Refrigerator features that are worth it

Consumer Reports
When replacing your refrigerator don't fall for hyped features

Buying a refrigerator is an investment that lasts a long time. If you're just replacing a unit that's more than a decade old, you'll be pleased to find the latest models have new features that save both space and energy.

Of course, it's important to separate the true innovations from marketing gimmicks.

From Consumer Reports' test labs, here are five legitimate leaps forward that you should keep in mind as you shop for a new refrigerator. Some are still only found in higher-priced models, but others are trickling into the mainstream.

MORE AT COnsumer Reports

In-the-door icemaker. For years, an icemaker's assembly has almost always been located in the top left-hand corner of the refrigerator, where it takes up space. More models have moved to an in-the-door design, with a slimmed-down assembly and dispenser both fitting in the door panel. The result is increased storage space inside the refrigerator with the same (or even greater) ice output.


Models with this feature:
LG LFX28991[ST], $2,700.
Kenmore Elite 7205[3], $2,800.


Dual evaporators. Air freshness claims have become a noisy part of refrigerator marketing. You'll hear about charcoal filters, ion air purifiers, ethylene absorption packets, and other devices that promise to keep your food fresh. These claims are difficult to measure, but we can tell you one thing that definitely works: dual evaporators, which we've found maintain higher humidity levels in the fresh food section, while also keeping freezer odors from finding their way into the refrigerator.

Models with this feature:
Samsung RF266AE[WP], $1,700 (CR Best Buy).
KitchenAid KSF26C6X[YY], $1,950.



Bigger, better water dispensers. The most notable improvement here is the extra-tall dispenser, which allows you to fill up pitchers, water bottles, and even oversize pots. "Measured fill" is another smart feature, since it lets you walk away from the dispenser while it fills your container to the desired volume. More recently, GE came out with an auto-stop feature, which fills any size container to the top with a push of the button.

Models with these features:
GE PFE29PSDSS (in testing), $2,700.
LG LFX31925[ST], $3,000.



Middle drawers. You've probably seen French-door refrigerators, which in recent years have become a favorite configuration. But you might have missed the middle drawer that's popping up on more French-door models. This drawer typically has different temperature settings to serve a variety of storage needs, from meat/fish to cold drinks. We're also seeing four door configurations in which the freezer is divided into two bottom drawers.

Models with this feature:
Samsung RF4267HA[WP], $2,600.
Whirlpool Gold GZ25FSRXY[Y], $2,250.



Enhanced compressor design. A refrigerator built today might use half as much energy as one built in the 1990s. Some new models are even more efficient, thanks in part to advances in compressor design. In our tests, we've found that refrigerators with a linear or variable-speed compressor often have excellent efficiency. You can also check our refrigerator ratings for models that achieve top efficiency in our tests.

Models with this feature:
Kenmore 7160[3], $1,600 (CR Best Buy).
LG LFC25765[ST], $1,900.



In its tests of refrigerators, Consumer Reports has seen a slew of other helpful features become standard across many makes and models. Here are six of our favorites:

Adjustable door bins/shelves. Help with the storage of various shaped/sized items.
Gallon door bins. Enable door storage of oversize containers.
Spill-proof shelving. Contains spills and messes.
Split shelves. Create space for tall items.
Temperature-controlled drawers. Provide optimal conditions for a variety of foods.
Through-the-door dispensers. Keep water and ice at the ready.



Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      People
    • Animated map of what Earth would look like if all the ice melted

      Many of the effects of climate change are irreversible. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century. As National Geographic showed us in 2013, sea levels would rise by 216 feet if all the land ice on the planet were to melt. This would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world's major cities.

      Business Insider q
    • Aaron Hernandez's hidden sexuality fueled the murder of Odin Lloyd, police sources say

      On April 19, sometime before 3 a.m., Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end, scrawled three notes—one to his fiancée, the mother of his little girl, one to that daughter and a third to his close prison friend—and placed them next to a Bible in his solitary prison cell in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. Don't miss: Quora Question: Will the Senate Scrap the Filibuster for Legislation?

      Newsweek q
    • American Airlines apologizes, puts flight attendant on leave after confrontation

      The airlines said it is investigating the incident.

      ABC News q
    • Man Attacked by 2 Dogs While Trying to Protect His Jack Russell Terrier

      A caught-on-video attack by two dogs on Catalina Island this week left a Huntington Beach man in the hospital and his Jack Russell terrier seriously injured.

