Frigidaire FFHI2117LS Refrigerator Review
If you can find one... well... best leave it alone.
It seems that Frigidaire is yet again trying to trim some of the fat from its extensive—and slightly repetitive—lineup of top freezers. The FFHI2117LS (MSRP $979) bit the dust shortly after we purchased one to bring into our testing facilities. Turns out it's a decent—if overpriced—budget fridge, though one with an imprecise control panel that really forces consumers to buy an external thermometer to optimize its performance. With a design that's decidedly cheap and definitely dated, it's no wonder that the manufacturer decided to pull the plug on a model that doesn't really distinguish itself in any way.
Design & Usability
This Frigidaire by any other name would look like... well, a cheap Frigidaire.
We've seen products like this before: stainless steel with a prominent grain in the finish, cheap plastic drawers, and a control knob that makes temperature setting a crapshoot. The full-width shelves in the fridge make for easy access to most areas, utilizing a design that no consumer should find surprising assuming they've opened a refrigerator within the past thirty years or so. Despite sticky crisper drawers and a lack of any spill containment on the door—we've never understood the use of gaps between a shelf and its front edge—it's not a bad fridge, just an unimpressive one.
Performance & Features
Some outside assistance required.
Our approach to fridge calibration is as follows: if there's no actual degree scale on the control panel, we're going to set the dials to a recommended manufacturer mark if one is found. We figure that's what the average consumer is going to do, and we want to treat our products roughly the same way that you would. With that in mind... you'll need to buy an external thermometer if you buy this fridge.
Temperatures were wonderfully consistent over time; the catch is that the "Normal" mark puts the fridge at about five degrees warmer than we'd like (our ideal is 37 degrees Fahrenheit), while the freezer was a full 15 degrees warmer than it should have been. If a "Normal" setting on an ambiguous control panel sets things just a little too warm or a little too cold—we're talking a degree or two—that's acceptable; 5 to 15 degrees, however, is just not acceptable. An external thermometer should be a suggestive tool for optimization—not a base requirement.
Everything else about the fridge's performance, much like its approach to design, was solidly average. Moisture retention in the crispers was adequate, energy efficiency was adequate, and storage space was adequate for a fridge of this size and layout. There was simply nothing about this fridge that wowed us, but by that same token—temperature calibration aside—there wasn't really anything that truly disappointed us, either.
No great loss to the Frigidaire stable.
As we mentioned, the FFHI2117LS was very recently discontinued by Frigidaire. Frankly? No one's going to lose sleep over it. With a mediocre design, major calibration issues, and ho-hum performance all around, there's nothing about this product that makes it stand out from the pack...at least, in a positive way. For some reason, this over-priced top freezer was given the impressive MSRP of $979; now that it's discontinued, any one that you find will likely be a bit cheaper (we found some at discount online retailers for about $929). Even with a little bit taken off the top, however, this fridge really isn't worth it. You can find much better models at a much better price without looking too hard; a fridge this quality should really only be costing you no more than about $700, maybe $750 if it has a really nice finish.
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