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

The LG LSXS26326S looks run of the mill, but its performance proved anything but.

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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 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.

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7.5

LG LSXS26326S

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.

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.

Get face to face with LG's side-by-side (pictures)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Beneath these three bins, you have another narrower bin at the bottom of the door wide enough for cans of soda. At the top of the door, you'll find a butter bin with a pivoting lid. The depth and height of the door bins made a big difference on both rounds of the load tests, as we were able to fit lots of condiments and tall items into them and relieve a lot of the burden from the main compartment.

On round 2, we again fit all of the everyday groceries without issue. Then, we fit five of the six large items individually -- rearranging the shelves didn't help make the space wide enough for that pizza box. This time, though, we fit four stress test items simultaneously, up one from the standard arrangement.

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Too narrow for the pizza box. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

On the same test, the Samsung Food Showcase fit five of the six individually and five of the six simultaneously, edging out the LG LSXS26326S on this round, but the LG model kept up well enough for me to call it the overall winner based on how much better it did on round 1.

The main body of the freezer has a similar layout to the fridge, but only three movable shelves instead of four above the two drawers at the bottom. The door of the freezer has a markedly different layout, since the upper half houses the ice bin. For squeezing in extra frozen goods, you're limited to three narrow bins on the bottom third of the door.

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We managed to fit in even more on round 2 of our load tests. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

I also wish the shelves were spillproof. As it stands, white rims frame the glass shelves on their front and back, but not the sides. The width was enough to keep most of the 8-ounce glass of water we dumped on the shelf from spilling over, but the liquid that made it to the side dumped all the way from the top shelf to the bottom.

The LG LSXS26326S doesn't have humidity sliders either, and again, both humidity sliders and spillproof shelves can be found on the $800 GE GTE18GMHES and the $1,000 Frigidaire FGTR1845QF.

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I wish the shelves were spillproof, to avoid situations like this. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The LG LSXS26326S is still a fine machine. It looks similar to a lot of other fridges, but in an appealing way. And once I opened the doors, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the LG LSXS26326S uses its interior space.

Superior cooling

The LG LSXS26326S is more than a fine machine when it comes to cooling performance. To test the temperature prowess of our fridges, we put thermocouples on every shelf and in every compartment, then let them run for three days straight while collecting data and opening the doors to simulate use.

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Fantastic accuracy from the main body of the fridge and freezer. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

We set the temp to the industry-standard default of 37 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge and 0 in the freezer, so the averages in the diagram above impressed me, especially the accuracy of the middle shelves of the main body. That's arguably the most important area of your fridge, as it's where you'll have the bulk of your space for your perishables.

The FDA recommends keeping easily spoilable food below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and tossing out any that spend more than 2 hours consecutively or 4 hours lifetime over that 40-degree mark. None of the three main shelves crossed 40 at all during the three-day period. That's an excellent result.

In fact, the entire fridge maintained a steady hand throughout the testing period.

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The LSXS26326S combines a steady hand with accurate averages. Jared Hannah/CNET

Only the top shelf -- that light blue line at the bottom of the graph -- shows any significant wiggle whatsoever, and that's understandable, as it sits right next to the fan that blows out the cold air.

The temperature performance of the main body of the fridge is perfect. No qualifier needed, this is a perfect result.

The temp toward the bottom of the fridge, both in the drawers of the main compartment and the bottom door bins, were not as perfectly accurate. We expect some warmness on the door. It's why we recommend putting your milk in the main compartment.

We've seen warm drawers on the other side-by-sides we've tested, including the Samsung Food Showcase and the Kenmore 51832 . It's likely systemic of how the model type is cooled, but unlike the warm door bins, it's not an issue I can readily forgive, especially since it's one rarely seen on other fridge types. You might reasonably want to keep cheese in that bottom drawer, and with this fridge, that wouldn't be a good idea.

The LG LSXS26326S did better than both the Food Showcase and the Kenmore 51832, but that warm drawer makes the results very good as opposed to amazing.

Next, we tested the usable range and flexibility of the LG LSXS26326S by running another three day test, this time with the fridge set to 33 degrees. Again, the accuracy of the main body impressed me.

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When we turned the temp down, the fridge kept right on point. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Just like on the 37-degree test, the main shelves of the fridge kept an average right on top of the set point. This round, almost every compartment stayed below 40 degrees where food can spoil and above 32 degrees where it can freeze for the duration of the test. The top shelf did get cold when the compressor kicked in, and the lowest door bin occasionally spiked above 40. Both are minor issues.

The fact that the main body of the fridge could nail an average at two different set points makes the LG LSXS26326S versatile as well as accurate. If it wasn't for that bottom drawer, it would be the best performer we've seen yet. As it stands, it still shines brightest where it counts the most.

The verdict

I find it charming that the LG LSXS26326S looks like a lot of other fridges, while performing the way that it does. It's like a ninja wearing blue jeans. When you combine that performance with its easily usable interior, and a stainless finish that matches premium models, the $1,500 price of the LG LSXS26326S becomes a bargain. I certainly recommend it over the fancier, but less competent $3,000 Samsung Food Showcase RH29H9000SR .

Compared to other fridge types, the benefits of the LSXS26326S become murkier. In particular, the $1,200 GE Artistry ABE20EGHBS bottom freezer looks better, fits more food, and performs just as well. Even the $800 GE GTE18GMHES top freezer fits more food, includes the humidity sliders and spillproof shelves this LG fridge lacks, and performs fairly well, though it is a distinct step down in accuracy from the LG LSXS26326S. So the LG LSXS26326S doesn't do quite enough to be a standout, but its spacious interior and top tier performance make it worth a spot on your short list if you're shopping for a side-by-side fridge.

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7.5

LG LSXS26326S

Score Breakdown

Features 6Design 7Performance 9Usability 7
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