The refrigerator is a core component of the modern kitchen. Not only does this essential appliance store food and keep it fresh, it brings a visual boost to one of your home’s most important spaces.
That’s only the beginning. These days, the refrigerator can form the basis of a highly convenient and connected kitchen experience. There are now great options for every type of consumer, but this can make shopping for a fridge more complicated than ever.
We’re here to help. We’ve rounded up comparisons of the most familiar brands, as well as specific qualities to seek out as you search for a fridge you love.
What Makes a Refrigerator Brand Great?
No one refrigerator is ideal for every situation, but certain qualities tend to separate the good from the great. The following advantages, in particular, should make you extra enthusiastic about top candidates:
Advanced tech has completely changed what we expect from — and how we use — refrigerators. At this point, some of the best fridges feel more like science fiction marvels than real-world appliances. Smart refrigerator functions can be helpful, but they should also be user-friendly to limit frustration.
Key tech features to seek out in your next refrigerator include:
- WiFi. If you want maximum insight into your fridge and its contents, opt for a WiFi-enabled model. This approach allows you to check expiration dates or energy consumption when you’re away from home. It also enhances functionality when you’re in the kitchen, allowing you to easily shop online or store recipes. Fridges with voice recognition even offer hands-free operation.
- Touchscreen controls. Enhancing the already exceptional convenience provided by WiFi connectivity, fridge-based touchscreens streamline otherwise cumbersome processes. Built-in smart hub components make the fridge a central location for playing music, sharing photos, and more.
- LED lighting. Reduce energy usage and improve your fridge’s interior appearance in one fell swoop with help from LED lighting. While many forms of fridge-based LEDs are available, light walls provide the greatest visual impact.
- Sanitization solutions. Ordinary fridges do a great job of keeping food and beverages fresh, but bacteria can still collect on features such as the ice dispenser. Thankfully, modern features such as UV light provide a much-needed boost.
Of course, these awe-inspiring features must be weighed against the cost of leveling up your fridge approach. While a conventional refrigerator can often be found for under $1,500, it’s not uncommon for WiFi-enabled fridges to exceed $4,000.
Depending on how you intend to use this appliance, you may ultimately conclude that the extra cost is a small price to pay for the huge leap in convenience that comes with smart fridge functionality.
It is not unheard of for refrigerators to run into issues within mere months of being purchased. Given how essential these appliances are to everyday life, this lack of reliability can be incredibly frustrating — or even downright dangerous. It can be difficult to determine which type of fridge is most likely to prove reliable, especially because the term itself references multiple qualities.
First, you should feel confident that your fridge’s contents will be properly cooled. Advanced climate control settings provide better oversight for drawer and compartment. Individual settings for the crisper, in particular, are not to be skipped.
Another point of concern? The possibility of needing repairs in the near future. Unfortunately, reliability often comes at the cost of tech-forward innovation. Simply put, those fancy features that make the most cutting-edge fridges so exciting are more likely to prompt malfunctions over time.
Because so many factors can play into fridge reliability, many consumers fall back on brand reputation when making decisions. Some brands are known for taking shortcuts, while others regularly receive stellar reviews for their durability.
Even the best, most reliable refrigerators are bound to run into trouble at some point. When they do, it helps to know that they are protected by robust warranties.
Coverage varies dramatically between brands, with users often disappointed to learn that they are entirely on their own after the first year. Look carefully at the fine print before purchasing to ensure that, in the worst-case scenario, you can get the repairs or replacements you need.
Variety of Models
Depending on the size, layout, and general style of your kitchen, you may quickly find that certain types of refrigerators are a poor fit. As such, it’s important to seek a brand with a wealth of options. Ideally, these will occupy a few main categories, such as:
- Side-by-side. Divided vertically into sections for cooling and freezing, side-by-side refrigerators can be useful in small spaces where narrow doors are less likely to get in the way. Top-to-bottom shelving allows for easy, organized storage in both the fridge and freezer sections.
- French door. At first glance, French door fridges look a lot like their side-by-side counterparts. Both feature double doors, with multiple handles situated at the center of the fridge. With this type of refrigerator, however, both doors open to the fridge section, where the shelves are wider than in a conventional side-by-side fridge. The freezer is then situated below.
