Sure, you get customizable storage, but the shelves are really tough to move. It’s energy efficient, but temperatures turned out to be way too warm. And even though the stainless finish looks good, it smudges really easily.

For a sale price around $650, you might be willing to live with a fridge that isn't perfect. If you just want a stainless finish on a budget, it might do. You should be aware, though, that the GTE16GSHSS's mix of highs and lows tip ever so surely toward the negative.

Just not steady enough

We had our GE’s controls calibrated to the recommended manufacturer setting. Three words of advice: Turn it down. The entire fridge interior was way too warm, with average temperatures recorded at 38.18°F near the top, 41.30°F in the middle, and 38.72°F at the bottom. With an average degree fluctuation of ±0.82°F over time, that means most areas are getting close to or warmer than 41°—the point at which bacteria really begins to grow.

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The freezer was better, but still inconsistent over time. Average temperatures of -0.2°F and 0.99°F at the top and bottom, respectively, mean overall cooling is better than in the fridge. Unfortunately, the average degree shift of ±1.21°F is going to take temperatures above and below 0°F on a regular basis. That’s going to lead to substantial amounts of freezer burn.

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You'll leave prints behind

Yes, this fridge is covered in shiny stainless steel, but that alone does not a high-end fridge make. The finish is very easy to smudge, the door handles don’t quite line up with each other, and the GE logo—which you have to attach manually—fails to sit flush against the fridge door.

We also noticed that the freezer was unusually easy to open. That may actually sound like a benefit, but remember that it might accidentally get knocked ajar—and that means spoiled food.

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Inside the main fridge compartment, you get three shelves, two of which are adjustable. Unfortunately, these were some of the most stubborn shelves we’ve ever tried to move. The tabs that keep them in place did almost too good a job, making it quite difficult to remove them. This could prove rather messy if you’re taking a shelf out to clean up after a spill.

The single shelf in the freezer was much more accommodating. Folks that like to stockpile frozen food might not be able to take advantage if the ice cube tray, however. With just two storage surfaces in the freezer, you'll likely end up piling food on top of it.

Matching crispers that both have adjustable humidity controls is always a nice perk for a top freezer. The inclusion of a deli drawer will help keep your fridge organized, but it may make getting to items underneath the drawer a bit more challenging.

Standard crispers

The dual crispers did a fine, if somewhat underwhelming, job retaining moisture. Over the course of three days, our test materials lost an average of 0.19 grams of moisture each hour. That’s slightly worse than average, but not enough to render the drawers unusable.

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Not on target

Despite having the control knob set to the manufacturer-recommended "Cooler" setting, we recorded temperatures in both sections that ran rather warm. The freezer wasn’t too bad, but the fridge had a major issue: Several areas regularly reached temperatures above 41°F. Unless you turn down the thermostat, your food may spoil.

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We also tracked a large degree of temperature fluctuation in both compartments—a problem you can't fix just by turning the temperature down. That could exacerbate spoilage in the fridge, and lead to the development of freezer burn in the freezer.

The GE did excel in some areas, at least: It was exceptionally energy efficient, and did a great job freezing food quickly. Unfortunately, those fringe benefits don’t mean a whole lot if the core temperature performance isn’t there to back things up.

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As for features, they're lacking. There’s no icemaker, water dispenser, or even a light bulb in the freezer. All you get is a small ice cube tray.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.

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Look beyond the stainless

With so many other top freezers on the market today, the GE GTE16GSHSS failed to distinguish itself in our tests. Stainless on the cheap may sound appealing, but significant performance and usability issues negate the bargain value.

A sale price as low as $650 may change your opinion, but we still think you should keep shopping. You could pick another stainless model that costs less, or go for something in white for an even better deal. For just a little more money, you could even choose from some of the best models available.

Fast freeze, slow thaw

One of the best things about this GE was its freezing speed. Room-temperature test materials hit 32°F in just one hour and 20 minutes. The inconsistencies in temperature that lead to freezer burn may render this strength moot for long-term storage, but if you only need to freeze something for a short period of time, you’ll be okay.

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After 36 hours without power, the GE’s freezer was still retaining plenty of cold air. At the end of our test, materials had only thawed to 28.26°F.

Exceptionally efficient

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The GE’s layout offers a reasonable amount of usable storage in both compartments. There are three shelves, a deli bin, and two matching crispers in the main fridge section. Combine that with the dairy bin and two additional shelves on the door, and you get 8.62 usable cubic feet of space.

In the freezer, a single shelf bisects the main icebox, with two more shelves on the door. If you like to buy in bulk, it may start to feel crowded, but if you’re relatively organized you’ll be able to make the most of the 3.52 usable cubic feet of space.

Without question, the strongest element of the GE’s performance was its energy efficiency. Each cubic foot only requires 0.05 kWh to cool, which gives it a great efficiency-to-space ratio.

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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