You can choose from many different finishes for this refrigerator, so you can have it pretty much any way you like. The smudge-proof black stainless steel model we tested in our labs would lend updated style to any kitchen, but if regular stainless steel (LFTR1821TF) is more your taste, go for it: it's $100 less. For $150 less, you could select it in black (FFTR1821TB) or white (FFTR1821TW). Some retailers sell it in silver mist (FFTR1821TM, $25 less than the black stainless), but you might have trouble finding that color. If you need a certain finish to match your existing appliances, the price differential may not matter to you.
We liked the interior glass shelves that can capture a spill. That helps with cleaning when something tips or leaks.
Most people want a door that can hold gallon-size containers of milk and juice, and there's a full-width shelf in this fridge that will serve you well in the beverage department.
The covered dairy compartment is a nice little luxury, since butter can pick up off-flavors if it's exposed to strong odors in the fridge.
A half-width adjustable deli drawer is a nice-to-have. We're not so crazy about the crispers, which didn't do a great job maintaining moisture. Don't expect them to keep your produce fresh and crisp for long.
The basic freezer compartment is what you'd expect at this price point, with a wire shelf in the middle. There's no light, and no ice maker. A pair of shelves on the freezer door extends storage area. Although the shelves are narrow, an edge guard holds packages in place, maximizing space.
To preserve your food, a refrigerator needs to stay close to 37°F and a freezer has to hold steady at 0°F. In this case, the fridge compartment is the winner. The recommended option is what you need to keep your food cold, with the temperature averaging just over 37°.
Our main concern is with the freezer, where the temperature vacillates. In our labs, we measured it as high as 8°—that is much too warm. You can test it at home with a freezer thermometer, and you can't control the inconsistency, but for safety's sake, if you buy this fridge, turn down the temperature. You can't set it by degree, so just turn the control toward "colder".
In the lab, this freezer took an hour and 42 minutes to cross the 32° line, which is relatively slow.
Efficiency is one of this refrigerator's strong points. We calculate it will cost about $24.30 to run it for a year.
What Owners Say
Four out of five owners who posted reviews feel very positively about this refrigerator. Many mentioned the upscale beauty of the black stainless model. A few users pointed out that this fridge can be noisy, and a small number noted, as we did, that the freezer doesn't get down to 0° on the factory setting.
The Bottom Line
With a street price under $700, the Frigidaire FFTR1821TD offers economy, style, and virtually all the space it promises. It's a good value for a fridge that stays plenty cold. Make sure you turn down the freezer temperature, though. It will still bounce up and down, but it will keep your frozen food in the safe zone.
If you'd like an alternative, another budget 18-cu.-ft. fridge that did very well in our lab tests is the Whirlpool WRT318FZDB. You'll be able to snap one up in the same price range as the Frigidaire, and we rated the Whirlpool as one of the best fridges under $1,000.
Meet the testers
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.See all of Cindy Bailen's reviews
Kyle Hamilton is a product tester at Reviewed, specializing in home appliances and technology.See all of Kyle Hamilton'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.Shoot us an email