- Top-freezer. It’s not difficult to understand how these fridges work. Their freezers are (as the name suggests) situated at the top of each appliance, where they maximize storage. This style provides an impressive amount of space despite fitting wonderfully in small kitchens. These fridges also are typically far more affordable than the designs highlighted above.
- Bottom-freezer. Like top-freezer fridges, bottom-freezer models tend to be more affordable than their side-by-side or French door counterparts. With this approach, however, the freezer moves to the lower portion of the appliance, thereby making the fridge section easier to scan. The downside, of course, is bending over to use the freezer.
- Mini-fridge. No, mini-fridges are not exclusively the domain of dorm rooms. They can be incredibly useful for expanding storage capacity or making beverages or snacks more accessible in various parts of your home. As with larger kitchen-based refrigerators, these will ideally be efficient, reliable, and suited to the unique specifications or styles of the spaces they occupy.
Customers love to share their thoughts on every purchase. They are quick to praise refrigerators for their best qualities — and happy to point out their flaws. Their reviews should be examined thoroughly to determine where concerning patterns exist.
Keep in mind that customers typically review refrigerators within a few months of their purchase — so their feedback may not reflect long-term issues that only appear after several years of use. Still, there are a few warning signs worth mentioning. Issues with ice and water dispensers, for example, deserve extra attention, as these can be indicative of overarching reliability concerns.
Top Five Reliable Brands for Refrigerators
Numerous brands promise to bring exceptional style and cooling capabilities to your kitchen, but not all live up to these claims. Over the years, each brand has cultivated a distinct culture that must be understood in order to feel confident in major appliance purchases.
|WiFi/Smart Functions Available||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|ENERGY STAR Rated||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|French/Side-by-Side/Top Freezer/Bottom Freezer||Yes||Yes||Yes||French, Side-by-Side, Top||Yes|
|Available at Major Retailers||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
To help you understand the differences between five of the most impactful refrigerator brands, we’ve outlined their key differences, as well as benefits and challenges worth considering:
About the Brand
Samsung may have a strong reputation for producing the hottest smartphone alternative to the iPhone, but that’s only the beginning. The tech giant also boasts a variety of highly-rated appliances — including several acclaimed refrigerators.
Committed to driving the smart revolution, Samsung offers several connected appliances that draw on the power of connectivity. This company is clearly at the forefront of this movement, as it’s produced some of the most cutting-edge tech features imaginable. These options aren’t necessarily ideal for all consumers, but they do provide a glimpse at what the fridges of the future might look like.
- 28 Cu. Ft. Capacity
- FlexZone Drawer | Smart Divider
- Twin Cooling Plus
- Wi-Fi And Bixby Enabled
Why Consumers Love This Brand
- Samsung is known for producing energy-efficient models, which often have low annual costs due to their minimal consumption.
- Connectivity features such as Samsung’s famed Family Hub make it easy to control refrigerators when away from home — or keep organized while hanging out in the kitchen.
- Samsung’s warranty is excellent as compared to many other competing brands. In addition to 1 year for the full fridge, the limited warranty encompasses 2 years of protection for the icemaker, 5 years for sealed systems, and 10 years (parts coverage only) for the digital inverter compressor.
- Models equipped with the FlexZone drawer can easily be customized to provide exceptional storage for a variety of sensitive products.
- Even Samsung’s most affordable fridges are undeniably attractive. Their sleek aesthetic makes them an ideal fit for contemporary kitchens.
- Tech-heavy refrigerators may not be ideal for consumers who prioritize simplicity. Some customers feel that Samsung’s tech features are difficult to master.
- More bells and whistles translate to more opportunities for things to go wrong, not to mention more difficult repairs.
- Many Samsung refrigerators cost far more than similarly-sized counterparts from other brands.
- Customers often complain that certain Samsung fridges are noisy from the very beginning or after just 1 year of use.
About the Brand
Whirlpool has a strong reputation in the kitchen appliance space. Headquartered in Michigan, this American manufacturer is associated not only with the flagship Whirlpool brand, but also, with Maytag, KitchenAid, and many other prominent names.
Variety is the name of the game for this brand, which manufactures and sells refrigerators of all kinds. Despite this, Whirlpool fridges are often thought of as budget or mid-level appliances, perhaps because they are priced favorably as compared to key competitors.
