Updated: June 8, 2015

Refrigerator Reviews:

The kitchen is one of the first areas that people tend to update or upgrade when they are remodeling any portion of their house. The refrigerator is an important appliance in the kitchen that comes in many styles and designs. You can choose from top-freezer, bottom-freezer, built-in, side by side, french door, counter depth, undercounter, and more. Over 11 million refrigerators were sold in the United States just a few years ago so sales are trending upwards as new refrigerators are hitting the market. The top manufacturers for refrigerators are Whirlpool, Kenmore, Amana, GE, LG, Hotpoint, Maytag, Frigidaire, KitchenAid, Viking, Samsung, Jenn-Air, Bosch, Sub-Zero, Thermador, and Fisher & Paykel. Down below we will go into desired features on all types of refrigerators followed by reviews of the top models per Consumer Reports.
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Buying Guide - When looking for a new refrigerator there are several factors you need to consider - size, efficiency, reliability, water filters, materials, and storage capacity. The first thing you have to do is measure your space in your kitchen to determine just how big the refrigerator can be to fit in your desired area. Experts say the width is the key component since things like counters and cabinets will limit your options. Another thing to keep in mind is that any doorways leading into your kitchen will need to provide ample moving space for the refrigerator to get moved in. When it comes to storage space, not all manufacturers claims are reliable in terms of actual usable space. Dispensers, hardware and other objects get in the way and usually lower the "real" capacity listed. Energy efficiency is something that all Americans should be conscious of when purchasing a new refrigerator since a fridge is the biggest user of energy in your kitchen. Look for refrigerators that rely on less electricity to run and will ultimately save money on your electric bill each month. Energy Star models are clearly marked in stores and you can often get even bigger rebates and discounts from your electric company for buying certain models. Refrigerator repairs are the last thing you need and some brands are more repair proned than others. Maytag and Sub-Zero have less than stellar repair histories in their side by side models while Whirlpool scores the best for reliability. Whirlpool comes out as the best brand for top and bottom freezers with and without ice-makers as well. Water filters are common place on modern refrigerators and most brands do a good job of filtering out bad tastes with Kenmore and Whirlpool leading the pack. Frost proof storage, adjustable shelving, and freezers that don't leave "freezer burn" on your stored food are also important features to look into. Which refrigerator models rate the best? Which perform best for the price? We took a look at the most recent reviews done by Consumer Reports to give you an idea of which brands rate the highest and lowest in certain areas. Consumer Reports tested over 70 models from 20 brands for temperature control performance, energy efficiency, noise, capacity/storage, and rated them for features like water dispensers and stainless steel finishes. See all the findings below with the top models and brands in each category. RECOMMENDED - We suggest that you browse the best selling refrigerators online here.

Best Side By Side Refrigerator:

Side by side refrigerators are still fairly common in many kitchens since they offer exterior ice and water dispensers. These fridges work best in areas where wide-swinging doors simply would not fit. They generally range from 32 to 36 inches in width and are priced from $800 to $2000. The drawbacks to side by side refrigerators are that they are not very good at taking advantage of space and capacity. Shelving tends to be narrow which limits some items and these models are still considered "pricey" compared to top-freezer and bottom-freezer models. Also, the repair history of side by side fridges is worse than the other type of models listed below. As for the best best side by side refrigerators as rated by Consumer Reports, they say the Amana ASD2627KE ($1350) and the GE GSH25JFT ($1100) are "best buys". The Amana side by side rates "excellent" for temperature control and energy efficiency while the GE gets top scores for temperature performance (both are 36 inch models). Kenmore and Whirlpool have a few 33 inche models that ranked fairly high as well. Frigidaire was rated about mid-level in terms of all features and their history on repairs is not that great, but I have owned one for over 7 years now with zero repairs and excellent reliability which makes me thing I got lucky. RECOMMENDED - We suggest viewing the top selling side by side refrigerators online here.

