Like the television, refrigerators are also staple appliances in any home. Because it prevents food from spoiling and gives enough space for you to store food items, refrigerators can be considered as the heart and soul of a kitchen. To that end, it is important to invest in a refrigerator brand that is reliable and delivers a long-lasting performance.
But not all refrigerator brands are built the same. Some brands also have a stellar performance with other appliances but fall short with refrigerators. So, to help you in narrowing down that refrigerator brand choice, this post rounds up the refrigerator brands to avoid.
In this article:
- How to identify a bad refrigerator brand
- 7 worst refrigerator brands to avoid
- 5 most reliable refrigerator brands
- Mistakes to avoid when buying a new refrigerator
- What should I look for when buying a refrigerator?
- When to replace a refrigerator?
- What brand of refrigerator has the least problems?
- What brand of refrigerator lasts the longest?
- Which brand is best for a side-by-side refrigerator?
- Is Midea refrigerator a good brand?
- Is Maytag a good brand for refrigerators?
- Is Kenmore a good brand for refrigerators?
How to identify a bad refrigerator brand
There are subtle red flags in refrigerators, but we tend to just leave them be because of our loyalty to a brand and other reasons. But to be a smart buyer, here are some pointers to identify a bad refrigerator brand.
- Low quality construction and cheap materials.
- Doors are misaligned or do not fit right.
- Frequent malfunctioning.
- Short warranties.
- Leaking issues.
- Replacement parts and accessories are pricey.
- Bad customer service.
7 worst refrigerator brands to avoid
To generate an unbiased judgment on the refrigerator brands to avoid, we based this list in terms of the overall market performance of the brand as well as anecdotal evidence from customers who have tried it. So, without much ado, here are some of the refrigerator brands to avoid.
1. Frigidaire (French door)
To be fair, Frigidaire is a trusted appliance brand but their new refrigerator models especially the French door series received a lot of complaints. Sure, it is sleek looking and has a range of commendable features like quick freeze and adjustable storage. However, some notable drawbacks have been listed too.
Its most listed issues would be its misaligned doors which affect the freezing performance of the refrigerator. It also received complaints on malfunctioning ice makers, weak handles, and cooling problems. On top of that, reviews also list poor customer service and costly maintenance as other cons of Frigidaire refrigerator.
2. Kitchen Aid
This refrigerator brand is considered as one of the most durable. However, some of its counter-depth ref models have been falling short when it comes to performance. Because of this, the brand has quickly dwindled to the list of refrigerator brands to avoid.
The most notable issues associated with Kitchenaid refrigerators would be misaligned doors and design flaws that affect cooling performance and ice making. It also has water leakage problems and serious interior water dispenser issues.
The worst complaints listed in major review platforms would be the abnormal sounds it produces after the 6th month mark and rusting in just a year.
It might be a shock to find this reputable appliance brand, but the Fingerprint Resistant models tarnished their reputation when it comes to refrigerators. Newer models are commendable for their high-end features like automatic defrosting, dual evaporator system and door alarms but negative feedbacks outweigh these sleek features.
First off, the door shelves are considered too narrow and inconvenient by customers. Its handles and drawers also easily get damaged. Function wise, the ice maker leaks, the internal storage is not that organized, and the motor makes whirring sounds in less than a year of use. To top that, poor customer service is also noted.
For design and good price range, this brand is usually at the frontier for appliance choice, but its common issue would always be its durability and overall longevity. The most noted issue regarding this brand’s refrigerator would be temperature fluctuations. This one is significant because it affects your electric bill.
Aside from this, customers also posted doubts on the inferior build of the refrigerators from this brand. Other problems associated with this brand would be its durability, abnormal sounds from the icemaker and poor customer service.
When it comes to innovation, Bosch is a leading appliance brand. However, it is a part of this list because of various, significant reasons. One of the listed issues of their refrigerators would be water leakage problems in just less than a year of use. Customers have also listed poor performance of icemakers.
In terms of function and ergonomics, customers noted that their refrigerators’ crisper are hard up when it comes to maintaining humidity. Their interior design is also poorly thought of due to their narrowness. Others also specifically note ‘cheap manufacturing’ of the pieces because they are damaged easily.
