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GE GDE21EMKES Bottom Freezer Refrigerator review: Style meets substance with this GE fridge

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The Good GE's slate bottom-freezer sailed through our performance tests and looked good doing it. The slate finish does an excellent job of repelling fingerprints.

The Bad The GDE21EMKES is smaller, less affordable and less efficient than the competition.

The Bottom Line This is a good fridge that can be had for less than $1,500, but strong competitors from LG and Whirlpool can be had for even less. Shop around, or wait for a good sale.

7.5 Overall
  • Features 6.0
  • Design 8.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Usability 7.5

Bottom freezer refrigerators flip the script on the top freezer fridge most of us grew up with. Like the name suggests, bottom freezers move the frozen food compartment down below the fridge, making it easier to access your fresh ingredients.

At $1,650, the GE GDE21EMKES is a slightly expensive example of such a fridge, and all in all, it's a decent option. The slate finish is a classy change of pace from stainless steel (and one that's a lot better at repelling fingerprints), and the fridge's performance leaves little to complain about. That said, there are other bottom freezers like the Whirlpool WRB322DMBB that we like as much as this one, if not more -- and most of them cost a little less. The GDE21EMKES is a good choice, but shop around a bit before you pull the trigger.

Design and features

It's a simple interior, and not quite as big as the competition.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Bottom freezers don't differ much from model to model. You get your fridge up top, your freezer down below, and, in most cases, not a whole lot of features to speak of. The GDE21EMKES is no different.

Still, it's an attractive fridge, thanks to the stylish slate finish -- it looks good and repels fingerprints to boot. You also get a built-in icemaker in the freezer and a deli drawer in the fridge that slides left and right beneath a shelf to help make it easier to fit large items below.

That sort of storage-minded feature was definitely appreciated, because, at 20.9 cubic feet of total storage space, this bottom freezer is a little bit smaller than the competition. It wasn't small enough to give me any headaches, though. The in-door drawers are well-sized, offering plenty of room for drinks and condiments, enough so that I had no problem whatsoever fitting our entire load of test groceries inside. I even had room to cram in a couple of our large-size stress test items, as well.

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