Whether you opt for side-by-side doors, a beloved top-freezer design, or something more compact, choosing a refrigerator isn't just a matter of picking the nicest one within your budget. It's all about defining your needs—whether that be ample storage space, an ice maker that'll easily supply guests' drinks or athletic household members' water bottles, or slide-out, easy-to-clean, glass shelves—and choosing an appliance that meets them.
Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, adds, "With all the different designs out there today, find a refrigerator that fits your needs. There are refrigerator drawers for juice boxes so kids don’t have to open the whole refrigerator to get a cold drink." In addition, "there are refrigerators that are split into four sections, and all four can be refrigerator or freezer compartments—any combination that works for you when you need it. Think about your needs and then go shopping." That way, when you begin unpacking your fresh and frozen goods from the store, you aren't wishing there was a good spot for your butter or brighter lighting in the interior. Everything you could want from your investment (and maybe more) is right there in front of you.
We researched the best refrigerators you can buy, evaluating them on capacity, smart features, and customizable options, such as adjustable shelving and reversible doors.
Here are the best refrigerators on the market, across every type and budget.
LG Electronics LFXS26973S 26.2 cu. ft. French Door Smart Refrigerator with Wi-Fi Enabled
Excellent organization options
Fingerprint-resistant finish for easy cleaning
Dual ice maker for increased ice-making capacity
No automatic or measured fill water dispenser
Lacks advanced smart functions
A top-performing refrigerator must keep things cold, while also making the contents of your fridge and freezer easy to see and reach. It’s a bonus if the refrigerator also looks sleek and modern. The LG LFXS26973S French Door Refrigerator is a popular model that earns our recommendation as the best overall refrigerator, thanks to its roomy capacity, innovative organization features, and easy-care finish, which you can shop in a PrintProof stainless steel or black stainless steel. It’s also available in either standard or counter-depth dimensions.
The standard-depth LG LFXS26973S has a total capacity of 26.2 cubic feet. It’s divided between a 17.4-cubic-foot refrigerator and an 8.8-cubic-foot bottom freezer. The double doors of the refrigerator open to reveal four adjustable glass shelves, plus a full-width shelf that sits above the double crisper drawers that are the perfect home for fruits and vegetables. One of the most unique features about the fridge is the Glide N’ Serve drawer. It spans the width of the appliance and is deep enough to store a tray of appetizers. However, it can also be used for keeping deli meat, cheese, or other snacks organized and accessible. The bottom freezer drawer has a main compartment with a divider, plus a gliding drawer on top for keeping smaller frozen items within reach.
Finally, it’s worth noting that this well-equipped refrigerator has a dual ice maker. Not only does it produce ice to dispense into your glass, but it also keeps an ice bin stocked and ready for when you need more than a few cubes at a time. The through-the-door dispenser also provides chilled, filtered water on-demand and can even accommodate a glass, a water bottle, and some water pitchers. Sadly, there isn't an automatic and measured fill option on this water dispenser. The overall model also isn’t as advanced as some smart refrigerators, but it is equipped with Wi-Fi, so you can monitor and change the temperature of the refrigerator or freezer using the LG ThinQ app.
Price at time of publish: $1,799
Total Capacity: 26.2 cubic feet | Dimensions: 69.75 x 34.88 x 35.75 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice/Water Dispenser: Ice and water | Ice Maker Type: Dual | Available Finishes: Stainless steel | Garage Friendly: No
Whirlpool WRT518SZFM 18 cu. ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator
Adjustable shelves and door bins
Available in a variety of finishes
Sliding deli drawer
Not equipped for garage use
No light in the freezer
The Whirlpool WRT518SZFM is a basic, but reliable, pick for a budget refrigerator. This top-freezer model is not as spacious as some other models, but it has 18 cubic feet of space to accommodate food storage for couples or a small family. As one of the most affordable refrigerators, you may expect it to only be available in a simple black or white finish. However, you can choose from a variety of modern finishes, including stainless steel and black stainless steel, for a very reasonable price.
