Includes a built-in ice maker. Door shelf accommodates gallon milk jug. Crisper drawers are humidity controlled. EnergyStar certified. Attractive stainless steel exterior.
It's pricier than other freezer/refrigerators, but the features are worth it to many.
Stainless steel exterior is stylish and sleek. Door is reversible. Compartments are designed to maximize space. Overall design is basic yet practical.
Occasional durability issues. On the pricey side considering its smaller capacity.
Large capacity. Glass shelving and clear bins enhance its spacious, clean look. Door shelving accommodates taller items. Several colors and sizes available.
Noisier than other options. Ice maker is not included, but one could be installed.
Quiet and compact; stands about 3.5' tall with a capacity of 4.3 cu. ft. Attractive stainless finish. Glass shelving and reversible doors. Freezer is separate from refrigerator, unlike some other mini fridges.
No ice maker. This is a mini refrigerator/freezer, not a full-size appliance.
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A refrigerator is one of those home appliances that you can’t live without. It’s likely the most expensive item in your kitchen, which makes it all the more important to choose wisely. If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, a top freezer refrigerator is the way to go.
But you need to decide on the type, capacity, finish, and features. And then there are longer-term concerns like durability and energy efficiency. With so many options to choose from, it can make shopping for a refrigerator overwhelming.
You’ll feel a lot more confident if you go into it with a clear understanding of what you’re looking for. That’s why we at BestReviews have put together this shopping guide. We’ll walk you through all the important considerations so you can find the perfect top freezer refrigerator to complement your kitchen.
Refrigerators come in many different styles these days. Top freezer refrigerators have been around a long time because this configuration offers a lot of storage capacity without taking up a lot of floor space. Because these refrigerators have been around for so long, you can choose from a large selection, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one with the finish and features you want.
The downside of a top freezer refrigerator is that the doors open wide, so it might not fit very well in a narrow space. You’ll also have to get used to bending down when you want to get something from the bottom shelf.
Most standard refrigerators have a capacity ranging from 15 to 33 cubic feet. A smaller model should be sufficient for smaller households, but you might want to choose a larger one if you have more than four or five people in your home. Consider your shopping habits as well. If you buy in bulk, you’ll likely need a refrigerator with a larger capacity than someone who goes to the store every week.
Keep in mind that the advertised capacity is often a little more than the usable storage capacity. If you’re concerned that the model you’re looking at might be too small, it’s a good idea to get a larger size.
Finish is often an important consideration, especially if you’re trying to match your refrigerator to the other appliances in your kitchen. These days, most refrigerators come in black, white, or stainless steel. If you’re considering stainless steel, it’s important to note that some models show smudges more than others. Usually, the more expensive the refrigerator, the more smudge-proof the finish.
Most refrigerators have several adjustable shelves that you can adjust to accommodate items of all sizes. A good refrigerator will have at least three or four shelves and some drawers on the bottom for additional storage.
Some refrigerators have humidity-controlled drawers that enable you to manually adjust the humidity level to help food last longer. High humidity is better for leafy greens and other foods that are sensitive to moisture loss, while low humidity is better for fruits and vegetables that aren’t as prone to losing moisture.
Going with an energy-efficient refrigerator could save you $500 or more over the life of the appliance.
Storing items on top of your refrigerator can trap heat and cause the compressor to work harder.
When you put hot items into your refrigerator, you’re increasing the amount of heat inside of the unit, so the compressor must work harder to cool down the interior.
Many freezers come with a built-in ice maker, so you don’t have to mess around with ice cube trays. This is a pretty standard feature in most modern freezers, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a top freezer refrigerator that has one.
Because of the layout of these refrigerators, however, don’t expect to find any that have a built-in ice or water dispenser in the door of the fridge. This feature is usually only found on side-by-side refrigerators.
New refrigerators are more energy efficient than ever, but some shoppers are still concerned about how much a new refrigerator will impact their monthly electric bill. You can get a sense of how much energy a refrigerator uses by looking at the model’s Energy Guide label. This measures how much electricity the refrigerator will use in a year and estimates how much this will cost you. It also gives you a sense of how that particular model stacks up against other refrigerators.
If energy efficiency is a major concern for you, look for a refrigerator that has an Energy Star rating. This indicates that the particular model is among the top 25% most energy-efficient refrigerators on the market.
Refrigerators are supposed to last for many years, and given the price, you want to be sure that the model you choose will hold up well over time. While it’s impossible to predict how long your refrigerator will last, you can get a sense of how well the company stands behind its products by looking at the warranty.
Many of the top refrigerators come with a warranty of at least ten years on the compressor. Others offer a one-year warranty. A longer warranty is always better because if the refrigerator breaks during that time, it will be fixed or replaced at no cost to you. Otherwise, you could end up spending several hundred dollars on a repair or coughing up the cash for a new refrigerator altogether.
Top freezer refrigerators range in price from around $475 to $1,000, based on capacity. You won’t find many refrigerators larger than 20 cubic feet in the $500 price range. You’ll probably end up spending at least $900 or more for one.
Other factors that play into pricing include the length of the warranty, energy efficiency, and the availability of advanced features like humidity-controlled drawers. You’ll pay more for a more efficient, feature-rich appliance than you will for a basic refrigerator with a couple of shelves and standard temperature dial.
Position your refrigerator away from the stove and other heat-producing appliances. Placing it near the stove can put more strain on the refrigerator’s compressor.
Keep the inside of your refrigerator organized. This minimizes the amount of time you have to spend hunting for items with the door open.
Clean the inside of your refrigerator periodically. This prevents bacterial growth and enables the unit to function at an optimal level. Check your owner’s manual for advice on how often to clean your refrigerator.
Q. How can I tell if a top freezer refrigerator is a good fit for my space?
A. The main concern with top freezer refrigerators is how far the doors extend when the refrigerator is opened. This could be inconvenient if your refrigerator is close to a narrow walkway. But if this isn’t the case, a top freezer refrigerator should fit your space just fine.
Q. Can I choose which direction my refrigerator door opens?
A. Many models give you the choice of a left- or right-opening door. Usually, you have to make this decision when you purchase the refrigerator, but some are designed so you can reverse the door on your own.
Q. How cold should my top freezer refrigerator be?
A. It’s a good idea to keep the refrigerator around 37°F and the freezer somewhere between 0°F and 5°F. If you feel this is too cold or not cold enough, you can always go back and adjust the settings.
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