The CR Best Buy distinction, reserved for products that combine peak value and performance, are rare in the side-by-side refrigerator category. At the moment, only one one model carries the badge—the newly tested GE GSE25ESHSS, a 36-inch-wide GE side-by-side refrigerator that retails for $1,260, which is $500 to $1,000 less than many other top picks in the category. GE is also among the least repair-prone brands for side-by-sides, based on our latest reliability surveys. That makes this GE tough to beat, especially if you’re on a budget, though it does come with some sacrifices.   

Side-by-side refrigerators have lost market share to popular French-door bottom-freezers, but they’re the style of choice in small kitchens, where the narrow door swing saves space. Some people also prefer the vertical storage of this configuration. The GE GSE25ESHSS serves up a total of 16.5 cubic feet of usable capacity, which is less than other recommended models, but still respectable.

GE side-by-side refrigerator

Its temperature control and energy efficiency are both superb, making this GE side-by-side refrigerator one of the few in our tests to achieve excellence on both scores. The tradeoff is the GE is noisier than other models, which could be a factor if you have an open-plan kitchen in which the refrigerator is within earshot of other living areas, such as the family room. 

Like virtually all side-by-sides, the GE GSE25ESHSS comes with an external ice and water dispenser, which ties into a built-in water filter. But it’s missing the dual evaporators found on some other side-by-side picks, including the top-rated Samsung RS25H5121SR, $1,900. Our tests have shown that this cooling technology can help extend food freshness by maintaining optimal humidity levels in the refrigerator chamber. But if you store your food properly, you should be satisfied with the new GE side-by-side refrigerator, and the extra cash in hand can go to another expense.