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One of the top large refrigerators from Consumer Reports' ratings.

Best Large Refrigerators for Big Families

Top-performing models from CR’s tests with plenty of storage

Refrigerators keep getting bigger and bigger. “The trend of making refrigerators taller and deeper to increase capacity while still maintaining a standard width for the average kitchen started a few years ago,” says Joseph Pacella, the engineer who oversees Consumer Reports' refrigerator tests.

But most refrigerators fall short of their capacity claims, some by as much as 32 percent, according to our measurements of usable capacity of the hundreds of refrigerators in our tests. (We measure the actual storage space in a fridge—shelves and all—while manufacturers treat the refrigerators like an empty box.)

So if you’re looking for a spacious refrigerator to store a full week’s worth of groceries, or drinks and snacks for your child’s soccer team, zero in on the usable capacity column in the Features & Specs section of our refrigerator ratings. And keep in mind, you don’t want to get stuck with a supersized electricity bill, so pay attention to the energy efficiency score as well.

Most important, there’s performance. To evaluate thermostat control and temperature uniformity, each model gets wired up with temperature sensors and is monitored for more than a month in a temperature-controlled chamber in CR’s refrigerator lab. We collect more than 5.4 million temperature readings for each refrigerator to determine which ones will keep food fresh longer.

Highlighted below are six large refrigerators from CR's refrigerator ratings that check all the important boxes—in addition to offering a wealth of storage space.

Still need more fridge space? Check our report on affordable secondary refrigerators that you can put in your garage or basement. 

Samsung RT21M6213SG

Samsung RT21M6213SG

Total usable capacity: 20.2 cu. ft.
CR’s take: The Samsung RT21M6213SG is one of the best top-freezer refrigerators in our ratings. It offers 20 cubic feet of usable storage—generous for a top-freezer—and a flexible freezer compartment, meaning you can convert it into additional refrigerator space with the flick of a switch. In our tests, the Samsung offers superb energy efficiency, thermostat control, and temperature uniformity (the ability of the refrigerator to mitigate hot and cold spots). And with a stylish black stainless steel finish, it looks like it costs a lot more than it does.

    LG LDC24370ST

    LG LDC24370ST

    Total usable capacity: 17.1 cu. ft.
    CR’s take: One of the best bottom-freezers in our ratings, the LG LDC24370ST is also one of the roomiest, at 17.1 cubic feet. That’s not much compared with the other models here, but it's ample for a bottom-freezer. It earns top marks across all of our tests, with the exception of ease of use—an assessment of how intuitive we find the controls. While the LDC24370ST costs more than some bottom-freezers, it comes packed with such features as an icemaker, spillproof shelves, and digital controls.

      3-Door French-Door
      Whirlpool WRF995FIFZ

      Whirlpool WRF995FIFZ

      Total usable capacity: 21.6 cu. ft.
      CR’s take: The Whirlpool WRF995FIFZ three-door French door is chock full of features, offers impressive performance, and provides you with 21.6 cubic feet of usable food storage. Among its many features are a water/ice dispenser, two icemakers, measured water fill (which can be calibrated to dispense one cup at a time), adjustable shelving, and a temperature-controlled meat/deli bin. In our tests, this Whirlpool earned high marks, especially for thermostat control and temperature uniformity (arguably the two most important aspects of a refrigerator).

        4-Door French-Door
        Samsung Chef Collection RF34H9960S4

        Samsung Chef Collection RF34H9960S4

        Total usable capacity: 23.4 cu. ft.
        CR’s take: The Samsung Chef Collection RF34H9960S4 is the biggest refrigerator in our ratings, with a usable storage capacity of 23.4 cubic feet. In addition to the sleek four-door design, it has an external water/ice dispenser, a SodaStream sparkling water dispenser, a flexible freezer compartment, spillproof and adjustable shelving, and more. Our tests found this Samsung performs well when it comes to thermostat control, temperature uniformity, quietness, and ease of use. Its energy-efficiency score sits near the middle of the pack, but given the size and features, you might find that a reasonable trade-off.

          Kenmore Elite 51773

          Kenmore Elite 51773

          Total usable capacity: 21.8 cu. ft.
          CR’s take: The Kenmore Elite 51773 side-by-side earns especially high marks for energy efficiency. Temperature control is solid but this fridge falls short when it comes to temperature uniformity. Still, for the price, this Kenmore offers some worthwhile features, including an external water/ice dispenser with hands-free water dispensing, spillproof shelves, digital controls, and pullout shelves and bins. It provides plenty of storage space and nice touches in a budget-friendly package.

            Samsung RS27FDBTNSR

            Samsung RS27FDBTNSR

            Total usable capacity: 20.3 cu. ft.
            CR’s take: Because built-in refrigerators need to be truly counter-depth, it's a challenge to make them roomier. But at 48 inches wide, the Samsung RS27FDBTNSR manages to cram 20.3 cubic feet of usable storage space into its shallow interior. This built-in fridge performs strongly on all of our tests and runs quietly. It has a water/ice dispenser, spillproof shelving, dual evaporators (to prevent air from migrating between cavities), dual compressors, and touch-screen controls. Like most built-ins, this Samsung is expensive, but it offers plenty of utility and style.

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              Daniel Wroclawski

              I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).