.” -Alexander in Great Britain on Trustpilot
“The ice and water dispenser on outside of fridge will shoot out at people across the room, when no one is touching the fridge. It’s 9 months old. The repairman told us that this is a common problem, and Sub-Zero has no solution. They don’t know why these new, very expensive models are malfunctioning, but it’s not just us. Others are experiencing it. Whole motherboard has to be replaced for the 3rd time.” -Amy in Fayetteville, GA on Consumer Affairs
The info isn’t just coming from consumers, either. When Consumer Reports analyzed the performance of Sub-Zero fridges, they found that 24% of both the side-by-side and top/bottom freezer models they sold needed repairs within 3 years of purchase. And refrigerator repairs are rarely cheap!
Add to that the premium cost for Sub-Zero’s built-in, custom fit refrigerators, and you could be out several thousand dollars for a fridge that needs expensive repairs soon after purchase. We think that there are many better options out there for built-ins.
Maytag might have been synonymous with quality in the past, but over the years, the reliability and performance of their refrigerators seems to have declined. It’s now owned by Whirlpool (one of the most reliable refrigerator brands) but the companies still have separate designs and manufacturing.
Unfortunately, both customer reviews and research indicates the reliability of Maytag refrigerators is lacking. The average customer rating for Maytag refrigerators is a disappointing 3.0 stars. Customer support from Maytag seems to be lacking as well.
Here’s what customers are saying about Maytag refrigerators:
“I purchased a Maytag fridge a year ago and it has been a nightmare. The freezer doesn’t freeze items. The drawers were all damaged upon receiving. I have contacted Maytag for more than 10 times and 5 techs came that I paid 125 each visit to fix the fridge because I didn’t purchase the warranty thinking it was a good product. It is not! They don’t stand behind their word. They lie and they send unqualified techs then misdiagnose issues to collect service calls. Please avoid this brand by all costs. My experience is terrible and I never want to wish it on anyone.” -Hend in Germantown, MD on Consumer Affairs
“Poor customer service. Very rude agents on phone. One threw an attitude . Another hung up on me when trying to locate purchase order. Maytag never shipped paperwork.” -Mydma in the U.S. on Trustpilot
“I’m so disappointed in this refrigerator! It does not keep a steady temperature. It’s only 3 years old and will not buy another Maytag. I do like the freezer on the bottom but it also does not keep a steady temperature.” -Joline in Climax, MI on Consumer Affairs
Aside from poor customer reviews, Maytag fridges rank poorly when analyzed by organizations like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. In fact, the Maytag brand ranked the lowest of any brand in the side-by-side refrigerator category in a recent J.D. Power survey.
Maytag also missed the mark in Puls’ nationwide appliance repair technician and customer poll on the most reliable appliance brands. It didn’t make the technician or customer list for the top refrigerator brands because of the number of service repair calls they receive for Maytag models.
If you’re considering buying a Maytag refrigerator, you’re better off choosing a model made by their parent company Whirlpool instead.
3. General Electric (GE)
General Electric (GE) is one of those brands that is so well-known, many consumers assume they make high-quality, reliable appliances. But GE refrigerators are unfortunately known for the opposite.
In terms of customer reviews and product testing and performance, GE is consistently ranked as one of the worst refrigerator brands. The company has been majority owned by Haier since 2016, and Haier appliances can now use the GE name until 2056.
So it’s unclear whether you’re getting a GE-manufactured fridge or a Haier-manufactured fridge with the current setup. In any case, what you’re not getting is reliability when you purchase a GE fridge. With an overall average customer rating of just 2.7 stars, GE refrigerators are among the refrigerator brands to avoid.
