If the home is a family’s universe, the refrigerator is the sun. Everything revolves around it, from breakfasts to-go, healthy lunches, and rowdy dinners around the table. That’s why getting a new refrigerator is kind of a big deal. There are tons of factors to consider — everything from configuration and dimensions to finishes and special features. Of course, there’s no getting around the price: They’re expensive. But if you want a top pick from a reliable brand that will stand steady in your family’s orbit for years to come, you’re in the right place.
The Good Housekeeping Institute’s Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab evaluates fridges on their ability to regulate temperatures for grocery list staples like lettuce, deli meat, and frozen foods. That’s in addition to looking at shelf configuration, type of controls, helpfulness of the manual, and more. (Scroll to the bottom of this story for more information on our testing process.)
When shopping for a new refrigerator online or in a store, these are the main things you want to consider:
Configuration: The big players are side-by-sides, top-freezers, and bottom-freezers. Side-by-sides require less space for the doors to swing open, but you need to bend down to find food at the base of the fridge and freezer. Bottom-freezers (like French-door models) put the most-used compartment at eye level. Top-freezer fridges cost less but require you to bend to get into the fridge.
Dimensions: Your fridge typically has to fit between counter space, so you’ll need to match the width to the layout of your kitchen. Built-ins and cabinet-depth models sit flush with counters and cabinets but may be more costly.
Finishes: Stainless steel is the most popular because it has a sleek-yet-neutral look, but some prefer a white or black fridge (or the recently popular black stainless steel). Built-ins typically offer exterior paneling that matches your kitchen cabinets. Many modern finishes are fingerprint-resistant.
Features: Consider the shelving and internal drawers to see if they work for your family’s eating habits. If you like to store a few bottles of wine in the fridge, make sure there’s amble height and/or adjustable shelving; if you order pizza frequently you’ll probably want to store the box inside. Some fridges also offer humidity controls on crisper drawers, meat or deli drawers, and other features for keeping foods at the ideal storage temp.
Once you make your pick, don’t miss our Test Kitchen’s ultimate guide to organizing your fridge. Until then, read more about our favorite models:
1- GE Profile Series French-Door Refrigerator
The GE Profile Series French-Door Refrigerator with a Keurig K-Cup Brewing System got top marks for temperature maintenance and uniformity. It also wowed our Kitchen Appliance Lab experts with its smart design features: You get a top-of-the-line fridge, plus a built-in Keurig coffeemaker in the door. It’s Wi-Fi enabled, so after you download the app you can adjust settings, preheat water for coffee, and get alerts if the door is open. It works with Amazon Echo, too.
• Dimensions: 36 x 36 x 70 inches
• Available finishes: slate, black slate, stainless steel, black stainless
• Energy Star certified
2- Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
Think of Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator as your family’s kitchen command center. With Bixby, Samsung’s smart voice assistant, you can ask your fridge to add groceries to a shopping list, order food on Grubhub, or play Pandora (on the built-in speakers). In our tests, we were impressed with its ability to maintain super steady temperatures in the fridge and freezer, which is a must to keep foods fresh.
• Dimensions: 36 x 72 x 29 inches
• Available finishes: fingerprint-resistant stainless steel, fingerprint-resistant black stainless steel
• Energy Star certified
3- LG InstaView Door-in-Door Refrigerator
You can depend on the LG InstaView Refrigerator to do an excellent job of keeping your food fresh, but what really distinguishes it is the unique door-in-door feature: The easy-access compartment lets you quickly grab a snack or beverage without having to open the full door. The InstaView technology lets you knock on the window of the see-through door to make the interior lights come on.
• Dimensions: 32 x 70 x 36 inches
• Available finishes: stainless steel, black stainless steel
• Energy Star certified
4- Whirlpool 6ED2FHKXVA 23 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator
- 220 Volts Export Only Will Not Work In The USA
- 23 Cu.Ft (630 Liter) Gross Capacity Stainless Steel Satina Finish: resists fingerprints, accepts magnets and is easy to clean 4 Star Rating Climate Class T 2 cu.ft Refrigerator Volume
- 8 cu.ft Freezer Volume Flat Door Design Automatic Defrost System ACCU-CHILL Temperature Management System Dual Upfront Temperature Control System
- Refrigerator & Freezer Light Two Adjustable SPILL GUARD Slide-out Glass Shelves Clear EZ VUE Deli Drawer with Glass Cover Full-Width Clear EZ VUE Humidity Controlled Crisper with Glass Cover Clear EZ VUE Convertible Temperature Controlled Vegetable/Meat Crisper with Glass Cover
- FLEXI- SLIDE Utility Door Bin Egg Tray 4 Refrigerator Door Bins (1 Fixed, 3 Adjustable) Pullout Plastic Freezer Drawer/Basket 5 Freezer Wire Shelves 5 Fixed Freezer Door Shelves/Bins 2 Conventional Ice Cube Trays Optional Field installable Ice Maker (W10190943)
5- Samsung Appliance RF28JBEDBSG 36″
- Total (Cu.Ft.): 27.8 / Fridge: 15.7 + 3.8 / Freezer: 8.3
- Food ShowCase Door With Metal Cooling
- FlexZone Drawer With Metal Cooling
- Dimensions (WHD): 35 3/4″ X 68 7/8″ X 36 1/2″