The fridge section of this appliance is 13.62 cubic feet large. You’ll be able to easily spot the contents inside, thanks to the crisp, bright LED lighting. When it comes to keeping cheeses, meats, or snack foods organized, the Flexi-Slide drawer comes in handy, as well. This deli drawer slides along the length of whichever shelf you attach it to. Three edge-to-edge glass shelves make cleaning the refrigerator easy, too. However, they don’t slide out, so you'll need to reach your wet and soapy dish cloth to the back of the shelves when it is time for a thorough clean. Two of the shelves are adjustable, though, giving you the option to create more clearance between shelves when needed.
Inside the 3.99-cubic-foot freezer, you’ll find the same edge-to-edge glass shelves as in the refrigerator compartment—but no LED lighting. You’ll also notice there is no factory-installed ice maker, but that means the entire freezer space is dedicated to storing your frozen foods. All in all, this affordable refrigerator is a solid pick, but note that it can only be used indoors and isn’t a reliable choice for a garage refrigerator.
Price at time of publish: $1,119
Total Capacity: 17.61 cubic feet | Dimensions: 67.375 x 28 x 31.625 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice/Water Dispenser: None | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: Black, white, stainless steel, black stainless, metallic steel | Garage Friendly: No
SMEG FAB32UR 24-inch Bottom Freezer 12.8 cu. ft. Refrigerator
Includes a cooler drawer with adjustable temperature
Variety of color finishes to choose from
Great option for a compact fridge and small spaces
Expensive for the capacity
Only available in standard depth
For a fridge that has some flair, look no further than the beautiful and classic SMEG FAB32UR. This bottom-freezer refrigerator borrows a 1950s aesthetic, for an overall retro look that captures attention while keeping groceries cool inside the 8.26-cubic-foot refrigerator and 3.43-cubic-foot freezer. You can select a variety of finishes to complement your kitchen's color scheme, including cream, black, and white, along with bolder choices, like orange, red, and pink. There are even pastel blue and green picks if you prefer a softer hue.
This Italian-made refrigerator has more than excellent design in its corner. It features steel construction and well-thought-out organizational features, like two adjustable glass shelves with three door shelves. One unique feature is the LifePlus 32-degree Fahrenheit cooler drawer. It offers an independently controlled temperature zone that can be adjusted from 28 to 37 degrees Fahrenheit to better preserve meats, fish, cheese, and other perishables.
The biggest thing to know is that this is a compact refrigerator that likely won’t accommodate households with more than one or two people. However, it does keep items in plain sight and easily accessible—a feature that has made it a popular choice for a small refrigerator and small spaces, like apartments and condos. The freezer is an excellent example of this fact. It’s only 3.43 cubic feet large, but it uses three pull-out drawers to keep items organized and within reach.
Price at time of publish: $3,980
Total Capacity: 12.8 cubic feet | Dimensions: 77.5 x 23.6875 x 30.25 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice/Water Dispenser: None | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: Black, cream, orange, pastel blue, pastel green, red, white, pink | Garage Friendly: Not listed
GE GSS25GYPFS 36-in. 25.3 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator
Factory-installed ice maker
Edge-to-edge, sliding glass shelves
Many finishes available
No smart features
Lacks advanced ice or water dispenser options
Not equipped for garage use
We recommend the GE GSS25GYPFS as the best side-by-side refrigerator for its organizational features and excellent value. This model offers top-to-bottom refrigerator and freezer spaces, with a total capacity of 25.3 cubic feet. It’s available in a variety of finishes, including stainless steel and slate for a modern look, or classic black, white, and bisque. We wish that the fridge were available in a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finish to resist smudges, but it’s nothing that a routine wipe with a soft cloth won’t fix.