There are just some glitch products even for reputable appliance brands like this one. It is rated ‘poor’ and ‘least preferred brand’ by websites like Amazon and Best Buy. Its most noted flaw would be water leaks, ice keeps on falling from the icemaker, and poor interior build.
Most of all, much of the negative complaints revolve around the expensiveness of the refrigerators from this brand from purchase to premature repairs. On top of this, negative feedback is also given to their customer service.
Aside from being pricey, it just does not deliver when it comes to refrigerators. In 2017-2020, SMEG refs only generated 20% for customer satisfaction. Appliance lab test results also found out that it has very unstable temperature efficiency. Other than this, their refrigerators cost a lot ($4000!) and their customer service is also rated ‘poor’.
5 most reliable refrigerator brands
So as not to dampen your range of choices when it comes to refrigerators, here is a list of some notable refrigerator brands that you could check out. Like the aforementioned list, the basis for this list is also market performance as well as customer rating and popular reviews on major review platforms.
This brand really lives up to the hype as it has been consistently listed as a top choice for appliances. It is not just known for its ergonomic design and sleek features. It also has a prime reputation for its reliability, longevity, and fair price. The upside of this brand would be their innovative features and its well-organized internal design.
When it comes to function, it is commendable for its ability to maintain temperatures and the right internal humidity. With its Smart WiFi feature, LG refrigerators became more of a top ref brand.
Newer models are now equipped with a smart cooling system or being able to control the temperature using phone apps. They also have dual icemakers, an interior water dispenser, and durable build.
When it comes to reliability, customers note that there is nothing out there like GE. Their ref models are especially loved for their durable icemakers. The freezing capacity and maintenance of internal temperatures are also noted as very commendable. In terms of interior design, GE refrigerators are noted for their organized layout and having a lot of drawers and storage.
When it comes to exterior build, people love their smudge-free build. The icing on the cake is its high energy star rating. Its energy efficiency is evidenced by anecdotal reviews of lower electric bills.
This one is another top choice brand when it comes to gadgets and appliances. Aside from creating super sleek looking refrigerators, they are also freezing innovators. Samsung is one of the earliest refrigerator brands to infuse smart technology in their freezing capacities and temperature regulation.
They also have a built-in smart hub for you to manage your home calendar. Most of all, you can also shop right in front of the refrigerator’s door with this feature. All of these can be taken at a reasonable price and good customer service.
This is not as popular as the others, but this brand is slowly taking the market by storm when it comes to their refrigerator products. It is quite expensive but if you are one who is looking for durability and unorthodox refrigerator designs, then this brand can deliver that.
Some of its upsides is that you can customize the interior layout of your refrigerator before buying it. You can also choose the design of the exterior look of the ref. Other than this, all their refs are now smart technology equipped. Most of all, they have a separate evaporator to keep easily spoiled food longer.
5. Magic Chef
If you are looking for reliable, compact refrigerators, just turn to Magic Chef. Functionality is the selling point of this brand. Given their small sizes, you would find a well-organized interior layout.
The interior shelves can accommodate more than enough, and its minimalist look would fit any compact home too. As for durability, you can get the most out of this brand. It deserves all the good reviews in online stores.
Mistakes to avoid when buying a new refrigerator
Refrigerators are not regular investments because you are most likely to use it for the next several years. However, one is never invulnerable to making buying mistakes when it comes to refrigerators. So, to save you from costly repairs and expensive buys without delivering the best functions, you must avoid the following mistakes.
#1. Being under-researched
It pays to do a comprehensive research about various refrigerator brands before buying one. It might be a tedious task but knowing which one to buy and which to avoid could save you time and lots of money in the long run.
It is recommended that you come up with a list of features that you want to have for your ref. Cross-checking the performance of each brand option with each feature helps you in making the right choice.
#2. Getting the wrong size
This is a common mistake for newbie ref buyers. Customers tend to forget that not all spaces in the home are cut for their desired ref type and design. Before going to the appliance store, accurately measure the intended space for the ref.
You are not only measuring the height and width of the ref. You also have to give allowance for its entrance to the door, the space covered when opening the door, its relative height with the ceiling and so on.
