Maytag MRT118FFFZ 30-inch Top-freezer Refrigerator
This Maytag top-freezer model wants to be your second fridge
A small top-freezer refrigerator can be a problem solver. It can fit into a galley kitchen, works nicely in a lake or beach house, and serves as overflow space for the main fridge, while hiding in the basement or garage. The Maytag MRT118FFFZ (available at Home Depot for $729.00) would like to fill any of those roles for you. We tested it in our refrigerator labs to find out whether it could, and we conclude that you might want to keep shopping.
This is one of the least expensive stainless steel refrigerators we've seen. Sleek in style, the finish on the model we tested is fingerprint-resistant stainless, so it's easier to keep clean. Unlike many stainless steel appliances, magnets stick to this fridge, so you can display your kids’ artwork and school notices.
Another advantage—because the sides are smooth and shiny, not the usual textured plastic, you can put this fridge anywhere, not just in a cabinet or next to a wall. It’s available in other finishes to match your color scheme, whether you’d prefer white (MRT118FFFH), black (MRT118FFFE), or monochrome stainless steel (MRT118FFFM), which has gray accents.
Top-freezer refrigerators store fresh foods below eye level. It’s what they’re built to do. Fortunately, the controls on this fridge sit at the top of refrigerated section, so they’re easy to see. There’s a “recommended” temperature setting that most owners will probably leave it on, though feel free to adjust it higher or lower as needed, by pressing a button.
The freezer is well-lit, and its single slide-out shelf sits securely. Frozen entrees can be stored and organized in the bins in the door. For a small freezer, it makes good use of space, coming in at 85% of the manufacturer's claimed capacity.
A single LED bulb keeps it bright in the refrigerator compartment. Thinner shelves make the interior seem spacious, and the bins on the doors include a pair of butter compartments, a plus. We were disappointed to discover that gallon containers couldn’t fit in the door, although a small shelf on the right-hand door can flip up to accommodate tall soda bottles.
As is typical for top-freezer models, the crispers are all the way at the bottom of the fresh food compartment, so you have to bend to access them. These crispers are small and made of thin plastic, and one drawer on our test model was noisy to open.
You can adjust the humidity to high or low. Just remember to select high humidity for the drawer where you keep the veggies, especially since this refrigerator is challenged to maintain its humidity.
A full-width drawer is convenient for stashing deli items, but felt flimsy, as if the plastic might not be strong enough to hold a heavy platter, so store accordingly.
Efficiency is this refrigerator’s strong suit. It uses power like a miser. We project its energy cost per year to be $27.90.
But—and there's no positive way to spin this—the fridge is challenged to maintain its temperature. It fluctuates by about 1.5°, whereas most refrigerators we've tested might waver by about.3 degrees. The refrigerator compartment remains on the colder side, potentially freezing your veggies and fruits. Keep an eye on that if you bring this one home.
The freezer, on the other hand, runs warm, landing at about 4° when the refrigerator is running on the recommended temperature setting. We prefer to see freezer temperatures closer to 0°, to prevent freezer burn.
What the owners say
In their online reviews, many of the people who bought this refrigerator said they use it outside of the kitchen, as an extra fridge. Owners bemoaned the lack of gallon-size bins in the doors, and complained that the refrigerator got too cold at times, which is consistent with our data.
The bottom line
The 30-inch size is modest, but this refrigerator could do the job in a smaller kitchen, or when you need a second refrigerator for your pantry, garage, or patio. It doesn’t offer an icemaker or water dispenser, but you may not need them.
Since you’re already looking at smaller top-freezer refrigerators, think about comparing this Maytag model to the Samsung RT18M6215SG/AA. That beauty is one of our top scoring top freezer fridges, winning our Editors' Choice badge for its value, features, and style. The Samsung is an example of how a petite top-freezer fridge can be a star.
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