The 16.07-cubic-foot refrigerator has four edge-to-edge glass shelves, along with two produce crisper drawers. You can reposition the top three shelves to make room for taller items, and the shelves slide out to make it easier to reach small items. Gallon-size door bins are complemented by three more door shelves for dairy and condiments, making the most of door storage space.
On the 9.25-cubic-foot freezer side, three wire freezer shelves and a basket keep frozen goods organized. A factory-installed ice maker churns out ice, while the through-the-door dispenser provides cubed or crushed ice, along with filtered water. As a bonus, one smaller shelf sits above the ice bin, giving you a nook that's perfect for storing ice packs, popsicles, or other small frozen goods.
Price at time of publish: $1,799
Total Capacity: 25.3 cubic feet | Dimensions: 69.625 x 36 x 34.75 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice/Water Dispenser: Ice and water | Ice Maker Type: Single | Available Finishes: Bisque, black, stainless steel, slate, white | Garage Friendly: No
Best French Door
Whirlpool WRF555SDFZ 24.7 cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator with Ice and Water Dispenser
Full-width deli drawer
Ice and filtered water dispenser
Not equipped for garage use
Ice maker takes up some refrigerator shelf space
Open the double doors to this French door fridge, and you’ll see why it’s such a popular pick. The Whirlpool WRF555SDFZ has a roomy, 18-cubic-foot fridge paired with an accessible, 6.7-cubic-foot bottom freezer with two tiers of storage. It’s available in stainless steel or black stainless finishes, with a special coating on either option to better resist fingerprints and spots. (That makes it a perfect option for households with kids!)
French door refrigerators put your fresh foods front and center, keeping produce, meats, and cheeses within easy reach and making it easier for kids to grab a snack. The Whirlpool WRF555SDFZ elevates the experience with flexible storage options, including four adjustable shelves that can be positioned along the tracks at the back of the fridge. And while some refrigerators skip the deli drawer, this model includes a full-width drawer to keep cheese, deli meats, and more organized.
The bottom freezer section of the appliance features two sliding bins that keep small, frozen items separated. Larger items, like frozen pizzas or whole chickens and turkeys, can sit in the main freezer compartment. The ice maker won’t be found there, though. It steals a little shelf space from the refrigerator instead, so you can have ice and filtered water dispensed through the door.
Price at time of publish: $2,699
Total Capacity: 24.7 cubic feet | Dimensions: 70.125 x 35.625 x 35.25 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice/Water Dispenser: Ice and water | Ice Maker Type: Single | Available Finishes: Stainless steel, black stainless | Garage Friendly: No
GE GDE03GGKBB 3.1 cu. ft. Freestanding Double-Door Mini Fridge
Glass shelves and produce crisper
Actual freezer compartment instead of in-fridge one
Not equipped for garage use
Keep snacks, beverages, or grocery essentials cold with the help of a mini fridge. The GE GDE03GGKBB stands out as one of the best mini refrigerators, thanks to its double-door design and actual freezer compartment—which is not always the norm with this type of product, but a real bonus for those who are setting up this mini fridge in a dorm room, apartment, or basement. Just like many full-size refrigerators, you can pick between classic black and sleek stainless steel finishes, and ultimately the fridge is a great compact option if you want to make your office or dorm room more functional.
The total capacity for the GE GDE03GGKBB is 3.1 cubic feet, with 2.12 cubic feet of refrigerated space for fresh foods and 0.93 cubic feet of dedicated freezer space. The mini fridge features several organizational features commonly seen on full-size refrigerators, just on a smaller scale. For instance, a produce crisper will keep your fruits and veggies fresh longer, and a can rack keeps sodas or other beverage cans organized and out of the way. The glass shelves are also a useful upgrade over other mini fridges that use wire shelving, which can make it harder to slide items in and out.
