Best Top Freezer Refrigerators of 2021

Credit: Insignia / Best Buy

A woman in a red sweater looks in a refrigerator

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

How we tested top freezer refrigerators

The testers

We are Review’s device test team: Jon Chan, Kyle Hamilton, and Julia MacDougall. We’ve spent many years testing major household appliances including washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and robot vacuums. But we’ve also used these devices like normal people would, which means we have a great idea of ​​which devices are bargains at their price and which devices have some really useful extra features.

The tests

We test each refrigerator from two angles: first, from a data-driven objective point of view, and second, as an ordinary person trying to get the leftover Chinese food. The combination of these two types of experiences allows us to recommend the best refrigerator to you at any price.

Kenmore 60412 refrigerator awaits testin

Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

We test refrigerators, like this top freezer and patio door, onsite in the Reviewed lab.

The devices work best under certain temperature conditions. Refrigerators, in particular, can be very sensitive to ambient air conditions. They suck in air and cool it to temperatures cold enough (usually around 37 ° F) to preserve food and inhibit the growth of bacteria. In hot weather, the condenser and cooling coils must work harder to cool the warmer air. In cold weather, the refrigerator generally has difficulty operating. Therefore, if you have a second refrigerator in your garage that is very hot or freezing cold, you may have noticed that the air inside that refrigerator is not as cold as the air inside. from your kitchen refrigerator.

To mitigate these possible temperature effects, we test each refrigerator in a special laboratory that conditions the air at a temperature of 72 ° F +/- 5 ° F, and a relative humidity of 50% RH +/- 15% RH (essentially, room temperature). This way, every refrigerator can have the chance to perform optimally and is not inadvertently penalized for having to deal with hotter or colder air than that of its competition.

For a week (including a calibration day), we put every refrigerator to the test. After filling the refrigerator with water ballast (since refrigerators work best when there is less empty space), we measure the refrigerator temperature, moisture loss, freezing time, usable space and energy consumption.


Our ideal temperature settings for the refrigerator and freezer are 37 ° F and 0 ° F, respectively. With refrigerator temperatures above 37 ° F, you have to start worrying about bacteria growth because 40 ° F is the start of bacteria. “dangerous zone”. Freezing temperatures above 0 ° F mean the food is not really frozen. Once we set each refrigerator to these temperatures, we collect temperature data throughout the week’s testing that not only tells us how far away the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer are 37 ° F and 0, respectively. ° F, but how far is the air temperature stayed to these ideal values.

Someone places a scoop of floral foam in the crisper of a refrigerator

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

For our moisture loss test, we add water to a ball of floral foam, place it in the crisper of the refrigerator, and then record the amount of water evaporated each day.

Moisture loss

For this test, we are focusing on the crisper in the refrigerator. We add water to a floral foam ball, then note the amount of water evaporated each day. Moisture loss rates are important because if the crisper is too dry your leafy greens will dry out very quickly. If the vegetable drawer is too wet, your fruit will rot. Refrigerators that can strike a balance between these two extremes will help you keep your fruits and vegetables for as long as possible.

Freezing time

Once the refrigerator is plugged in, we measure the time it takes for the freezer to cool from room temperature to 32 ° F (the freezing temperature of the water). This is a good measure of how quickly your refrigerator and freezer can cool foods or drinks that have just been placed inside the refrigerator.

Usable space

One of the most common refrigerator specifications is storage capacity, or the volume of the interior of the refrigerator, in cubic feet. You might think that a higher capacity means you can fit more in that refrigerator, but that’s not always the case. We measure the usable space, that is, the amount of empty space actually available inside the refrigerator. A number of things can reduce usable space in a refrigerator: the ice bucket and / or ice maker, a water filter, air filters, shelf arrangement, etc. The closer the usable space value is to the listed refrigerator storage capacity, the more food you can put in your refrigerator.

