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Thor Kitchen HRF3601F Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator review: By the hammer of Thor, this no-name fridge is pretty good!

It isn't a well-known brand, but Thor Kitchen's counter-depth French door fridge performs surprisingly well for the price.

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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're all more or less familiar with the major manufacturers of home appliances -- your Whirlpools, your GEs, your Kenmores, what have you. Up above them lies the luxury crop: Viking, Sub-Zero, Wolf, etc.

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7.8

Thor Kitchen HRF3601F Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator

The Good

If you're looking for a counter-depth French door refrigerator in stainless steel, this is about as affordable as it gets. Even better, the performance is almost perfect.

The Bad

It isn't quite as efficient as similar French door models, and with the ice maker stashed away in the freezer, it doesn't come with an in-door water dispenser. Despite a luxury lookalike approach, the build is also very basic.

The Bottom Line

You'll get good value and great performance from this fridge -- just don't expect any flashy features.

And then there's Thor Kitchen. Based out of California, the brand doesn't offer a huge catalog of appliances. Instead, its focus is a luxurious, "pro-style," dual-fuel range and a suite of stainless steel appliances built to match it -- all of which can be had together for about $5,000 through retailers like Home Depot and AJ Madison.

Included in that suite: a counter-depth French door refrigerator that sells for about $1,800, which is a pretty decent price for this sort of fridge. With branding clearly designed to mimic names like Viking (and fool your houseguests into thinking you spent more on your kitchen renovation than you actually did), I was plenty skeptical as I started testing the thing out, and I wasn't reassured by the near-complete lack of meaningful features. But the pristine performance proved me wrong, with accurate, consistent temperatures throughout all of my tests -- and not a single hot spot anywhere inside. It's a basic build, but Thor's counter-depth fridge offers excellent value, and is well worth a look if you're in the market for a bargain.

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The Thor Kitchen fridge keeps things simple with a Loki -- er, low-key design.

Chris Monroe/CNET

As luxury lookalikes go, Thor Kitchen's fridge does the bare minimum. You get a stainless steel finish and a freezer that's split into two separate drawers, but you also get dated-looking touch controls and no in-door water dispenser. If anything, it looks a bit like a luxury fridge from fifteen years ago. It isn't ugly, but the aesthetic doesn't really stand up to scrutiny, either.

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The touch controls look a little dated for my tastes.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The interior is fairly bare-bones, as well. The only real feature of note is a deli drawer that runs a bit colder than the rest of the fridge. It's a good spot for meats and cheeses, but it doesn't come with its own, distinct temperature presets like you'll find in some other French door models. There's also a little pull-out bin in between the crispers that you might use for storing things like shredded cheese ahead of taco night, but it sits quite loose, and feels rickety to the touch.

Aside from the counter-depth build, which means it'll sit flush with your counter tops, the most notable design element is probably the split freezer, with two matching drawers stacked on top of each other. You'll find the ice maker dishing out cubes into a bin in the top drawer, complete with a little plastic scoop -- a simple, thoughtful inclusion that I haven't seen in other fridges with similar ice makers.

All told, you get just shy of 21 cubic feet of storage space from this fridge, 15.2 of which are allocated to the refrigerator compartment up top. Those are good numbers, and larger ones than you'll get with comparable counter-depth models from names like GE, Samsung, LG and Whirlpool.

As for energy use, the Thor Kitchen fridge will draw 623 kWh over the course of a year and add about $75 to your power bill over that stretch. Divide that number by the total capacity, and you're looking at a yearly energy cost of $3.59 per cubic foot. That's slightly less efficient than average, but fine by today's standards.

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Performance was pretty much perfect over the course of two weeks of cooling tests.

Chris Monroe/CNET

All of which brings us to cooling power, which is where this fridge really shines. Over two weeks of tests at both the default 37-degree setting and the coldest setting of 34 degrees, I couldn't find a single hot spot that averaged above 40 degrees F, a benchmark for food safety used by the FDA. That's a rare clean sweep, and an excellent result.

The minute-by-minute graphs of those temperatures look good, too, with relatively gentle defrost cycles and no major temperature swings, even during my regularly scheduled door openings that simulate normal use. In other words, whenever I'd let warm air in, the fridge was always able to cool things back down to the target temperature in short order. In some fridges, those door openings can throw things out of whack, but the Thor Kitchen fridge was about as stable as they come.

I also appreciated that the deli drawer delivered on its promise of consistently keeping things a few degrees colder than the rest of the fridge. Like I said, I'd like it better if it had controls or presets that let you dial that temperature up and down as needed, but it's still nice to know that you can rely on it.

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Chris Monroe/CNET

The verdict

All in all, that solid performance puts this fridge over the top, and earns it my recommendation. It isn't quite the cheapest counter-depth French door I've seen in stainless steel, but it's very close. With consistent cooling power that few fridges can match, it's a worthy value pick that deserves consideration despite a bare-bones build.

Want more fridge shopping advice? Check out our refrigerator buying guide to brush up on the icebox basics.

You're using your fridge wrong

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7.8

Thor Kitchen HRF3601F Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator

Score Breakdown

Features 5Design 6Performance 9Usability 9