In our tests, this fridge showed sub-par cooling, inconsistent temperatures, and an inaccurate thermostat. Yes, it's capacious and has upscale looks, but we'd recommend spending just a little more money and upgrading to the similar FGHS2655PF. Your food will thank you.

Straightforward, side-by-side, and smudge-free stainless.

The Frigidaire's exterior is it's greatest strength. It's a touch darker than typical stainless, but there's an important reason for that: it's got a fingerprint resistant coating. We came across the same thing when we reviewed the award-winning FGHS2655PF; it's great for households with inquisitive children, and it'll certainly make general cleaning easier. The catch? It may be harder to get other stainless appliances that match.

It's no bigger than usual, but feels surprisingly open.

Moving inside, both compartments use a traditional layout of primarily rear-mounted shelves and assorted drawers. It's no bigger than usual, but manages to feel surprisingly open. Most of the fridge shelves can be repositioned, and two of the four even slide out for easy rear access. The drawers were a little sticky for our taste, though: the plastic-on-plastic design doesn't make for smooth opening and closing.

The freezer, on the other hand, had almost no flexibility at all. One only of the few shelves had another slot it could fit into, but otherwise you're stuck with the layout as is.

This model didn't make the jump to LED lighting, but the fixtures are set in the back where they don't take up too much space. The ice maker, too, is quite large. There's also an unobtrusive air filter up in the fridge that Frigidaire says will cut down on odor build up. The Chill Drawer set above the crisper has a control switch that offers a separate temperature control for deli meats or cheeses.

Test results did not impress.

Our tests revealed a fridge and freezer that lacked consistency and accuracy. The fridge never got as cold as the reading displayed on the external thermostat, with temperatures as high as 41.5ºF even though the number on the door said 37ºF. What's more, temperatures fluctuated quite a bit over time, which puts some delicate foods at risk.

The crispers lost much more moisture than average.

While the freezer averaged temperatures below the ideal 0ºF—not an inherently bad thing—the maximum and minimum temperatures across the freezer cavity were spread six degrees apart. Even worse, the overall average freezer temperature rose and fell above and below zero on a regular basis. That puts frozen foods at a real risk of freezer burn.

The crispers lost much more moisture than average, which means even produce isn't safe here. Oddly enough, energy efficiency was surprisingly high, but we've seen other efficient fridges that do a better job preserving food.

A pleasant exterior and low price don't make up for poor preservation.

The Frigidaire FGHS2631PF combines a stainless exterior, moderately customizable interior, and a side-by-side design with an affordable price: $1,299 MSRP, closer to $1,100 on sale. Even though that may sound like a good deal, we suggest you keep searching. Our testing showed that in both fridge and freezer compartments, temperatures varied enough to negatively affect the foods kept within.
This machine did poorly in every single one of our test categories except energy efficiency. If you'd like to find out exactly why, read on.

Swinging like a teeter totter.

In short, the Frigidaire's fridge compartment was both too warm and too inaccurate. At it's coldest point, roughly in the middle of the fridge, temperatures hit just 37.41ºF, gradually warming to an average peak of 41.03ºF. That's something you could easily correct by turning down the thermostat (which, for the record, we had set to the manufacturer's recommended 37ºF). What you can't fix, however, is long-term fluctuations: Over 36 hours, temperatures bounced up and down. Across all three sensors, we calculated an average shift of ±0.81 degrees, which is about four times what we see on fridges that do well on this test.

At first, it appeared that the freezer got cold enough. Average temperatures ranged from a brisk -3.9ºF at the top to -1.09ºF at the bottom. But temperature shifts of ±0.92 degrees took portions of the freezer above and below 0ºF on a regular basis. That constant freezing and thawing is what generates the little icy crystals that cause freezer burn.

Excessive in its loss of moisture.

The Frigidaire's two crisper drawers were just as bad at retaining moisture as its overall compartment was at putting out an even temperature. Over the course of three days, our test material lost 0.24 grams of moisture per hour. Ideally, fridges lose less than 0.1 grams per hour. Produce that spoils early may negate any of the savings you've gained from buying a less-expensive fridge.

Average quality on minor tests don't save a poor fridge.

Freezing times were roughly in the middle of the spectrum. Our room-temperature test materials took about one hour and 39 minutes to freeze, making this Frigidaire's freezer no more or less effective than a perfectly average product.

At the very least, the freezer insulation proved to be sufficient when it came to retaining cold air. When examined at the end of a 36 hour period without power, test materials inside the Frigidaire were still frozen, having reached an internal temperature of 28.44ºF.

Modest storage and energy savings.

For all its performance flaws, the standard layout of the Frigidaire proved relatively roomy as far as side-by-sides go. Four shelves and three drawers—two crispers and a chill drawer—make up the bulk of the fresh food storage, with four shelves and a dairy bin adding additional space on the door. In total, taking into account space taken up by obstructions such as the water filter, the fridge can hold 11.33 cubic feet worth of food items. That's actually a little roomier than your average side-by-side, but not by much.

The freezer didn't have an equally above-average storage capacity, but it still offered up a more than acceptable amount of usable space. Less flexible than the fridge, two drawers and two shelves set below the ice maker are the primary storage locales. A small nook above the ice maker is also a viable storage spot, though folks who get bulk ice frequently may not want to use it. Four small shelves on the door throw in a little more usable room, bringing the grand total to 5.01 cubic feet.

The best thing this Frigidaire has going for it is its energy efficiency. Based on a fixed rate of $0.09 per kWh, this fridge would only cost you $46.23 to run, definitely lower than the average side-by-side. Also on the lower end of the scale is the amount of energy needed to power the usable storage: just 0.09 kWh per cubic foot.

Meet the testers

Matthew Zahnzinger

Matthew Zahnzinger

Logistics Manager & Staff Writer


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


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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