refrigerators

GE GTS21KBXWW Review

The GTS21KBXWW seems like a nice value at first look, but fairly poor performance erases that value entirely.

$899.00
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Introduction

With a sleek update on a traditional design and a quality interior fit and finish, the GE GTS21KBXWW seems like a fine value at first glance. However, relatively poor refrigerator and freezer performance, inelegant reversible doors, and too many unmovable shelves make this fridge less appealing than many of the competitors.

The MSRP of $899 looks appealing, but poor performance could end up costing you more in wasted food.

Design & Usability

Aside from streamlined handles and a slightly curved front, this fridge could’ve been made any time in the past 25 years.

The GTS21KBXWW is a classic top-freezer fridge in a textured white finish. Since the door can be installed on either side, the fridge ships with a disassembled handle, some screws, and two sets of holes on both sides of the unit. A GE logo and a white plug are supposed to cover the holes where the handles aren’t installed, but we couldn’t get the plug to fit in the hole on our test unit.

Shelves are light enough to easily move.

The interior of the GTS21KBXWW’s fridge compartment features four adjustable half-width shelves. The bottom shelf acts as a cover to the vegetable drawers underneath, which take some coaxing to open, and three walled shelves are removable, but not adjustable. The freezer has a bit of extra door space, since there isn't an ice maker, but is otherwise entirely standard and simple.

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Features

The GTS21KBXWW's half-width shelves make its fridge more adjustable than competitors with full-width shelves.

All the shelves in the fridge of this GE are small enough to rearrange easily—a benefit to having half-width shelves as opposed to full-width ones. Organization in the freezer isn't as customizable though, because there is only one shelf to play around with.

Separate controls for the freezer and fridge are located inside at the top. The controls are labeled 1 through 7, with 4 being the recommended setting. It's always frustrating to use controls based on an arbitrary scale like this because actual temperatures are never listed. If you want to know what temperature your fridge is maintaining with a setting of "4," you'll need to buy a thermometer.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the GE GTS21KBXWW, take a look at these other refrigerators.

Performance

Temperature variance in the fridge and freezer is a concern.

The GTS21KBXWW’s fridge didn’t do the best job keeping a consistent temperature. The food temperature varied from top to bottom, with the temperature of food packages on the middle and lower shelves being slightly too warm. To combat this, we’d recommend setting this fridge’s temperature control a little higher than the recommended “4”—and yes, a higher number does signify a lower temperature. Like with the fridge, freezer temperature varied over time too, potentially forming those pesky ice crystals that cause freezer burn.

Fresh produce in the GE GTS21KBXWW will dry out faster than many other models on the market.

To make matters worse, the vegetable drawers didn't retain moisture very well. Think about how lips get chapped on a cold day—that’s what happens to fresh foods inside a refrigerator, and that's why fridges feature a humidity-controlled vegetable compartment. Fresh produce in the GE GTS21KBXWW will dry out faster than many other models on the market.

Conclusion

Budget appliances are great, but only if they can back those little price tags with decent performance.

The GE GTS21KBXWW may be a visually appealing fridge for buyers interested in traditional style, and the MSRP of $899 is very attractive too. Its performance, however, is lackluster compared to its competitors.

Temperatures varied too much in the fridge and freezer, which can lead to food spoiling faster and freezer burn, respectively. Even worse were the awful vegetable drawers, which will leave your fresh fruits and veggies high and dry. Do plenty of comparison shopping before settling on this fridge.

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