Recurrent ice buildup, poor customer service, and faulty parts that break soon after purchase are common complaints with GE fridges. Here’s a look at what customers have to say about GE refrigerators:
“What should have been a simple repair has resulted in thousands of dollars of damage to my home. A technician was supposed to repair the water dispenser in our built-in GE Monogram refrigerator but apparently did not hook up the hoses properly. I awoke this morning to find water bubbling out of our kitchen walls from behind the refrigerator and streaming into the home theater below. But worse than this, I called GE to get an emergency repair appointment and was told no one could come for FOUR DAYS! Apparently GE finds the four-day delay worth the cost they will have to spend to repair the additional damage that will undoubtedly cause to my home, which will probably include mold remediation along with wall, floor and ceiling demolition, as well as my hotel bills. Based on this and past experiences with GE repair services, I will never buy GE again and will advise friends and family to steer clear.” -J.P. Seibert in the U.S. on Trustpilot
“I purchased in May 2020 and May 2021 ice was building up inside the Fresh Food section freezing my vegetables, fruits, meat, cheese, anything in the drawers. A repair man was sent by GE warranty service and he defrosted the ice with a steam heat gun and put temperature setting on 36 (I had turned to 34 because it was not cooling inside as it should due to the ice buildup). In less than a week it was iced up again and when I called GE warranty again I was told I had to now go through my extended warranty I had purchased with Lowe’s! Could not believe they would not even come back and fix what they did not fix the first time.” -Donna in Myrtle Beach, SC on Consumer Affairs
“GE Appliances is unable to provide us with a reliable, working refrigerator. We have spent countless hours dealing with numerous issues between the two refrigerators (original + replacement), experienced immeasurable frustration and found the GE consumer advocates to be unhelpful. We simply would like to return the refrigerator at this point but GE Appliances does not want this piece of junk back.
The GE Appliances store team told me that dealing with these issues is the GE Appliance consumer team’s job and suggested that I speak to a supervisor on the consumer relations team. Both teams confirmed they are all part of the same company – GE Appliances. Both teams refuse to take responsibility. I am still waiting for a call from the supervisor…A terrible product and awful customer service. DO NOT PURCHASE AN APPLIANCE FROM GE APPLIANCES. This was a VERY costly mistake from both a monetary and time standpoint.” -Kirsten in Center Valley, PA on Consumer Affairs
“Worst refrigerator ever!! It is built in and came with the house. It was new when we moved in. Within the first week, the water dispenser in the side by side freezer door started shooting water and ice all over. When I called GE service, I was told to leave the freezer door open until repair tech comes out in 5 days. It continued to be defective: Was not cold enough, freezer melted food, it leaked from behind and caused mold on the wall and floor of room next door to kitchen, drawers and shelves broke, it made the annoying loud noise that sounded like a machine gun, ice maker stopped making ice and needed to be replaced several times and GE never reimbursed any food loss. Their customer service does not exist!!!” -Barbara in Porter Ranch, CA on Consumer Affairs
Consumer Reports found GE refrigerators to be extremely noisy, enough to boot them off their list of the best refrigerators. Even J.D. Power found that GE Appliances ranked as the worst brand for customer satisfaction in the Refrigerators with French Doors category.
To avoid excessive noise, bad customer service, and faulty parts that require repairs sooner than normal, steer clear of GE refrigerators – especially models with french doors.
Stockholm-based Electrolux is quickly becoming a well-known brand in the U.S., but you know that doesn’t mean their products are reliable. After Whirlpool, it’s the second-largest appliance maker in the world.
Electrolux also makes Frigidaire and White-Westinghouse appliances. It’s no coincidence that Frigidaire also made our list of refrigerator brands you should avoid!
Consumer Reports ranks Electrolux almost dead-last among refrigerator brands and gives the brand 1/10 in terms of reliability. They’re second to last for reliability in the dishwasher, cooktop, and microwave categories, too.
Customers who’ve purchased an Electrolux fridge know all too well how poorly they perform. Overall, this brand gets a combined customer rating of just 2.5 stars. Here’s a look at what customers are saying about Electrolux refrigerators – bad temperature controls and spoiled food are common, as are ice-maker issues and leaks.
