The traditional top freezer refrigerator has been around for decades. It’s still a popular choice, either as the main fridge in the kitchen or as a secondary unit for a garage or basement. Top freezer refrigerators provide a spacious area to store and organize fresh food with an upper section for frozen foods and ice. They offer excellent storage capacity for their width, which is typically narrower than side-by-side and French door units, and their wider doors let users accommodate larger items, such as pizza boxes and large platters. Plus, they’re often less expensive than other models.
If you’re in the market for a top freezer fridge, use this guide to identify the key factors and features to consider when shopping, and learn why the following models are top picks in their respective categories.
- BEST OVERALL: Frigidaire 18.3 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Whirlpool 14.3-cu ft Top-Freezer Refrigerator
- BEST FOR GARAGES: GE 21.9 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
- BEST WITH ICE MAKER: Samsung 17.6 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
- BEST COMPACT: Magic Chef 10.1 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
- BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: LG Electronics 23.8 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
- BEST COUNTER-DEPTH: Galanz 10.0 cu. ft. Retro Top Freezer Refrigerator
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Top Freezer Refrigerator
Size and capacity, shelving and organization system, and aesthetic appeal are among the features likely to vary from one model to the next. Get a handle on these factors below to help when shopping for the best top freezer refrigerator.
Size and Capacity
Size is probably the top priority. Measure the length, width, and height of the space, and compare those results to the dimensions of refrigerators under consideration. For a smaller 10-cubic foot model, top freezer fridges range in size from about 23 inches wide, 26 inches deep, and, for a larger 24-cubic foot model, 60 inches tall to about 33 inches wide, 29 inches deep, and 68 inches tall.
Also consider the capacity, which is measured in cubic feet, of each model to ensure that it can hold enough food. Most top freezer refrigerators have a capacity between 10 and 24 cubic feet, with about 7 to 18 cubic feet for the main section and about 3 to 6 cubic feet for the freezer. A model with a capacity between 19 and 22 cubic feet holds enough food for an average family of four.
Look for adjustable shelves that allow modifications in shelf height to store, for example, tall bottles and stock pots. Confirm that the size and location of the drawers, typically for produce and meats, can meet the family’s needs. Check out the storage receptacles in the door to see if the items are within easy reach. Finally, determine that the freezer’s shelves, bins, and door storage options will help organize frozen foods.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends setting refrigerators at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. All top freezer refrigerators should meet these temperature guidelines, but if you wish to store foods outside of these recommended ranges, pay attention to the temperature settings for each model.
Also factor in the ease of adjusting the temperature and whether the controls are convenient and in the preferred style: dial or a push-button control. Also determine if the controls display the actual temperature in degrees or simply in a range from “cool” to “coldest.”
An energy-efficient refrigerator can reduce your energy bills by up to 15 percent and decrease your environmental footprint. To receive ENERGY STAR certification from the Environmental Protection Agency, a freezer refrigerator must use at least 10 percent less energy than the minimum federal efficiency standards. Each model should include an Energy Guide pamphlet or sticker that identifies the estimated yearly costs to operate the refrigerator and compares those costs to other similar models.
Water Dispenser and Ice Maker
Some freezer refrigerators offer water dispensers and ice makers. Water dispensers are the less common option, because this feature is typically located on the exterior door of a side-by-side model. On a top freezer refrigerator, the water dispenser is inside the door of the fridge compartment.
A built-in ice maker provides access to fresh ice without ice cube trays. Many ice makers also allow customization of the size of the cubes. However, an ice maker consumes freezer space, reducing storage capacity. As you shop, consider whether an ice maker is truly a priority.
A freezer refrigerator’s appearance affects the overall look of the room. The most popular exterior finishes available include stainless steel, black, and white, but black stainless steel, bisque, and even red also may be available. Consider the color and finish of other appliances as well as the material and color of cabinets and countertops.
The design of the handles on each refrigerator, as well as whether the edges are rounded or square, also impact aesthetic appeal. For a built-in refrigerator, consider a model that closely coordinates with the cabinets or a counter-depth refrigerator that sits flush with the cabinets and countertops.
Our Top Picks
The following selection of top-quality models considers all these criteria as well as the manufacturer. Keep reading for details to help find the best refrigerator to keep food fresh.
Frigidaire’s top freezer refrigerator offers a spacious 18.3-cubic-foot capacity and a flexible interior storage system to organize fresh and frozen items. It features full-width glass shelves in both the refrigerator and freezer sections, large in-door storage bins, a half-width deli drawer, and large humidity-controlled crisper drawers with roller support for produce.
