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10 Easy Pieces: The Best Budget Refrigerators


10 Easy Pieces: The Best Budget Refrigerators

September 14, 2016

We know: Not everyone has $10,000 to spend on a world-class refrigerator, but you still want the best you can get for your buck. Here are some tips.

A refrigerator with freezer on top will generally be the most affordable style; a fridge with a lower freezer drawer or side-by-side doors will fall in the middle of the price range, and a fridge with French doors will be the priciest style. (Disregard built-in fridges; they’re likely to start at around $5,000 plus installation.) A stainless steel fridge may cost between 10 to 30 percent more than the same model in black or white, and as expected, a bigger fridge will cost more than a smaller one (Consumer Reports recommends a 19- to 22-cubic-foot capacity for a family of four).

We’ve done our homework, and here are the 10 we’d consider, priced low to high.

whirlpool wrt318fzd budget refrigerators remodelista 12

Above: The highest-rated fridge with the lowest price at our favorite appliance dealer—AJ Madison in Brooklyn—is the Whirlpool WRT318FZD. It has an 18.2-cubic-foot capacity and is $493.60 in black or white and $593.50 in stainless steel.

ge gte15cthrww budget refrigerators remodelista 13

Above: The lowest-priced top-freezer style fridge given a “Recommended” rating by Consumer Reports is the GE GTE15CTHRWW. Keep in mind, though, that it’s the smallest full-size fridge listed here, with a mere 14.6-cubic-foot capacity. Available in white, bisque, and black, it’s $533.10 at AJ Madison.

ge gte18gmhes budget refrigerators remodelista 14

Above: CNET named the GE GTE18GMHES its “best bargain fridge of 2016.” It has a 17.5-cubic-foot capacity and is $578.10 for white or bisque and $713.10 for slate or stainless steel at AJ Madison.

frigidaire ffht1821qs budget refrigerators remodelista 15

Above: A close competitor for the lowest-priced top-freezer fridge recommended by Consumer Reports, the Frigidaire FFHT1821QS has 18 cubic feet of space. It’s $605.10 in white or black and $713.10 in stainless steel at AJ Madison.

lg ltcs20220s budget refrigerators remodelista 16

Above: Consumer Reports named the LG LTCS20220S its “Best Buy” for a top-freezer fridge—that is, the greatest value for the price. It holds 20.2 cubic feet and has a 4.7-star rating at AJ Madison; it’s $744.80 in black or white and $844.70 in stainless steel.

kenmore 69313 bottom freezer refrigerator 17

Above: If a bottom-drawer freezer is what you’re after, the Kenmore 69313 is the most affordable one recommended by Consumer Reports. It has 19 cubic feet of space and is $749.99 (in white, black, and stainless steel) at Sears.

whirlpool wrs322fda budget refrigerators remodelista 18

Above: Our lowest-priced side-by-side style fridge, the Whirlpool WRS322FDA has a 22-cubic-foot capacity and a 4.4-star rating at AJ Madison, and it’s the most affordable fridge listed here that includes a water filtration system and external dispenser. It’s $894.10 in white, black, and bisque and $984.10 in stainless steel at AJ Madison.

samsung rf26hfen 36 inch french door refrigerator 19

Above: With a capacity of 25.5 cubic feet, the Samsung RF26HFEN is the roomiest fridge listed here, and the cheapest option with a French door. It also has LED lighting and a 4.3-star rating at AJ Madison; $995 in stainless steel or white.

ge gse25eshss french door refrigerator 20

Above: Though it clocks in at more than $1,000, the GE GSE25ESHSS is the most affordable of any side-by-side style refrigerator recommended by Consumer Reports. It has a capacity of 24.7 cubic feet and is $1,073.10 in black, white, and bisque and $1,253.10 in stainless steel at AJ Madison.

lg 33 inch french door refrigerator 21

Above: The most affordable French door fridge recommended by Consumer Reports is the LG LFC24770S. It has a 23.6-cubic-foot capacity and is $1,495.40 (in black, white, and stainless) at AJ Madison.

For more shopping guidance, see more of Remodelista’s 10 Easy Pieces posts including 10 Good-Looking (and Effective) Air Purifiers and Architects’ 10 Favorite Modern Surface-Mount Fixtures.

Finally, get more ideas on how to evaluate and choose your kitchen refrigerator in our Remodeling 101 Guide: Kitchen Refrigerators.

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