French door refrigerators have been the fastest growing segment of the fridge market for several years, and it's easy to see why. It's a modern look and an attractive way to showcase your food, but without the major drawback of a side-by-side (anyone who's tried to fit a cookie sheet or a frozen pizza in a side-by-side know what this means). Here at Reviewed, our experts have tested dozens of French door refrigerators in our labs, so we can help you make the best decision for your home.
Usually, the French door style comes with a high price tag. Premium French door fridges can run upwards of $3,000 or more. Fortunately, there are a number of great models that don't cost that much and even manage to retain some of the fancy features, like in-door ice dispensers. Our current favorite is the Samsung RF260BEAESR(available at AppliancesConnection for $995.00), which is simple, effective, and well under the price cap.
Here are our top-rated French-door fridges that you can get for under (or just about) two thousand dollars.
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How We Tested
What To Look For When Buying A Refrigerator
Other Affordable French-Door Refrigerators We Tested
The Samsung RF260BEAESR is a French-door refrigerator that is really punching outside its weight class. This 25.5-cubic-foot fridge impressed us because it's comparable in almost every way to fridges that cost twice as much.
Behind its sleek, refined exterior lies a fridge with stellar food preservation capabilities and a handful of useful features—including an internal ice maker and an enclosed drawer with three settings: Deli for deli meats, Fresh for fruits and veggies, and Chilled for your favorite cold beverages.
If you're looking to remodel, and want to be able to have your refrigerator-themed cake and eat it too, check out the Samsung RF260BEAESR.
We have plenty of experience testing these products in the lab, but we've also used them as normal people would in the course of their daily lives, which means that we have a great sense for what appliances are bargains at their price points, and which appliances have really useful extra features (as opposed to the kitchen-sink approach to features).
With all this in mind, you can feel confident that when we recommend a product, we're giving it our Reviewed stamp of approval, which means two things: firstly, this appliance performs well, and secondly, this appliance is easy to use. We're always reviewing new products, so stay tuned for our reviews and roundups of the latest products in laundry, refrigerators, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners.
At first glance, most refrigerators don't look like anything special. All they have to do is keep your food and beverages from going bad, right? It turns out that there's a lot more to these big, heavy, cold boxes than meets the eye, and between our specially calibrated refrigerator lab and our rigorous testing standards, the testers and writers at Reviewed can recommend specific fridge models, and back up those recommendations with hard data and personal experience.
Just by living in the real world, you've probably noticed that appliances operate best in certain temperature conditions. Because an appliance involves a number of electronic and mechanical parts working together in harmony, the air in your home can inhibit certain parts from working at their best, especially in extremely hot or cold climates.
Refrigerators, in particular, can be very sensitive to ambient air conditions. Refrigerators pull in air and cool it down to temperatures cold enough (usually around 37°F) to preserve food and inhibit bacteria growth. In hot weather, the condenser and cooling coils have to work harder to cool the warmer air. In cold weather, the fridge struggles to operate in general. This is why, if you happen to have a second fridge in your sweltering hot or freezing cold garage, you may have noticed that the air inside that fridge is not as cold as the air inside your kitchen fridge.
To mitigate these possible temperature effects, we test each refrigerator in a special lab that conditions the air to a temperature of 72°F +/- 5°F, and a relative humidity of 50% RH +/- 15% RH (basically, room temperature). This way, each fridge can get the chance to perform at its best, and doesn't get inadvertently penalized for having to deal with warmer or colder air than its competitors experienced.
Over the course of a week (including a day for calibration), we put each refrigerator through its paces. After filling the fridge up with water ballast (since fridges operate better when there's less empty space), we measure the fridge's temperature, humidity loss, freezing time, usable space, and energy use.
• Temperature — Our ideal temperature settings for the fridge and the freezer are 37°F and 0°F, respectively. With fridge temperatures higher than 37°F, you might have to start worrying about bacteria growth, as 40°F is the start of the bacteria "danger zone". Freezer temperatures warmer than 0°F means that the food isn't being truly frozen. Once we set each fridge to those temperatures, we collect temperature data throughout the week's testing that tells us not only how close the temperature in the fridge and freezer are to 37°F and 0°F, respectively, but how close the air temperature stayed to those ideal values.
• Humidity Loss — For this test, we focus on the refrigerator's veggie crisper. We add water to a floral foam ball, and then record how much of the water is evaporated away each day. Humidity loss rates are important because if the crisper is too dry, your leafy greens will dry out very quickly. If the crisper is too humid, your fruits will rot. Fridges that can strike a balance between these two extremes will help you to preserve your fruits and veggies for as long as possible.
