A fridge free of frills

There's not much to say about this fridge in terms of design that you couldn't grasp by looking at the photos. It's a basic top freezer with a textured white finish and a few full-width shelves. Some of its aspects are done well: the shelves are fairly light and easy to move, they have relatively effective spill protection, and the wide open spaces make for easy food access in both compartments. The white finish is also resistant to smudging, making it great for households with small children.

The white finish is also resistant to smudging.

That said, the crisper drawers don't slide in or out of place very securely, the fridge door shelves lack any sort of customizability, and the handles are a touch flimsy. There's no water filter, ice maker, or freezer lighting, but that's not surprising at this price.

Probably the most exciting aspect of the fridge's design is the magical, movable deli drawer. Need some extra space on the left side? Slide the drawer to the right. Need space on the right? Slide it back to the left.

Many of the negative elements are par for the course when it comes to budget top freezers.

The single control knob in the fridge regulates temperature throughout the entire appliance. Also par for the course when it comes to budget fridges, it uses an arbitrary scale running from 1 to 5, with 3 marked as the "normal" setting. A less common, positive touch is the fact that 5 is actually labeled as "coldest," something which will make any necessary adjustments to your fridge temp that much easier to manage. Typically, consumers either have to go back to the user manual or just flat out guess as to whether lower numbers are colder or warmer, and it's not always as intuitive as you might think.

Performance this good makes the budget price hard to believe.

When it comes to fridge performance, consistency is the single factor with the biggest impact, and when it comes to consistency, this Amana is king. Well, okay, maybe not king, but definitely a knight of the realm.

Calibration is a pain.

We set all our fridges to match the manufacturer's recommended setting, but the Amana still ran a touch too warm. Despite this, temperatures managed to remain pretty close throughout. A tiny tweak of the controls should fix any issues there, while the high level of consistency translates to increased preservation.

Matching performance in the freezer will lead to less freezer burn and more effective long-term food storage. The catch there is that, since freezer temperatures cannot be controlled independently of the fridge, optimal performance in one section could come at the cost of the other.

While consistency made up for most of the temperature calibration issues, the crisper drawers were flat out disappointing. They lose more moisture than we'd like to see, and you may end up wasting produce if you buy too much at once.

Freezing times in this Amana were faster than expected.

Conversely, freezing times in this Amana were faster than expected for products of its type and price point. This means you can get some nice cuts of grass-fed beef at that same farmers market and freeze them without having to worry too much about reducing the quality. Combine that with the fridge's high level of efficiency, and you've got yourself a carnivore's ideal top freezer.

Stepping up their game.

Amana is a no-nonsense, entry level brand. Typically, "entry level" can be code for "leaves something to be desired." But that's not the case with the A8TXNGFXW. Not only is a budget-friendly, it's got great performance, so it's a strong value overall. You wouldn't expect a fridge with a $699 MSRP to be very competitive, but this top freezer is one of the most consistent and efficient products we've ever tested. It's even better than some higher-priced, fancier models. With many retailers offering prices below $550, you can bet your bottom dollar that there's probably not a better deal around.
This is a perfect example of substance over style. Out of the box, the Amana A8TXNGFXW didn't really impress. It was run-of-the-mill, lacked extra features, had a very basic layout; hopes weren't high. In our line of work, though, its the science that matters most of all, and this Amana aced nearly all of our rigorous tests.

Get it calibrated and be amazed.

As is the case with almost every fridge on the market, there were calibration issues. We set this Amana to the marked recommended setting on the vague control knob, and things turned out to be a bit too warm. The fridge displayed an average temperature of 38.75ºF at the top, warming to 40.91ºF at the bottom. An average shift of about two degrees is pretty standard for all fridges except the very best, even for those in higher price brackets or with more interior space. You'll need an external thermometer to fix the issue, but a small tweak on the controls should more than compensate.

What really impressed, however, was the fridge's precision. The internal temperature of our test materials shifted a mere 0.12 degrees over time. That's astounding! Of all the fridges we've tested over the years, only a handful of them have maintained such a precise temperature output. With regularity like that, the food you place inside this machine will be well taken care of.

The freezer displayed almost identical strengths and weaknesses to the fridge. Warm temperatures were the biggest flaw: the top averaged 4.9ºF, the bottom hit 3.66ºF. It's not perfect—we wanted 0ºF—but it's darn close. Turn down the thermostat, and this issues—as well as the one in the fridge—should be more or less negated. It was the consistency yet again, however, which really impressed. Average a temperature shift of just 0.26 degrees, it's the sort of regularity that helps prevent freezer burn and optimizes food preservation.

The one black mark on an otherwise stellar report card.

Moisture retention was this fridge's weakest link. It wasn't surprising given the flimsiness of the crisper drawers. Over the course of three days, our test materials lost an average of 0.2 grams of moisture. While we've frequently seen that level of loss in budget fridges, it's all the more disappointing here due to the other stellar performance points. 0.2 grams of moisture lost per hour is below average, enough so that fruits and vegetables purchased from the store could potentially spoil prematurely.

Excelling even in the basic tests.

Freezing times in budget fridges typically don't impress. Not so with the Amana: our room-temperature test materials froze in just 90 minutes even. That's somewhat faster than average, but only marginally so. Average may not sound impressive, but to give you some context, most freezers like this Amana's tend to run upwards of one hour and 40 minutes to freeze something. Faster freezing times mean better quality when thawed.

The Amana's insulation also managed to keep the cold air in. Left alone to sit for 36 hours without power, the internal temperature of our test materials warmed to a brisk 29.37 degrees. If you find yourself stuck at home without power, don't fret. As long as the electric company finishes repairs within a day and a half, your frozen food should still be good to eat... as long as you didn't open the door and let the cold air out.

It's not enormous, but neither is its electric bill.

The A8TXNGFXW isn't a giant fridge by any means. The fridge has just three shelves (two of which are adjustable) in addition to a deli drawer and two crispers in the main compartment. Three more fixed shelves and a dairy bin add a smaller-than-average amount of door storage to the overall mix. Despite the advertised 13.52 cubic feet of fridge space, only 9.81 of those are usable. The less-abundant door storage may restrict fridge flexibility, but the total available storage space is fairly standard.

The freezer is about as basic as it comes. The rectangular compartment is broken up by one wire shelf; there's no ice maker, though a hole in the back of the fridge is indicative of the ability to install one. Two door shelves add a little more storage to the freezer, but not a ton. Amana's specs for this fridge advertise 4.07 cubic feet of frozen space, but there's actually just 3.11. Again, par for the course: it's not cavernous, nor is it smaller than average. It's just small.

Our energy meters calculate annual costs based on a rate of $0.09 per kWh, giving this Amana a yearly bill of roughly $27.24. Thats quite good: cheaper than average, though not the cheapest ever. The really exciting element here is what you get when you check how much energy each usable cubic foot requires to cool. At 0.06 kWh per cubic foot, this Amana clocks it at the lowest end of the scale in terms of what we've seen for energy usage.

Meet the testers

Matthew Zahnzinger

Matthew Zahnzinger

Logistics Manager & Staff Writer

@ReviewedHome

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.

See all of Matthew Zahnzinger's reviews
Matthew Zahnzinger

Matthew Zahnzinger

Logistics Manager & Staff Writer

@ReviewedHome

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.

See all of Matthew Zahnzinger's reviews

Checking our work.

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.

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