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LG LTCS24223S 24 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator review: This king-sized fridge is a big, boxy bargain

With more room for groceries than you'll get with some French door models, this classic fridge is a good value if you're in the market for storage space.

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Ry Crist
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Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Appliances

Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, and home networking.

7 min read

Top freezer fridges get overshadowed by flashier French door models, but there's value to be had by bucking the trends and sticking with something simple. Take the LG LTCS24223S, for instance. At a price of $1,200, it's one of the biggest and fanciest top freezers you can buy at retail, and yet it still costs less than the cheapest, most feature-sparse French doors.

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7.8

LG LTCS24223S 24 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator

The Good

With 24 cubic feet of total storage space, the LG LTCS24223S is as big as top freezers get, with even more room for groceries than some French door models. It also boasts an attractive design with recessed handles.

The Bad

Though passable, the LG's cooling performance wasn't as sharp as we've seen with other large-sized top freezers, most notably the nearly identical Kenmore 79432.

The Bottom Line

If you're in the market for a bigger fridge, you can save some cash by skipping a trendy French door model and going with this king-sized top freezer, instead.

That positions it nicely as an upgrade that won't break the bank, but it's not a clear slam dunk. Kenmore's comparably priced lookalike model offers sharper performance and a few extra features, including a water dispenser and sliding dividers in the in-door shelves. And, of course, a less expensive top freezer like the $800 GE GTE18GMHES might offer better value if you're on a tight budget (or if you don't need the LG's whopping 24 cubic feet of storage space).

Still, the LG LTCS24223S gets enough right to qualify as a legitimate upgrade over almost every other top freezer on the market. Unlike many of those, it doesn't feel like a fridge you have to settle for, and that makes it an interesting option in its class.

Behold, LG's biggest top freezer fridge (pictures)

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Design and features

The LTCS24223S ditches the usual refrigerator handles in favor of recessed grooves along the top of the fridge door and the bottom of the freezer door. This, combined with the stainless steel finish, gives it a modern, flat-faced look that helps set it apart from a good deal of the competition, though not all of it -- shop around, and you'll find plenty of other models employing the same trick, including some higher-end refrigerators that use it to even greater effect.

The refrigerator's size also helps to set it apart. At 33 inches wide, it's as fat as top freezers come, and with 24 cubic feet of total storage space, it's also the most spacious in it's class. That's great if you need lots of room for your family's groceries, but the big, boxy bulk of the thing is an obvious tradeoff.

Something else worth mentioning: the stainless steel finish isn't magnet-friendly. That means you'll need to relocate your kids' artwork and report cards to someplace else (that, or pick up a roll of tape).

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The interior of the fridge is attractive and spacious, with LED lights illuminating your groceries and a diamond contour pattern at the bottom of each in-door shelf. None of the main shelves slide out, slide in, or fold up, like you might find in a more expensive refrigerator, but you do get a deli drawer that runs the entire width of the interior, a nice feature that you won't find in a lot of top freezers.

All told, you get 17.6 cubic feet of storage space in the fridge compartment, which is about as good as you're going to get from a top freezer, and more than you'll get from a lot of mid-range French door models, including the GE GNS23GMHES and the Samsung RF263BEAESR. At $1,200 or less (I didn't have a hard time finding the LTCS24223S marked down below $1,000), this fridge is a good value compared with models like those if all you're after is the extra storage space.

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The butter bin isn't big enough to fit a full tub of margarine.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

My only complaints about the fridge from a design perspective are pretty minor. For instance, the LED lights along the sides favor the front -- the fridge would have benefited from a few extra diodes in the back. And as big as the LTCS24223S is, its butter bin is surprisingly small -- too small for the tub of margarine that we use in our storage tests.

My other qualms come from comparing the LTCS24223S to the Kenmore 79432, a top freezer fridge built off an LG model similar to the LTCS24223S (instead of making its own appliances, Kenmore purchases its competitors designs, then rebrands them and sells them at Sears). That Kenmore fridge is essentially the previous year's version of the LTCS24223S, and while it doesn't look quite as good, it's basically the same appliance. However, it includes a water dispenser and sliding dividers in the in-door shelves -- you won't find either one of those features in the LTCS24223S.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Passable performance

I was eager to test this refrigerator's cooling performance for two reasons. First, LG fridges have consistently done well in our tests, showing greater temperature accuracy and fewer hotspots than any other brand we've reviewed. Second, the previously mentioned Kenmore 79432 is our top-performing top freezer to date. Given that the 79432 is more or less last year's version of the LTCS24223S, I was optimistic as I started my tests.

Though it didn't necessarily disappoint, the LTCS24223S fell short of my expectations. At its default setting, it successfully kept the main body of the fridge below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, a benchmark for food safety set by the FDA, but only just barely. The in-door shelves and crisper bins both ran warmer, which isn't a bad result, per se -- the doors and bins will almost always be warmer than the body of the fridge. Still, it wasn't nearly as impressive a level of performance as the Kenmore 79432, or as some of LG's other models, like the LDC24370ST bottom freezer.