“I bought a Electrolux Refrigerator and Washing Machine 5 years ago when I built my house. Both are broken. The fridge leaked water all over the floor causing the base cabinets in the kitchen to suck up the moisture and ruin them. The Washing Machine needs a new circuit board. How does a circuit board fail after 5 years? Incredible. Stay away from Electrolux.” – Jeremy in East Nassau, NY on Consumer Affairs
“Having had my fridge freezer re-gassed last week it developed the same fault – icing up at the back of the fridge and then developed a very annoying hum! Well since then the whole unit has packed up!!! Came downstairs to a warm fridge and my freezer food defrosting!!!
Phone Electrolux yet again to be told that their next available date for repair is 19th July which is one week away!! They expect me to live without a functioning fridge freezer for a week. This is a company with ZERO customer service and ZERO intention of meeting their legal requirements and adhering to my consumer rights!!! DONT TOUCH THEM WITH A BARGE POLE!! The service department at Electrolux are utterly useless!!” -Belinda Bell in the U.S. on Trustpilot
“I bought a new Electrolux refrigerator from a high end appliance store in 2013. Some reviews indicated problems with the ice maker, but I was assured they were fixed. It has never worked properly and now the freezer has stopped working. The ice maker is frozen shut and is leaking inside the refrigerator. Recently the temperature was fluctuating and ran high. I lost some food due to spoilage. Based on the other reviewers it would be a waste of time and money to call for service. I am highly disgusted and will never buy another Electrolux product. That includes Frigidaire as Electrolux owns that company.” -Janice in San Dimas, CA on Consumer Affairs
Both customers and nationwide organizations like Consumer Reports come to the same conclusion: Electrolux is a refrigerator brand best avoided. So is their subsidiary, Frigidaire – which we’re covering next.
Frigidaire is a well-known brand that has been owned by Electrolux since 1986, and over the years, consumers have really seen the quality and reliability of their refrigerators plummet. As one unsatisfied customer, Edwin P., put it:
“[Frigidaire is] not the best brand at all. Used to be about 30+ years ago when it was a part of General Motors. It is now owned by Electrolux. They have gone through many different corporate owners and name changes and make appliances under various names, Frigidaire being one of them.”
Other customers agree that Frigidaire refrigerators are not high-quality. The overall average customer rating for this brand of refrigerators is an abysmal 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Reading through customer reviews explains why they get such a low rating: Many of these appliances conk out well before they should, and many times, right after the 1-year limited warranty is up.
“Purchased a refrigerator less than 30 days ago to find it never worked right after 2 days. Home Depot has refused to take it back as it was over their 48 hour window. Frigidaire has taken nearly a month to repair it and there is still no ETA. It continues to run fighting to keep cool and fear the electric bill will be significantly higher.” -Customer in Pompano Beach, FL on Consumer Affairs
“I am extremely disappointed with the service I am receiving from Frigidaire. I bought a new Frigidaire side by side refrigerator freezer in September 2020. It just died and Frigidaire is refusing to honor the warranty, and refusing to replace. It was diagnosed as needing a new compressor that will cost $1400 to replace. The purchase price was $1191.00- so why are they refusing to replace it. On top of that the soonest the service tech can come out to repair it is June 23rd! My family cannot be without a freezer or refrigerator for another 10 days! Horrible and disappointing customer service from Frigidaire!” -Judith Condrad on Trustpilot
“On 2/28/2019 I purchased Frigidaire Gallery Freezer and Refrigerator. Total cost: $3,418. Units were delivered 4/12/2019. Refrigerator went out shortly after 1 year manufacturer warranty expired. 2 service calls by authorized service tech were made to make repairs costing about $500. Refrigerator went out a third time. Replaced with GE. Frigidaire Freezer unit went out after 1 year warranty expired. Will not order repair and will send freezer to the scrap yard because I have no confidence in Frigidaire nor their customer support policy.” -Robert in Smithville, TX on Consumer Affairs
“Purchased Frigidaire professional refrigerator. Frost & ice buildup behind drawers in fridge (worse in summer & takes awhile to build up). Service person (very professional) came & supposedly fixed it. Not fixed. This happened a 2nd time. When I called again customer service told me I would have to now pay for any service! Worst customer service ever! I also purchased a dishwasher and stove but I will never recommend any Frigidaire product due to terrible customer service!” -Frank Costa on Trustpilot
Frigidaire was also one of the least-recommended brands by Puls appliance repair technicians. Consumer Reports specifically looked at the reliability of their French door refrigerators and rated them as Fair – just one notch above Poor.