The only downsides of this product are that it's not suitable for garage use and manually defrosts. When you're starting to notice ice buildup in the freezer compartment, you'll need to unload your groceries for a while, unplug the machine, and let it completely melt and drain. Once the unit is dry, you can plug it back in and re-load your groceries on the shelves. While that isn't convenient, it's not a total dealbreaker in our eyes, though, because the product is otherwise intuitive and well designed.
Price at time of publish: $409
Total Capacity: 3.1 cubic feet | Dimensions: 33.375 x 18.75 x 20.125 inches | Installation Depth: Not applicable | Ice/Water Dispenser: None | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: Black, stainless steel, white | Garage Friendly: No
LG LTCS20020S 20 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
LED lighting in fridge and freezer compartments
Reversible door hinge
Adjustable shelves and door bins
Only equipped with a single freezer shelf
Lacks factory-installed ice maker
A top-freezer refrigerator is a familiar sight in many kitchens. This popular style of refrigerator offers plenty of fresh food storage along with a roomy freezer compartment at eye level, so you don’t have to bend over to see what is inside. Our pick for a top-freezer refrigerator is the LG LTCS20020S. At 20 cubic feet of capacity, it has more storage space than many other models. You’ll also have bright LED interior lighting in both the fridge and freezer compartments.
This LG top-freezer refrigerator is divided into a 14.7-cubic-foot fridge and 5.5-cubic-foot freezer. Both compartments have easy-to-clean glass shelves that allow any type of bottle, container, or package to easily slide in and out. There are three shelves in the refrigerator, including two that are adjustable. You also will find two crisper drawers, a dairy bin, and gallon-sized door bins. In the freezer, you’ll only find one shelf, but it also can be adjusted to multiple positions.
This top-freezer refrigerator comes in standard black and white finishes, or you can opt for a modern stainless steel look. Despite its lack of advanced features (including a factory-installed ice maker), it’s spacious and well-equipped for keeping your fresh and frozen foods chilled.
Price at time of publish: $999
Total Capacity: 20 cubic feet | Dimensions: 66.125 x 29.75 x 33.375 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice/Water Dispenser: None | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: Black, white, stainless steel | Garage Friendly: No
Whirlpool WRB322DMBM 22.07 cu. ft. Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator
Two tiers of storage in freezer drawer
Equipped with factory-installed ice maker
Generous capacity for fresh and frozen food storage
No through-the-door ice and water dispenser
Lacks deli meat drawer and gallon-size door bins
A bottom-freezer refrigerator puts fresh foods in easy reach while still providing plenty of space for the frozen items you want to keep on hand. The Whirlpool WRB322DMBM is a great match for the way most people use and store foods in the refrigerator—it organizes snacks, beverages, dairy, and fresh produce at eye level while using a large freezer drawer with a basket to keep frozen items in a deep chill.
To provide you with storage and accessibility, the Whirlpool WRB322DMBM has four adjustable shelves within the 15.62-cubic-foot fresh food compartment. A fifth shelf sits above the dual produce crisper drawers. You’ll notice that there is no deli drawer, which is a favorite feature for storing cheese and meats. However five adjustable door bins and a full-width shelf make the most of organizing condiments, bottles, and more. Just know that none of the door bins is gallon-sized, so items like milk and juice will have to sit on a refrigerator shelf.
There is no through-the-door ice and water dispenser either, but this refrigerator is equipped with a factory-installed ice maker in the 6.45-cubic-foot freezer drawer. The top basket of the freezer compartment shares space with an ice bin and provides a second tier of frozen food storage. Down below, you can keep larger quantities of frozen fruits, vegetables, meats, and more.