#3. Not considering energy efficiency
Sometimes, we are easily lured by the visual appeal and high-end features of a refrigerator but are ignorant with how much they would rake on electric bill. Not prioritizing energy efficiency is a costly mistake when choosing a refrigerator.
#4. Not knowing your own home’s water lines
This mistake is especially significant for people who are considering buying a refrigerator with an interior water dispenser. Not knowing where to hook it up or being ignorant that you would need water lines for that does not give you the best high-end experience for these types of refrigerators.
#5. Getting the wrong style
When it comes to shape, size, and design, refrigerators come with various sets of pros and cons. For this, you must know which spaces are best for counter-depth refs, French door refs, top/bottom refs, column freezers, and others.
#6. Not considering capacity, storage, and finishing
Capacity, storage, and finishing are not just default sets in refrigerators. They must be relatively chosen based on household size, household composition and most bought items.
This means that fingerprint resistant models and top and bottom refs are good for homes with active toddlers and kids while column freezers are good for small spaces with small household size.
What should I look for when buying a refrigerator?
So, how do you pick the right refrigerator for you? Like how meticulous you are in buying prized stuff, there are also important factors to consider when it comes to what you should look for when buying a refrigerator. To round that up, look at this list of buying guides.
Pick the right style
Refrigerators come in a range of styles, and each has its pros and cons. Here is a brief rundown of refrigerator styles.
- Top freezer ref: This is the traditional ref style with a spacious freezer on the top half and organized drawers and shelves in the interior layout. It works well in compact spaces.
- Bottom freezer ref: It works well in average usable spaces. Compared to the top freezer, you can navigate the shelves and drawers immediately because they are the one you can see on eye level, and you only open the freezer for meats and other stuff.
- French door refs: This one features two narrow doors at the top and a bottom freezer. Usually, they also come with an extra drawer in between. It is space saving because you only open one door occasionally and energy efficient too because you do not open and close the whole thing every time you need small stuff.
- Side-by-side ref: This is a narrow-doored ref with the drawers and crisper on one door and the freezer on the other one. They also have water dispensers and ice makers in the front. While space saving, they cannot open wide enough, and their relatively narrow compartments make ease of access to stuff a bit complicated.
- Built-in refrigerator: They are pricey but since they can fit most cabinets and go well with kitchen counters, they are worth the price. They are tall, they come in various styles, and they are commendable for their space and efficiency.
It is important to measure the designated space for the refrigerator and make sure that when you put them in, it would fit the door. Also consider a space allowance for the refrigerator’s door to swing open. Aside from this, provide at least an inch of space allowance on all sides to ensure airflow.
Refrigerators come at a size that is in between 10-36 cubic ft. When you are living alone, a nice 10 cubic ft is more than enough. For a family of four, it should be 18-24 cubic ft but for large households, 26-36 cubic ft should be considered.
Refrigerator price most of the time depends on the features that it has. You must look for key features that could give more convenience and better food item organization. Here are some recommended features that you should look for and be wary about at the same time:
- Through the door water and ice dispenser: This is a very requested feature because it speaks convenience. However, note that it is also one that would most likely get damaged first and may be a point of countless repairs. It also dents the electric bill so think before trading storage spaces for water and ice.
- Door in door storage: This is an ergonomic feature because with a door in door, you can just put the most used items in it and just open it without having to open the entire refrigerator. This feature offers more energy efficiency.
- Features to ensure freshness: Who would not want a refrigerator that ensures freshness for all food items, right? Freshness features include dual evaporators to maintain and adjust humidity to prevent bad odors from developing in refrigerated areas. Some also come with interior air purifiers to inhibit mold spores and vacuum sealed drawers and crispers that keep the food fresh for a long time.
- Temperature controls: We are used to traditional freezers with just one control unit, but you can make that a thing of the past. Sophisticated temperature controls are great energy savers. You can control the temperature for each drawer like making the freezer colder for cold cuts and meats. You can also set the humidity level for crispers and drawers.
- Adjustable shelves and drawers: Organizing the refrigerator can be a daunting task but it should not be if you have adjustable shelves and drawers. This means that you can easily make room for taller items, split some shelves to make way for items that should not be in the same place and shelf snuggers to be attached on the racks for beverages and dips.
