Product Reviews

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Best Refrigerators for $1,000 or Less

You don’t have to sacrifice performance to stay on budget

When you’re shopping for a refrigerator on a budget, it can be hard to find models that offer the right combination of performance, reliability, price, and features you need.

“If your budget is only $1,000, there are a few worthwhile bottom-freezer and side-by-side models on the market, but top-freezers will give you the most variety,” says Mark Allwood, Consumer Reports' market analyst for refrigerators. He says you won’t find any high-quality French-doors at that price, though.

How We Rate Refrigerators
After a refrigerator gets wired up with thermocouples, we monitor it for more than a month in a climate-controlled chamber to evaluate thermostat control and temperature uniformity. CR’s test engineers collect more than 5.4 million temperature readings for each model to detect warm and cold spots and to determine which refrigerators will keep food fresh longer.

We also measure usable storage capacity, noise, and how long food will stay frozen during a blackout. And last, our annual refrigerator survey results allow us to create predicted-reliability and owner-satisfaction scores for each brand’s refrigerator type. All of this data—and then some—informs CR’s refrigerator ratings, which include about 400 models.

Despite the limited choices for a $1,000 price, our new and improved refrigerator ratings feature a handful of models from each type we test that offer a winning combination of solid performance, value, and reliability. (Learn more about Consumer Reports' new Overall Score.)

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of six top-performing, reliable refrigerators from Frigidaire, Haier, Kenmore, LG, and Whirlpool. (Disclaimer: Prices fluctuate throughout the year, so depending on when you look, you might spot models listed here for more than $1,000.)

Go to Consumer Reports' 2018 Holiday Central for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.