Price at time of publish: $1,999
Total Capacity: 22.07 cubic feet | Dimensions: 70 x 32.625 x 33.375 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice/Water Dispenser: None | Ice Maker Type: Single | Available Finishes: Black stainless, stainless steel, black, white | Garage Friendly: No
Best for Garage
GE Garage Ready 21.9 cu. ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator
Designed to operate in temperatures from 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
Available in a variety of finishes
Gallon-sized door bins
No light in the freezer
Lacks a factory-installed ice maker
Not every refrigerator is suitable for use in a garage, where the wide range of temperatures can pose serious problems for the compressor and lead to mechanical failure. Shimek advises that "if you are going to put a refrigerator in a garage, you need to get one that was made for that application, not one that was made for your kitchen," where temperatures are more mundane. "Garage refrigerators have more insulation," he adds, "and components that are made for the bitter cold and stifling heat they will be working in." Our top recommendation for a garage-ready refrigerator is the GE GTS22KGNRWW. It operates in temperatures ranging from 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
As expected, this garage refrigerator doesn’t have many bells and whistles. However, it offers both refrigerator space and frozen food storage. The top compartment is 6.68 cubic feet, while the main refrigerator is 15.25 cubic feet. You can store drinks or stock up for your next party using the three glass shelves and gallon-sized door bins. In addition, LED lighting inside of the refrigerator keeps everything visible, but note that there is no light in the freezer compartment. And while function triumphs over style when it comes to garage refrigerators, it’s worth noting that this option is available in black, white, stainless steel, slate, and black stainless steel.
Price at time of publish: $998
Total Capacity: 21.9 cubic feet | Dimensions: 66.375 x 32.75 x 34.5 inches | Installation Depth: Standard | Ice/Water Dispenser: None | Ice Maker Type: None | Available Finishes: Black, white, stainless steel, slate, black stainless | Garage Friendly: Yes
The LG LFXS26973S 26.2 cu. ft. French Door Smart Refrigerator is our top pick for a refrigerator. This French door model is very spacious and stands out for its organizational features, including a large multi-purpose drawer for storage or party food. It's equipped with a dual ice maker and has a built-in ice and water dispenser, and it is available in stainless steel or black stainless steel finishes. Both are fingerprint-resistant for easier cleaning and maintenance. For a more affordable option, check out the Whirlpool WRT518SZFM. This top-freezer pick has a more limited capacity and no factory-installed ice maker, but it features edge-to-edge glass shelving and a deli drawer and is available in a range of finish options.
What to Look for in a Refrigerator
A refrigerator's "type" is defined by its door design, freezer orientation, and depth. The type that's best for you and your household depends on the layout of your home, budget, and preferences. A top-freezer refrigerator is typically the most basic and budget-friendly option and is most suitable for anyone living in an apartment, RV, or smaller living space. On the other hand, a refrigerator with French doors, smart features, or many compartments can be the most expensive but provide top-notch features including a factory-installed ice maker, ice and filtered water dispenser, reversible door, customizable or aesthetic exterior (like our "best design" pick, the SMEG FAB32UR Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator), or a screen that lets you peruse recipes and create grocery lists.
When it comes to fridge types, knowing the difference between a counter-depth and standard-depth model is key, too. A counter-depth refrigerator sits flush with your cabinets and prioritizes style, while a standard-depth one has a more spacious interior and prioritizes functionality. If you have a larger household, you may want to pick function over form. If you live in a smaller space—like an apartment or condo—you may want to pick form over function, so your appliance doesn't take up precious real estate in your living space.
Size and Capacity
When shopping for a new refrigerator, it’s important to consider the size to ensure that it’s a good fit for your kitchen, along with the capacity to make sure there is enough interior space for your groceries and the needs of your household. Pay attention to the dimensions of the refrigerator first, including its height, width, and depth. Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, says you need to think about questions such as: "Can you get it through the door of your house and into the kitchen? Will it fit in your kitchen between your cabinets? And can the doors open fully?" You'll also want to ensure there is enough clearance on the sides and back of your refrigerator once it's installed, so the appliance can properly breathe.
