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Frigidaire Gallery FGTR1845QF 18 Cu Ft Top Freezer Refrigerator review: Frigidaire's little top freezer model outclasses its big brothers

The $1,000 Frigidaire FGTR1845QF sticks to the basics, and performs well as a result.

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Andrew Gebhart
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Andrew Gebhart

Senior Producer

Andrew loves writing about cool, futuristic technology. He's reviewed everything from vacuum cleaners to beer brewing robots in pursuit of the perfect smart home. He wants the smart home to make him feel powerful, and it's getting there.

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10 min read

The Frigidaire FGTR1845QF surprised me in a good way. I found the $3,100 Electrolux EI28BS80KS4A and the $3,500 Frigidaire FPBC2277RF disappointing. Electrolux owns Frigidaire and those fridges tried hard to play the part of the premium fridge but overstepped their capabilities and fell flat. The $1,000 Frigidaire Gallery FGTR1845QF 18.3 Cu Ft Top Freezer Refrigerator doesn't have any such lofty pretensions.

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Frigidaire Gallery FGTR1845QF 18 Cu Ft Top Freezer Refrigerator

The Good

Especially for a $1,000 machine, Frigidaire's FGTR1845QF fridge looks good and performs well. The temperature averages in the main body of the fridge are quite accurate.

The Bad

The doors and drawers ran a little warm and rearranging the shelves is as tedious as it gets.

The Bottom Line

With a wide usable temperature range and a surprising amount of space, the Frigidaire FGTR1845QF makes for a solid budget option. Even so, you can find easier-to-use fridges with slightly better performance for less.

It's simple in design and doesn't offer much in the way of features, but that's fine and typical for the price. The Frigidaire FGTR1845QF also did well on our performance tests, outdoing the models from the same company that cost an extra $2,000.

The problem with this fridge is that it doesn't outdo the similar, $800 GE GTE18GMHES . Frigidaire's budget-friendly model gets edged out by GE's comparable fridge in just about every way. The Frigidaire FGTR1845QF will make you happy if you're a brand loyalist. For anyone who's comparison shopping, I have trouble recommending it because there's a better fridge out there that's $200 less.

A top-to-bottom look at the Frigidaire FGTR1845QF top freezer fridge (pictures)

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Freezer on top, fridge on the bottom and the pieces of a $1,000 appliance

The overall aesthetic of the Frigidaire FGTR1845QF is similar to the more expensive models by the same company -- the $2,600 Frigidaire FGHB2866PF9A and the $3,500 Frigidaire FPBC2277RF in particular. It didn't quite do enough for me at those prices, but it looks polished and striking on this $1,000 model.

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The finish resists fingerprints well. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The smudge-proof stainless finish resists fingerprints well. The outer surface has a pleasant and gently reflective sheen, unbroken except for the curved handles and the Frigidaire Gallery logo. The door comes with the handles on the left and the logo upper right, but these can be reversed along with the door opening itself to best fit the layout of your kitchen.

The fridge

Open the doors, and bright white LEDs illuminate all 18.3 interior cubic feet. The fridge on the bottom gets 14.2 cubic feet of that space, the freezer holds the remaining 4.1 cubic feet.

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The interior of the Frigidaire FGTR1845QF. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

In the fridge, three full-width shelves split the space from top to bottom. Each has a clear glass center surrounded by white plastic. The white plastic sits a little above the glass, providing some spill protection. We dumped an 8-ounce glass of water on the top shelf, and found the shelf has enough surface area and the lips are high enough that it could contain all 8 ounces without letting a drop over the side. When I spilled with more force, however, the water that splashed over those rims found its way onto every lower shelf, and even beneath the drawers.

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Water splashed on the top shelf dripped all the way down. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

That cleanup was a pain, but we've yet to see a fridge that can properly contain splashing. If you knock over a glass, expect some cleanup, but if something merely springs a leak, this fridge will keep the mess contained.

In the main body of the fridge, a half-width deli drawer slides under the right side of the second shelf, and two deeper crisper drawers rest under the bottom shelf. Sliders to adjust each drawer's airflow and humidity sit on the upper front corners of that shelf.

You can adjust the position of the shelves by sliding them out of and back into four different rails spaced apart evenly, though the bottom shelf with the humidity drawers doesn't move, and moving the other two causes more aggravation than the simple mechanic would suggest.

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The bottom drawers have sliders so you can adjust the humidity. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The shelves get stuck in their rails, the middle shelf in particular. Getting it out takes a lot of force. I felt like I was going to crack the glass or the plastic, or tip over the whole fridge. It's a pain.

