GE GFE26JEMFDS French-door refrigerator review
If you cook for a big family, this French door fridge can help out
When we brought the massive GE GFE26JEMDS French door refrigerator into our labs, I tried to picture the person that would need all of its 25.6 cu.-ft. of capacity. I came up with Food Network star The Pioneer Woman.
Between feeding a husband, four kids, and people who work on their ranch, that woman whips up a crazy ton of food. But even if you don't cook for a crowd on the daily, if you love to entertain, or sometimes go a little crazy at the local food warehouse, you might be tempted to buy a fridge like this.
Be sure to measure first: At 36-inches wide, you'll need a spacious kitchen to accommodate this refrigerator. Once you're sure you have the space, you can admire the stunning Black Slate finish, and the French door style. But even though it's a big, beautiful fridge, you don't get all the room you think you're getting—because of the shelf layout, you lose space in both the width and the depth.
Design and Features
Black Slate is an eye-catching finish, but you can purchase the refrigerator in Black Stainless (GFE26JBMTS), regular Stainless (GFE26JSMSS), or Slate (GFE26JMMES), if you'd prefer. Each is gorgeous in its own right.
The icemaker is in the left-hand door, so ice and water are available on that side. We noticed that the water sometimes drips after you pour a glass, so be aware of that. The pressure controls on the panel are clear, very easy to use, and offer all the information you want to see.
Open the doors of the in the large refrigerator compartment, and the brilliant LED interior lighting scheme illuminates the food well, though the big bottom freezer is not nearly as bright. Spill-proof shelves in the fridge are a big help if you knock something over, and if you need to take out a shelf to clean it, that's easy to do.
The retractable shelf is useful to make room for tall bottles and containers, though you can stash gallons of milk and juice in the door bins on the right. Keep cheese and cold cuts in the deli drawer. You can adjust the temperature, so make it as cold as you want to.
Don't expect to store anything but condiments in the door bins on the left, because that icemaker takes up most of the space. Crispers do a decent job keeping humidity in, so you can expect your fruits and veggies to stay fresh for a while in the drawers.
Down in the freezer, the two drawers and separators make it easy to keep your frozen foods well organized.
During our testing, we observed that temperatures in the fridge averaged 38.6°, which is safe. They sometimes jumped to just slightly over 40°, which is borderline. Use the control panel to lower the temperature a couple of degrees. We believe everyone should own a refrigerator thermometer and use it to ensure that the temperature in your fridge stays under 40°.
The freezer temperature averaged very close to 0°, which is great for food preservation.
We project that this refrigerator will cost approximately $43 a year to run.
GE Appliances offers one year parts and labor on the refrigerator, and 30 days on water filter parts.
What the users say
Owners give this model an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars, and they like almost everything about it. We saw a few mentions of noisy operation, and a couple related to issues with ice and water.
The bottom line
With French doors and a Black Slate finish, the GFE26JEMDS is attractive enough to be the centerpiece of almost any kitchen, as long as you have enough space. There's lots of room in this refrigerator, though not as much as you'd expect, considering that the shelves don't quite reach all the way to the back, or all the way across. If you think you're getting 17.5 cu.-ft. of fridge space, and you're only getting 9.8 cu.-ft., you might question making the investment.
But if you are ready to spend $2000+ on an excellent refrigerator, take a look at the GE Café CFE28TSHSS. It's the best fridge we've tested in recent years, and it offers hot water as well as cold through the door.
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