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Bottom-freezer fridges offer good looks for less.
Bottom-freezer fridges are a good option for anyone looking for a simple aesthetic upgrade to his or her kitchen. Many of those we've reviewed run between $1,200 and $1,700; some cost upward of $4,000, you can find some around $600. In general, they fall between top-freezer and French-door models on the pricing scale. Bottom freezers are uncommon, but have the subtle advantage of putting fresh foods closer to eye level, which could help some consumers kick that nightly habit of frozen pizzas and microwave dinners in favor of fresh produce.
Here are some of our current favorites.
Kenmore 79009 (MSRP $1,119)
Kenmore's 79009 was named the Best Bottom-Freezer in our 2012 Best of Year Awards. It's a dependable appliance offering superior temperature control, excellent moisture retention in foods, and energy efficiency significant enough to make a difference in your power bill. It's not perfect: There's no built-in back water filter, some of the components look slightly cheap, and the interior can get cramped, making it difficult to get to items at the back of the fridge. In spite of this, this bottom-freezer fridge would make a solid addition to your kitchen.
Fisher & Paykel E522BRX (MSRP $1,609)
For a counter-depth fridge, the Fisher & Paykel E522BRX performs quite well, beating most of the full-depth fridges in our lab tests. It's energy efficient even for its size, and the freezer is particularly consistent and fast-working. The water filter is stored externally, so you'll have to move the fridge every time you want to change it. It's also smaller than most fridges despite its high price, but that's part of the design—some folks have tighter spaces to fill. But aside from that, this is a great little unit.
Whirlpool GB2FHDXWS (MSRP $1,250)
The Whirlpool GB2FHDXWS is one of the most consistent bottom-freezer fridges we've tested. Temps stay very consistent in both the fridge and freezer, with almost no variation in temperature between shelves in each section. Frozen foods stay frozen for at least two days when the power goes out. Vegetables in the vegetable drawers stay moist. There are a few minor downsides: The freezer is small, and the shelves feel cheapish and aren't easy to move around. Still, it's a top-notch refrigerator.