It's easier to move the bins on the door. Squared plastic hooks on the back of each bin can slide into or out of one of four hook rails with reasonable ease. The fridge comes with four movable bins -- two that are exactly half the width of the door, one a little narrower and the other a little wider. The thinner bin at the bottom of the door runs its full length and is immovable.

You can buy extra bins for the door, and Frigidaire's site boasts about this model's "Custom-Flex" feature with over "100 ways to organize." That's nice and all, but each extra bin costs from $10 to as much as $36 for a dairy door that lots of fridges include in the initial package.

Being able to customize is a good thing, and specific organizers like the vertical can tray might be nice if your family uses a lot of a given item, but it's tough for me to give this fridge much credit for features it doesn't include. And not having basics like a butter bin in the initial package is stingy.

Still, butter bin aside and even without any extras, the Frigidaire has enough options for space customization to keep up with top freezers in this price range. Overall, it's a simple but sufficient fridge.

The freezer and the controls

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A single shelf and controls are all that adorns the freezer. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The freezer is simpler still. A single, white grated shelf divides the main compartment. Its ends stick into holes in the side of the freezer, with two height options. Two full-length door bins give you a little extra space for items.

A slider sits on the back panel, letting you adjust the temperature of the freezer. The middle, starred position is the recommended setting. You can move up to "coldest" or down to "cold." The fridge has a similar slider on the inner left side. Neither lets you set the temperature to an exact degree, but that's typical for top freezers in this price range.

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The controls in the fridge give you a couple of temperature options. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Finally, in a small but nice touch, if either the fridge or freezer door is left open long enough, a beeping alarm will sound to remind you to shut it.

You can buy this fridge and all of its accessories on Frigidaire.com. In addition to extra door bins, you can add an automatic ice maker to your freezer for $115. The Frigidaire FGTR1845QF retails for less than its $1,000 MSRP at most major appliance retailers. Specifically, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Sears sell it for around $600 to $700. Discounts of this sort are typical for major appliances.

On a few of these sites, customer reviews of this fridge have made particular note of its operating volume, but I sat near it through several of its compressor cycles and didn't find it any louder than normal.

The Frigidaire FGTR1845QF is not currently available overseas.

Pushing to capacity

The Frigidaire FGTR1845QF is a simple fridge, and that simplicity helped it when it came time to test the space. Without a lot of extra organizational pieces thrown in for the sake of upping a feature list, the 14.2 cubic feet of space in the fridge gave plenty of height between the shelves to work with, even in its standard arrangement, and fit more of our groceries than I thought it would.

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Plenty of room for tall items. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

When we test fridges, we put a bunch of groceries into ideal spots for each type -- we put the milk in the main compartment since doors tend to run warm, we put the veggies into a drawer of their own, we keep the condiments where you can reach them easily and try to fill up the fridge in a way to makes each food item as accessible as possible.

We also try to keep our can of dog food separated from everything else, but we couldn't find a good spot to do that in this fridge. Again, if you were to buy extra bins for the door, it'd be easy enough to isolate it, but the dog food got a little too close for comfort to the human food using the included bins.

Otherwise, all food items fit nicely, and tall items had several places they could go -- the bottom or middle shelf and a couple of door bins. But we like testing the space in a fridge as far as it'll go, so we weren't done loading after the normal groceries.

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Our six stress-test items. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Next, we take six large items and see if we can find a spot for them, while leaving all normal items in the fridge close to their ideal spots. On this test, we first avoid jamming things together, as any fridge will have more trouble cooling down if it's overloaded.

Of the six large items, only the cake platter didn't fit in when we tried to find a spot for each individually. The Frigidaire could hold the pizza box, party tray, roasting pan, casserole dish or pitcher one at a time, and two of the six simultaneously.

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We packed in a couple of large items in addition to the normal groceries. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

On the same test, the GE GTE18GMHES with 17.5 total cubic feet and 13.51 cubic feet in the fridge fit three of the six simultaneously, but it couldn't fit the cake tray or the pizza box individually. In the head-to-head battle between the two top freezer models, round 1 was a wash.

In round 2, GE claimed a narrow victory. For this second go-round, we allow ourselves to move the shelves as we see fit, and we can squeeze the space a little more. Yes, the fridge will be more stressed, but every now and again, when you're hosting a special event, you might want to do something similar.

This round, the GE managed five of the six items individually -- we still couldn't squeeze in the pizza box -- and all five items fit in the fridge together. The Frigidaire held all six one at a time, but could only get in three together.