When it comes to the interior, a refrigerator’s capacity is measured in cubic feet and usually reflects the total amount of space available in the freezer and refrigerator part of the appliance. The size of your household and your shopping habits will determine how much capacity you need. As a general rule of thumb, you should have at least 4 to 6 cubic feet of capacity for every adult. Keeping that in mind, it’s no surprise to find that most refrigerators have a capacity of around 20 cubic feet. However, smaller refrigerators with only 8 to 12 cubic feet of space are available for small spaces or those with minimal food storage needs. Bigger refrigerators with a capacity of 25 to 28 cubic feet of space are available for larger households, and they are a great option if you plan to entertain and want lots of extra space for food, beverages, and desserts.
Notably, the smallest pick on our list is our "best mini" option, the GE GDE03GGKBB Double-Door Mini Fridge. It has 3.1 cubic feet of space in total and is best for an office, dorm room, or basement. On the flip side, the largest pick on our list is our "best overall" option, the LG LFXS26973S French-Door Smart Refrigerator. Notably, how your chosen fridge uses its capacity is important to keep in mind—just like with a house, you want to make sure the available space is actually usable. Flexible shelves, door bins, and compartments help to ensure that there is no wasted space.
Ice Maker and Dispenser
An ice maker and dispenser is a frequent amenity on many models of refrigerators, but it’s important to note that you may have one without the other. An ice maker can produce ice in bulk that sits in a bin, ready for you to use when you're entertaining or filling up a cooler. If your chosen refrigerator is also equipped with an ice dispenser, it may deliver cubed or crushed ice to your glass via a through-the-door dispenser.
Dual ice makers combine both functions and produce a greater quantity of ice. Keep in mind that an installed ice maker does take up some of the usable space in your appliance, though. This sacrifice is usually made in the freezer compartment, but you will occasionally see an ice maker that sits in the refrigerator portion of the appliance.
Having enough fridge and freezer space is important, but keeping it well-organized and accessible is essential. Many refrigerators include a variety of organization options to ensure that your blueberries are within an arm's reach and not pushed to the back, where they'll go bad. These options include several adjustable shelves, produce and deli drawers, gallon-sized door bins, and butter keepers. Note how many shelves a refrigerator is equipped with, and whether there are drawers or other accessories to address specific needs you may have, when shopping. (If you have kids, a snack drawer that children can easily reach can be a real bonus.)
Organization options are usually more limited in the freezer, but features like a pull-out bin or drawer can help to keep small items from becoming lost in the compartment, too.
Color, Finish, and Design
Aside from functional decisions, you have aesthetic options to consider, too. Refrigerators come in a variety of colors, finishes, and designs. Your choice will depend on your preferences and your kitchen decor. Many try to create a uniform look by choosing one finish for all of their appliances.
Notably, both classic white and black finishes are typically available, as well as stainless steel. Black stainless steel or slate options are more trendy options you can find as well. Just keep in mind that a stainless steel finish is known to attract fingerprints if it doesn't have a fingerprint-resistant coating on it. Be prepared to do some regular cleaning to maintain a gleaming, shiny appearance.
In addition, if you’re looking for a unique design, you may consider a retro-style refrigerator. Inspired by appliance looks of the 1950s, these refrigerators (such as our "best design" refrigerator, the SMEG FAB32UR Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator) usually have details like rounded corners and lever handles, and they come in brighter pops of color. These details bring to mind the style of appliances in the past. At the same time, they offer modern conveniences and functionality, like automatic defrosting.
Wi-Fi connectivity is becoming more and more common in large appliances, including refrigerators. If you choose a smart refrigerator—such as our "best overall" pick, the LG LFXS26973S French-Door Smart Refrigerator—you’ll often be able to monitor and adjust the operating temperature of the refrigerator or freezer from anywhere. In addition, some smart refrigerators give you the capability to increase ice production using the app to ensure you have enough ice on hand for a dinner party. Other smart refrigerator features are more brand-specific, like Samsung’s Family Hub. Before you buy a smart refrigerator, consider how the features and functions will fit into your everyday life to ensure that they will bring real benefits rather than just expensive bells and whistles.
