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Just plain sloppy

The freezer was no better, with temps averaging 2.25°F at the top and 2.79°F at the bottom. Those temperatures are way too warm, and certainly aren’t helped by a standard deviation of ±0.9°F. Freezer burn may be a problem.
The GTS16DTHWW (MSRP $599) is the most affordable entry in GE's new line of top freezers. Unfortunately, it's not a strong performer. Still, great energy efficiency—far better than a mini-fridge—and ample size actually make it a good choice for a secondary fridge in your garage or basement. It's ideal for storing cold drinks and ice, and stuff you bought in bulk. But if you want a primary fridge for your kitchen, you'll definitely want to look elsewhere.

Almost average

Twin crispers with adjustable humidity controls usually aren’t found on models this cheap. As far as performance is concerned, they’re a hair worse than average. Over the course of three days, our test materials lost an average of 0.23 grams of moisture per hour. That should be fine for all but the most sensitive of produce, assuming you eat what you buy relatively soon.

As basic as it gets

This GE is a little more than a truly basic product, but not by much. The white matte finish is great at hiding smudges, while smooth glossy handles are comfortable to grip.

The interior is identical to the GE GIE16DGHBB. A single incandescent bulb offers some illumination in the main fridge section, while the freezer has no interior lighting, nor does it have an icemaker.

Inside the fridge, you get two wire shelves that offer no spill protection whatsoever. They’re lightweight, though, which makes them easy to adjust or remove for cleaning. One of those shelves is broken up into two-tiers, which allows you to easily accommodate tall items—like liters of soda—if you don’t want to put them on the door.

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The freezer comes with a single wire shelf of its own, which splits the compartment into an upper and lower section. There are two slots for the shelf to live and, without the obstruction of an icemaker, where that shelf goes is entirely up to you.

None too speedy

Freezing times in this model were also somewhat worse than average. Room temperature test materials froze in one hour and 31 minutes. While quicker is always better, the best freezers in this class only take about 10 fewer minutes.

Fortunately, the GE did manage to retain cold air without a problem. After 36 hours without power, internal freezer temperatures had only warmed up to 28.43°F.

As inconsistent as modern politics

As is the case with the other GE fridges in this series—including the more expensive, stainless steel GE GTE16GSHSS temperature controls are frustrating. A loose dial, set just deep enough back to be difficult to see without stooping, makes setting this fridge a trial-and-error exercise.

Even if you can get the fridge to deliver optimal temperatures—37°F in the fridge, 0°F in the freezer—there’s nothing you’ll be able to do about the shifts those temps will experience over time. We recorded temperatures fluctuations in both compartments of a full degree on average. That kind of inconsistency can damage delicate groceries, while other fridges keep fluctuation within half a degree or less.

Dual crispers with adjustable sliders are a nice touch, especially for a low-budget model like this one. They do a decent job, and should serve your produce just fine.

We also measured low power consumption. Without an icemaker, there’s nothing extra to draw power. In fact, all you get by way of extra features is a manual ice cube tray.

But keep this thing away from your kitchen

They say “you get what you pay for,” and so it is for the GE GTS16DTHWW. But with retailers selling this 15.5-cubic-foot top freezer for as little as $500, it’s a size-to-price ratio that might just work for some consumers.

That being said, if you don't mind spending more, or buying a smaller fridge, finding something superior—and larger—for as little as $100 more is easy. Alternatively, you could always buy the adorable Whirlpool WRT111SFAW apartment fridge, which offers just under 9 cu. ft. of total storage.

If you're looking for something cheap to put in the garage for storing hardy items—drinks, ice packs, etc.—you should absolutely take advantage of this bargain. If you’re hunting for a new kitchen fridge, though, do yourself a favor and keep looking.

Plenty of room

If nothing else, this fridge makes the most of its internal space. Three fridge shelves provide the bulk of the storage, with twin crispers and some fixed shelves on the door to supplement. All told, it nets you 9.24 usable cubic feet of space.

Without an icemaker, the freezer is also quite roomy. Between the main cavity and the freezer door, you’ve got 3.39 usable cubic feet at your disposal.

Energy efficiency was also highly impressive. Without an icemaker to suck up power, this fridge only needs 0.05 kWh to cool each usable foot, which is low. It amounts to an annual electric bill of only $21.25. We got that number using a fixed rate of $0.09 per kWh, which may be too much or too little depending on your local utility costs.

Meet the tester

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

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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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