Those numbers come from a 72-hour cooling test in our climate control chamber, where we measure the minute-by-minute temperature of each region in the fridge in accordance with industry standards. Graphing the results out, you can see the disparity between different sections of the interior.

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Ry Crist/CNET

The blue lines representing the main body's shelves sit the lowest, each one averaging out below 40 (though it's worth pointing out that the darkest blue line representing the top shelf spends a good deal of time above that temperature). The red lines representing the crispers and the deli drawer inch just a little higher, while the green lines representing the in-door shelves run considerably warmer, especially the top and bottom of the door. The yellow line at the top? That's the butter bin -- it runs warm by design to help keep your butter soft and spreadable.

You'll also notice a number of telltale bumps in each line -- those are scheduled door openings, which we do to simulate daily usage. I was happy to see that none of them raised the overall temperature by more than a degree or two, and that the fridge was always able to cool the main shelves back down in quick fashion.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

We test each fridge out at its coldest setting, too. The LTCS24223S obviously did a little bit better here, but not by as much as I'd expected. With most refrigerators, the default temperature aims for something close to 37 degrees while the coldest setting dials it down around 33 degrees -- a 4-degree swing. With this LG model, the actual measured difference between the two settings was closer to 2 degrees. That brought the crisper bins down below 40, but still left hot spots in the top and bottom of the door.

So why is this fridge an inferior performer to the equally-sized and nearly identical Kenmore 79432? The answer might have to do with efficiency. The LTCS24223S uses less energy than the 79432 (501 kWh per year to Kenmore's 547), a predictable tweak given that refrigerator efficiency standards are on the rise. The tradeoff is that it doesn't seem to be as powerful as the older model, with the results from that coldest setting test -- where the fridge should ostensibly be giving it all it's got -- serving as the dead giveaway. The 79432 had no trouble getting the body of the fridge below 34 degrees in the same test, and didn't yield any hotspots in the door, either.

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Chris Monroe/CNET

So. Much. Space.

Sometimes, it gets tricky writing about a refrigerator's storage capabilities. We have a standardized set of test groceries along with six large-sized stress test items. We try and fit as much as we can into each fridge, then we take everything out and rearrange the shelves to see if we can then fit a little more. As a result, the takeaways are often highly conditional, having more to do with your fridge-tetris skills than with the actual capacity at hand.

That isn't the case with this fridge. It's big. Bigger than any other top freezer we've tested. Big enough to hold all of our test groceries and all six of our stress test items (a casserole dish, a roasting pan, a pitcher, a cake tray, a party platter, and an extra large pizza box) without requiring me to move a single shelf. As said before, my only storage qualm was that I couldn't fit a tub of Country Crock into the smallish butter bin.

Capacity vs. Efficiency (large top freezers)

LG LTCS24223SKenmore 79432Whirlpool WRT541SZDMFrigidaire Gallery FGHI2164QFGE GIE21GSHSS
Refrigerator capacity 17.6 cubic feet17.6 cubic feet15.2 cubic feet15.4 cubic feet15.1 cubic feet
Freezer capacity 6.2 cubic feet6.2 cubic feet6.1 cubic feet5.1 cubic feet6.1 cubic feet
Total storage space 23.8 cubic feet23.8 cubic feet21.3 cubic feet20.5 cubic feet21.2 cubic feet
Energy use 501 kWh / year547 kWh / year399 kWh / year471 kWh / year480 kWh / year
Estimated yearly energy cost ($0.12 per kWh) $60 $66 $48 $57 $58
Energy cost per cubic foot $2.52 $2.77 $2.25 $2.78 $2.74
Energy Star certification YesYesYesYesYes
Suggested retail price $1,200 $1,420 $1,149 $1,300 $1,300

However, if you're buying a bigger fridge, you'll also want to take a look at how much energy it uses to keep its cool. Compared with other large-sized top freezers, both the LTCS24223S and the Kenmore 79432 use more energy than average, which makes sense given that they're both a lot bigger than average.

To get a sense of how efficient the fridge is compared with the competition, divide its yearly energy cost (about $60) by its 23.8 cubic foot capacity. That gives you a cost of $2.52 per year to cool each cubic foot, which is a little better than most large-sized top freezers, including the Kenmore 79432. The only fridge we've tested that's more efficient is the Frigidaire FGTR1845QF, but that fridge was far too poor of a performer for us to recommend.

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The verdict

There are lots of reasons to seek out a fridge upgrade, one of the biggest being a need for more storage space. If that's what you're after, the $1,200 LG LTCS24223S offers a lot of value, with more room for groceries than even some French door models. It's also a relatively good-looking appliance -- enough so that passing up on one of those bottom-tier French doors doesn't feel like too much of a compromise.

If you don't need such a big fridge, there are better top freezer values to be had for less than $1,000. In particular, I like the GE GTE18GMHES as a budget-friendly bargain pick. But if you're looking for something that feels more like a splurge -- albeit a modest one -- the LTCS24223S fits the bill.

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7.8

LG LTCS24223S 24 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator

Score Breakdown

Features 6Design 9Performance 7Usability 9
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