refrigerators
  • Best of Year 2016
  • Editors' Choice
Expert Score
10.0

GE Café CFE28TSHSS Refrigerator Review

We think this GE is the best fridge you can buy

July 03, 2017
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Our refrigerator tester and appliance editor spent two weeks with the GE Café CFE28TSHSS (MSRP $3,100), and think it's the best refrigerator you can buy. Here's why:

GE-Cafe-CFE28TSHSS-vanity.jpg
One of the best fridges on the market today.

• A hot water dispenser is perfect for tea, soup, or baby bottles
• Our tests show the fridge and freezer both keep consistent temperatures for ideal food preservation
• It is built at GE's Appliance Park factory in Louisville, KY and gets good user reviews for reliability
• High-end touches like smooth-gliding shelves, spill-proof rubberized door bins, and LED lights make it easier to use
• Most of its 28 cu. ft. of storage space is well-organized and easy to customize

It's also available in GE's new Black Slate finish as the CFE28UELDS, with a built in K-Cup coffee maker (yep) as the CFE28USHSS, and in a shallower counter-depth design, too.

To learn more about why our testers and editors love this fridge, read on.

How it looks and feels

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Handles are sturdy, but have an oddly textured feel to them.

Design-wise, this GE Café is version 2.0 of another great fridge. Updated to meet Energy Star's new refrigerator requirements, our tests show that it’s even better than the model it replaces.

The exterior dispenser features a base that slides out about an inch to accommodate larger items. It’s also one of the taller niches we’ve seen, making it easier to fill jugs or other oddly shaped containers.

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We couldn't find anything wrong with this high-end French door fridge.

A matching control panel blends in well with the stainless finish. When active, the responsive touch screen initially displays animated icons based on which dispenser setting is active—water, crushed ice, or cubed ice. Even with the added animations, prompts are intuitive, and settings require minimal effort to locate.

The doors themselves have a definite sense of weight to them, and require some force to open. Our only design quibble actually came down to the handles. Unlike most handles, which feel smooth, the GE’s had a coarse, grainy texture. They're not rough or sandpapery, but multiple reviewers thought they felt unfinished.

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These two crispers are excellent at preserving produce.

Open the doors and you’ll see bright LED lighting illuminate the spacious fridge interior. It’s replete with adjustable shelves, two crispers, and a full-width drawer with independently adjustable temperature.

The two larger buckets on the right door come with removable rubber bottoms to help with spill containment and to prevent your food from sliding around. There’s also a drop-down tray built into the dairy bin for short items like tubs of spreadable cheese, yogurt, or hummus.

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The pull-out freezer is low-tech, very roomy, and great at chilling food.

Inside the pull-out freezer, you’ve got upper and lower drawers with sliding dividers for improved organization. There’s also a small shelf just inside the door for storing small, loose items that might sink to the bottom of the larger drawers.

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What it does and how it cools

This GE's performance is as close to perfect as we’ve ever seen. Temperatures were cool and consistent, and the standard crispers rivaled any other drawer we’ve tested. This fridge is exceptionally energy efficient, too, despite its size.

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The dispenser can heat water anywhere from 90°F to 185°F at the push of a button.

The only quibble we had was with the freezer. While consistent over time, sections of the lower drawer didn’t quite make it down to 0°F or below. An average of 0.9°F isn’t all that much warmer than ideal, but anything stored for an exceptionally long period of time above 0ºF may start to develop some traces of freezer burn. Turn the freezer temperature down a degree or two, and you should be fine.

In terms of features, GE has pretty much pulled out all the stops. You’ve got basic fridge functions, like Turbo Cool and Turbo Freezer, as well as a door-mounted icemaker in the fridge. The Temperature Adjust Drawer in the fridge offers four distinct settings: Meat (32°F), Beverage (34°F), Deli (36°F), and Neutral if you just want to use it as a drawer.

You also get some high-tech options like Precise Fill, which removes the need for a measuring cup by allowing the user to select exactly how much water to dispense. There's also a USB port on the underside of the controls, for transferring photos to create a personalized slide show on fridge's tiny screen. Since magnets don't work on actual stainless steel, this is the only way to display your kid's latest artistic creation.

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The drop down tray is great if you plan to store a lot of shorter items on the door.

Perhaps most exciting is GE’s continued use of the hot water dispenser. With four preset temperature modes, customizable settings with a range of 90-185°F, a tutorial video, and built-in safeguards, this fridge could erase the need to own a standalone kettle.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.

What owners think

User reviews for this fridge are generally on par with other refrigerators in its price range. The main complaint is noise, largely due to a compressor that runs constantly at variable speeds. Most high-end fridges have a similar setup, but owners seem to think this GE is louder than the rest. If your refrigerator abuts a bedroom wall, the CFE28TSHSS might not be the best choice.

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The water filter is kept out of the way on the upper left wall of the fridge interior.

Because this fridge's user reviews are usually lumped in with those for the K-Cup fridge, many complaints are about glitches in the K-Cup fridge's touchscreen. Others caution that you have to ensure the interior freezer drawer is properly closed or the exterior fridge door won't seal.

Why we love it

The GE Café CFE28TSHSS has some pretty big shoes to fill. After all, the fridge it replaces was one of the best we've ever tested, and has been since 2013.

Luckily, all the features we loved about the older model—including Precise Fill and the hot water dispenser—are back. Our tests also proved this fridge has no problems preserving fresh and frozen foods.

Even among French door fridges, the GE Café CFE28TSHSS isn't cheap—it rarely drops below $3,099. Still, if you're willing and able to pay that much for a refrigerator, this one is worth the expense—especially if you can find it on sale.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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