Samsung RF23 and RF22 four-door flex French door refrigerator review
Stylish four-door design and a convertible fridge/freezer, now in a counter depth package.
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The Cold Hard Facts
The Samsung RF23J/22K series (MSRP $3,999-$5,999) contains some excellent counter depth fridges. Accurate temperature output is bolstered by top-notch crispers and low energy consumption.
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Samsung is squeezing a great thing into a small package. Their four door refrigerator platform, which features a compartment that's convertible from fridge to freezer, is now available in a counter depth design. That means it will blend in with your cabinets for a more upscale look.
The new RF23J/22K series (MSRP $3,999-$5,999) includes six fridges that are just 24 inches deep, minus doors and handles. They're just under 36 inches wide, and a hair under 72 inches tall. Despite their smaller size, each takes the same high-end design, top notch performance, and adjustable FlexZone compartment from the full-sized counterparts.
Whether you want one with Samsung's new Family Hub, one with Food Showcase door-in-door storage, or just a really good straightforward fridge, there's an option for you. And they're all available in both conventional stainless or Samsung's new black stainless finish. Retail prices range from $2,795 to just over $3,500, meaning they're not cheap any way you slice it. But that's true for almost all counter depth models—and most don't offer the same level of cooling or specialty feature set that you'd find here.
Design & Usability
A sleek addition to your kitchen
The exterior of these fridges are right on track with Samsung’s original four door model: Recessed handles give it a trim look, while the smudge-proof finish—whether you want regular or black stainless—will class up any kitchen.
A tall and deep through-the-door dispenser can more than accommodate a standard drinking glass, as well as pitchers and other large containers. We’d have preferred it if the dispenser’s light were brighter, as even when it’s on there’s not much illumination.
The control panel itself uses blue lighting that fades away when not in use, as well as black text that doesn’t. We found that the text actually didn’t distract from the overall design, but rather complemented the straight lines formed by breaks between doors.
Inside, you’re met with bright LED lighting that casts a glow over every nook and cranny, while silver highlights add some pizzazz to the white plastic shelves.
The crispers were a bit loose in their moorings, and it’s still a bit disappointing to find an internal ice maker as opposed to a door-mounted model, but those are small quibbles.
Down on the bottom, you’ve got two matching zones filled primarily with sliding drawers. The counter depth design means drawers are shallower than in the full-sized models, which means they don’t slide out very far. If you like to overstock the freezer, be prepared to stoop and reach.
The upper fresh food area isn’t as consistent over the long term as we might like, displaying average shifts of ±0.37°F. However, the temperature spread from one shelf to another was fairly tight. We recorded average temps of 37.53°F at the top, 36.75°F in the middle, and 38.97°F at the bottom near the crispers. A little warmth near the crispers is good, as produce tends to prefer milder temperatures.
The freezer was decidedly more inaccurate, but—oddly enough—in a positive way. Average temps clocked in at about -1.06°F and -1.98°F at the top and bottom, respectively. The use of drawers as opposed to shelves means temperature shifts are pretty wide over time—about ±2.62°F—which means that excess chilliness will help in keeping temperatures down and minimize freezer burn.
While the crispers themselves weren’t as snug in their moorings as we’d like for such an expensive fridge, they nonetheless did a great job retaining moisture. Over the course of three days, we determined that test materials placed inside each drawer lost about 0.1 grams of moisture each hour. That’s as good as it gets—any more moisture and mold might grow.
Performance & Features
On point and efficient
There’s very little this Samsung doesn’t do well.
We’ve noticed that many counter depth models struggle keeping even temperatures, but mot so here. The main fridge section averaged just a hair over the 37°F we set it to, with a little extra warmth around the crispers. That’s the exact temperature profile we like to see for optimal food preservation. Temperatures did fluctuate a tiny bit over time, but not enough to cause any concern.
On the other hand, the freezer's temperature was far below the 0ºF we set it to—but that's not a bad thing. The lower the freezer goes, the less chance of freezer burn. The average temperature was noticeably below the 0°F mark, which should keep your frozen veggies in decent shape.
Crispers did an excellent job retaining moisture, and the fridge overall was incredibly energy efficient. In short, with this fridge, you just can’t lose.
The feature set is pretty standard: an energy saver setting, control lock, and power freeze are all pretty standard for high-end models. What really sets this unit apart, though, is its Cool Select Plus zone.
Like all of Samsung’s four door models, the lower right compartment can be adjusted to one of four different settings: Freezer (pretty self-explanatory), Soft Freezing (23°F), Chill (30°F), and Cool (41°F). You can use it to expand your frozen food storage, turn it into a wine cooler, or keep hors d’oeuvres fresh before a party without having to shift everything around in the main fridge section.
The only drawback is that the divided freezer's individual compartments are only 15 inches wide. If you frequently freeze massive pizzas, you may have issues.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Befitting such a fancy fridge, Samsung has an equally fancy warranty. For the first year from date of purchase, the manufacturer will cover all defective or failed parts that stop working through no fault of consumer misuse. That's pretty standard.
For five years, Samsung also covers parts and labor relating to the sealed refrigeration system. That includes compressor, evaporator, condenser, drier, and connecting tube.
On top of that, the Digital Inverter Compressor gets its own coverage: All parts and labor relating to this part of the fridge is covered for five years, with five more years of parts-only coverage.
We put room-temperature test materials in a fully chilled freezer and left them to cool. It took about 1 hour and 35 minutes for our sensors to hit 32°F, which is somewhat on the slow end of average.
Storage Space & Energy Efficiency
Like all counter depth models, storage is somewhat shallower than folks who own full-sized fridges might be used to. That said, this Samsung makes excellent use of what it’s got. Some adjustable fridge shelves have retractable fronts to help store tall items, while door storage is plenty deep enough to accommodate gallon-sized containers. All told, the main fresh food section can hold about 10.15 cubic feet worth of groceries.
For the sake of our measurements, we considered the adjustable zone as part of the freezer. Both sections mirror each other, with a sliding shelf on top, large drawer in the middle, and shallower drawer on the bottom. They also feature three shallow door shelves that are great for loose or small items. In total, this Samsung can accommodate about 6.34 cubic feet of frozen food.
Most modern fridges released after the latest EPA update have been highly efficient, and this Samsung is no exception. It only needs about 0.07 kWh to cool each usable cubic foot, which means it’s using energy very effectively. It also means that, based on our estimates, you’ll only have to pay about $36.18 each year to power it. That’s based on a fixed rate of $0.09 per kWh; adjust accordingly based on local rates.
A Fantastic Four Door
King of the counter depths
If you’re looking for a high-end counter depth fridge and like models that think outside the box, look no further than one of Samsung's four-door counter depth models. The convertible compartment is an impressive feature on its own, but strong overall cooling and low energy consumption make it even more attractive. Plus, there's that gorgeous fit and finish, as well as Family Hub and Food Showcase options for consumers who are attracted to those features and don't mind spending a bit more.
High-end fridges like these can sometimes feel prohibitively expensive, but they're actually pretty good buys—especially the basic one, which retails for about $2,795. Higher end iterations can get up to just over $3,500, though, so make sure you really want those extra features before you shell out the cash.