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LG LTNC11121V review: A decent little top-freezer fridge (emphasis on little)

If you don't need a ton of storage space (or if your kitchen is cramped), this compact top freezer might be a good option.

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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.

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We've tested a lot of refrigerators over the past few years at CNET Appliances, and fridge for fridge, the brand that's impressed us the most is LG. The Korean brand's refrigerators have consistently outperformed the competition in our cooling tests, and many of the higher-end models offer the kinds of designs and features that make upgrading exciting.

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7.3

LG LTNC11121V

The Good

LG's smallest full-size refrigerator looks more expensive than it really is, and it holds accurate temperatures in the body of the fridge. It also holds more groceries than we expected it would.

The Bad

Some parts of the interior feel a bit flimsy. Also, the door shelves and the crisper bin ran warm in all of our tests.

The Bottom Line

The compact-sized LTNC11121V is worth considering if you're looking for a second fridge, or if you're tight on space.

The LG LTNC11121V is not one of those higher-end models. In fact, at $700, it's the least expensive fridge that LG sells, and the smallest, too: just 24 inches wide, with a total capacity of just 11.1 cubic feet. It's about as compact as refrigerators come without venturing into mini-fridge territory, but with good performance and a decent design for the price, it might be good fit for a back room or a tight kitchen.

Here's a teeny-tiny top freezer fridge from LG

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With the exception of those two 12-packs, I was able to squeeze all of our test groceries into the fridge.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Design and features

The LTNC11121V almost looks more like a locker than a refrigerator. At 24 inches wide, it's as skinny as full-size fridges come, so if you're trying to fill a tight space in your kitchen, there's a good chance it's up to the task.

Looks-wise, it's a good design for the price, with a stainless-steel finish and recessed handles. It doesn't scream luxury, but then again, neither do most other compact-sized refrigerators.

With 11.1 cubic feet of total storage space inside, 8.5 of which are allocated to the fridge, you've got less than half the space for fresh groceries than you'll get with LG's largest top freezer model (which, incidentally, happens to be our top top-freezer pick). That's not a lot of room to work with, so if you're thinking of using this thing to keep a family fed, think again.

Then again, the LTNC11121V did better than I expected it would when I started stuffing groceries into it. The door shelves were big enough to accommodate a pair of two-liters along with a few other large beverages, and the shelves were deep enough to hold two 1-gallon jugs of milk -- though not deep enough to fit either of the 12-packs of soda from our standardized load of test groceries. They were the only two things I couldn't fit inside.

As for features, you don't get much -- just the one crisper bin, along with a "Pull-Out Tray" that sits a few inches below the top shelf and slides out for easy access. Up in the freezer, you'll find a manual ice maker with a pair of smallish ice cube trays that you can twist to dump the cubes into a bin. It's an interesting approach, though it feels a bit flimsy. Also, you can't take those trays out to fill them at the sink. Instead, you have to bring the water to the freezer, and I had a hard time pouring it in without spilling.

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It didn't ace our tests, but the LTNC11121V keeps the body of the fridge right where you want it.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Performance

Like all of the fridges we test at CNET Appliances, we put the LTNC11121V through a rigorous battery of tests, including several days in our climate-controlled testing chamber. And, when all was said and done, the LTNC11121V did a fine job.

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The fridge stayed consistent at its coldest setting, with most sections of the interior dropping by about three degrees.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Its cooling power isn't remarkable by any stretch. The door shelves consistently ran warm, as did the crisper, and we weren't able to adjust the fridge temperature without affecting the freezer temperature, too. Still, the shelves in the body of the fridge always stayed on point, with the top shelf scoring a perfect bull's-eye of 37 degrees F when we tested the fridge at its default setting of 4 out of 7.

We saw more of the same when we cranked the fridge up to 7 out of 7, its coldest setting (and yep, dialing up to lower the temperature is a bit counter-intuitive). The temperature on that top shelf, the coldest spot in the fridge, fell to 34.3 degrees F, which is another good result (most refrigerators aim for 33 or 34 degrees F at their coldest setting). The rest of the fridge followed suit, with most sections dropping by about three degrees. The one exception: the fridge's top shelves, where you might keep your butter -- the temperature actually rose by 3 degrees.

The real takeaway is that LG's engineers seem to have calibrated this small-sized refrigerator's limited cooling power around the top shelf of the fridge compartment. I think that's the right approach, as it keeps the most most important part of the fridge at an appropriate temperature. With a little more oomph, they might have been able to bring those door shelves along for the ride, but at $700, I think it's an acceptable tradeoff.

One other performance consideration: efficiency. The LTNC11121V burns through 339 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which will add about three and a half bucks to your monthly power bill. That's right on par with similar-sized fridges from Whirlpool and Kenmore, each of which consumes 338 kWh per year.

That's obviously less than it costs to run a bigger fridge -- but not by as much as you might think. For instance, LG's biggest top freezer (the one that's more than twice as big as the LTNC11121V) uses 501 kWh, and will add about five bucks to your bill each month.

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Chris Monroe/CNET

The verdict

At an MSRP of $700, the LTNC11121V isn't anything flashy, but it isn't an eyesore either, and it did well enough in our tests for me to say that it'd be a fine fridge for a cramped kitchen. It might be an even better fit as a second fridge for the garage or for a makeshift man-cave in the basement. There's no reason to pay to cool more space than you actually need, so for limited uses like that, where you aren't relying on it for the bulk of your groceries, less is probably more.

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7.3

LG LTNC11121V

Score Breakdown

Features 6Design 8Performance 7Usability 8
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