- Smart technology: A good combo with sophisticated temperature controls would be smart technology. Refrigerators that you can control remotely can ensure that all food items are kept in check. Some even have a built-in camera so you can check which items need to be bought. A huge plus would be having a touchscreen panel connected to the WiFi where you can order food items online.
This is the ultimate selling point of all refrigerators. As have been said, refrigerators are appliances that are used 24/7 and you need a ref that would not rake up on electric bill. Always choose a refrigerator with an energy star rating of 6 and up. You can also buy an energy meter to calculate the percentage that the ref adds to the electric bill.
Note that most refrigerators only come at a limited warranty. So, if you find one that gives an extended warranty period, it should make your options list.
When to replace a refrigerator?
Replacing a refrigerator is not as easy as you think it is. To make a practical decision to ditch the unit once and for all, you need to keep some pointers in mind.
- Age of ref: It is time to replace a refrigerator if it has already served you at least 15 years. By this time, it has served its course and the compressor might start to give up. At the 8th year mark, you might have experienced repairs. When the repair cost outweighs buying a new one, know that it is time to let go.
- Energy cost: Refrigerators typically run 24hrs a day. Older refrigerators tend to lose their energy efficiency. As such, even if you are not repairing it, its age may cost you more than the repair itself. Always note that refrigerators that are beyond ten years are more likely to consume twice the electricity consumption of new refrigerators.
- Refrigerator type: We must accept that there really are some refrigerator types that are more prone to damage and repairs than others. For instance, a side-by-side refrigerator might need continuous repair at the 5th year mark.
- Issues on features and functions: Aside from these major considerations, you should also start thinking of replacing your refrigerator once you see or experience the following:
- Door misalignment
- Frequent water leaks
- Cooling issues
- Icemaker is no longer functioning
- Grounding and other power issues
- Abnormal sounds when turned on
- Food spoiling even when stored at low temperature
- The backside of the ref easily gets hot
- Freezing temperature fluctuation
- Frost or condensation are becoming more frequent
- Too many premature repairs
- Electric bill is sky-rocketing
What brand of refrigerator has the least problems?
When it comes to the reliability and not having a lot of problems in a significant span of time, it would be a tie among Samsung, LG, GE and believe it or not, Whirlpool especially if you are looking for durable French door refrigerators.
What brand of refrigerator lasts the longest?
As for refrigerator brands that last the longest, it would also be a tie between Frigidaire, Maytag, and GE. They are known to have a lifespan of 12-20 years and that is why a lot of customers choose them. Longevity without an effect on performance sets a good selling point for these refrigerators.
Which brand is best for a side-by-side refrigerator?
Side-by-side refrigerators are quite high maintenance and the best brand out there that you can get for a reasonable price would be GE. They usually come with spacious designs, shelving is commendable, and high-end features are seamlessly incorporated in the whole design.
Is Midea refrigerator a good brand?
This brand has become a competitive one in the last 10 years because of their good build and superior manufacturing. One of its best-selling points would be energy efficiency. It has a high energy star rating, and it maintains this energy efficiency for the years to come so, yes, Midea is a good refrigerator brand.
Is Maytag a good brand for refrigerators?
This is a resounding yes. Maytag has been consistently listed in the roster of top refrigerator brands for the last seven years. They feature refrigerators that are made for a large household with all these sturdy, massive doors, huge capacity, and well-organized storage. Aside from its high reliability rate, Maytag refrigerators also come at a reasonable price.
Is Kenmore a good brand for refrigerators?
Like GE, Kenmore is one of the best rated side-by-side refrigerators according to major customer pulse reports. It consistently ranked first in terms of reliability and customer satisfaction. It has been around a hundred years, with reputable awards around its belt so yes, that alone speaks of it as a good brand.
When it comes to refrigerators and all appliances for that matter, it always pays to know better. The major trick behind this is to research ahead and cross-check everything. Being a meticulous buyer is a good consumer attitude in an era of brand competitions. Each of them would surely bring better this and that but not all could live up to that hype.
Knowing what brands to avoid for refrigerators saves you a lot of time, money, and effort. Being one of the most important appliances in the home, choosing the best refrigerator for you is a must. So, with all the things that we covered here, the right choice for your ref is just within arms’ reach.