Why Consumers Love Whirlpool
- Notoriously reliable, Whirlpool refrigerators are a great choice for anyone who is unwilling to leave this appliance’s long-term functionality up to chance.
- Whirlpool proves that, in a world of technologically advanced appliances, simplicity can be a strength. Fewer bells and whistles prompt fewer opportunities for malfunctions.
- While some parts and products are manufactured overseas, Whirlpool produces a significant share of its appliances including fridges in the U.S.
- FreshFlow air filters keep fridge odors to a minimum, regardless of which types of foods are stored there or for how long.
- Whirlpool is not as technologically advanced as previously mentioned brands such as Samsung. While Whirlpool has begun to dabble in WiFi-connected appliances, it’s definitely behind the curve.
- Customer service is sometimes a point of issue for Whirlpool users, with long waits typical before consumers get a response from representatives.
- Many brands fall under the Whirlpool name. This can sometimes make it difficult to research fridges, as there are considerable differences in quality between, for example, Maytag and KitchenAid fridges (both of which are marketed by Whirlpool).
- Water filters are largely excluded from the manufacturer’s limited warranty.
About the Brand
LG first made its mark as a South Korean plastics company. Once known as Lucky-Goldstar, the business previously sold consumer electronics under the name GoldStar — and hygiene products under the Lucky brand.
These days, LG produces a variety of noteworthy electronics, including many popular mobile devices. The brand really shines with major appliances, however, which draw on LG’s technological prowess to make everyday tasks more convenient. LG fridges abide by this trend, incorporating cutting-edge tech features to great effect.
Why Consumers Love LG
- Innovative storage solutions make it easy to organize even the smallest LG fridges.
- Most LG models run quietly, causing fewer disruptions than louder fridges from other brands.
- Many LG fridges come with excellent icemakers. The Craft icemaker is especially popular.
- Premium fridges provide impressive features such as LG InstaView, which provides quick insight into currently stored items.
- Select LG models tend to be among the least reliable refrigerators and therefore may require repairs more often.
- Other LG options are reliable, but the inconsistency between models can make it difficult to choose the right refrigerator.
- Repairs for LG fridges can be expensive, especially as the parts are often difficult to obtain.
- Compressor issues are common among many of LG’s more recently produced fridges.
About the Brand
An iconic name in the kitchen appliance space, Frigidaire has a long and storied history. Originally known as the Guardian Frigerator Company, Frigidaire was responsible for the very first self-contained fridge. Soon after, the company adopted the name Frigidaire. This company quickly became so prominent among kitchen appliances that, for a time, nearly all refrigerators were colloquially referred to as Frigidaires.
Owned by General Motors for several decades, Frigidaire continued to make waves as a large appliance manufacturer. It was eventually purchased by the White Sewing Machine Company, which, in turn, was purchased by Electrolux. Now, Frigidaire is no longer the most innovative kitchen appliance brand, but it is largely regarded as a reliable and accessible option for everyday homeowners.
- This chic unit features easy-to-use mechanical controls
- Food is easy to find in the crisper which has a glass cover
- Refrigerator offers 3 adjustable, slide-out glass shelves, one transparent vegetable crisper, four- clear door shelves. Includes two front mount adjustable leveling legs and two castors mounted at the back to allow for easy movement
- Adjustable Thermostat.CFC free
- Fridge and Freezer with Interior Light
Why Consumers Love Frigidaire
- Frigidaire offers some of the most budget-friendly refrigerators available on the market today. Despite being sold for low prices, these reliable fridges receive high marks for customer satisfaction.
- Like Whirlpool, Frigidaire demonstrates how simplicity can be a strength. Most of its fridges are straightforward, but this can be an advantage for those who prefer to keep their kitchen appliances and smart devices separate.
- Several of Frigidaire’s most popular models are Energy Star certified, and therefore, capable of minimizing consumption and producing long-term savings.
- The Frigidaire EvenTemp system delivers consistent temperatures throughout the entirety of each fridge.
- Frigidaire conducts 42-point quality checks to ensure that every fridge lives up to the brand’s stellar reputation.
- Although there are a few exceptions, Frigidaire models are less likely to heavily incorporate smart features or other advanced tech solutions that have become prominent with other manufacturers.
- The 1-year warranty for these fridges is not particularly impressive. Extended service agreements are available but represent a significant added cost.
