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Perhaps more than any other appliance, the right refrigerator for you is dictated by individual needs. What does your space look like? How many people live in your home? How often do you shop for groceries? Maybe your kitchen can accommodate larger appliances, for instance, but not everyone needs a top-of-the-line refrigerator, either.
Refrigerators have also made a technological jump in the past few decades. You can now easily see inside your fridge without opening the door, have it tell you what part needs repair, or connect it to your smart home tech to mirror your TV and display who’s at the door.
The refrigerator market is full of options, for the bustling large family to the apartment-dweller, from high tech to low. Here are our best fridges.
Best Overall: GE GSS25GSHSS 36-inch Side-by-Side 25.3 Cubic Feet Refrigerator
GE is recognized as one of the most reliable brands, and this standard-depth refrigerator is no exception. With 25.3 cubic feet of interior space (15.7 of which is dedicated to the refrigerator section), it has it all including a built-in water dispenser with an advanced filtration system and four different finishes to match your decor.
Measuring 35.75 x 35.25 x 69.5 inches, it’s a good choice for any size kitchen and family. The interior spill-proof glass shelves and door bins are all adjustable for height and can be easily removed for cleaning. Three LED lights illuminate the fridge so you can quickly find your midnight snack, while the three different crispers keep produce and meat fresh.
An included filter removes pollutants from water supplied to the through-the-door dispenser and to the ice maker, which holds up to 10 pounds of ice. Using about 708 kWh annually, this fridge would add about $85 to your electricity bill and does have energy saver cycles for when the doors are being opened frequently. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Best Budget: Samsung 17.6 Cubic Feet Top-Freezer Fingerprint-Resistant Refrigerator
Available in stainless steel and black stainless steel, this 17.6-cubic foot refrigerator offers much in the way of freezer function. The top freezer can operate as a normal freezer, but can also be converted into a second refrigerator with the press of a button. Ideal for small homes, or for moments when your fridge cannot contain all the necessary items (like at the holidays), this refrigerator-freezer combo is truly innovative.
This 28.75 x 31.9 x 66.75-inch fridge is an ideal choice for small spaces, as a spare fridge, or even for second homes. The LED-lit refrigerator portion has a twin cooling system with a power-cool feature. It comes with two crisper drawers as well as a top-mounted slide-out pantry drawer. Meanwhile, the freezer’s automatic ice maker can churn out up to 3.7 pounds of ice daily.
Samsung’s dedication to energy efficiency continues with this model. The fridge is 2016 Energy Star certified with an estimated annual energy use of 448 kWh, which translates to about $54 in costs.
Best French Door: GE Profile PVD28BYNFS 27.9-Cubic Foot Smart 4-Door French Door Refrigerator with Door-in-Door
This Energy Star-certified French-door refrigerator, which measures 35.6 x 36.75 x 69.9, has tons of upgrades for a modern home. There’s a built-in Wi-Fi system that alerts you when the door has been left open or if the temperature fluctuates, while all three fresh and freezer sections have separate climate controls to keep food at its best. One of the more impressive features is the LED-lit wall at the back of the appliance which helps you see even the most tucked-away items.
The fridge’s right door has a door-in-door capability that includes a rotating door bin. The left door features the water and ice dispenser with hands-free auto-fill that senses when to stop. Below the main fridge is a separate drawer that can handle both fridge and freezer temperatures for extra space, or be utilized as a specific-temperature area for fragile items like wine or cheese.
It is only offered with a stainless-steel finish, though it is smudge-resistant. At 27.9 cubic feet, this French-door refrigerator has a slightly smaller capacity than most, but its built-in features more than makeup for it.
Best Side-By-Side: Samsung RS27T5561SR 26.7 cu. ft. Family Hub Side by Side Smart Refrigerator
A digitally upgraded model, the Samsung Family Hub has all kinds of neat features that make it the best side-by-side refrigerator. The so-called door hub connects to Samsung’s Family Hub which enables you to post digital pictures, play music or mirror your TV while you cook, see inside your fridge, and connect to Alexa or Google devices.
Measuring 35.9 x 33.5 x 70 inches, this standard-depth refrigerator also has a fingerprint-free finish, digital controls, and 26.7 cubic feet of storage space. The fridge’s five shelves, as well as the four freezer shelves, are easy to remove for cleaning. Both compartments come with bottom drawers for storage.
On the minimalist exterior, you’ll find a water and ice dispenser. To save space in the freezer, Samsung designed this model with the ice maker on the door. The fridge has an estimated yearly energy use of 691 kWh, which translates to about $83 in costs.
Best Bottom Freezer: Whirlpool 22.07 Cubic Feet Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator with Ice Maker
With its standard depth and 22 cubic feet of interior storage, this Whirlpool refrigerator and freezer is designed well while still being functional. Available in three finishes, this fridge uses FreshFlow technology, which absorbs gases that aid in food spoilage keeping your groceries fresh for longer.
The LED-lit fridge section features four adjustable spill-proof glass shelves, one with an attached deli drawer, as well as two humidity-controlled produce drawers. The energy-efficient temperature control system cools everything down quickly and easily maintains the proper environment.
Since the fridge only takes up 15.6 cubic feet, there’s plenty of room leftover for an ample bottom freezer. There you’ll find the single ice-maker, along with wire pull-out drawers.
Best Top Freezer: GE GTS22KSNRSS 21.9 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
The top-freezer refrigerator is not only the most traditional, but also tends to be the most energy-efficient. This unit from GE covers your basic needs with a few extra perks we’ve come to expect from fridges.
