9 Top-Rated Refrigerators Under $1,000

By   

View as:

Photo credit: Andrey_Popov/shutterstock

COOL ON COST

Budget refrigerators may not be the featured-filled, stainless-steel dazzlers that have become so popular in recent years, but they get the job done. For buyers who can look past unnecessary extras, there are a number of inexpensive models that score high marks for temperature consistency, reliability, and roominess. Cheapism.com scoured ratings and reviews to recommend the best cheap refrigerators on the market, whether you're searching for a traditional top-freezer model, a roomy bottom-freezer model, or space-saving side-by-side refrigerator. We even found a French door model that's both chic and (relatively) cheap.

Related: 50 Food Storage Tips to Help Save Money and Cut Waste

Photo credit: Courtesy of bestbuy.com

BARE-BONES COMPACT REFRIGERATOR: WHIRLPOOL WRT314TFDW

Price: $495, Best Buy

Pros:

  • Compact 28-inch width fits even the smallest studio kitchens and packed garages.
  • Spill-proof glass shelves instead of the cheaper wire shelves common in this price range.
  • Relatively few durability complaints for a basic refrigerator.

Cons:

  • With only 14.3 cubic feet of space, this model may be too small for family use as a primary refrigerator.
  • No light in the freezer and basic incandescent lighting in refrigerator.
  • Available in only white or black.

Takeaway: The Whirlpool WRT314TFDW is a small but solidly built option for consumers who need a basic top-freezer fridge. Just don't expect extras or much space for under $500.

Photo credit: Courtesy of homedepot.com

SLIM TOP-FREEZER REFRIGERATOR: GE GTS18GTHWW

Price: $539, Home Depot

Pros:

  • This model fits in smaller kitchens, with a 28-inch width, but it's roomy enough for small families, with 17.5 cubic feet of space.
  • Spill-proof glass shelves instead of the cheaper wire shelves common in this price range.
  • Fewer durability complaints in user reviews compared with other basic refrigerators.

Cons:

  • Some snarking in reviews about noise when the compressor is running.
  • Dial temperature control may be imprecise; expert tests found it challenging to get the right balance between refrigerator and freezer.
  • No light in the freezer and basic incandescent lighting in the refrigerator.

Takeaway: The GE GTS18GTHWW is a reliable workhorse for buyers who want a top-freezer fridge without costly bells and whistles. Spill-proof glass shelves lend a higher-end feel.

Photo credit: Courtesy of homedepot.com

BEST ALL-AROUND TOP-FREEZER REFRIGERATOR: LG LTCS20220W

Price: $810, Home Depot

Pros:

  • With a 20.2-cubic-foot capacity, this model is quite roomy for a basic top-freezer refrigerator but still features a relatively narrow 30-inch width.
  • Top-notch scores from experts for temperature consistency and quiet operation.
  • Comes with an ice maker, spill-proof glass shelving, bright LED lighting in both the refrigerator and freezer, and a full-width pantry drawer that draws raves from owners.
  • Energy Star-rated for efficiency.

Cons:

  • Unlike on some models, in-door shelving can be rearranged or adjusted.
  • Some owners say the freezer-door seal isn't strong enough and occasionally pops open without warning.

Takeaway: Although it's a bit pricier than many basic top-freezer models, the LG LTCS20220W offers a hard-to-beat combination of roominess, efficiency, extra features, and quietly reliable performance.

Photo credit: Courtesy of lowes.com

ROOMIER TOP-FREEZER REFRIGERATOR: LG LTCS24223W

Price: $989, Lowes

Pros:

  • One of the roomiest top-freezer models on the market, with nearly 24 cubic feet of space.
  • Sleek, handle-free design helps maximize space in smaller kitchens.
  • Expert testers give this refrigerator top marks for efficiency and noise.
  • Full-width deli drawer and LED lighting in both freezer and refrigerator.
  • Energy Star-rated for efficiency.

Cons:

  • Temperatures were not as consistent as other models in expert testing.
  • Lacks the in-door ice and water dispenser that some models in this price range have.

Takeaway: Although it flirts with the top end of the Cheapism price range, the LG LTCS24223W is worth a look for shoppers seeking space and simplicity. With open shelves that hold an impressive amount, it's a very roomy 33-inch model.