• Freezing Time — Once the fridge is plugged in, we measure the time it takes for the freezer to cool down from room temperature to 32°F (the freezing temperature of water). This is a good measure of how quickly your fridge and freezer can cool down food or beverages that have just been placed inside the refrigerator.
• Usable Space — One of the most common refrigerator specs is the storage capacity, or the volume of the inside of the fridge, in cubic feet. You'd think that a higher capacity means that you can fit more in that fridge, but that's not always the case. We measure the usable space, which is how much empty space is actually available in the fridge's interior. Any number of things can reduce the usable space in a fridge—the ice bucket and/or ice maker, a water filter, air filters, shelf arrangement, etc. The closer the usable space value is to the fridge's stated storage capacity, the more food you can fit in your refrigerator.
• Energy Use — Using an electric meter, we measure the fridge's energy usage (in Watt-hours) over the week of testing. The less energy used, the more efficient that fridge is, and the more money it'll save you on utility bills in the future.
We also use each fridge in a more casual sense so that we can answer usability questions about the fridge's specs and features, like the doors, shelves, controls, water/ice dispenser, and extras like smart connectivity, door-in-door or flexible storage options, etc. If a refrigerator keeps the temperature at a perfect 37°F, but it's very difficult to open the doors and the control panel makes no sense, we're going to penalize that fridge with respect to its ease of use.
We test each fridge from two perspectives—first, from a data-driven objective point of view, and second, as a regular person trying to get at the leftover Chinese food. The combination of these two types of experiences allows us to recommend the best fridge for you at any price point.
What To Look For When Buying A Refrigerator
If your refrigerator just died, chances are that you're in a hurry to replace it. When looking for a new or replacement refrigerator, consider the following topics carefully before you buy.
No one wants to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a refrigerator that can't keep your food cold. Preserving your food is the most important facet of our refrigerator testing methodology; we gather temperature data in the fridge and freezer, and humidity data from the veggie bin to make sure every fridge can hit and maintain temperatures and humidity values best suited for keeping your food fresh. If you're out shopping for a refrigerator at a store, be sure to ask the sales associate about the refrigerator's cooling abilities. Additionally, you can look through our refrigerator reviews and our refrigerator roundups to see which refrigerators did the best when it comes to maintaining the right environment for your cold foods and beverages.
Your Refrigerator Cutout
If you're replacing a fridge with a very specific cutout (usually surrounded by countertops and/or cabinetry), measure your cutout carefully—it's not unheard of for consumers to buy a beautiful new fridge, only to have to return it because it's too large for the cutout. Measure the height, width, and depth of the cutout multiple times, then be sure to leave at least one to two inches between the top of the fridge and above-fridge cabinetry, as well as a couple inches between the back of the fridge and the wall. Leaving those extra inches behind the refrigerator is especially helpful for the fridge's air circulation.
Lastly, when looking at the depth of your cutout, be sure to account for the depths of the fridge doors. If the distance your fridge sticks out from your cabinetry is not as wide as the thickness of the refrigerator doors, then you might not be able to open the fridge doors all the way.
Counter-Depth vs. Not Counter-Depth
The term "counter-depth" refers to the depth of your fridge—specifically, how much it sticks out past your cabinetry. The standard depth for a regular, non-counter-depth fridge is typically about 30 inches. If your fridge is surrounded by cabinets, it probably sticks out anywhere from four to six inches. This doesn't bother most people, but if you have space restrictions or stylistic preferences that tend towards a refrigerator with a shallower profile, you might want to take a look at counter-depth fridges.
While there's no standard depth measurement for counter-depth fridges (it largely depends on the manufacturer), they can be as much as six inches shallower than their non-counter-depth counterparts. However, you lose interior storage space as a result of the shallower fridge profile. Before you buy a counter-depth fridge, be sure that the width of your fridge cutout is actually wide enough to support full opening of the doors; when refrigerators have a shallower depth, there's an increased likelihood that the back of the refrigerator door(s) will hit the cabinetry before it can fully open.
One more thing to consider: A counter-depth fridge may cost more than its non-counter-depth counterpart because the manufacturer may have to do some creative rearrangement of the interior compartments and storage units.
Through-Door Water and Ice Dispensers
When looking for through-door ice and water dispensers, be sure to check out the number of ice types available in that fridge—if you're an ice connoisseur, then you may want more than just cubed ice. Other ice options include crushed ice and cylindrical ice. Additionally, some of the more expensive refrigerators have additional dispensing options, such as hot water dispensers or a built-in Keurig pod coffee maker.
