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 allow you to 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 some of the most important key features to consider when shopping, and learn why the following models are the 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: Whirlpool 18.2 cu. ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator
- BEST COMPACT: Magic Chef 10.1 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
- BEST LARGE-CAPACITY: LG 23.8 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator
- BEST COUNTER-DEPTH: Galanz 10.0 cu. ft. Retro Top Freezer Refrigerator
Our Top Picks
The following selection of top-quality refrigerators includes a variety of models to accommodate different household needs. Check out the key details of each model below, which can help narrow down the search when looking for 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 they’re 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.
- Capacity: 18.3 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 66.375 inches tall by 30 inches wide by 30.375 inches deep
- Energy Star certified: No
- Competitively priced family-size model features EvenTemp cooling for consistent cooling throughout the appliance
- Flexible storage bins and full-width glass shelves in both refrigerator and freezer
- Prevents food waste or thawing as doors auto close when left slightly ajar
- While most feedback is positive, occasional breakdowns suggest quality control may be inconsistent
Get the Frigidaire top-freezer refrigerator at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
The 14.3-cubic-foot top-freezer fridge from Whirlpool offers high quality and a decent amount of storage space at a very competitive price. This model boasts a quiet cooling system, and you 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 includes adjustable glass shelves to customize the layout. The shelves also have 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 and white.
- Capacity: 14.3 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 62.875 inches tall by 28 inches wide by 32.25 inches deep
- Energy Star certified: No
- A budget-friendly model with enough space and versatility to suit many families
- Considering its compact size, it still offers a useful 3.87 cubic feet of freezer space
- Both refrigerator and freezer have door bins that help maximize useful storage
- Although normally reliable, a few customers found temperature control difficult, and some thought it noisy
Get the Whirlpool 14.3-cubic-foot top-freezer refrigerator at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Appliances Connection.
Garages are not usually temperature controlled, but this GE model can perform in temperatures ranging from 38 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s ideal for that kind of unconditioned space. 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 easier to find food items. Temperature controls for the refrigerator and freezer, which are in the front of the refrigerator’s interior, let you set each section to your preferred temperature. This model is available in stainless steel, fingerprint-resistant stainless steel, fingerprint-resistant slate, fingerprint-resistant black slate, black, and white.
- Capacity: 21.9 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 66.375 inches tall by 32.75 inches wide by 34.5 inches deep
- Energy Star certified: No
- Operates with room temperatures as low as 38 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s ideal for unconditioned spaces like garages
- Modular door bins in freezer and refrigerator accept containers of all shapes and sizes
- Easy-to-use controls for both compartments, and it’s ice-maker ready (ice maker costs extra)
- Faults aren’t common but there have been problems with the refrigerator section not cooling properly
Get the GE top-freezer refrigerator at The Home Depot, Appliances Collection, or Best Buy.
Many top-freezer refrigerators either don’t have an ice maker or must be added on as an extra cost. For those who want this feature, the Whirlpool—with its factory-fitted unit—is an excellent choice. Easy-to-reach electronic temperature controls make setting the desired level easy in both freezer and refrigerator compartments.
Versatile storage options include numerous door pockets, one freezer shelf, four full-width refrigerator shelves, and a Flexi-Slide shelf bin that can be positioned to the left or right to allow space for tall items. Bright incandescent lighting makes it easy to see the contents. Total capacity is 18.15 cubic feet, and this model is available in stainless steel, white, and black.
- Capacity: 18.15 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 65.875 inches tall by 29.75 inches wide by 33.5 inches deep
- Energy Star certified: No
- Has a factory-installed ice maker with an improved design to reduce noise
- Electronic temperature controls for setting to the desired level
- Offers plenty of useful shelving, humidity-controlled drawers, and a Flexi-Slide bin
- Ice maker eats into freezer space and makes this quite an expensive choice
Get the Whirlpool 18.2 top-freezer refrigerator at The Home Depot, Appliances Connection, or Best Buy.
