Refrigerators are the backbone of the modern kitchen. Since they first became available in 1913, we have been filling them with groceries fresh from the store, leftovers, and prepped meals. As you look to either replace or upgrade your refrigerator, there are a few details to keep in mind.
Size is a major consideration. The footprint of your kitchen dictates the size of refrigerator you can install. You can do custom built-ins, but they are often cost-prohibitive for budget shoppers. Configuration is another top concern. Do you like your freezer on the top or the bottom? Do you want a single door or French doors? Or is your preference a side-by-side model? Once you have basic shape and size figured out, then comes the fun stuff like features and details. The exterior finish is wide open with looks in traditional white or black to stainless steel to black stainless steel to faux cabinetry covers to match your kitchen.
Equally wide is the selection of details you can incorporate. If you are looking to make some more eco-conscious changes to your lifestyle, you may want a built-in water filtration and dispensing system. Maybe you want a higher-tech option that will allow you to grocery shop from the screen on your fridge, or maybe adjustable shelves are a must-have to ease wine and beer storage. A big consideration for many is an energy-efficient model that's EPA Energy Star-certified—your electric bill will thank you later. Whatever your priorities are, there is a refrigerator out there to match.
From a company known for state-of-the-art technology to a budget-friendly household name, here are the best refrigerator brands.
Known for its high-quality reputation in the dishwasher sphere, Bosch added a new leg to its appliance empire in 2019: high-end, counter-depth refrigerators. Previously, Bosch concentrated on its other appliances, but no more.
Its kitchen workhorses have a lot of exciting features. Bosch is the only brand in the freestanding refrigerator market to offer dual compressors and dual evaporators—these are only found in luxury built-in brands. The four-part FarmFresh system ensures fresher food longer, saving valuable time on grocery trips.
The interiors are designed with different food areas that are controlled for preservation through the dual compressors. You also have complete customization control with provided half-width shelves—the interior can be configured however makes the most sense for your needs. And the technology is cutting-edge. Most of its designs are equipped with Bosch's proprietary HomeConnect app.
Frigidaire is such a trusted household name that for a time people referred to their refrigerators as Frigidaires, regardless of brand. It is known for its low-maintenance, reliable models that may not be flashy, but do the job within your budget.
It offers refrigerators in all the standard configurations, as well as 10 finish colors from basic white to brushed steel. Some of the higher-end models have SpaceWise organization systems, full-width deli drawers, flex drawers, humidity-controlled crispers, and smudge-proof stainless steel finishing. Whether you are looking for a reliable workhorse or something with a little more flair, Frigidaire has models across style and price points.
“When I moved into my apartment in 2016, the building was brand new, and everyone had the same Frigidaire appliances. Despite putting my oven and refrigerator through their paces, including while I wrote a cookbook, neither have needed any repairs since I moved in, and very few of my neighbors’ appliances have needed to be replaced.” — Siobhan Wallace, Commerce Editor
With more than 125 years of experience, GE Appliances can be counted on for reliable products at every price point. It produces 100 refrigerator models across three series: the regular GE, the GE Profile, and the Cafe. The differences lie in design details and style.
For those looking for a standard, affordable fridge, the regular GE models are your choice. There are few bells and whistles, but they are dependable. In fact, we named the GE GSS25GSHSS (view at GE) as our best overall refrigerator since it has a built-in water filter and a spacious interior while still being affordable and dependable.
The Profile series steps it up with sleek designs, curved handles, and cold water dispensers—they are less boxy, but not as ultra-modern as the Cafe line. You will find fun features like a Keurig brewer built-in, the ability to make crushed ice, and flex drawers. If you want to create a restaurant-style look in your kitchen, the Cafe series has the option for you. They have flexible storage bins, large control dials, dispense cold and hot water, and large handles in a variety of finishes. Some Profile and Cafe series models also are Wi-Fi-enabled. You can rest easy knowing GE has partnered with Energy Star for more than a decade to help you conserve energy while saving money.
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A stand mixer is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you say KitchenAid, but its large appliances, like range ovens and refrigerators, are worth mentioning as well. As with the mixers, KitchenAid refrigerators are durable, attractive additions to any kitchen. They come in multiple configurations, including a large counter-depth model, and panel-ready style that will disguise your appliance to make it look like cabinets. Best of all, KitchenAid appliances all have similar design aspects that will make your kitchen look coordinated.
KitchenAid has a wide range of models, from budget to more luxury, and includes options like targeted temperature control, max cool for when that door has been open a little too long, as well as holiday modes. The KitchenAid KBFN502ESS (view at KitchenAid) has every bell and whistle you could want in a fridge. It has independent cooling systems, technology to keep your food fresh, four crisper drawers, two freezer drawers, adjustable shelving, and intuitive temperature controls.
Related: The Best Side-by-Side Refrigerators
LG has dominated the freestanding appliance market in recent years. It offers models very similar to Samsung’s, but with a few distinct differences. Like Samsung, LG has stylish designs and high-tech capabilities. They come in all the standard configurations and offer a three-door option as well. There are five finish options, including LG’s proprietary Textured Steel.
This brand shines with its options. More than half of the models come with Wi-Fi connectivity, and once you download LG’s refrigerator app, ThinQ, you can utilize features like the Smart Diagnosis and control the fridge remotely. Then there is InstaView, which allows you to illuminate the dark glass on the door with a quick knock, enabling you to see the interior of your refrigerator without opening the door.
