When it comes to the refrigerator, options nowadays go far beyond only getting a glass of ice water without having to open the door. With custom panels, you can receive a built-in that exactly matches your kitchen cabinets. And forget four doors—some new models have five or more. You can even pull out a refrigerated drawer and search it full of cold sodas. Our fridge-by-fridge guide helps you select the right type for your family, demystifies claimed vs. usable storage space, and helps you to search the quietest models—so you, and your groceries can chill out.
How We Rate Refrigerators
In our labs, every refrigerator we test gets wired up with temperature sensors. We then monitor it for more than a month in a temperature-controlled chamber to evaluate thermostat control and temperature uniformness.
CR’s test engineers collect more than 5.4 million temperature readings for every model to detect warm and cold spots and determine which refrigerators will hold your food fresh longest. The results elicit that many refrigerators simply don’t do well at their primary task, and that could mean more wasted food and bigger grocery bills.
To test the freezer cabin of refrigerators, our engineers fill the appliances with boxes and boxes of frozen spinach, then evaluate how well they keep the packages frozen.
In addition, we measure usable storage capacity, which occasionally matches what manufacturers claim. Our engineers then use these measurements to calculate energy proficiency. Finally, we incorporate survey data collected from CR members on thousands of refrigerators to judge predicted reliability and owner amusement for every brand and refrigerator type.
All this data is contracted into one Overall Score for every model and shown in our refrigerator ratings charts, which at any given time feature more than 300 models.
Pick a Style
There’s a refrigerator configuration to suit every household. French-door models are exceptionally popular because of their high-end aesthetic. Some consumers prefer the convenience of bottom freezers, which put fresh foods at eye level, but side-by-sides can fit better in a smaller kitchen because of their confined doors. Here’s what you require to know to make the best selection. See our full refrigerator ratings for how models in the various sizes and styles below performed in our tests.
Most refrigerator configurations come in an extent of sizes and capacities. Always assess where you plan to put the refrigerator before you shop. And ensure it can fit through doorways. Allow room for the refrigerator’s doors to swing open and for a 1-inch clearance almost the sides and back for adequate airflow.
To help you search for the right size refrigerator for your kitchen, our refrigerator ratings are now organized by width, allowing you to easily see the highest-rated models for the size you require. You’ll search models ranging in width from the standard 36 inches all the way down to 24 inches.
As for capacity, most manufacturers advise 19 to 22 cubic feet for a family of four. But whether you do a big weekly shopping trip or purchase in bulk, you may require more—up to 30 to 33 cubic feet. Note Our tests get that the amount of usable storage was often less than the amount claimed. Check our refrigerator ratings for the actual capacity of every model.