Samsung RF260BEAESR Refrigerator Review
A fridge that looks expensive... but isn't.
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The Cold Hard Facts
Despite its affordable price tag, the Samsung RF260BEAESR (available at Best Buy for $1,599.99) aced almost every test we threw at it. With some of the most consistent temperatures we’ve seen, this energy-efficient French door model is a sure-fire win.
Occasionally, we've seen retail prices for the Samsung RF260BEAESR drop to just below $1,200. That makes this appealing fridge even more attractive—though the usual $1,600 sticker cost is still excellent for a French door model this size.
NOVEMBER 9, 2015
Upgrading your kitchen can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. If you like the idea of a French door fridge in your home, but aren’t keen on spending $2,000 to get one, the Samsung RF260BEAESR (available at Best Buy for $1,599.99) has you covered for under $1,700 on sale.
This entry-level, 25-cu.-ft. French door has most of the design perks of models twice the cost: LED lights, a stainless steel finish, a digital thermostat, and even a pantry drawer with independent temperature settings. All it lacks is a through-the-door ice and water dispenser, which offers a clean exterior look that some users prefer. (To be clear, you still get an ice maker, you just have to open the freezer to access it.)
Why spend an extra $500 or more on a glorified water faucet? If you love the look and feel of a sleek French door fridge, care about food preservation, and don’t mind scooping your ice from a bucket, save your money and snatch up this excellent Samsung.
Normally, we find fridges actually run a hair warmer than the temperature displayed on the thermostat. With this Samsung, the opposite was true, and that’s okay. In the main fridge compartment, our temperature sensors recorded averages of 35.3°F at the top, 36.23°F in the middle, and 36.94°F at the bottom down by the crispers. With an average shift over time of just ±0.2°F, you’ve got yourself some consistent fresh food storage. If items begin to freeze unexpectedly, you've got plenty of room to turn up the thermostat.
The freezer was even steadier, with shifts over time of a mere ±0.11°F. That’s great news if you’re worried about freezer burn, but to really reduce the risk of icy buildup, you’ll want to turn the thermostat down just one degree. Average temperatures were 0.22°F and -1.41°F at the top and bottom respectively, and that little section hovering over 0°F means some freezer burn may occur.
Design & Usability
Simple, stylish, and stainless
There's nothing special about the exterior of this fridge, which is exactly why some customers will choose it. Absent a water dispenser, we think this stainless steel fridge will easily blend into almost any kitchen aesthetic.
Just because it's one of the lowest-priced French door fridges on the market doesn't mean it feels cheap. Absent an in-door ice maker, there's plenty of room to store food in the fridge. Sure, the shelves have chunky plastic trim, but that's the only sign of cost cutting.
Both the crisper and freezer drawers slide smoothly, and one of the adjustable fridge shelves has a retractable front. The thermostat is digital, and even the pantry drawer is decked out with three temperature settings of its own: Chilled (34°F), Fresh (38°F), and Deli (41°F). Plus, as we mentioned, you do get an ice maker. Down in the freezer, a large bucket holds enough cubes to get the party started.
Performance & Features
Keeping up with the best of them
This fridge may cost about half as much as a high-end model, but we’d never be able to tell based on our lab tests. Energy consumption was low, and temperatures in both the fridge and freezer were consistent over time.
One quibble is related to the upper area of the freezer, which can shift ever so slightly above and below 0°F over time, so simply turn the thermostat down a degree to avoid freezer burn. The produce crisper drawers weren't all that great at retaining moisture, either, so keep a close eye on your kale.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
The crispers were easily the worst aspects of this Samsung’s performance. Over the course of three days, our test materials lost an average of 0.19 grams of moisture each hour. While not the worst we’ve seen, it is noticeably worse than average, and could lead to a shortened lifespan for produce.
Our sensors reached 32°F in about 1 hour and 24 minutes, starting at room temperature. That's about average, but more sensitive cuts of meat or fish may exhibit a slight change in taste and texture once thawed.
As is the case for most fancy fridges these days, Samsung offers a three-part warranty. For one year, Samsung will pay for parts and labor to fix any manufacturer defect. On top of that, the refrigeration system—compressor, evaporator, condenser, drier, and connecting tubing—carries five years of parts and labor coverage—a contrast to many other refrigerator warranties, which just cover parts. Finally, the digital inverter compressor gets a whopping ten years of parts coverage, but only five years of labor.
Storage Space & Energy Efficiency
When you consider how much storage space you’re getting with this Samsung, the price looks even more appealing. Without any ice makers or dispensers blocking shelf space, the main fridge compartment—including door storage—can hold an impressive 13.15 cu. ft. of groceries.
Down in the freezer, things aren’t quite as roomy due to the presence of an ice maker. Taking that into account, we determined this model provides 4.8 cu. ft. of usable space for frozen food.
Not only is this fridge spacious, it’s efficient as well. The appliance requires just 0.07 kWh for each usable cubic foot, which works out to about $41.87 per year with the ice maker running. If you decide to turn off that feature, expect to see even more energy savings.
A Princely Fridge...
...for a pauper's coin
Open any design magazine or turn on any remodeling TV show, and you'll quickly see that French door refrigerators are more popular than ever. If you want to upgrade your fridge but don't want to spend thousands, the Samsung RF260BEAESR is your best bet. With its beautiful fit and finish, spacious interior, consistent temperatures, and handy features, this entry-level French door is the superior budget-friendly upgrade for your kitchen.
Retailers currently offer it for just under $1,600. That's roughly $400 less than the next tier of French door models. If you want to save even more money, consider a non-stainless finish: The RF260BEAESP has a metallic platinum finish for about $50 less, while the white RF260BEAEWW and black RF260BEAEBC options cost about $100 less.