The most basic storage options include built-in shelves in the fridge, one or two crisper bins, and some shelving options on the fridge's doors. When it comes to extra storage, though, the possibilities are endless. In addition to moving shelves to different heights in the refrigerator, some shelves can flip up or retract; some door bins can slide and expand.
Some fridges have door-in-door storage, which allows you to access popular fridge items without opening the whole refrigerator door. French door fridges often have the most extra storage options, including an extra drawer, temperature-controlled deli/pantry drawers that can be set for specific fridge temperatures, pocket storage at the bottom of the refrigerator that make for easy access for kids, or a fourth compartment/drawer that can be set to fridge or freezer temperatures.
If the prospect of using less water and energy is appealing to you, consider the Energy Star rating for a refrigerator for an idea of what your utility bills might look like. Typically, the more complicated your fridge (in features and design), the more energy it uses. In our experience, it's not a lot more than your more basic fridges, but it can add up over time. Only you can decide if the added convenience is worth the increase in running costs.
Fit and Finish
While black and white refrigerators finishes are still available, most refrigerators these days come in some variation of stainless steel options. You should be able to find a refrigerator that matches your kitchen setup and your other appliances, but be ready to pay more money for any finish more sophisticated than black, white, or basic stainless steel.
Other Affordable French-Door Refrigerators We Tested
Do you love the look and functionality of French-door refrigerators, but don't have the space to actually fit one in your kitchen? We have just the fridge for you: the Haier HRF15N3AGS. This fridge is considerably narrower and shallower than most French-door fridges; while that means you'll be able to fit it in a smaller kitchen, that also means you'll be able to fit less food in the fridge in the first place.
Because it's compact, the fridge itself is pretty bare-bones. There's no ice maker or water dispenser, and the shelves aren't very adjustable. The cooling on this fridge is top-notch, though, and it easily maintained fridge and freezer temperatures of 37°F and 0°F throughout our week of testing. If you don't need a lot of extra features and want to make the most of a relatively small kitchen, the Haier HRF15N3AGS compact French-door fridge is a great pick.
The slate finished 24.8-cubic-foot GE GNE25JMKES refrigerator is a well-sized, well-priced French door fridge. Its clean lines and sleek exterior really draw the eye, but it's what's inside that really impressed us. This fridge really blew us away with its precision temperature control and its energy efficiency.
While this fridge doesn't have through-door ice or water dispensers, it does have some retractable shelves, crisper bins with separate humidity controls, a temperature-controlled deli drawer, a discreet interior water dispenser, and an ice maker in the freezer. We like the GE GNE25JMKES because looks like a stripped down French door refrigerator, but it still has some of the most convenient features that you find on more expensive French door options.
Haier knocks it out of the park again with the Haier HRQ16N3BGS, a unique French-door fridge with four doors. When it comes to temperature, this fridge does pretty well—the fridge can run a little warm at times, so be sure to bump down the temperature settings by a couple of degrees, but the freezer does just fine.
As for its fun, four-door design, the top two doors open to reveal the refrigerator, and the bottom two doors are for two separate freezer compartments. The freezer only has drawers, rather than shelves, so you won't be able to fit a frozen pizza box in here, but most smaller items and prepackaged meals should be fine. Because of this freezer limitation, though, we think that the Haier HRQ16N3BGS is best for homes with smaller families and/or a very organized person who does the grocery shopping.
If you like the sleek, contemporary appearance of a French door refrigerator, take a look at the Whirlpool WRF555SDHV. It does a great job maintaining cool temperatures in both the fridge and the freezer, and the crisper bins retain their humidity long enough to extend the shelf-life of your fruits and veggies.
This fridge has through-door ice and water dispensers (with two kinds of ice), which is a surprising and happy feature to have at this price point. Between the highly adjustable shelves, the additional deli drawer, and the door bins large enough to hold a gallon of milk, you have plenty of storage options. If you want an affordable but great-performing French door fridge with through-door ice and water dispensers, you can't go wrong with the Whirlpool WRF555SDHV.
If you want top-notch looks without a luxury-level price tag, look no further than the GE GFE26JEMDS refrigerator. With a stunning matte Black Slate finish and through-door ice and water dispensers, this refrigerator will definitely make thirsty guests jealous as they fill up their water glasses.
This fridge is well-organized, with multiple door bins, adjustable shelving, one retractable shelf, and an extra deli drawer beneath the two crisper bins. While we found that the fridge ran a little hot, you can easily fix that by bumping the temperature down a few more degrees on the control panel. The freezer was right on target, and easily maintained a temperature of 0°F throughout testing. If you want a fridge that both keeps your food fresh and acts as a conversation starter, check out the GE GFE26JEMDS.
