LG LTNS16121V Refrigerator Review
This is one of the strangest fridges we've ever tested.
If you’ve been shopping for a top freezer that’s got some pizzazz, you may have come across the LG LTNS16121V (MSRP $799). This fridge is unlike any other we’ve tested—and we’ve tested a lot.
With its curved, partially recessed handles and silver-smooth finish, this appliance doesn't look like anything else you can buy. Even its depth—roughly 25” not including the handles—puts it in line with counter depth models for an extra touch of class. And with retail prices hovering around $720, it’s not a bad deal.
True, we’re not sold on certain aspects of this LG: The 69.5-inch height means it won't fit under cabinets, interior lighting is oddly dim, the crisper is pretty bad, and there are almost no options for customizing shelf layout. And that odd handle with its recesses and swoops certainly won't blend in.
With that said, if you’re looking for an affordable statement piece, the LTNS16121V has plenty of flash with just enough substance to back it up. But it still isn't good enough to make it onto our list of the best fridges under $1,000.
Design & Usability
If you thought the LTNS16121V was a stainless fridge, you’d be wrong. The finish on this top freezer is listed as stainless vinyl coated metal… which, based on what it actually looks like, is just a fancy way of saying silvery gray.
It is highly resistant to fingerprints, but it will rust and chip just like any other solid fridge finish. There aren't any other available color options, either.
The smooth, curved handles definitely polarized our office. Some folks loved them, calling them sexy—one guy was even reminded of a twin set of swords. However, we see three problems with this funky format: 1.) You can't swap the doors from right-hinge to left-hinge. 2.) A "unique" design may be appealing to you, but it can hurt resale value for your home down the line. 3.) It kind of reminds us of Han Solo frozen in carbonite... but is that necessarily a bad thing?
Inside, the LED lighting in the fresh food section is visually appealing and easy on the eyes, but too dim to provide any substantial illumination. The bulbs are also in the back instead of the top, so a crowded fridge will block what little light there is.
There’s also no light at all in the freezer. The moral of this story? Don’t get this fridge if you're big on midnight snacks.
With four shelves taking up space above the crisper, there’s not a lot of vertical room available for larger items. Door storage is taller, but none of the shelves are deep enough to hold a gallon of milk.
The only thing noteworthy in the freezer is the ice bucket. There’s no ice maker in this fridge, but it does come with a bin that can slide from left to right, and that has two small ice cube trays inside. You empty it by twisting a handle in the front, and the trays slide out for refilling. It’s a common feature in fridges from countries where ice is made with bottled water, but it's rare to see in America.
Performance & Features
The LTNS16121V’s cooling is—if you’ll pardon the expression—rather lukewarm. On one hand, temperature output is good and steady across the board. On the other hand, the recommended thermostat setting leaves everything a bit warm.
Normally we’d suggest turning it down a few degrees, but the thermostat in the fridge only offers five vague settings from cold to colder. We’d suggest just one notch closer to colder, as going all the to the coldest setting could cause your yogurt to freeze.
Surprisingly, you do get a separate control for the freezer. Like the fridge, it uses a 5-point scale, but the recommended setting is actually 2—just par for the course for this bizarre fridge. We suggest cranking it down to 4 at the very least—too much cold isn't possible in a freezer, unless you're worried about energy savings..
Speaking of which, energy efficiency was phenomenal. As far as pros go… well, that’s pretty much it. It took a bit longer than average to freeze room-temperature foods, and the crisper was downright shoddy. But then again, everything is relative, and as long as you adjust the thermostat per our recommendation, these are all flaws we could live with on a $700 fridge.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
In addition to conventional one year parts and labor coverage, LG throws in some extras for this fridge. Parts only for the evaporator, condenser, and rotary compressor are covered for seven years, while parts for the linear compressor is covered for a whopping 10 years. No extra labor, though.
A Unique Fridge
Low-cost fridges tend to look unimpressive at best, cheap and boring at the worst. The LG LTNS16121V bucks that trend, adding some originality with the conventional top freezer layout.
Some of its innovations may be hit or miss—like the lack of interior lighting and adjustable storage—and not all of its performance attributes could be described as the best available. But compared to other fridges in its $720 retail price point, it may be worth shopping around.
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