This model features Frigidaire’s EvenTemp cooling system to provide optimized airflow and maintain a consistent temperature throughout the unit. The doors close automatically when 5 inches ajar, a feature that helps prevent food spoilage. The interior is brightly lit to make it easy to find foods quickly, and the temperature is easy to adjust with a single knob. Choose from stainless steel, black, and white finishes.
The 14.3-cubic-foot top freezer fridge from Whirlpool offers quality and storage capacity at a relatively affordable price. This model boasts a quiet cooling system, and users can adjust the refrigerator and freezer temperatures via the dial controls in the front of each section.
The freezer has a full-width wire shelf to hold frozen foods, while the refrigerator compartment features adjustable glass shelves to customize the layout. The shelves also feature a unique raised-lip design to stop leaks from spreading throughout the refrigerator. Two crisper drawers at the base provide space for fruits and vegetables. This model is available in black or white.
Garages are not usually temperature controlled, but this GE model can perform in temperatures ranging from 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This unit boasts a 21.9-cubic-foot interior, edge-to-edge glass shelves, and modular in-door storage bins for customization. The glass freezer shelves can be adjusted as well. Two crisper drawers and a deli drawer keep produce, meats, and cheeses fresh.
LED lighting inside the fridge makes it easy to find food items. Temperature controls for the refrigerator and freezer, both in the front of the refrigerator’s interior, let users set each section to their preferred temperature. This model is available in stainless steel, fingerprint-resistant slate, fingerprint-resistant black slate, black, and white.
If a built-in ice maker is a must-have, consider this 17.6-cubic-foot model from Samsung. The ice maker is tucked into the top left of the freezer section. This model has Samsung’s Twin Cooling Plus feature, which maintains a slightly higher humidity level in the fridge for produce and a lower humidity level in the freezer to decrease freezer burn. Set the temperature of its special FlexZone in the refrigerator section to “cool” or “freeze.”
This model has full-width glass shelves in the refrigerator and freezer, two produce bins, a dairy bin, and in-door storage. A full-width Slide & Reach Pantry shelf pulls out to provide easy access to the contents. LED lights illuminate the interior, and the fridge is ENERGY STAR certified. It’s available in fingerprint-resistant stainless steel, fingerprint-resistant black stainless steel, and white.
Magic Chef’s 10.1-cubic-foot top freezer refrigerator measures 23.6 inches wide, 25.2 inches deep, and 59.4 inches tall. The unit has a flush back to conserve space. Despite its compact size, the refrigerator offers a functional design to help maximize room. The refrigerator section has two adjustable glass shelves, in-door bins and racks, and two crisper drawers. The freezer features a full-width shelf to keep foods organized and easy to find.
Independently adjust the temperature controls on the freezer and refrigerator sections, and find items more easily in its well-lit interior. This ENERGY STAR-certified top freezer refrigerator is available in a platinum steel, black, or white finish.
This 23.8-cubic-foot top freezer refrigerator from LG Electronics is suitable for large families or those with oversize food storage needs. This model offers humidity-controlled crispers, a full-width deli drawer, adjustable glass interior shelves, and in-door storage bins. The freezer has in-door storage and an adjustable shelf to keep foods easier to access, plus a built-in ice maker.
This model features a multi-airflow system with digital sensors and vents to maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels throughout the unit. Use the digital temperature controls to set the refrigerator and freezer to the desired temperatures. Bright LED lights on the rear panel provide light, while the contoured doors have hidden hinges. It’s available in a stainless steel or smooth white finish.
A counter-depth top freezer refrigerator is not as deep as a standard model, allowing it to remain flush with countertops and cabinets. This version from Galanz has a unique retro design that’s available in a red or black finish. Despite its 10.0-cubic-foot capacity, it can hold and organize a variety of beverages as well as fresh and frozen foods.
The three slide-out glass shelves are adjustable and removable for more flexible storage options. A full-width produce crisper is at the base of the unit, and it includes in-door storage bins and can organizers. This model has an adjustable thermostat and a bright interior light. It’s an ENERGY STAR-certified appliance.
FAQs About Top Freezer Refrigerators
For additional info to help make the right decision on a new fridge, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions.
Q. Does a top freezer fridge work well in a small kitchen?
While the answer depends on the layout of the kitchen, top freezer refrigerators usually are narrower than side-by-side models. However, in a narrow kitchen, a side-by-side refrigerator may be a better option since the smaller doors won’t block tight walkways when open. For a small kitchen, look for one with a flush back to conserve more space.
Q. Can I buy a top freezer fridge with an in-door water dispenser?
Yes, top freezer fridges with an in-door water dispenser exist, but they are uncommon.
Q. How long do top freezer refrigerators last?
The length of time a refrigerator lasts varies. Most top freezer refrigerators will last between 10 to 15 years.