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The good old icebox gets its due: 15 fridges reviewed (pictures)

How much do you get when you pay thousands for a fridge instead of hundreds? We take a look at a wide range of models to find out and help you make sense of the world of fridges.

Andrew Gebhart, Ry Crist
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15 fridges reviewed

If you can swing it, a fridge upgrade makes a lot of sense. After all, the refrigerator is the biggest, most visible appliance in your home, and you probably use it at least a few times per day. Why not pick out one you really want?

Of course, with so many styles, sizes and features out there to choose from, narrowing down your search can get daunting in a hurry. Fear not, though -- the CNET Appliances team is here to come to your refrigerator rescue, with 15 fresh fridge reviews that cover the kitchen spectrum. Click through for the full tour.

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We'll start with the most affordable fridge we spent time with: an $800 GE refrigerator with a traditional top freezer build and an attractive "Slate" finish. It's not quite as shiny as stainless steel, but also not nearly as smudge-prone. More importantly, it did well enough in our tests to merit your consideration.

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Frigidaire FGTR1845QF

If that Slate finish is too much of a compromise for your kitchen's aesthetic, then you could consider spending a little more for a true stainless-steel build. You've got a couple of options that cost $1,000 or less -- among them, we like this slick-looking Frigidaire Gallery top freezer.

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Of course, stainless-steel fridges are a dime a dozen. If you want something more distinctive, you could consider spending $1,200 on the fridge in GE's retro-minded Artistry Series. Like the matching range, dishwasher and microwave, it's a pretty simplistic appliance, but it's built to get the job done and look good doing it. It even comes in fun colors like Pepper Red and Cupcake Blue.

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Kenmore 78022

On the other end of the spectrum sits this $1,500 bottom freezer from Kenmore. It isn't much to look at, but it's got a surprising number of helpful little features packed inside, and it performed like a champ in our gauntlet of tests.

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Here's a little secret: Kenmore doesn't manufacture its own appliances. Instead, it buys appliance designs from other manufacturers, rebrands them with the Kenmore name and then sells them at Sears. That previous bottom freezer is actually based off an LG model similar to this one. At $1,800, it costs a bit more than most bottom freezers, but it offers more storage space, a stainless-steel build, a pull-out freezer, and some of the steadiest cooling from any fridge we've tested to date.

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Kenmore 51832

Here's another Kenmore fridge that's based off of an LG design. With a "Grab-N-Go" door built right into the front of the refrigerator door, it's a tricky side-by-side that promises quick, easy access to the refrigerator's in-door shelves. However, that secret compartment wasn't always as quick or as easy to use as Kenmore claims, and it causes those in-door shelves to run a little hotter than we'd like.

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Samsung RH29H9000SR

Fridges that boast a door within a door seem to be a growing trend this year, and the Samsung Food Showcase side-by-side goes all in. Rather than opening up a single section of the fridge, Samsung lets you open the fridge's entire front panel, exposing each and every one of those in-door shelves. It's an admittedly beautiful appliance, with sleek, recessed handles and a futuristic build, but at $3,000, we wish it offered a little more.

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For $1,600 -- twice the price of that top freezer from a few slides back -- GE offers that same Slate finish in a French door model. That's not bad for a design-minded French door fridge -- we just wish it offered a more compelling slate of features.

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LG's $1,800 French door model ups the feature count with spill-proof shelves and humidity sliders, but loses points since it doesn't have much space for tall items. It's a fine performer, but you'll run out of room for groceries quickly.

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Frigidaire FGHB2866PF9A

Walking the line between simple and premium, Frigidaire's $2,600 French-door fridge stumbles. Its temps run warm at the default setting and the 27.2 cubic feet of space doesn't hold as much food as smaller models.

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Electrolux EI28BS80KS4A

For $3,100, the Electrolux bets heavy on features to justify its lofty price. The gamble doesn't quite pay off. The luxury-close drawers get stuck on their rails, the glass shelves that double as serving trays are a pain to use and many of the extras prove tedious in practice. To top it off, the fridge isn't a great performer.

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The pictured water dispenser on this fridge can sense the size of your glass and fill it automatically. It can also measure out specified amounts if you need 2 cups for cooking. It's awesome. The $3,100 GE French-door fridge behind it is pretty good itself, but you're definitely paying a premium for that dispenser.

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Frigidaire FPBC2277RF

The $3,500 Frigidaire Professional Counter Depth French-door fridge was one of the pricier models we tested, but its inaccurate temps failed to live up to Professional standards.

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Given the plethora of competent, affordable options, the $4,000 LG LMXS30776S has a long hill to climb to be worth the price tag. With a lot of useful features, great style and top-caliber performance, it does an admirable job of proving its worth.

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Samsung RF34H9960S4

You can buy the first five fridges in this gallery for roughly the same price as the $6,000 Samsung Chef Collection. With 34 cubic feet of space, you could probably also fit the first five fridges on this list into the Samsung Chef Collection. If you're ready to go all in for a fridge with style and features meant to impress, Samsung's professional-quality fridge won't disappoint.

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