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Once we could optimize the space, we squeezed in three large items. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The first test is the more realistic test for everyday use, and on that one, the Frigidaire matched the GE. Still, since the drawers of GE's top freezer model are lower in profile, GE gets an edge in usable space when filled to the brim. The GE's shelves also move with more ease than those of this Frigidaire model.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much food I could fit in Frigidaire's 18.3 cubic feet of space. Without any frills, the organizational items that are there are easily usable and keep most of the room unhindered. GE just goes a little bit further and offers easier customization.

Flexible cooling

How much food it can fit doesn't matter much if the Frigidaire FGTR1845QF can't keep your groceries cold. Our longest refrigerator test gauges the machine's ability to consistently cool your food to an appropriate temperature.

How we test refrigerators (pictures)

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We set the fridge and freezer to their default temperatures, place thermocouples in every compartment, in every drawer and on every shelf, and then gather data for three straight days, opening the doors regularly to simulate use. After this first run, we do it all again, turning the fridge down a few degrees to check its usable range.

On these tests, accuracy is obviously a plus. The default temperature for most refrigerators is 37 degrees Fahrenheit (around 3 Celsius) and the closer the fridge stays to that mark, the better.

More importantly, especially for fridges without specific temperature settings, we want as much of the interior as possible to stay below the temperature at which food will spoil more quickly, which is 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) according to the FDA.

The main body of the Frigidaire FGTR1845QF did pretty well on this test. Here are the averages for each compartment over that first three-day run:

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Those middle shelves are quite accurate, but the doors and drawers miss the mark. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The middle and bottom shelf in particular look great. The top shelf ran a little cold, and the drawers and doors unfortunately averaged above that 40-degree benchmark. Plenty of fridges have warmer doors. The Electrolux EI28BS80KS4A and Frigidaire FPBC2277RF averaged as high as 49.1 and 50.4 degrees respectively on the doors (9.5 and 10.2 Celsius). Even the LG LMXS30776S , with great performance overall, had temps over 40 degrees show up on its door bins on the right side.

The warm drawers on this Frigidaire troubled me more than the temps on the door, but at least the majority of items that you'd put into the main fridge would stay right at the temp where you'd want them.

Again, the GE GTE18GMHES gets the best of the Frigidaire FGTR1845QF at the default temperature setting, which most owners will just leave their fridge at for the lifetime of the appliance. The GE's middle shelves didn't hit the bull's-eye in the same way as the Frigidaire's but the drawers and most of the door bins stayed below 40 degrees.

The Frigidaire has a wider usable range than the GE. If you want your food to have a little extra chill, you can feel comfortable turning down the temp on the Frigidaire FGTR1845QF. The ideal temperature at this setting is 33 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 Celsius), but another benchmark comes into play. You want your food to stay above 32 degrees (0 Celsius) so it won't freeze, and the Frigidaire walked the line on this test. Except for the top shelf, every compartment stayed above 32 and below 40 degrees.

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The fridge kept a nice balance between 32 and 40 degrees at its coldest setting. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The GE didn't fare as well. The entire main compartment of the fridge averaged below 30 degrees (-1.1 Celsius). Frigidaire definitely wins this one, but unfortunately, it's not weighted as strongly since it's not the default.

Though the GE retains its slight edge, the Frigidaire kept its performance numbers accurate enough to warrant confidence. It even keeps its doors cooler than more expensive fridges. On the default setting, you'll still want to keep your milk in the main compartment, but there's plenty of width and height to do so on those highly accurate middle shelves.

The verdict

The Frigidaire FGTR1845QF deserves your consideration. For $1,000, you should expect a fridge that can get the basics right, and this one does. Moving the shelves is annoying and the doors are too warm, but I'd guess you'll rarely encounter that first issue and the latter is easy enough to adapt to, especially since it's a common issue for fridges well above this price level. The fridge has the room to fit plenty of food, and it has the power and accuracy to keep it all appropriately cool.

It even has a wider usable range than the comparable and highly competent GE GTE18GMHES , but GE's top freezer model gets the best of this Frigidaire in every other contest. Keep this Frigidaire on your list of competent top freezer models in case it's on sale and GE's isn't. Frigidaire almost has a winner with the FGTR1845QF, it just can't beat the tough competition.

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Frigidaire Gallery FGTR1845QF 18 Cu Ft Top Freezer Refrigerator

Score Breakdown

Features 7Design 7Performance 7Usability 7
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