By Go Reviews
Refrigerators are reviewed for not only their design and accomodation
features but also for energy efficiency, noise and reliability.
The size of the refrigerator is obviously first determined by
the space you have available and secondly by your requirements.
You are hardly going to put a 200 cu ft. refrigerator in a hotel
room only used for refreshments.
If you only have a narrow space, the model type you choose may give
you more refrigerator capacity.
There are several models available today:
- Side-by-side model
- Top-freezer or bottom-freezer unit
- French door model (side-by-side refrigerator on top, single-door
freezer on bottom)
- Drawers or Door compartments – my own refrigerator has
an upper door compartment, a middle vegetable/fruit drawer and
lower freezer drawer.
Side By Side Refrigerators
In general, side-by-side refrigerators are more expensive, with
features like through-the-door ice/water dispensers and wine racks.
Side-by-side refrigerators need less door clearance so are great
for a narrow kitchen.
Disadvantages or side-by-side refrigerators include higher cost,
often twice that of comparable top-freezer models, narrow shelves
often don't accommodate common items, and their through-the-door
dispensers can be problematic.
Advantages of the side-by-side configuration include: they equire
less clearance to open a door, most have ice and water dispensers.
These refrigerators are generally more energy efficient than side-by-sides.They
are also less expensive. This may account for why top-freezer refrigerators
account for 50% of refrigerators sold.
Kenmore models prove a popular choice, according to reviews. The
cheaper models in the line have basic features, including shelves
with spill guards, gallon-jug storage on the door, factory-installed
icemakers and clear crisper drawers.
Popular brands of Top Freezer Models are: Kenmore, GE and Mytag.
Bottom-freezer refrigerators grown in popularity allowing easier
access to the refrigerators, with the freezer often modelling as
a convenient pullout drawer
Top rated bottom freezer refrigerators include: Amana, including
those branded GE and Kenmore. Maytag has now bought out Amana and
has branded a few of Amana's bottom-freezer models as Maytags.
These are a combination of a side-by-side refrigerator with a
lower single pullout freezer drawer.
Top rated French door refrigerators include: LG get the highest
ratings in reviews for energy efficiency and consistent temperature
performance. They are also the quietest models, making significantly
less noise than GE, Kenmore or Maytag French-door refrigerators.
These are designed to sit nearly flush with standard cabinets
and can be disguised with cabinetry panel fronts. The custom look
gives clean lines to your kitchen but come at a prices. Check out
the repair rates and depth of cabinets as these are common problem
areas with these models.
An alternative is to get a custom built-in mimic version from credible
refrigerator manufacturers as Kenmore, Frigidaire and Whirlpool.
These are designed specifically to fit into your kitchen cabinetry.
The GE Profile or GE Custom Style series get good reviews.
Kitchens have gained more focus in design and styling in recent
years as the pace of life hastens and everyday tasks such as cooking
are doubling as social times in the home.
Kenmore Elite top-freezer refrigerators have sleeker contoured doors
and offer stainless steel high-tech looks of designer kitchens.
On most models, a stainless steel option will cost you an extra
$200 or so.
Ice and Water Dispensers
Kenmore side-by-sides are most frequently top-rated. They are
energy efficient, maintain even temperatures, and are among the
quietest refrigerator models. These refrigerators range in size
from 20 to 26 cubic feet
The most reliable refrigerators are Whirlpool, Kenmore and GE
side-by-side refrigerators by only slight margins.
GE refrigerators have a lower rate of repair than many and perform
consistently well for temperature accuracy, energy consumption,
noise and ease of use.
Although Maytags performance ranks with other refrigerators, its
appears the least reliable in non-icemaker versions, according to
owner surveys. [25% needed repair]
Overall Top 5
- General Electric – highest top freezer model
- Amana – highest bottom freezer model
- LG Electronics – best French door model
- Viking – one of the top custom built in look refrigerators
What To Look For In A Refrigerator
- Layout – is it convenient for all members of the family
- Sufficient width and depth for the common items you refrigerate
- Adjustable shelves
- Easy to reach controls – many are on the back wall which
is not ideal
- Independent controls for each compartment
- Water filters for the icemaker.
- Energy-Star compliant.
- Spill guards
- Lighting – including vegetable bins and freezers
- Noise level – look for insulation around the compressor,
especially if the refrigerator backs onto a bedroom wall
- Rate of Repair
- Duration and Terms of Warranty
Energy Star Rating
Energy-Star rated appliances ensure your refrigerator is energy
efficient and attract rebates from many municipalities and utility
companies, such as those in parts of California who can claim a
$100 rebate when replacing their old refrigerator with a new Energy
Star Rated refrigerator. Check with your local utility company for
Energy-Star rebate programs.
Specification Web sites
General Electric Refrigerators