Our picks for 2013
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We tested a lot of great refrigerators this year. From affordable top-freezers to feature-rich French doors, our labs overflowed with impressive products. Where last year saw more innovation in the category of smart home, this year saw fridges with unique dispensers, huge capacities, and interior upgrades.
It's notable that GE was a big winner this year. Two fridges on the company's newest French door platform, built at the 60-year-old Appliance Park facility in Louisville, KY, aced our food preservation tests. Since the two fridges' scores were almost identical, we decided to give our best refrigerator award to both.
In other categories, the competition was fierce. But only the most exceptional refrigerators can win our Best of Year awards. These are our recommendations.
Aside from looks and features, these two fantastic fridges are identical. The PFE29PSDSS has a curved exterior and a water dispenser that automatically fills glasses without spilling. The CFE29TSDSS features industrial-inspired design and a unique hot water dispenser, which also won our Best Feature award.
Behind the doors, the two fridges are equally adept. Well-planned interiors offer plenty of room, and drawers slide smoothly. Our lab tests showed phenomenal temperature control over time, and crisper drawers retained the perfect amount of moisture for fresh vegetables. (MSRP $3,099 each)
As our Best Refrigerators are both of the popular French door style, they also win this award. If you're looking for a side-by-side, top-freezer, bottom-freezer, or something completely different, we have those awards, too.
(MSRP $3,099 each)
Stylish and spacious, Whirlpool's 29 cubic foot French Door displayed even temperatures over time in our lab tests. We were also fans of its retractable shelves, which made storing tall items a breeze. There's even a dedicated spot for frozen pizza in the pull-out freezer drawer. (MSRP $2,699)
French door fridges tend to be expensive. But if you don't need an external ice and water dispenser, and don't mind a somewhat dated interior, the Maytag MFF2558VEM is a great choice. It did a great job with temperature control and moisture retention, and that's for fridge that sometimes has a sale price as low as $1,550. That's only a little more than a comparable side-by-side or top-freezer. (MSRP $1,799)
Simple and straightforward, Frigidaire's FPHS2399PF did a good job across our lab tests. We recorded temperatures that stayed uniform over time, and the lower shelves were warmer than the top ones—the ideal for storing produce, which doesn't need to be kept as cold as meats and cheeses. There's a temperature-controlled drawer, and the fit and finish felt improved over older Frigidaire side-by-sides. (MSRP $1,699)
If you don't need through-the-door ice and water, the Kenmore 41152 promises open space, good temperature control, and a simple design. The interior is spacious, though no side-by-side can fit a wide deli platter. Sale prices make it significantly more affordable. (MSRP $1649)
Top freezers tend to be basic, but this Frigidaire goes a bit beyond that. A stainless exterior, wide-open shelves with spill proofing, and plenty of storage space first caught our eye, and lab tests that showed good overall performance confirmed this fridge as the best top-freezer we've tested so far. (MSRP $799)
If you don't have a wide enough space for a French door but still want fresh foods at eye level, a single-door bottom freezer is a good choice. In our lab tests, this Amana proved to be the best of its kind. Uniform temperatures over time in both the fridge and freezer should keep fresh foods fresh and protect against freezer burn. (MSRP $1,449)
The Whirlpool GB2FHDXWS is almost identical to the Amana, except it's a bit more stylish and expensive. They're both made on the same platform (Amana is a division of Whirlpool Corporation), and did quite well in our lab tests. Pick whichever one matches your style. (MSRP $1,649)
Our runner up for Best Top-Freezer Refrigerator, this budget Amana impressed us in our lab tests with consistent temperatures and little risk of freezer burn. It also froze room-temperature foods quickly. If basic performance is all you're looking for, this Amana is a good choice. (MSRP $699)
We tested the Kenmore 72052 (MSRP $3,529.99) and found that its Airtight Crisper did a superior job retaining enough moisture to keep fruits and vegetables fresh, even compared to the standard crisper found immediately next to it. If you're a fan of farmer's markets, you should check out any Kenmore with the Airtight Crisper.
From upscale appliance company Dacor comes this fashionable counter-depth. Excellent temperature control in both the fridge and freezer, ideal temperature distribution, and features like a hidden water dispenser make it our pick for Best Counter Depth Refrigerator. Handles are sold separately, so you can match it with other appliances. (MSRP $2,999 without handles)
Steady fridge temperatures and a well-designed interior work in this LG's favor. Counter depth fridges can be more expensive than standard depth models, so it's not surprising how pricey this appliance is. Still, if you can find one on sale, it's a good choice if you want a fridge that doesn't stick out past your cabinets. (MSRP $3,499)
Mini fridges tend to be commoditized. Not only do most of them look alike, regardless of the name brand, but our tests show that each one is as good as the next. The Kenmore 93382, sold at Sears and Kmart, was no exception. It also looks good, isn't that expensive, and has a well-designed interior. That's what makes it our pick. (MSRP $159.99)
We've been following Samsung's four-door fridge project for over a year now, so we were quite happy to get one into our labs. Our tests showed that the RF32FMQBDSR isn't just an innovative product with a massive interior and a compartment that converts from fridge to freezer. This fridge is also an incredible performer. We recorded almost no temperature shift over time, and food stored in the dual freezer compartments should be at no risk for freezer burn. (MSRP $3,999)
Our pick for Best Refrigerator also debuted our pick for Best Feature: a hot water dispenser that's built into the refrigerator door. Put away that electric kettle, because this GE can heat up water for tea, soup, or instant coffee. The user interface is both easy and safe, and it offers a variety of temperatures. The dispenser also offers ice and cold water, and features GE's excellent Precise Fill option, which lets the user choose exactly how much water is dispensed. That's a lot easier than a measuring cup. (MSRP $3,099)
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