LG LSXS26326S review: More to this modest-looking LG fridge than meets the eye

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The Good The main shelves of the LG LSXS26326S averaged the exact temperature set point in our performance tests, making this one of the more accurate fridges we've seen. Deep door bins with lots of vertical space help it feel roomy when filling it with groceries.

The Bad The lowest drawer in the fridge runs warm, and it's missing simple features like humidity sliders and spillproof shelves.

The Bottom Line The $1,500 LG LSXS26326S rises above the other side-by-side refrigerators we've tested both in terms of performance and usable space, but it's not a clear winner when compared with less expensive fridges of other types.

7.5 Overall
  • Features 6
  • Design 7
  • Performance 9
  • Usability 7

The LG LSXS26326S side-by-side refrigerator doesn't have a distinct style of its own; it's another stainless steel box. It also lacks a few basic amenities like spillproof shelves and humidity sliders that you can readily find on cheaper models like the $800 GE GTE18GMHES and the $1,000 Frigidaire FGTR1845QF . On the surface, the LG LSXS26326S is a pretty plain machine.

Underneath the surface, the LG LSXS26326S is a pretty powerful one. It turns you, just like with books, you shouldn't judge a fridge by its cover. The LG LSXS26326S delivers the best temperature performance we've seen from a side-by-side fridge yet. It wasn't perfect, as the bottom drawer ran a little warm for comfort, but the shelves in the main body were spot on accurate. You can find more well-rounded fridges for less, especially in the top freezer category, but the $1,500 LG LSXS26326S is well worth your consideration as a highly competent side-by-side at a reasonable price.

A plainclothes warrior

I'd be hard pressed to pick this fridge out of a lineup. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The stainless finish smudges easily, but it gives the exterior a premium look. The controls near the dispenser look a little dated, but respond easily. It's tall at 70 1/8 inches -- you'll probably need 71 inches of clearance to fit it since the power cord juts out from the top. With 17 cubic feet in the fridge and 9.2 cubic feet in the freezer (for a total of 26.2 cubic feet of space), it's big on the inside, too.

The edges of the doors curve gently toward the back, and the front rounds outward to make it slightly less boxy. The handles curve as well, arching outward and sloping away on each end.

Not a distinct style, but not a bad one either. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

You can find the LG LSXS26326S on sale at a number of large appliance retailers including Home Depot, Costco, Best Buy and Lowe's. You can also check LG's site for specific retailers in your area. Again, the MSRP for the LSXS26326S is $1,500, but you'll generally find discounts from retailers on large appliances. Best Buy and Lowe's both have it for $1,350.

Dated controls

The LG LSXS26326S is understated and professional, even modern, except for the controls. On a vertical panel next to the in-door dispenser, you'll find buttons to adjust the ice type from cubed to crushed, a button to manipulate the fridge and the freezer temps, an option to switch the ice maker off or put it into high gear -- called Ice Plus -- a button to switch on a light under the dispenser and reset the water filter, and a button to silence the door alarm or lock the buttons from accidental presses.

Press any of those, and a display lights up to show you what you've selected with big green text. I prefer buttons right next to the indicator of what they're doing. I kept wanting to press the display panel itself as opposed to the buttons below.

On top of that, the green lights on the display juxtaposed against the white text for the buttons and black background reminded me more of a '90s alarm clock than a modern fridge. These are nitpicks. The controls work just fine, but they do dampen the appeal of an otherwise sleek appearance.

I found the controls clunky, but I liked the light under the dispenser. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The dispenser is better. Turn on the light, and it shines directly into the plastic cylinder where the ice comes out, illuminating it pleasantly. When you want ice, don't expect a huge difference between crushed and cubed. The former sprays out lots of large chunks, the latter mixes in plenty of snow, and the cubes aren't that big to begin with. Both options spray wide, so hold your glass right under the cylinder and be ready to pick up a stray chunk or two.

The LG LSXS26326S produces 3 pounds of ice a day, or 3.2 with Ice Plus, both numbers according to the manufacturer. The bin itself only holds 3.5 pounds. You'll run out quick if you need more than a couple of glasses worth, but the Spaceplus design leaves you more shelf space for frozen goods since the bin fits on the interior of the door. It's a fine trade-off, just be prepared to buy bags of ice if you're hosting a party.

The ice bin is squeezed behind the freezer door. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Groceries galore

Fortunately, the interior of the LG LSXS26326S affords you a surprising amount of room to fit those bags of ice and anything else you might want to stock up on for that party. By the numbers, this LG side-by-side is smaller than the Samsung Food Showcase Side-by-Side , the $3,000 RH29H9000SR. Samsung's model has 28.5 cubic feet of total storage space, with 18.4 in the fridge. Again, the LG LSXS26326S comes in at 26.2 and 17 cubic feet between fridge and freezer. Yet, when we put the space to the test by cramming the fridges full of groceries, the LG side-by-side fit more food than the Samsung Food Showcase.

I was doubtful it'd be able to fit much at first. LEDs on the ceiling make the bright white interior look welcoming, but the shelves in the main body don't have much vertical clearance between them. You also don't have many options in terms of customizing the position of those shelves.

The interior is pleasant, but lacks customization options. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The first time we load our fridges with groceries, we keep the shelves evenly spaced. As such, we couldn't fit the milk jugs in the main compartment, and had to relegate them to the door bin. That's a ding on the results, but the rest of the everyday groceries, from soda bottles, to condiments, leftover containers and even a six pack of beer and a bottle of wine fit without issue.

We don't stop with everyday items, though. We try to push the space in our fridges to the brim, and after filling it full of ordinary foodstuffs, we cram in as many items for special occasions as we can fit. We have six of these stress test items -- a party platter, a cake tray, an extra large pizza box, a casserole dish, a roasting pan and a tall lemonade pitcher.

The extra large pizza box would not fit. Side-by-side fridges tend to be more narrow than other fridge types, and that proved true with both the LG LSXS26326S and the Samsung Food Showcase. Every other stress test item fit into the LSXS26326S individually, even while allowing a little breathing room between each item so the air in the fridge could circulate.

All everyday groceries and three stress test items fit simultaneously. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Fitting five items individually on the first round of the load test is a good result, and the LSXS26326S went one further and fit three items simultaneously. On this test, it far outperformed the Samsung Food Showcase, which only fit two items individually and two combined, and this test is meant to reflect realistic, day-to-day use.

On round 2, we allow ourselves to rearrange the shelves as we see fit, to make the best use of the space. We're also allowed to squeeze the groceries a little more, as you might want to do this on those special occasions when you are hosting a gathering and need to cram in a party platter.

Finding much more vertical space in the main compartment of the LSXS26326S proved troublesome. Again, the interior isn't very customizable. Four glass shelves split the space above two stacked drawers at the bottom, with a fifth shelf doubling as the top of the upper drawer.

Each shelf slides out easily, you just need to lift and pull. They rest on white plastic rails, with a plastic hook in the back to keep them in place. The top three have two possible rails to sit on, one about an inch below the other. So, you really only have a slightly shorter or slightly taller spot for each shelf, and the fourth one doesn't even have that second option.

Lift the shelves to move them, but you only have two possible spots for each. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Fortunately, by moving one shelf to the lower spot, and the one above it to the higher spot, we were able to fit jugs of milk into the main compartment on round 2 of the load tests. We had just enough vertical clearance, so still not enough for soda bottles or wine bottles.

On the door, though, those containers fit easily. Unlike the main compartment, the three main door bins give you plenty of height for tall items. You can adjust these as well -- just lift them free of the plastic notches that hold them in place. Like with the main shelves of the fridge, you have two options for each.