If you’re looking for durability and quality (and for such an expensive appliance, you certainly are), Frigidaire is not the brand to choose. Keep reading to find the top-recommended refrigerator brands to check out instead.
Top Rated Refrigerator Brands to Consider
Let’s recap: Sub-Zero, Maytag, GE, Electrolux, and Frigidaire are certifiably the worst refrigerator brands on the market right now. You’d be wise to avoid purchasing your new fridge from any of these brands, but who’s still manufacturing quality refrigerators and backing up their products?
You know which brands to avoid, so let’s talk about the refrigerator brands you should be considering. Kenmore and Whirlpool are going to be your best bets in terms of refrigerator reliability and customer service.
Kenmore is Consumer Reports’ choice for the most reliable refrigerator brand in the French Door category. Their top freezer and bottom freezer models earned an Excellent rating from Consumer Reports, and the brand overall earned a rating of Excellent for predicted reliability.
The predicted reliability rating is important because it takes into account how often a brand’s products need repairs or service calls. Kenmore refrigerators are consistently ranked #1, 2, or 3 for needing the least amount of repairs.
Opt for a Kenmore top freezer refrigerator, bottom freezer refrigerator, or a model with french doors. These are the types of Kenmore models that get the highest ratings.
Whirlpool is another excellent option if you’re looking for an affordable, highly rated refrigerator brand. Whirlpool’s french door models are among the top-rated in the category, and Puls’ appliance repair technicians rated this brand (along with KitchenAid) as the most reliable refrigerator brand.
Consumer Reports rated Whirlpool’s top-freezer models as Excellent in reliability. They also found that the brand required the least number of repairs and service calls – just 14% of their top-freezer models needed repairs in the first 5 years, and only 7% of their bottom-freezer models did.
Is It Time to Repair or Replace Your Refrigerator?
One last thing before you go: Are you sure it’s time to replace your refrigerator? While refrigerators should last about 13 years or so, you might be wondering if it’s financially smarter to replace your fridge instead of paying for repairs.
That might be the case, but there are general rules you can use to determine if it makes sense to go ahead and replace your fridge now.
Rule of Thumb: If the quoted cost to repair is over half the price of buying new, if it’s 10+ years old, or if there are multiple faulty parts, don’t repair it. Just replace it.
Consumer Reports offers more helpful advice on when to choose a replacement instead of repairs. If your refrigerator is the listed age or older and you’re experiencing issues in need of repair, just replace it. More problems are likely to crop up soon after the repairs are made, making a full replacement the more financially responsible choice.
Consumer Reports recommends replacing, not repairing, the following:
- Top-freezer refrigerators 6+ years old
- Bottom-freezer refrigerators 8+ years old
- Side-by-side refrigerators 8+ years old
You should spring for repairs instead of a replacement for the following cases:
- Built-in refrigerators
- Top-freezer refrigerators up to 6 years old
- Bottom-freezer refrigerators up to 8 years old
- Side-by-side refrigerators up to 8 years old
If you discover it really is time to replace your refrigerator, ensure you end up with a durable, quality model that will last for more than a decade by choosing the right brand.
Now that you know Sub-Zero, Maytag, GE, Electrolux, and Frigidaire are the refrigerator brands to avoid, you can steer clear of them in favor of a reliable brand like Kenmore or Whirlpool. Whatever brand you choose, don’t forget to measure and make sure your new fridge will fit! Check out our Refrigerator Size and Best Refrigerator guides next.