Replacing or upgrading a major appliance such as your refrigerator is a hefty decision that demands careful consideration. This integral piece of equipment will be a staple in your household for at least a decade, so it pays to do your homework.
With so many brands on the market, it can prove challenging to sift through all the options to find the perfect fit for your needs, without wasting precious time and energy. This article will delve into the most critical factors to consider when choosing a reliable refrigerator brand. We will cover which brands have the best reviews and we will touch on other important considerations, so you can weigh your options and make the most informed decision based on your family’s needs.
The brands we’ll discuss have an established reputation for reliability, performance, and overall customer satisfaction. We’ve gone through several reviews and have been working with kitchen appliances for more than 65 years, so we have a lot of experience helping homeowners find the right appliances for their homes. The top brands we’ll touch on include LG, Whirlpool, Samsung, and GE.
Before we dive into the nitty gritty, we’ll tell you that LG seems to be the most popular among many customers and reviews. They range from $1,600 to $8,000, with most models hanging out in the $2,500 slot. LG’s Signature models are found at the high end and feature all the bells and whistles, but the basic models still get the job done. That really goes for the rest of the brands we’ll mention here as well.
Choosing a reliable refrigerator really boils down to personal preference, budget, space, and whether or not you want a freestanding fridge or a built-in unit. This article will focus on freestanding options, but you can always reach out to us if you want to discuss design and customization options for a built-in model.
How to pick a refrigerator
Let’s start with the basics. Before you even start looking at brands and their many models, it’s crucial to size out your space to ensure you order the correct model.
Measure multiple times. This may seem like a no-brainer, but beware, not measuring properly is the number one folly when it comes to installing new refrigerators. It’s best to measure your actual space and not your current refrigerator in order to get an accurate reading. Don’t forget to include trim and baseboards in your measurements—those are spots that are often overlooked.
Measure the entire kitchen. You may think measuring the spot that will hold your fridge is all you need, but think again! If you have an island, as many homes tend to have these days, you’ll want to be sure to include that in your measurements to be cognizant of the doors on your fridge. For small spaces, counter-depth options are great since they fit closer to your existing countertops and still provide enough fridge space to conveniently store your items.
Keep a buffer for ventilation. Having your refrigerator slip exactly into your designated spot may seem like the obvious way to go, but don’t forget about the heat that needs to escape from your unit. Keep at least an inch on the top and sides, and be sure to have a minimum of two inches in the back. If you don’t account for these spaces, your fridge will be working overtime and could damage its ability to maintain correct temperatures.
Don’t overlook doorways. Be sure to measure your doorways before delivery. While some refrigerators allow you to remove their doors during the installation process, some do not. It’s best to confirm the measurements of your doorways to ensure your new fridge can even make it into your kitchen. As long as it can clear the doorway, you’re good to go. Many homeowners opt for the widest fridge that can possibly fit in their space, which is typically a 36-inch model that is 34 inches deep.
Check the depth before jumping. After you’ve measured your space and know the maximum size you can fit in your kitchen, you then need to consider the depth of your refrigerator. While larger refrigerators usually make homeowners happier versus their smaller counterparts, many reviews point to counter-depth refrigerators offering adequate storage and space. We mentioned just above that many homeowners lean toward the standard depth size, which is around 34 inches deep, but the counter-depth refrigerator is on the rise.
Counter-depth refrigerators are worth your consideration. They take up slightly less space and are oftentimes considered classy due to their sleek design. Since they only extend the length of your counters, which is about 27 inches for freestanding counter-depth refrigerators, they are noticeably less prominent than a standard-depth model.
Counter-depth fridge owners are just as satisfied as standard fridge owners, and they get the benefits of a slightly smaller refrigerator. Their food storage is easy to organize and access. Their fridge expends less energy and gives off a clean aesthetic.
Sometimes your space simply calls for a counter-depth fridge; for example, if you are working with a galley kitchen or if your island may get in the way of a standard door. Plus, some folks just like a smaller, shallower fridge so they can access their food easier and see what they have in stock, instead of letting things get lost (and gross) hidden behind something in the back—a habit many of us are guilty of.