What Is the Best Type of Refrigerator for Me?
A top-freezer refrigerator has a very common, familiar design. It has two doors—one that opens to the fridge portion, and another above that opens to the freezer—and plenty of shelving, produce crispers, and door bins for storing your fresh and frozen food. This kind of refrigerator is most suitable for small living spaces, households, and budgets, as it's not known for capacity, amenities, or smart technology. It's easy to install and use, though, making it a reliable pick. We particularly love the Whirlpool WRT518SZFM Top Freezer Refrigerator for it's budget-friendly price tag, as well as the LG LTCS20020S Top Freezer Refrigerator, which features LED lighting in both the fridge and freezer compartments.
Refrigerators with a bottom freezer make it easy to access and see your stored food. That's because the fridge is at eye level, and the freezer typically works like a pull-out drawer. This type of fridge can be a bit more expensive, since it's usually paired with French doors, smart features, and a dispenser. It's also not the best for storing bulky items, like a box of chicken nuggets, as the freezer commonly has a set of layered drawers. However, this pick can be stylish in your kitchen and easy to organize.
A side-by-side fridge features two vertical doors. The left door opens to the freezer, while the right door opens to the slightly larger fridge portion. If you're considering this type of model, you'll want to double-check your kitchen's layout and make sure it can accommodate the swinging doors. These doors can make the unit's frame much wider when opened. All of your food is at eye level, from the leftovers from last night's dinner to pints of ice cream.
French door refrigerators are one of the most stylish and popular picks on the market. They feature two, swinging doors, in addition to a bottom freezer. Some models also come with a middle drawer, for storing extra snacks and drinks. There are several benefits to French door refrigerators. For one, you're treated to a wider fridge space, which is handy for storing platters of food. Further, many have spacious bins in their doors, smart features, and customizable exteriors. Our "best overall" pick, the LG LFXS26973S French-Door Smart Refrigerator, features a dual ice maker and fingerprint-resistant finish, too.
Compact or Mini
A small space requires a small fridge, which is also known as "compact." This type of fridge usually has around 10 cubic feet of space or less—like our "best mini" pick, the GE GDE03GGKBB Double-Door Mini Fridge, which has 3.1 cubic feet of interior space—compared to the average 20 cubic feet in full-sized models. Compact and mini fridges often feature a top freezer, in-fridge freezer, or even no freezer at all, and plenty of shelving. They're made to slip into a tiny corner of an apartment, condo, dorm room, or office, or even an RV.
Specialty fridges on the market include wine fridges and beverage coolers. They have environments and settings specifically tailored to the drinks you'd store inside them, and they are usually an additional appliance you purchase for your home. Like regular fridges, they come in high-capacity and narrow builds. The right one for you will depend on how much you want to store at once and what you want to store. Some wine fridges have multiple zones, for example, for properly chilling any white and red wine.
Swiveling Door Bin
A swiveling door bin is found in refrigerators with a door-in-door design. It allows you to open up an outer door and access items in your refrigerator door by turning a rotating bin. It’s easy to use, and a very convenient feature for larger households who want to minimize activity but frequently need to access condiments, drinks, and snacks throughout the day.
If a refrigerator has a third or fourth compartment, it's quite likely that it can be used as extra fresh or frozen food storage. You can set the temperature to 0 degrees Fahrenheit when you want to store ice cream and frozen chicken nuggets, and 32 degrees Fahrenheit when you need extra room for trays and side dishes around the holidays. Flexible compartments might have quick-freezing technology that helps them reach a cooler temperature more quickly. This feature is most suitable for homes that want a customizable kitchen or entertain regularly.
Good lighting is surprisingly helpful for navigating the contents of your refrigerator and freezer. Many refrigerators today use crisp, bright LED lighting to illuminate the space inside the appliance. If this feature is important to you, look for a model that offers LED lighting in the refrigerator and freezer. Some high-end refrigerators have elevated the concept of LED lighting even further by using LED backlighting for the entire wall of the refrigerator space. That diffuses bright light throughout the appliance, giving you excellent visibility even at the back of your shelves, where items can easily be overlooked.