The 34.5 x 32.5 x 66.4-inch unit features 21.9 total cubic feet of space, with 15.2 cubic feet for the refrigerator. Inside, you’ll find two full glass shelves, crisper drawers, and in-door storage that can be moved to accommodate your needs. The freezer is on the large side at 6.7 cubic feet and comes with an adjustable glass shelf. An ice maker does not come with the unit but can be installed separately.
The model comes in five finishes: stainless steel, black, white, fingerprint-resistant slate, and fingerprint-resistant black slate. It can handle ambient temperatures from 38 to 110 degrees, which means it will work as a garage fridge.
Best Smart: LG InstaView 27 Cubic Feet French Door Refrigerator with Ice Maker
Knock twice on the glass of the LG InstaView’s door and the contents will emerge through a picture window. This saves energy (and your food) since you won’t need to open the fridge over and over again to peruse its contents.
At 27 cubic feet, this refrigerator offers ample storage, as well as a Smart Cooling system designed to keep even temperamental foods fresh. The multi-flow air system includes vents above the door, not just at the back of the fridge, meaning no more front-of-the-fridge warm spots. This Energy Star-certified appliance also has a pharmaceutical water filter, two humidity-controlled crisper drawers, and an interior gliding drawer for storing flatter items. The 8.8-cubic foot freezer section has two sliding drawers, to maximize space.
This LG fridge comes with SmartDiagnosis, which means you can troubleshoot issues through an app on your smartphone. Though it only comes with a stainless-steel finish, it is resistant to fingerprints and smudges.
Best Counter-Depth: KitchenAid KRFC300E French Door Counter-Depth Refrigerator
If you already love the look of your KitchenAid appliances, this Energy Star-certified fridge will fit right in with its satin-textured handles and KitchenAid medallions. Available in black stainless steel, stainless steel, and white, this French-door counter-depth refrigerator offers a metal wine rack and a produce preserver. The latter reduces the presence of ethylene, the gas responsible for rotting fresh produce.
The interior is on the large side for counter-depth fridges with 20 cubic feet of capacity. The lack of an exterior ice and water dispenser actually saves on space, in this regard. In the interior of the fridge, though, there is a small, built-in water dispenser. An automatic ice dispenser is inside the freezer. The fridge also has a temperature-controlled pantry drawer, five glass shelves, a butter tray, and adjustable door bins.
Best Smudge-Proof: Maytag MFI2570FEZ 24.7-Cubic Foot French Door Refrigerator
This fingerprint-resistant version of the Maytag 36-inch French door refrigerator has plenty of bells and whistles. There are electronic controls, FreshLock crispers, three adjustable half-width shelves, three adjustable gallon door bins, and wire and plastic baskets for organizing frozen food. LED lighting on the interior makes food easy to see, and an automatic defrost helps reduce build-up in the freezer.
All in all, the 35.6 x 35.25 x 70.1-inch refrigerator has a total capacity of 24.7 cubic feet of space. The ice maker is efficient, with a filtered water dispenser built-in on the door’s exterior. Those who prefer black or white can opt for those colors instead, rather than the fingerprint-proof stainless.
Best Under-the-Counter: Thor Kitchen 24-inch Double-Drawer Built-in Compact Refrigerator
In some modern homes or outdoor kitchens, an under-the-counter refrigerator may be what the space calls for. If so, opt for this stainless-steel model from Thor, which measures 23.5 x 23.4 x 34.2 inches and has a 5.3-cubic foot capacity.
An interior light offers a view of everything, and a temperature control panel helps adjust cooling from 34 to 46 degrees. A double slide-out drawer offers as much space as is possible for an under-the-counter appliance. Ventilating cooling protects food and keeps it at a consistent temperature, and a weather-proof design keeps the electronics safe. Thor also offers a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty in case anything goes wrong.
The GE GSS25GSHSS 36-inch Side-by-Side Refrigerator (view at Wayfair) offers plenty of room and plenty of features for a middle-of-the-road price, making it our top pick. An ice and water dispenser and adjustable shelving are just two of the great bonuses in this well-equipped fridge.
What to Look for When Buying a Refrigerator
From side-by-side to French door to the traditional top freezer, the styles for refrigerators can feel endless. Which you choose should depend on how you use your fridge and on the space of your kitchen. Some types of refrigerators, like the French door style, require a larger footprint. And some styles, like the side-by-side, are better for those who need ample freezer space to store small-to-medium items (as opposed to large items, which are better stored in a bottom-freezer fridge).
Ice and water dispensers are not for everyone, but some homeowners find them, well, indispensable. If this is you, know that some refrigerators offer the units on the exterior, some on the interior, and some not at all. There’s often a filter that requires regular maintenance or needs to be bypassed. Ice makers can also take up valuable freezer room, too, so if you don’t go through a lot of ice, this may be one item to cross off the list.
With a refrigerator, every fraction of an inch counts. Make sure to measure the space accurately (or have a professional do it instead). Don’t forget to check the specs on the refrigerator you’re considering, since refrigerator sizes, even for standard spaces, vary greatly. Finally, decide if you’re interested in a counter-depth refrigerator, which goes flush to the cabinetry, or a standard refrigerator, which will protrude past cabinetry and into the kitchen.
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Hannah Selinger has written about food and drinks for local and national publications since 2015. A former sommelier, Hannah has worked for some of New York’s top restaurant groups, including Laurent Tourondel’s BLT group and David Chang’s Momofuku group. Her work has appeared in Eater, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, and more. Hannah is also a graduate of the International Culinary Center and a mother of two smudge-fingered young children.