Energy consumption

Using an electric meter, we measure the energy consumption of the refrigerator (in Watt-hours) during the test week. The less energy you use, the more efficient this refrigerator is and the more it will save you on your utility bills in the future.

We also use each refrigerator in a more casual sense so that we can answer user questions about refrigerator specifications and features, like doors, shelves, controls, water / ice dispenser, and extras like smart connectivity, door-to-door or flexible storage options, etc. If a refrigerator keeps the temperature at perfect 37 ° F, but it’s very difficult to open the doors and the control panel doesn’t make sense, we’re going to penalize that refrigerator for its ease of use.

What You Should Know About Buying a Top Freezer Refrigerator

If your refrigerator just died, chances are you are in a hurry to replace it. But first, there are some things to know before buying a new refrigerator.

These are the main types of full size refrigerators

Credit: Samsung / Maytag

There are four main types of full size refrigerators.

There are four main styles of refrigerators: top freezer, bottom freezer, patio door, and side-by-side. Top freezer refrigerators are the most traditional and basic. They are also the cheapest.

If you are reading this article, it is because you are considering purchasing a top freezer refrigerator, where the refrigerator door and the freezer door open to the side.

Food preservation

No one wants to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a refrigerator that can’t keep your food fresh. Preserving your food is, after all, its most important job!

You can take a look at our refrigerator reviews and refrigerator roundups to see which one has done the best to maintain the right environment for your cold foods and drinks.

Your refrigerator cutout

If you are replacing a refrigerator with a very specific cutout (usually surrounded by countertops and / or cabinets), carefully measure your cutout. great for cutting.

Measure the height, width and depth of the cutout, then make sure to leave at least one to two inches between the top of the refrigerator and the cabinets above the refrigerator, as well as a few inches between the back of the refrigerator and the wall . Leaving those extra inches is especially helpful for air circulation.

Finally, when looking at the depth of your cutout, be sure to consider the depth of the refrigerator doors. If the distance between your refrigerator and your cabinets is not as wide as the thickness of the refrigerator doors, you may not be able to fully open the refrigerator doors.

Counter-depth vs. standard depth

The term “counter depth” refers to the depth of your refrigerator, especially its length beyond your cabinets. The standard depth of an ordinary full-size refrigerator is usually around 30 inches. If your refrigerator is surrounded by cabinets, it is probably four to six inches tall. But, if you have space restrictions or stylistic preferences that tend toward a refrigerator with a shallower profile, you might want to take a look at counter-depth refrigerators.

While there is no standard depth measurement for counter-depth refrigerators (much of it depends on the manufacturer), they can be up to six inches shallower than their counter-depth counterparts. This means you are wasting interior storage space due to the refrigerator’s shallower profile.

One more thing to consider: Although it’s smaller, a counter-depth refrigerator can cost more than its counter-depth counterpart.

Storage options

The most basic storage options include built-in shelves in the refrigerator, one or two crisper bins, and some shelving options on the refrigerator doors. When it comes to extra storage, top freezer refrigerators don’t get too exotic. Unlike patio doors, these are ultimately basic refrigerators.


If the prospect of using less water and energy appeals to you, consider Energetic star evaluating a refrigerator to get an idea of ​​what your utility bills might look like.

As a general rule, the more complicated your refrigerator (in terms of features and design), the more energy it uses. In our experience, this is not a parcel more than your more basic refrigerators, but it can add up over time. Only you can decide whether the added convenience is worth the increased operating costs.

Fit and finish

While you can still find black, white, and biscuit refrigerators in most stores, stainless steel is a more popular style with modern consumers. Either way, you should be able to find a refrigerator that matches your kitchen setup and your other appliances.


Top-freezer refrigerators are some of the most economical refrigerators on the market – most fall under or hover around $ 1,000 – and that’s because they’re the most basic, too. That said, brands from LG to Hotpoint to Whirlpool to Beko to Smeg all offer top-freezer refrigerators.

Other top freezer refrigerators we’ve tested

Karl M. Bailey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.