Consider capacity and organization. Being able to store items conveniently and efficiently is a top priority for many homeowners. Some high-end models feature cutting-edge organization bonus options such as door-in-door storage or a two-drawer French-door unit. A lot of reliable brands feature clever organization solutions that maximize usable space, including in-door condiment storage, a slide-under shelf, and even a snack zone. A smaller fridge can still stand up to the larger ones if it utilizes its space efficiently.
Think about the number one complaint. Ice makers are notorious for going on the fritz. This is one feature you may want to think about before requiring your refrigerator to have one. Of all the reviews and comments about refrigerators we’ve scoured, a malfunctioning ice maker has to be the top complaint. When they’re working properly, they’re the best! But a faulty one can give anyone a headache.
That said, many people love their ice. LG has even stepped their game up in the ice-making world by introducing a fridge that pops out craft ice cubes! They last longer than typical ice and, let’s face it, are pretty darn cool. When the machine works, it’s often a highly praised feature that people love using. If you are worried about the functionality of a built-in ice maker, consider a unit without one and make your ice separately with filtered water or a standalone machine.
Sustainability and efficiency are in. Of the top brands we mentioned earlier, all of them are well on their way to becoming more energy efficient every year. They have come a long way since they first appeared on the market decades ago, but with stricter energy restrictions, many have tightened up and are now Energy Star Certified and claim to use a climate-friendly refrigerant in some models.
Luckily for you, that means whichever model you end up going with will likely have made moves toward sustainability and efficiency. If you want to go further, you can opt for a smaller unit, forgo the ice/water dispenser, and steer clear of side-by-side models.
While Samsung and Whirlpool score fairly high in the average customer review category, LG still comes out on top with overall satisfaction. The only downside is that LG does not score as high in the customer service department. However, since their reliability is on the higher end, the need for customer service is on the lower end.
LG’s side-by-side models have the most reliability-related issues, so if you opt for an LG model, perhaps go for one of their other designs.
Shelving options and overall organization receive the most praise in LG refrigerators and are thought to offer high satisfaction with their storage, capacity, and accessibility of food items. They are also held in high regard for their temperature control and accuracy, as well as their ice-maker quality and quietness.
Another excellent option for a reliable refrigerator brand is GE, especially since their customer service appears to generate less negative criticism. The fact that they have their very own repair fleet may have something to do with that.
GE’s French-door models, like LG, also earn top ratings, with customers noting high satisfaction levels in regard to capacity, reliability, aesthetics, organization, and ice maker performance. Their high-end French-door models are especially noteworthy. The GE Profile Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel French-Door model has almost a 5-star rating on our site due to its flexible ice and water dispenser and impressive backlighting.
The premium refrigeration models that GE offers fall under the Café brand and are more design-heavy versus feature-heavy, with their bold style and sleek appearance.
While Whirlpool may not have as large of a fan base as LG or GE, they still have a lot of satisfied customers who consider their refrigerators a reliable choice. Once again, their French-door models are a favorite, but their capacity and organization did not quite score as high as the other guys. GE may receive more praise for its customer service, but Whirlpool still scores high in that category.
Whirlpool doesn’t have all the fancy gadgets you can find on high-end LG models, like built-in screens or clever ice molds, but they transitioned all of their freestanding refrigerators to the climate-friendly refrigerant in 2021, and their bottom-freezer models offer a lot of the same advantages of French-door models but are much more affordable.
Choosing a reliable refrigerator brand in 2023 requires thoughtful consideration of your preferences, available space, and desired features. LG, GE, Whirlpool, and Samsung are all reliable brands for your average home kitchen. Sub-Zero, Miele, Gaggenau, and Thermador are premium brands worth considering if you have a wider budget.
By knowing what you want, understanding your kitchen’s layout, and considering your family’s needs, you can make an informed decision that brings both functionality and style to your kitchen.
At Atherton Appliance & Kitchens, we understand the significance of this choice and are here to assist you every step of the way. With our extensive knowledge and a wide range of reliable refrigerator brands, we will work with you to ensure your kitchen upgrade is a seamless and satisfying experience.