Photo credit: Courtesy of homedepot.com

BASIC, SPACIOUS BOTTOM-FREEZER REFRIGERATOR: AMANA ABB1921BRW

Price: $809, Home Depot

Pros:

  • A 30-inch width lets this bottom-freezer model squeeze into narrow kitchens while offering a respectable 18 cubic feet of space.
  • Roomy, easy-to-clean glass shelves accommodate wider items, like large platters or pizza boxes, without a lot of rearranging.
  • Large, gallon-size door bins free up even more space in the main compartment.

Cons:

  • Unlike some models with bottom freezers, this one has a freezer compartment with a hinged door, rather than a drawer that slides open.
  • Some consumer reviewers say the compressor is noisy.
  • No light in the freezer and basic incandescent lighting in the refrigerator.

Takeaway: The Amana ABB1921BRW should satisfy buyers who want wider storage space and and a design that prioritizes fresh food at a rock-bottom price.

Photo credit: Courtesy of homedepot.com

BEST ALL-AROUND BOTTOM-FREEZER FRIDGE: WHIRLPOOL WRB119WFBW

Price: $899, Home Depot

Pros:

  • Relatively narrow, at 30 inches across, but still offers 18.7 cubic feet of space for food.
  • Three crispers, including two with humidity controls -- one more than most models we researched -- and adjustable door shelving.
  • Upgraded LED lighting in the refrigerator compartment.
  • Energy Star-rated for efficiency.

Cons:

  • Some grousing in reviews about excessive noise while the compressor is running.
  • Unlike some bottom-freezer and most French door refrigerators, this model has a freezer compartment that is hinged, like the main door, instead of sliding open.

Takeaway: This bottom-freezer fridge puts fresh food at eye level and provides space for pizza boxes and other large items. Owners of the Whirlpool WRB119WFBW are big fans of the three crispers and easy-to-adjust glass shelving.

Photo credit: Courtesy of homedepot.com

SLIM AND STYLISH SIDE-BY-SIDE REFRIGERATOR: WHIRLPOOL WRS322FDAW

Price: $899, Home Depot

Pros:

  • At 33 inches across, this model fits in smaller kitchens than most side-by-sides but still offers a relatively roomy 21.2 cubic feet of space.
  • A wider range of color options than usual: black, white, stainless steel, silver, and biscuit.
  • Convenient in-door water and ice dispenser and bright LED lighting in both the refrigerator and freezer.

Cons:

  • Basic wire shelving instead of glass in the freezer.
  • Several owners grouse that the ice dispenser spits cubes onto the floor.
  • Reviewers complain that the ice maker takes up far too much freezer space, limiting what can be stored.

Takeaway: Despite the slim profile of the Whirlpool WRS322FDAW, users say it's surprisingly roomy, especially given the ample door bins. A small price tag clinches the deal.

Photo credit: Courtesy of homedepot.com

BEST ALL-AROUND SIDE-BY-SIDE REFRIGERATOR: FRIGIDAIRE FFSS2614QP

Price: $799, Home Depot

Pros:

  • With 25.5 cubic feet of space, it's much roomier than other budget-friendly side-by-side refrigerators and the most spacious of any model we researched.
  • Adjustable shelves and bins are easy to customize, allowing room for larger and taller items.
  • Convenient in-door water and ice dispenser and incandescent lighting in both the refrigerator and freezer compartments.

Cons:

  • Noise complaints from some owners focus on compressor noise, while others report loud knocking from the ice maker.
  • No humidity controls on the crispers, a relatively standard feature in refrigerators at this price.

Takeaway: Owners say the Frigidaire FFSS2614QP offers more usable storage than many side-by-side refrigerators, with adjustable bins and spill-proof shelving that can make the space stretch even further.

Photo credit: Courtesy of bestbuy.com

AFFORDABLE FRENCH DOOR REFRIGERATOR: SAMSUNG RF18HFENBWW

Price: $1,000, Best Buy

Pros:

  • High marks from experts for temperature consistency and noise.
  • Compact, at 33 inches across, this French door model can fit in smaller kitchens.
  • Counter-depth design creates a sleek silhouette and is one of the cheapest of its type on the market.
  • Ice maker, spill-proof glass shelves, LED lighting, and door alarm.

Cons:

  • 18-cubic-foot capacity is small for a French door design.
  • Some reports of water leaks inside crisper drawers.
  • Main shelves may not accommodate taller items, forcing users to store them on door shelving.

Takeaway: If a French door model or a counter-depth design with a built-in look is a must-have, the Samsung RF18HFENBWW delivers for a lot less than the competition.