The Best French-Door Refrigerators
This space-efficient configuration is rich with innovation, making it a great choice for your next remodel or refrigerator upgrade
French-door refrigerators have become the most popular type of refrigerator, and with good reason. They keep fresh-food items—the milk and juice and veggies and other stuff you reach for all the time—at an accessible eye level. Plus the narrow door swing of the side-by-side doors can be an essential space saver in smaller kitchens. And given the popularity of the configuration, it’s where manufacturers have invested the most research dollars, resulting in a slew of innovations related to storage, features, and more. Here’s a round-up of top-rated French-door refrigerators from Consumer Reports’ latest tests.
Current co-champs. We’re testing new models all the time, so our leader board is in constant flux. But on this day in September 2015, the highest score in our refrigerator Ratings of more than 200 models across all refrigerator configurations is shared by the $2,800 Kenmore Elite 74093 and the $3,600 LG LFXS32766S. Both combine superb temperature control, energy efficiency, and quietness, plus their dual evaporative cooling system should help keep food fresh by maintaining optimum humidity levels. Paying more for the LG gets you the door-in-door feature, which allows you to access beverages, condiments, and the like without reaching into main compartment.
Top choice among cabinet-depth. As the name implies, cabinet-depth refrigerators sit flush with the cabinets, for a clean, streamlined look. Our testers were very impressed by the GE Profile PWE23KMDES, $2,600, which might be our highest scorer, if not for the fact that it’s a tad noisier than our top models (it’s still very quiet). It lacks a through-the-door ice and water dispenser, which many consumers value. On the other hand, refrigerators with the feature are more repair prone, plus its absence gives the GE a clean look, enhanced further by the fingerprint-resistant slate finish.
Four-door favorites. The French-door category has evolved to include models with four doors, instead of the traditional three. A top-performing example is the Samsung Chef Collection RF34H9960S4, whose freezer section is divided into two separate compartments. The compartment on the right can convert to fresh-food storage allowing you to adjust the ratio of fridge to freezer space, based on your needs. The four-door model, the second from Samsung to dispense sparkling water, via SodaStream CO2 cartridges that you insert into the unit (the Samsung RF31FMESBSR was the first). At $5,400, the Samsung Chef Collection is the priciest French-door model in our Ratings. Its brandmate, the Samsung T9000, features the same four-door configuration for $3,500, though you’ll have to do without the sparkling water dispenser.
Feature-rich dispensers. Samsung’s sparkling water isn’t the only example of dispenser innovation. Check out the GE Profile PFE28RSHSS, $2,800, with its unique hands-free dispenser, which lets you walk away while the dispenser automatically fills any container with filtered water. The color LCD above the dispenser lets you upload your own photos. GE also launched the first-ever dispenser with a built-in, single-serve coffeemaker from Keurig. It’s on the GE CFE28USHSS, $3,300, but we haven’t tested it.
Budget buys. If $3,500 doesn’t sound like a bargain, consider one of the true values in our Ratings. At $1,500, the LG LFC24770ST is the least expensive model on our recommended list, though it lacks external ice and water. If the dispenser is a must, consider the $2,000 Samsung RF28HFPDBSR. Both models deliver excellent temperature control and humidity-enhancing dual evaporators, proof that you don’t have to spend top dollar on a fridge that will do its basic task of keeping food fresh. For more great choices, see our full refrigerator Ratings and recommendations.
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