Advanced Water Dispenser Features
While a standard through-the-door water dispenser is common on many refrigerator models, more advanced water dispensers offer helpful benefits. For example, some fridges have an automatic water dispenser that fills your glass using a sensor—no need to hold down a button until the glass is full! On a similar note, some water dispensers have a measured fill option. Whether you’re filling your water bottle or a measuring cup, you can pick a pre-set amount of water for the fridge to dispense. Like all built-in water filtration systems, you’ll need to keep an eye on filter life and replace the filters as needed for the system to keep common contaminants out of your drinking water.
How long does a refrigerator last?
On average, a refrigerator can last 12 years. If you purchase a model with fewer features and a standard design, such as a top-freezer refrigerator, this number can be stretched to as much as 20 years. You'll want to make sure you're caring for your appliance properly and maintaining your refrigerator often, if you want to extend its lifespan. Be sure to clean the condenser coils, check its leveling, and change any water filters regularly.
Pay attention to any defrosting needs, because some refrigerators—in particular, mini fridges—don't automatically tackle ice buildup in the freezer compartment. If you want a more hands-free maintenance experience, you should shop for a model with a frost-free design or automatic defrosting, so you won't need to unplug and drain your appliance every once in a while.
When is the best time to buy a refrigerator?
The best time to buy a refrigerator is in May, because new models roll out in the summer, so you can purchase an "old" appliance at a better price. You can also find a quality refrigerator for less during holiday weekends, when retailers have big sales going on.
How much do refrigerators typically cost?
The cost of a refrigerator will depend on its type, capacity, features, and finish. You’ll find that most standard-sized refrigerators cost between $1,500 and $1,800. More basic models may cost as little as $750, while very full-featured refrigerators can easily surpass $2,000.
Refrigerators in black, white, bisque, or cream will usually cost less than finishes like stainless steel, black stainless steel, or slate. However, the popularity of stainless steel is making it more and more affordable to shop for this type of fridge finish—sometimes with no premium over a black or white refrigerator finish at all.
A factory-installed ice maker, through-the-door ice and water dispenser, and smart features also add to the price tag. To make the most of your appliance budget, you should prioritize the features that are most important to you and shop for models that have those options.
What are the best refrigerator brands?
There's no doubt that you want a reliable and functional appliance, so it makes sense to become familiar with the best manufacturers. When it comes to the best refrigerator brands, we frequently recommend GE, LG, Frigidaire, Bosch, Maytag, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, and Café based on quality, inventory, available features, warranty details, and overall value. For more specialty refrigerators, like compact options or dorm room refrigerators, brands like Danby, SMEG, and Magic Chef are also worth considering.
Do refrigerators need space around them?
Refrigerators do need space on all sides in order for heat to dissipate and for efficient refrigerator operation. Shimek advises the following: “Always refer to the user manual for the very best answer, but on average a refrigerator needs two inches of clearance from the back wall and one inch on either side and the top to work properly.” When shopping, you'll want to know the dimensions of your space and pick a refrigerator that fits accordingly.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Erica Puisis, a freelance writer for The Spruce who has extensive experience researching large and small appliances. She has purchased the Whirlpool WRT518SZFM for her own home and understands firsthand the appliance-buying process. For this article, she considered refrigerators of all types from some of the most popular manufacturers, including LG, Maytag, SMEG, GE, Whirlpool, and Frigidaire—among others. Refrigerators were evaluated based on their organizational features, available finishes, capacity, and any other options that make them more user-friendly.
Puisis also interviewed Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, a Neighborly company. With experience in the appliance repair industry, Shimek spoke about the top buying considerations when buying a refrigerator, along with factors to consider about placement and installation.