LG sells a wide range of refrigerators with a feature called "Door-in-Door" that allows you to open the front panel to access the in-door shelves without technically opening the fridge. Most of these Door-in-Door refrigerators are French door models, but the $2,000 LSXS26386D is a side-by-side.
Two grand is about as affordable as LG's Door-in-Door models get, which might make this slick-looking, black stainless steel side-by-side model a legitimate temptation. LG isn't your only option, though. Kenmore sells a nearly identical version of LG's Door-in-Door side-by-side fridge for several hundred less, and Samsung's in the mix, too, with a "Food Showcase" fridge that's one of our top-scoring side-by-side refrigerators to date. It costs a few hundred more, but I still think that Samsung model -- available this year in its own shade of black stainless steel -- is the better buy for fans of door-in-a-door gimmickry.
I can sum this section up with just two bullet points:
That's really all this fridge has going for it as far as design and features are concerned. The shelves aren't spill-proof. The crisper bins don't have humidity sliders. It's a very basic interior wrapped in a dark stainless-steel finish that's admittedly nice to look at (if not a little bit monolithic), with a marquee Door-in-Door compartment of questionable utility.
I question its utility because ultimately, you're still opening a door and grabbing your bottle of ketchup. It's faux convenience, and I've struggled to understand the appeal ever since its inception, especially since our tests have repeatedly shown that using the Door-in-Door compartment has no real impact on how the fridge performs.
Even worse: LG blocks off those in-door shelves on the inside. You can access some of them by opening -- you guessed it -- another door, or by reaching in through a little window. Not the top shelf, though. It's completely blocked off, meaning that the only way to get butter in and out is by going through the Door-in-Door panel. It's a fridge with a learning curve.
|LG Door-in-Door LSXS26386D||Samsung Food Showcase RH25H5611SG||Kenmore Grab-N-Go 51833|
|Fridge capacity||16.9 cubic feet||15.6 cubic feet||16.9 cubic feet|
|Freezer capacity||9.2 cubic feet||9.1 cubic feet||9.2 cubic feet|
|Total capacity||26.1 cubic feet||24.7 cubic feet||26.1 cubic feet|
|Finish||Black Stainless Steel||Black Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Yearly energy consumption (kilowatt hours)||652 kWh||640 kWh||715 kWh|
|Yearly energy cost ($0.12 per kWh)||$78||$77||$86|
|Efficiency (yearly cost per cubic foot)||$2.99||$3.12||$3.30|
|CNET performance rating||7.5||9||6|
|Warranty||1-year parts and labor, 7-year sealed system, 10-year linear compressor||1-year parts and labor, 5-year sealed system, 10-year digital inverter compressor||1-year parts and labor, 5-year sealed system, 10-year linear compressor|
|Suggested retail price||$2,000||$2,300||$1,400|
In fairness, it's the same design that you'll get with the Kenmore "Grab-N-Go" Side-by-Side -- which isn't surprising since that fridge is just a re-branded version of this LG build, albeit an older, less efficient model. But consider Samsung. Its "Food Showcase" Side-by-Side doesn't block the in-door shelves at all, so you can easily get to them whether you're going in through the front panel or opening the door like normal. With no plastic cage trapping the in-door shelves, that fridge was still a patently better performer than this LG model. It's a much better design, and I wish LG had followed suit.
Still, LG has a leg up when it comes to storage space. With 26.1 cubic feet to its name, 16.9 of which are in the fridge compartment, it offers more room for groceries than Samsung. The extra space paid off in our storage tests -- I was able to fit all of our groceries into the LSXS26386D, along with five out of six of our large-sized stress test items (the only one that didn't make the cut was our extra large pizza box, which will likely never fit into a side-by-side fridge.)
Compare that to the Samsung Food Showcase side-by-side, which was only able to fit three of the six stress test items at once, and you'll see that LG has the upper hand. That's a win if your household has a lot of hungry mouths to feed -- I just wish that it was as easy to get the groceries out of the fridge as it was getting them in.
The LG LSXS26386D offers great performance in the main body of the fridge, with temperatures averaging out to 36.6 degrees F at the default 37 F setting. The same can't be said of the Door-in-Door compartment, though, with some shelves averaging up above 40 degrees F.
That's pretty much par for the course with door-in-a-door shelves (and with in-door shelves, in general), and you're probably only using them to store things like beverages, preservative-heavy condiments, and butter (at least, you ought to be). At any rate, I can give slightly warm in-door shelves a pass.
But look at that bottom crisper bin -- it creeps up above 40 degrees, too. That's not a damning result by any stretch, but it's enough for me to say that it's worth dialing the fridge down a degree or two from that default setting.
As for us, we went ahead and dialed the LSXS26386D all the way down to its minimum setting (33 degrees), the way we do with every fridge we test. At this coldest setting, the fridge obviously performed a lot better, with temperatures in the main body shelves averaging out to 33.6 degrees. The Door-in-Door compartment did much better, too, although the tiny shelves that line the inside of that front panel were still up above 40 degrees.
That last bit suggests that the annoying plastic shield around the inner side of those in-door shelves might actually do more to block the cold air from inside the fridge from making it into the Door-in-Door compartment than it does to block warm air from outside the fridge from getting in.
To test this out, I ran the 33-degree test again, but this time, I replaced our usual, twice-daily door opening cycles with Door-in-Door panel opening cycles. The results were nearly identical. Translation: that plastic "ColdSaver" shield isn't doing a darn thing.
I think a lot of people will like the minimalist style of the LG LSXS26386D, which looks especially classy in black stainless steel. And while I remain a Door-in-Door skeptic, plenty of people will like that this fridge offers unique access to those in-door shelves, along with plenty of storage space for groceries.
Still, I see a lot of reasons to pass on this refrigerator. The performance wasn't as sharp as we've seen with LG's non-Door-in-Door side-by-side models, nor was it as good as the closest competing model from Samsung. That Samsung Food Showcase model also does a much better job of keeping those in-door shelves accessible. On top of all that, there aren't any features beyond LG's Door-in-Door compartment worth getting excited about here -- not even little things like spillproof shelves or humidity sliders. $2,000 isn't an unfair asking price, but for your money, you can do better.