Top Built-In Refrigerator:

For the most stylish and sleek looking refrigerators, go with the built-in design. Built-in refrigerators create a seamless feel in your kitchen so that the fridge will be flush with your cabinetry. Built-ins are often so well hidden behind cabinet facades it's hard to tell where they are in a kitchen. They come in side by side models or bottom-freezer designs and are the most expensive style available with prices ranging from $4000 to $7000. Some of the cabinet depth models of built-ins are cheaper at $1500 to $3200. You will find built-ins at 36 inches wide or larger and some even come in the newer french door styles. The biggest drawback to built-in refrigerators are that they are very pricey and at the same time prone to repairs. The top rated built-ins per Consumer Reports are the Sub-Zero 650F ($6500), the GE Monogram ZICS36ONR ($6400) and the KitchenAid KBFC42F ($6800). The Sub-Zero built-in is the cheapest of the 3, but also gets terrible repair ratings. At 37 inches wide the Sub-Zero provides plenty of storage space and rates high for temperature performance. Some owners have said the icemaker is problematic and that the drawers don't come out far enough. As for the GE, it's quiet and does a great job on temperature control and has a beautiful stainless steel finish. The KitchenAid is the most expensive of the group but is 43 inches wide giving you plenty of storage space. It also features the french door style doors are becoming more and more popular in commercial refrigerators found in homes.

Bottom Freezer Refrigerator:

If you want lots of storage in your fridge and the majority of your food items at eye level, go with a bottom-freezer model. Bottom-freezer fridges are usually 30 to 36 inches wide and some of the newer ones offer french door styling. They are priced from $700 to $1500 while the french door models are pricier at $1600 to $1800. Bottom-freezer refrigerators tend not to come with water dispensers or ice makers on the door. Also, you will find yourself having to get down pretty low to get things out of the freezer bottom. As for the top rated models per Consumer Reports, they say the Amana ABB1912DE ($850), the Amana AFD2535DE ($1700), and the Kenmore 7500-Sears ($870) are "best buys". The Amana for $850 is slightly smaller at only 30 inches in width, but it rates the highest for overall score and has an excellent history for reliability. The Kenmore is only 30 inches wide as well, but rates high in many categories including temperature control. There are some models that are priced above $2000 for bottom-freezer refrigerators, but they don't rate any better per CR. RECOMMENDED - Check out the top rated freezer on the bottom fridges online here.

Top-Freezer Refrigerator:

The cheapest refrigerators are the top-freezer models and they are the more traditional look that most of us grew up with. They are best for narrow spaces but still provide plenty of storage capacity given their smaller size (typically 30 to 33 inches wide). The biggest disadvantage to top-freezer designs is that you will be bending to reach your most commonly used food items in your fridge. Also, forget about getting water and ice dispensers in the door. Prices range from $400 to $1200. Lastly, you will need plenty of clearance for the doors that are very wide when swung open. CR says the Hotpoint HTS22GBP ($700) is a "best buy" since Hotpoint has an excellent reliability history with the fewest repairs needed of any model refrigerator. The Hotpoint is 33 inches wide and rates well for temperature control. Other models that rated the highest are the Whirlpool ET1FHTXM ($750) which is Energy Star rated with spill control shelving and an internal ice maker and water dispenser, and the Kenmore 7425-Sears ($850). Top-freezer fridges are a no frills type of refrigerator that will get the job done at storing all your food for the cheapest price. RECOMMENDED - See the most popular freezer on top refrigerators here.

French Door Refrigerator:

People are starting to buy more and more french door style refrigerators for their practical design and new look. French door refrigerators have two side by side doors that sit above a pull-out freezer drawer. The biggest advantage to the french door style is that you will have interior shelving that is the full width of the fridge, unlike traditional side by side models. The Amana AFD2535DE ($1700) is one of the best values you will find for the french door refrigerators on the market. Comes with pull out bins and shelves, has an interior ice maker and filtered water dispenser, Energy Star rated, and features a temperature controlled meat/deli bin for the freshest storage of all your food items. It's 36 inches wide and comes in a stainless steel finish to add the modern style that all kitchens demand these days. See all french door refrigerators here.

Counter Depth Refrigerator:

Want a cabinet depth refrigerator that resembles a built-in? The Whirlpool Gold GC3SHEXN ($2300) is 36 inches wide and will sit almost flush with your counters and cabinets, like a built-in. The Whirlpool comes with an ice and water dispenser and it's Energy Star efficient. Whirlpool gets some of the best reliability scores in the industry, so we feel that for a little over $2000 you get what others are paying $6000+ for in built-ins.