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Refrigerators Refrigerator Scoring Updates

We've made some updates to the way we score refrigerators.

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Dear Readers,

As of May 24th, we've made a few changes in how we score refrigerators. We haven't changed our test methods in any way, but we have changed how we calculate the final score that each product receives. These updates have been made to better reflect how customers use their refrigerators, and to reward those products that best meet customer expectations. We're applying these new weights to the scores of products we have already tested, so you may notice some changes to existing scores and rankings.

Here are some examples of the changes that we made:

Interior measurements

Manufacturers measure a fridge's total interior capacity, not taking into account that a lot of that space can't be used. For instance, we don't know anyone who stores their eggs above a lightbulb, or lettuce in the gaps between shelves. We measure usable space, and don't count anywhere that you couldn't store food.

Just because a fridge has a large amount of usable space doesn't automatically make it good, however. Some folks want a smaller fridge, and others can only fit certain sizes in their kitchens. That's why we now score capacity as a ratio of usable space to manufacturer claimed interior volume, so consumers can see which fridges give them the most bang for their buck.

Temperature consistency

In keeping an even temperature, we measure two things. First is accuracy: How close a fridge gets to the 37ºF ideal temperature when set to the manufacturer's recommended setting. Second is precision: How much the temperature fluctuates over time.

While an inaccurate fridge can be recalibrated by the users, an imprecise fridge will never keep an even temperature over time. That's why we now put slightly more weight on precision. Your soft cheeses will thank us.

Food preservation

We've also placed a greater emphasis on food preservation, both in the fridge and freezer. We've changed our scoring for our freezing test to give a greater penalty to models that fluctuate above 0ºF, as that's how freezer burn happens.

In the refrigerator compartment, we've increased the weight on how well the humidity-controlled drawer retains moisture. Most consumers don't realize how much of an effect a fridge has on keeping fruits and vegetables ready to eat — if something goes bad, they blame themselves for buying subpar produce. But a fridge that does a good job preserving food can truly reduce food waste, saving you money and helping out the environment.

At, we only recommend the products that best meet consumers' needs, and our adjusted scoring model reflects what consumers have told us about what they want from a refrigerator. Keep an eye on throughout 2013 as we unveil new changes that keep our site the most accurate, relevant, and entertaining source for reviews of home appliances and consumer products.