LG LSXS26386D Door-in-Door Side-by-Side Refrigerator review: Clunky execution from this LG Door-in-Door fridge

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The Good LG's Door-in-Door Side-by-Side refrigerator has an appealing minimalist design and a classy black stainless steel finish. It's one of the most affordable models with that finish, and one of the most affordable models with a Door-in-Door compartment, too.

The Bad The design of that Door-in-Door compartment blocks off the in-door shelves on the inside of the fridge, making for irritating storage snafus. Performance also wasn't as sharp as we've seen with LG's non Door-in-Door models, or with similar models from competitors.

The Bottom Line This is a good-looking fridge, but we've seen side-by-side, door-in-a-door models that we like better.

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

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.

Press that button on the handle to open the Door-in-Door compartment.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Design and features

I can sum this section up with just two bullet points:

  • Black stainless steel
  • Door-in-door compartment

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.

Side-by-side fridges with a door in the door

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
Energy Star-qualified Yes Yes No
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

We were able to fit all of our test groceries inside, along with five out of six large-sized stress test items (the extra large pizza box was an obvious no-go).

Chris Monroe/CNET

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.