When I say "high-end refrigerator," the chances are very good that you're picturing a French door model, and conversely, if you look at the Frigidaire Gallery French Door FGHB2866PF, you might think "high-end refrigerator." This is really more of a mid-range unit, though, and with an MSRP of $2,599 -- smack dab in between true top-of-the line models priced well above $3,000 and entry level French doors that cost a thousand dollars less -- it's priced as such, too.
The FGHB2866PF tips more toward the low end of that spectrum than the high one, and sure enough, you won't have much trouble finding it discounted by at least a few hundred dollars. As of publishing this review, the average asking price seems to be sitting right around $2,160, and at that price, you might be tempted to buy in.
Ultimately, though, this Frigidaire doesn't do enough to separate itself from competitors that are more feature-rich, nor does it feel like enough of an upgrade over those entry-level French door models. That, coupled with durability concerns, has me recommending that you explore other options.
Design and features
This Frigidaire has a grey-bodied build with doors made of "smudge-proof" stainless steel. While anything can be smudged if you try hard and believe in yourself, these doors definitely do a good job of keeping fingerprints at bay -- more so than other, glossier stainless steel appliances I've tested. Overall, it's a good-looking build, so points to Frigidaire for making it easier to maintain that new fridge sheen.
You'll also find a black display panel with touch controls on the front of the fridge, making it easy to tweak temperatures or adjust basic settings. That said, it also compromises the otherwise seamless look of the fridge's stainless steel body just a bit, something that ultimately separates this design from more expensive models with more unified builds.
Open the thing up, and you'll find 27.2 cubic feet of storage space complete with multiple bins, customizable shelving racks, and roomy, in-door shelf space capable of holding your bulkiest family-size jar of mayo. You can rearrange those in-door shelves to create room for taller items -- inside the fridge, you'll be able to do the same thing using shelves that slide towards the back or fold up against the wall.
You'll also notice that the ice maker is kept inside the fridge itself, bucking the recent trend of in-door ice-makers. This keeps the doors from getting too hefty, but it does cost you a fair amount of space up in that upper left corner.
While we're talking about ice makers, you should know that there are quite a few reviews online from consumers who claim that the one in their model broke within a few months of use. All told, I found numerous examples of such reviews on sites like Home Depot, HH Gregg, and even Frigidaire's own listing for the FGHB2268PF.
Frigidaire wouldn't confirm that this is a known issue when I asked about it, but they did offer the following statement: "Continuous improvement has been a major initiative within engineering, quality and manufacturing. The ice and water systems offered in the Frigidaire products currently are greatly improved over those from past products and models." For what it's worth, I made several batches of ice, both cubed and crushed, and didn't experience any trouble, but if I were buying an FGHB2268PF, I'd probably spring for one of Frigidaire's extended service agreements, too.
Overall, this fridge doesn't have much by way of features to help it stand out from the competition. There's the smudge-proof exterior and the option for a second ice-maker in the freezer, along with plenty of the sorts of common design touches that you'd expect from a mid-range fridge, but nothing I'd call truly unique -- and nothing that would keep me from shopping around. With entry-level French door models starting to retail for well under $2,000, that's a problem.
Still, the FGHB2268PF isn't an unattractive fridge by any stretch, and there's enough to like about its design inside and out to merit a close look at performance.
Performance and usability
We spend a great deal of time testing out each fridge in a special, climate-controlled chamber capable of holding the temperature and humidity steady for days or even weeks at a time. With all things kept equal -- and plenty of thermocouples strategically placed throughout each fridge -- we can get a good look at comparative cooling performance.
Each cooling test runs for 72 hours, with our equipment taking temperature readings every minute. At the end, we can average out the data to get a basic sense of how cold the fridge keeps each region inside. Per the FDA, your refrigerator should keep your food at 40 degrees F or below, so that's the number we're watching out for in our tests.
The result is a heat map like the one above, which represents the FGHB2866PF with both doors open. You'll notice that the average temperatures in almost every region of the fridge are a few degrees higher than that target of 33 degrees, and that things get warmer towards the top of the fridge. That last bit makes sense -- hot air rises, after all.
The door shelving is also significantly warmer than you might think, which isn't terribly unusual. That orange area at the top right -- the butter bin -- is warmest of all, averaging out nearly 15 degrees above the target of 33. Before you cry foul, keep in mind that by design, the butter bin is supposed to stay a little warmer than the rest of the fridge.
Along with the heat map, we can also take a look at the minute-by-minute temperature readings for each thermocouple across the entire 72-hour test. The graph above shows three of them -- the top, middle and bottom shelves in the main body of the fridge. The target of 33 degrees is there at the bottom, and you can see how each region ended up averaging out to something warmer -- none of them registered a temperature lower than 34 for the duration of the test. Set this fridge to 33, and what you're really getting is 34 to 38, depending on where you place your food.
The good news here is that the temperatures never went anywhere near that 40-degree mark, and they all stayed fairly steady throughout the test. Yes, each region's temperature continually rises and falls with each defrost cycle, but not by more than 3 or 4 degrees at a time. What's more, the "peaks" of each line all sit within about a one-degree range of each other, as do the valleys, and that indicates consistency on the part of the fridge. The cooling is kicking in at the right times, and chilling things down to more or less the same level.