While the KitchenAid KRFC300ESS counter-depth French door refrigerator looks plain on the outside, it has plenty of neat features on the inside. In addition to a deli drawer, a retractable shelf, and an interior ice maker and water dispenser, this fridge is one of the only refrigerators we've seen where a wine rack comes standard. The freezer bins are wire, rather than solid bins; be careful if you need to freeze something small—it might fall through the holes in the bin.
During testing, we found that the fridge temperatures tended to run a little cool; we recommend that you bump the temperature up a bit from where you think it should be on the control panel, but use a refrigerator thermometer to keep an eye on the internal fridge temperature; if you bump the temperature settings too high, you run the risk of getting to the point where it's warm enough for bacteria to start growing on your food (40°F). If you need an affordable counter-depth french door fridge, the KitchenAid KRFC300ESS is a strong contender.
The Kenmore 73025 stainless French door fridge has all the right design choices to work for families with young children. The finish resists fingerprints, thick glass shelves contain the inevitable spills, and with two gallon-sized bins in the door, if your kids guzzle milk and juice, you have space to stock up. This model lacks a water dispenser, but think of it this way—no puddles on the kitchen floor. Finally, a child-height pantry drawer can dispense after-school snacks without requiring parental help.
Something else that makes this model shine: The fresh food compartment holds a very consistent, very safe temperature. Our tests show that the freezer isn't as consistent, with temperatures bouncing up and down some. That's still okay, if you mostly store frozen pizza and ice cream, because as you know, in a household with children, those don't last very long.
If you want a stainless steel French door fridge, but don't want to spend a lot of time wiping smudges off the finish, take a look at the Maytag MFI2570FEZ refrigerator. While its through-door ice and water dispenser ensure that people will be touching the outside of the fridge often, the fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finish will mitigate the amount of time you'll spend scrubbing your fridge with a soft cloth.
This Maytag includes the PowerCold feature; when activated, it works overtime to cool beverages and foods faster than it would normally, which is convenient for when guests bring adult beverages to your outdoor parties. Even without the PowerCold functionality, this fridge cooled everything down pretty fast. During testing, we found that the freezer ran a bit warmer than we like at about 2°F (slightly warmer than our preferred temperature of 0°F), but that the fridge maintained a perfect 37°F. The Maytag MFI2570FEZ fridge is perfect for those who don't want to worry about keeping their food preserved or their fridge looking dirty.
The 26.8-cubic-foot French door Frigidaire FFHB2750TS looks good, with its strap handles and stainless exterior, but it didn't do as well in our tests, compared to other French door refrigerators. We've seen this fridge for under $1,500, but even at that price point, we think you can do better. We weren't pleased with the freezer, which took 97 minutes to hit 32°F—that's slow—and the temperature, though safe, was inconsistent.
The news isn't all discouraging—this fridge allows you to store and organize food the way you want to on its plastic shelves. Bright lighting ensures that leftovers won't get lost. Its advantages also include a fresh food compartment that held its temperature consistently and crisper drawers that maintained humidity, helping keep produce fresh. During our tests, we found that this unit uses a lot of power, which will cost you over time.
Greens will last a long time in the crisper drawer
This is another refrigerator we've seen priced at around $1,500, though that said, you might do well to invest in a different fridge on this list. The main reason you would consider the Frigidaire FFHD2250TS is that it's a counter-depth model. That can be a big help in a small kitchen, though the trade-off is that you pay more for less space.
In the interior of this fridge, the temperature in the fresh food compartment was fairly consistent and very close to the optimal 37°F. The freezer temperature tested safely below 0°, but it vacillated, so you might see some freezer burn. It's not dangerous, but it's not very appetizing, either.
David Kender oversees content at Reviewed as the Editor in Chief. He served as managing editor and editor in chief of Reviewed's ancestor, CamcorderInfo.com, helping to grow the company from a tiny staff to one of the most influential online review resources. In his time at Reviewed, David has helped to launch over 100 product categories and written too many articles to count.
Matthew is a native of Brockton, MA and a graduate of Northeastern, where he earned a degree in English and Theatre. He has also studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and spends most of his free time pursuing a performance career in the greater Boston area.
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Senior Lab Technician at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Cindy Bailen loves writing about major appliances and home design and has spent over 15 years immersed in that. In her spare time, Cindy hosts pledge programs for WGBH-TV in Boston and other public television stations.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.