The design makes sense: When real estate sells for upwards of $1,000 per square foot, you don't want to waste any of it on a refrigerator. That's why the CS1360 is only 24 1/8" wide and stands 79 3/16" tall. It's takes up only a small footprint while using vertical space to make room for groceries.
But is this high-end, German-made compact fridge worth the many thousands of dollars it costs to purchase? We brought one in to our lab to find out, and—unlike many expensive appliances—it delivered performance results so good we have to say yes, it actually is. If you plan on living large in a small space, you can't do much better than this Liebherr.
Flawless freezer, functional fridge
The Liebherr’s freezer is easily the strongest element in its repertoire of performance high points. Despite setting the controls to 0ºF, average temperatures clocked in at -9.05ºF at the top and -4.24ºF near the bottom. There’s no disadvantage to an overzealous freezer. Paired with an average temperature shift of just ±0.20ºF over time, those extra-cold temperatures will keep freezer burn at bay.
The fridge proved less than perfect. We recorded average temperatures in the middle and bottom of the fridge at 38.66ºF and 37.54ºF respectively—right near the 37ºF set point on the thermostat. For food stored on the hard-to-reach top shelf, however, we recorded a peak of 43.05ºF. That's no good—prepared foods stored above 41ºF can turn into a breeding ground for bacteria, especially with a rather wide degree shift of ±0.61ºF. Turning down the thermostat a degree or so could help, but may risk freezing more delicate items. We say you should store heartier items here and put leftovers and soft cheeses on the middle shelf.
The look of elegance
This is a visually stunning appliance. Double doors—fridge on top, freezer on the bottom—are covered in a stainless steel finish with a horizontal grain. The manufacturer logo, emblazoned across the front of the fridge door, is made up of slightly raised lettering that's classy and unobtrusive.
The slim door handles are actually hinged to allow for an inch or so of give—like a car door handle, but vertical. This mechanism requires minimal force to open the door, yet ensures it won't pop open accidentally. If the door is only open about a foot or less, it will always glide quietly closed on its own, and a damper keeps it from slamming shut.
And if you want a 48-inch refrigerator, you can actually combine two CS1360's with a separate kit to build your own four-door model.
Inside, two long columns of LED’s illuminate frosted glass shelves and metal accents. For extra flexibility, Liebherr provides a removable bottle rack, sliding organizers for all the door shelves, and a small tray for storing eggs.
On the downside, this fridge is tall. If you aren't, you'll need a stool to reach the back of the top shelf or to adjust the top-mounted controls.
Down in the freezer, there’s no interior light or door storage, and the sliding drawers sit loosely in their moorings. Sliding open the bottom shelf, in particular, was always frustrating. You can actually remove the drawers entirely, however, as shelves are hidden under each row of drawers.
We were also impressed that Liebherr managed to fit an unobtrusive icemaker into this already dense package. When it’s running, the entire upper left drawer turns into an ice tray, complete with plastic scoop. It requires a little more effort to connect to a water line than the average fridge, so we'd recommend paying for installation if you're pressed for time.
Freezing food properly
In the world of kitchen appliances, you don't always get what you pay for. Plenty of expensive fridges have left us underwhelmed, but this Liebherr proved the exception to that rule.
We were particularly impressed by the freezer. Most freezers display temperature fluctuations over time, which can lead to freezer burn. However, this Liebherr's temperature stayed constant within two tenths of a degree over 72 hours. If you spend lots of time away from home, you can rest assured that this Liebherr will keep your steaks and frozen veggies well preserved.
Also surprising was the excellent crisper drawer. Though it lacks a user-adjustable humidity control, it retained plenty of moisture and should keep greens fresh until you're ready to use them.
We set the fridge to 37ºF and measured temperatures very close to that throughout most of the compartment. However, the sensor we placed on the top shelf recorded temperatures above 41ºF. It’s something we’ve noticed before in other apartment models we've tested, and it's likely due to the difficulty of keeping a uniform temperature throughout a tall, skinny column. It's not a deal-breaker—just make sure not to put sensitive perishables near the top.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Sneakily effective produce storage
When we first looked at the Liebherr’s single fridge drawer, our expectations weren't high. There’s no adjustable humidity control, and there’s a small gap between the lowest shelf and the upper edge of the drawer. To our surprise, the test materials in this drawer only lost 0.13 grams of moisture per hour over the course of three days. That's fantastic. The rate of loss was also remarkably consistent. Produce lovers can rest easy when putting salad greens in this fridge.
High-end, small footprint
After testing numerous high-priced appliances that promised the world but failed to deliver, it was refreshing to get a product in the lab as honest as the Liebherr CS1360 refrigerator. Real stainless won't look out of place in an upscale kitchen, and if you travel a lot, you'll appreciate its ability to preserve both fresh produce and frozen foods better than nearly all other fridges on the market.
If you've got a small space but don't want to compromise when it comes to kitchen appliances, this Liebherr is truly an excellent product. Still—and we can't stress this enough—it's expensive. Even among the handful of similarly-sized fridges on the market in the US, it sells for thousands more than the competition. If money is no object, though, you can't do any better than the CS1360.
Standard chilling times
Despite the compactness of the freezer compared to full size fridges, freezing times were comparably unremarkable. Room-temperature test materials froze in one hour and 22 minutes, just slightly better than average.
The Liebherr also managed to run with the pack when it came to thawing. After 36 hours without power, had only warmed up to 28.93ºF—suitable effective.
Phenomenal freezing powers... itty bitty chilling space
After removing all the optional accessories—sliding shelf dividers, bottle rack, and egg tray—we found that the main fridge compartment could house 7.91 cu. ft. worth of groceries. Compared to the advertised 9.1 cu. ft., that’s almost perfectly spot on. Both main fridge shelves and door-mounted ones offer plenty of customizable height options, but adjusting them requires emptying out the shelves and buckets, plus some muscling to move them into a new position.
The freezer is more of a take-it-or-leave-it situation. There are no door shelves—common for apartment fridges of this style—and the main drawers are all tightly packed in. The four drawers serve up 2.31 cu. ft. of usable space, and the upper left one can turn entirely into a ice tray, complete with designated plastic scooper. That's quite impressive for an apartment fridge.
This towering "compact" model is also quite efficient. We determined that each cubic foot of usable space would require just 0.08 kWh each to cool, putting this model right at the head of the class in terms of power consumption. At a fixed rate of $0.09 per kWh, this translates to about $26.95 per year to run.
Meet the tester
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.
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