- Frigidaire’s simplest fridges are nearly always reliable, but problems begin to emerge as consumers move up to higher-end models. The French door designs, in particular, have been known to have misaligned doors and problematic icemakers.
About the Brand
Founded well over a century ago, General Electric is heavily involved in everything from aviation to renewable energy. The company is also well-known as a major producer of household appliances. GE’s appliances division aims to modernize kitchens and help users cook smarter.
Currently, the company is headquartered at Appliance Park in Louisville. Many appliances are made in America — typically in manufacturing centers located in cities such as Decatur, Alabama, or Camden, South Carolina.
Keep in mind, that, as with Whirlpool, GE has many subsidiaries. Examples include Haier, Monogram, and Cafe.
Why Consumers Love GE
- High-end models such as French door fridges come with prized features like auto-fill water dispensers and strips of LED lighting.
- With so many brands and styles available, all consumers should easily find fridges suited to their needs.
- Affordable options such as top and bottom-freezer models can be surprisingly durable, despite their low price tag.
- Consistent internal temperatures make GE fridges excellent for storing a variety of foods and beverages, even when they don’t appear to have as many customization options as higher-end appliances.
- GE’s partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency for the Responsible Appliance Disposal Program is unique among fridge manufacturers.
- GE refrigerators tend to be among the higher-priced options, even for typically affordable models such as top or bottom-freezer designs.
- Side-by-side models from GE tend to be less favorably rated than similar styles from competitors, with reliability consistently proving to be a point of contention.
- Cooling issues are common for select models, with consumers complaining of excessive condensation or faulty temperature sensors.
- GE’s warranties aren’t terrible but can be difficult to understand, as warranty coverage differs between standard, compact, and built-in models. Specific terms must also be examined for water filters, icemakers, and freezers.
- A variety of subsidiary brands under the larger GE brand can make shopping more complicated.
Which Brand Is Known for Energy Efficiency?
Upfront cost is a major point of concern, but it’s also important to consider how much you’ll pay to run your refrigerator on a day-to-day basis. Energy Star certified models are always your best bet, as these dramatically reduce energy consumption. The result? A reduced carbon footprint plus a great decision for your wallet.
Many of today’s top refrigerator brands offer energy-efficient models, but this is especially a point of pride for Samsung. Energy efficiency is also a priority for Frigidaire, which offers several Energy Star certified models. Some individual fridges from LG and GE are also incredibly efficient.
Which Brand Offers the Most Variety in Refrigerator Models?
There’s no simple answer to this question, as the very concept of variety can take many forms. Samsung, for example, delivers variety with several fridge layouts and designs, including bespoke and built-in options that can be customized to perfectly fit within any kitchen.
Meanwhile, Frigidaire offers variety from a pricing perspective; several models are notoriously simple and affordable, but a few excellent high-end options are also available. Arguably, however, the greatest variety can be found in Whirlpool and GE, by way of their many subsidiary brands.
Which Brand Has the Best Reviews From Consumers?
Despite limited reliability among select models, LG consistently receives the highest customer satisfaction scores. Users are especially enthusiastic about LG’s premium features and its impressive organizational systems. GE’s fridges don’t receive quite as much praise, but do score high marks for customer service.
With other brands, customer feedback varies considerably from one model to the next, with higher-end French door styles more likely to receive positive comments.
Which Brand Has the Most Durable Refrigerators?
With modern fridges, simplicity often underscores durability. Yes, high-tech features are fun to play with, but they increase the potential for malfunctions and costly repairs.
Brands (such as Whirlpool) that tend to produce simple and straightforward models are often ranked as among the most durable. Whirlpool’s subsidiary brands also frequently receive positive feedback from loyal customers, who consistently praise these fridges’ durability. Some individual models from GE and Frigidaire can also be expected to stand the test of time.
Find Your Favorite Fridge Models From These Premium Brands
There is no simple answer to the question: What are the best refrigerator brands to buy in 2022? High-end features that delight some users may frustrate others. Space and aesthetics must also be considered. Thoughtful designs allow you to make the most of your kitchen, no matter its size or style.
There’s a lot to think about. But you may find it easier to make a decision if you’re able to narrow down your options according to your basic understanding of top refrigerator brands. A little research will go a long way as you seek the best brand and model to support your dream kitchen.
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