And, for all those craft cocktail aficionados out there, the LG offers craft ice makers to make crushed, cubed, or even spherical ice for your libations. That is one of our favorite aspects of the LG LRMXS2806S (view at LG), along with the Wi-Fi capability and double freezer drawers. If you are looking for something a little less techy but still want efficient cooling and ample storage, LG has a budget-friendly line as well.
Related: The Best French-Door Refrigerators
The iconic Maytag Man (formerly Maytag Repair Man) has become a ready image on television screens everywhere since the 2014 reboot of the brand. In one of the first commercials, he is shown running in place where the refrigerator should be and delivers this sage wisdom, “Maytag knows that if your fridge doesn’t keep running, your house can’t keep running. The blender spends most days snoozing, but there’s no such thing as downtime for a fridge, and Maytag is tough enough to go the distance for you, year after year.”
And, that is what you can expect from a Maytag refrigerator, dependability. Founded in 1893 as one of Whirlpool’s brands, Maytag offers all of the standard configurations, including counter-depth, with black, white, or stainless steel exterior finishes. They are spacious, have specialized food storage compartments, offer built-in water dispensing and power-cold settings.
One of our favorites is the Maytag MFI2570FEZ (view at Maytag) with its LED lighting, filtered water, adjustable shelves and door bins, a deli drawer, and Maytag’s PowerCold feature, which can quickly get your fridge back to the right temperature after you haul everything back from the store.
Samsung refrigerators, like their consumer electronics counterparts, offer cutting-edge technology in stunning, modern designs. If you want a smart fridge, Samsung is the choice.
One of the coolest things about Samsung refrigerators is the innovative door design. Yes, there are standard configurations, but it also offers 4-Door Flex, which allows you to switch from fridge to freezer with the push of a button. The wow does not stop there. Many of its fridges feature the Family Hub, a literal screen on your refrigerator door where you can manage a calendar, shop for food, access an assistant, and see who is at your door with a simple touch. The Samsung refrigerators also come in a dizzying array of finishes, including their patented Tuscan Stainless Steel. You can also easily find models that are Energy Star rated for efficiency and optional features, including a variety of ice-making settings, that seem endless.
Samsung does offer standard model refrigerators at budget prices, but their brand is really known for its futuristic technology combined with high-end finishing.
Related: The Best Counter-Depth Refrigerators
Whirlpool has spent many decades perfecting the production of reliable refrigerators. It has a reputation for being dependable and low-maintenance. The fridges are not fancy, but they are built to last and come in the four standard configurations—French door, side-by-side, bottom freezer, and top freezer. With more than 100 models to choose from, Whirlpool has something for any budget.
One of Whirlpool’s strongest features is its consistent temperature control. This is achieved through four proprietary settings: TotalCoverage cooling to keep the temperature uniform throughout the entire fridge; Accu-Chill uses ice to cool water, so you can get a cold glass of water even when it is 100 degrees outside; Adaptive Defrost to monitor the freezer, and only defrost when necessary; and FreezeShield Option that reduces temperature fluctuations from the automatic defrost cycle. All of this adds up to a reliable interior environment for fresh and frozen food. And, this all comes in an energy-efficient package.
In addition to their durable construction, many Whirlpool refrigerators offer ice makers, water dispensers, customizable shelving, and LED lighting. Those features, along with technology to keep your produce fresher for longer is why we included the Whirlpool WRB322DMBM (view at Whirlpool) among our best refrigerators.
Related: The Best Mini Fridges
What to Look for in a Refrigerator Brand
One of the most important factors, if not the most important, is checking out the warranties. The industry standard is one year of coverage for parts and labor. So, if the fridge goes on the fritz once the professionals leave, you can get repairs covered. But some manufacturers go further for specific parts. You can find longer warranties covering compressors, evaporators, condensers, driers, and connecting tubing, some of the more fragile parts that do cost a lot to repair. You should also check if the store you're buying from offers extra protection.
Just like with your smartphone, there are features you just get used to having or will make your household's day a little bit easier. Features do change by brand. LG, Bosch, and Samsung are known for making intuitive smart fridges. Those companies also have a wider range of four-door or side-by-side fridge options. But don't count out old standbys like GE and Whirlpool. For the former, if you would like a few extra bells and whistles, focus on the GE Profile line.
When should you replace a fridge?
Modern-day fridges can last up to two decades before conking out for good. Whether or not it's time to replace it comes down to a few things. Most importantly, if it's less than 10 years old and whatever is broken is easily repairable, you should go that route. If the fridge is getting a little outdated, if the cost of repair is more than a couple hundred dollars, or if your household has outgrown it anyway, consider buying a new model to prevent further headaches. Of course, if you can't replace a broken part at all, it's definitely time.
Should you clean a new refrigerator?
Yes! Like with all new appliances, it's important to clean off any manufacturing dust before coming in contact with your food. While you're waiting the suggested 24 hours before adding food to a new fridge, take out as many removable parts as you can and give them a good wash down in warm, soapy water. Then, wipe down the inside of your fridge and any fixed parts.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who has owned and upgraded a number of refrigerators over the years. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she knows the importance of finding the right storage option for your groceries and prepared meals. She loves her Samsung French Door model for its sleek, modern appearance and interior built-in water dispenser. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.
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