      Tribune
    • Your Handy Guide to the 6 Types of Bikini Bottoms

      Just like how underwear comes in different styles, so too do bikini bottoms. The cheeky, the high waist, and the hipster are some terms you may have heard of. Not to get all technical, but when you shop for body-flattering swimsuits, you should be somewhat familiar with the different styles. They play a role in your overall look! Though bikini bottoms can be an amalgam of two styles (you can wear a high-waisted bottom that also has a deep-V cut), we've narrowed down the categories to six common selections. These are the ones you'll come back to time and time again. Hipster High-Waisted Cheeky High Cut Boy Short Classic Bikini

      PopSugar q
    • Dear Abby: My late wife's sisters hating that I'm dating

      DEAR ABBY: My wife of 43 years died nine months ago after losing her four-year battle with cancer. I met a woman who had also experienced tragedy in her life, and we started seeing each other casually. When my wife’s three sisters found out, I became the outcast. Why do people think there is a set time to grieve? Life is too short to sit and pine. Memories will always be there. This woman has brought me out of my depression and sorrow. I can’t understand how people I thought cared for me could be so mean. I was told by the pastor and hospice counselor that grieving takes time, but what is enough time? I was also told to look at the marriages of these women. When I did, I realized that they were

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • Man Who Cracked Missing Student and Teacher Case Says Teen 'Looked Depressed'

      "At first I thought they were on hard times and lost everything, then figured it out. It was twisted," Griffin Barry told Inside Edition.

      Inside Edition
    • ITF launch Nastase investigation after Serena Williams comments

      (Reuters) - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has launched an investigation into Romania's Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase after the former world number one allegedly made a derogatory comment about Serena Williams' unborn child. At the Fed Cup draw in Constanta on Friday, Nastase, 70, was heard speaking in Romanian to one of his team members about Williams' baby. Williams, who confirmed her pregnancy through a spokeswoman on Wednesday, is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who is white.

      Reuters
    • Man attacked by two pit bulls as he tries to save Jack Russell terrier

      A pit bull attack leaving both a man and his Jack Russell terrier severely injured was caught on camera. We want to warn you that some viewers might find the video hard to watch. The man who was viciously attacked by two pit bulls while trying to save his little dog spoke to FOX 11 about his terrifying ordeal. The incident happened on a dock at Catalina Island. The victim's daughter said her dad was walking his Jack Russell terrier when two un-leashed pit bulls attacked. The victim threw himself on his dog to protect him, but then the pit bulls started attacking the man. The agitated dogs turned on their owner, a woman seen in the video sitting down on the dock. The male victim and his dog both

      Fox News q
    • Aaron Hernandez's Sex Life Probed as Murder Motive, Police Source Says

      On April 19, sometime before 3 a.m., Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end, scrawled three notes—one to his fiancée, the mother of his little girl, one to that daughter and a third to his close prison friend—and placed them next to a Bible in his solitary prison cell in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. Don't miss: Quora Question: Will the Senate Scrap the Filibuster for Legislation?

      Newsweek
    • After Their Flight Attendant Made A Mum Cry, American Airlines Reacted Perfectly

      The days of "flying the friendly skies" appear to be long gone, but American Airlines is at least trying to fix the latest flight attendant controversy to go viral. On Friday, a flight attendant on board American Airlines flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas heatedly scolded a female passenger travelling alone with two children for attempting to store her buggy in an overhead locker, reports ABC News affiliate WFAA in Dallas. When another male passenger came to the mother's defence, the flight attendant then reportedly got physical, threatening the man who had spoken up on the young mother's behalf before a pilot appeared and attempted to calm down the irate flight attendant.

      Refinery 29 UK
    • Airline to slap belligerent passengers who delay flights with hefty fines

      After one too many incidents involving belligerent customers -- who also happened to be members of parliament -- Air India announced that unruly passengers who cause a flight delay of up to one hour will be slapped with a hefty $7,750 (5 lakh in rupees) fine. Last month, a member of parliament was charged with assaulting a 60-year-old airline staffer with his slippers during an altercation that delayed an Air India flight.

      AFP Relax News
    • UC Berkeley students threaten to sue over Ann Coulter visit

      The University of California at Berkeley students who invited Ann Coulter to speak on campus are threatening to sue the university if it doesn't find a proper time and venue for the conservative pundit ...

      Associated Press
    • I worked under a serial sexual harasser. I know the real reason Bill O’Reilly was fired.

      A demonstrator protests Bill O’Reilly outside of the Fox News headquarter in New York, New York on April 19.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

      Vox.com q
    • Inside the Bare, Remote Cabin Where Tad Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas Were Found

      Tad Cummins Arrest: Inside the California Cabin He Was Found In

      People
    • Kim Kardashian's Dress Is Completely See-Through (38 photos)

      From sweatshirts to slip dresses and all that's in-between, check back as we track Kim Kardashian West's ongoing street style looks. From Harper's BAZAAR

      Harper's Bazaar
    • Jessica Biel’s son has invented a totally new use for her fancy shoes

      Jessica Biel definitely has a fantastic sense of style, but now we know it’s really Jessica Biel’s son who’s the chic one in…

      Hello Giggles
    • Does Tyga Have A New Girlfriend After Kylie Jenner Break Up?

      Tyga may have found a new girlfriend following his reported split from Kylie Jenner.

      International Business Times