Magic Chef’s 10.1-cubic-foot top-freezer refrigerator is 59.4 inches tall by 23.6 inches wide by 26 inches deep. The unit has a flush back to conserve space. Despite its compact size, the refrigerator offers a functional design to help maximize interior space. 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, and white finishes.
- Capacity: 10.1 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 59.4 inches tall by 23.6 inches wide by 26 inches deep
- Energy Star certified: Yes
- Compact yet practical; ideal for small kitchens, offices, and break rooms
- Good versatility with full-width shelves and door bins in both compartments
- Available in 3 finishes to suit many kitchen designs
- Although hugely popular, there are reports of cooling faults and motor failures
Get the Magic Chef top-freezer refrigerator at The Home Depot or Amazon.
This energy-efficient 23.8-cubic-foot top-freezer refrigerator from LG Electronics is suitable for large families or those with oversize food storage needs. It offers humidity-controlled crispers, a deli drawer, adjustable glass interior shelves, and in-door storage bins. The freezer has in-door storage as well and an adjustable shelf to keep foods easier to access. There’s also a convenient cold-water dispenser.
The LG top-freezer refrigerator features a multi-airflow system with digital sensors to maintain optimal temperature and humidity levels throughout the unit. Digital temperature controls are used to set the refrigerator and freezer to the desired temperatures. Bright LEDs on the rear panel provide light. The finish is fingerprint-resistant stainless steel.
- Capacity: 23.8 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 69 inches tall by 33 inches wide by 34 inches deep
- Energy Star certified: Yes
- High-capacity model includes an impressive 6.2-cubic-foot freezer at a competitive price
- Digital sensors and multi-airflow system are designed to keep food fresher for longer
- Features built-in cold-water dispenser and humidity-controlled crispers
- Larger than most on the list, so it’s important to check dimensions
- A few buyers report compressor failures
Get the LG top-freezer refrigerator at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Best Buy.
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 red, black, blue, and white finishes. 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.
- Capacity: 10.0 cubic feet
- Dimensions: 61.81 inches tall by 23.74 inches wide by 27.48 inches deep
- Energy Star certified: Yes
- Popular retro style sized to fit flush with countertops and floor-standing kitchen cabinets
- Removable shelves and a variety of door bins provide versatile storage options
- Comes in 4 sumptuous finishes: Vinyl Black, Bebop Blue, Hot Rod Red, and Milkshake White
- Modest capacity for its size, and the retro style won’t suit all kitchens
Get the Galanz top-freezer refrigerator at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart. (Color availability varies at retailers.)
What to Consider When Choosing a Top-Freezer Refrigerator
Size and capacity, shelving and organization system, and aesthetic appeal are among the features likely to vary from one refrigerator model to the next. Get a handle on these factors 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 available space, and compare those results to the dimensions of refrigerators under consideration. For a smaller 10-cubic-foot model, top-freezer fridges start at around 23 inches wide and 26 inches deep. For a larger 24-cubic-foot model, they can be about 60 inches tall by 33 inches wide by 29 inches deep to about 68 inches tall.
Size doesn’t necessarily dictate capacity, so it’s important to review the capacity specifications that are measured in cubic feet. Knowing the capacity will help ensure that those models under consideration can hold the desired amount of 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. Those who need more space may want to check out our top picks and the buying guides for French door refrigerator models or for side-by-side refrigerator models.
The shelving system is also an important feature to consider when comparing models. Those who need flexible storage will want to look for adjustable shelves that allow modifications in shelf height to store, for example, tall bottles and stockpots.
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 typical frozen foods that the household stores.
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 energy bills by up to 15 percent and decrease the environmental footprint when compared to standard models. 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 from major retailers includes 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 usually 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, and it’s typical practice to match them with other home appliances. 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.
For additional information 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 a refrigerator with a flush back to conserve more space. Undercounter refrigerators and freezers are another option.
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 and 15 years.
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