We've tested a ton of refrigerators here at CNET Appliances. Some have wowed us, some have disappointed us, and a few somehow managed to do both. These legitimately tempting fridges get a lot of things right, but there's always at least one fatal flaw that keeps us from recommending them. Click through to see five of the most notable near-misses.
LG's "Door-in-Door" feature lets you open the front panel of the refrigerator door to access drinks and condiments stored in the in-door shelves without actually opening the refrigerator. It's a popular feature -- enough so that LG's rolled it out across several high-profile , flagship fridges.
Here's the problem: we've never seen a Door-in-Door compartment that actually makes an impact on the refrigerator's efficiency or cooling performance. It isn't really all that convenient, either. In most models, you'll need to open yet another door inside of the fridge to access those shelves like you normally would. No thanks.
Maybe the third time really is the charm, because Samsung's third attempt at the connected refrigerator was the first one to really wow us. The 21.5-inch touchscreen is stunning, the four-door, black stainless-steel build is beautiful and modern, and for once, a lot of the features are actually pretty compelling. I'm especially fond of the way you can track expiration dates using countdown timers that you drag over top of your groceries in the fridge-cam feed (yep, there are fridge cams inside this thing).
This one's obvious: this fridge is stinkin' expensive. Models start at a retail price of $5,600, and while you'll probably be able to find one discounted a lot lower than that, it'll still set you back thousands. That's a lot to spend on a fridge that feels a year or two ahead of its time, especially when some of the features -- like the web browser, shown here -- seem almost totally unnecessary.
What you're looking at here is the most powerful fridge we've ever tested. Seriously. Whereas other top-freezer fridges often struggle to keep temperatures down where you want them below 40 degrees F, this Whirlpool made the job look easy. And hey, isn't that what you want from your fridge?
Actually, it's a bit too cold for its own good. At its lowest setting, temperatures throughout the body of the fridge were well below freezing -- and cold spots like that persisted even at the default setting. Dialing up from there to keep your milk from freezing isn't the worst thing in the world, but good luck finding the right sweet spot. I say skip the headache and go with something simpler.
Here's another top-freezer that might tempt you. It's a Frigidaire Gallery model that's filled with great features, including modular in-door shelves and a top shelf that slides in and folds up out of the way, origami style. That was enough for me to give it a 9 out of 10 for features.
Unfortunately, it only got a 3 out of 10 for performance. Simply put, temperatures were way warmer than I was comfortable with -- a deal-breaking result that matches what we've seen from other Frigidaire Gallery top-freezers.
One of my favorite fridge features? The nifty water pitcher inside this GE top-freezer fridge. Dock it into place, and the fridge will automatically fill it back up with fresh, filtered water. It works like a charm, and you won't find it anywhere else.
The problem here is storage space. For the price, this is a smallish top-freezer to begin with, and with that water pitcher taking up a dedicated spot on the top shelf, things are far more cramped than we'd like.