Samsung RH25H5611SR review: Samsung's most affordable Food Showcase fridge passes the test

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MSRP: $2,099.00

The Good The $2,100 version of Samsung's Food Showcase side-by-side refrigerator surprised us with how well it performed in our cooling tests. Though door-in-a-door functionality might seem a bit gimmicky, the Food Showcase feature is well executed nonetheless.

The Bad The design is pretty plain, especially compared with the more expensive Food Showcase side-by-side, which looks fantastic. Storage space is also a bit cramped in the body of the fridge, even by side-by-side standards.

The Bottom Line We like it more for its performance than for its novelty factor, but if adding door-in-a-door functionality to your kitchen is a must, this well-rounded version of Samsung's Food Showcase refrigerator makes the most sense.

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7.7 Overall
  • Features 7
  • Design 7
  • Performance 9
  • Usability 7

I must confess that door-in-a-door refrigerators don't do much for me. Pitched as a time-saving feature that allows for easier access to your groceries, door-in-a-door fridges like the Samsung Food Showcase RH25H5611SR let you open the refrigerator's front panel, exposing the in-door shelves without opening the door itself. I just don't get it. You're still opening a door and grabbing your barbecue sauce. As features go, it feels a bit frivolous for my tastes.

I might be in the minority, though. The door-in-a-door feature has been on the rise ever since LG introduced its first "Door-in-Door" models a few years ago. Samsung quickly followed suit with its own door-in-a-door lineup, dubbing them "Food Showcase" models. Of all of them, I like the RH25H5611SR the best. It isn't nearly as distinctive a side-by-side as its more expensive older brother, the RH29H9000SR , but it performed better in our tests, and offers much better value with an MSRP of $2,100 (retail discounts typically bring the price well below $2,000). If door-in-a-door fridges have you intrigued, I think it deserves some close consideration.

A modest build

Samsung sells a more expensive version of the Food Showcase side-by-side fridge , model number RH29H9000SR. It's a visual stunner, with a flat-faced front and strikingly modern recessed handles.

The RH25H5G11SR is not that refrigerator. It's a much, much more basic build. Perhaps "modest" is a better word for it. While the $3,000 version flaunts the high-end modernity of its Food Showcase feature, the RH25H5611SR all but hides it. The only hint that its a Food Showcase fridge at all is the small raised groove on the refrigerator handle indicating where the trigger that opens the inner door is located.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Pull that trigger as you're opening the door, and you'll instead pull open the entire front panel of the refrigerator, revealing the in-door shelves. It's similar to the "Door-in-Door" feature found in high-end LG refrigerators, and in both cases, it's pitched as a convenience. I don't personally see the appeal, but as a feature, it's proven somewhat popular -- enough so for both brands to expand their selection of respective door-in-a-door models in recent years.

Between the two approaches, I think I prefer Samsung's. With many of the LG models we've tested, including the $4,000 LMXS30776S French door and the $4,300 , the Door-in-Door feature has felt a bit clunky, with plastic barriers on the inside of those in-door shelves that block you off from using them normally. There are no such barriers on either side of the Food Showcase shelves.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Inside of the fridge, you get a pretty basic build, which isn't uncommon with side-by-side refrigerators. The narrow design makes it tough to squeeze in additional bells and whistles. You do get spillproof shelves, though, which a klutz like myself will always appreciate. The rims guarding against drips are a bit shallow, though -- "leakproof" might be the better descriptor.

I also appreciated that all three of the shelves in the main body of the fridge slide out like drawers, making it easier to grab items in the back. I also liked that they glided out smoothly, even with heavy items sitting on top. The same couldn't be said of the slide-out shelves in the Frigidaire FGHC2331PF side-by-side .

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

That's really about it for features, though. You get three bins in the bottom of the fridge, but they don't have controls for humidity or temperature. There aren't a whole lot of positions for you to rearrange shelves into (and zero extra positions for the in-door shelves). There's no butter bin in the door, either.

Still, the more expensive version of the Food Showcase side-by-side isn't much better, so comparatively speaking, you're getting better value for your dollar with this model. You can also downgrade from stainless steel to white or black to knock $100 off of the asking price.

With no orange hotspots in the body of the fridge, this is a very decent result for a side-by-side refrigerator at the default setting. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Performance in the Showcase

The Samsung Food Showcase RH25H5611SR is a patently better performer than the better-looking Samsung Food Showcase RH29H9000SR, which retails for an additional $900. It's a surprising gulf between two fridges from the same manufacturer, with the same chassis, and in the same specific product lineup.

It's a real one, though. Testing both fridges out at the default setting of 37 degrees F, the more expensive version came back hot throughout the entire door, no shelf averaging less than 42 degrees F, and the bottom shelf averaging a very poor 48.3 degrees F. The RH25H5611SR had hotspots, too, but much less severe ones, with an overall average temperature of 41.1 across all in-door shelves. The bottom shelf was, again, the worst offender, but it came in about 5 degrees cooler than the bottom shelf in the more expensive model.