refrigerators
  • Editors' Choice

Maytag MSF21D4MDM Refrigerator Review

A good fit—in more ways than one.

December 29, 2014
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 opinion of the 21-cubic-foot Maytag MSF21D4MDM (MSRP $1,599) is divided: On the positive end, this side-by-side comes with a great price, performance is mostly top notch, and its industrial aesthetic—while not for everyone—definitely lends the fridge a sense of style.

That said, vague thermostat controls made temperatures hard to manage. While its unusual size may help it fit into small kitchens, its interior isn't as large as some competitors. It’s dimensions—66 in. high x 33 in. wide x 35 in. deep—are similar to top-freezers of the same capacity. But if you’ve got a kitchen with a designated nook for a fridge, this side-by-side might be just the upgrade you’re looking for.

Design & Usability

Short and sturdy

This stainless side-by-side emphasizes Maytag's new design language. It boasts bright LED lighting, interior shelves with silvery gray trimming, and cast door handle caps that we like but don't love.

Despite its design, this side-by-side has some low-end elements that reveal its economical nature. The temperature controls use a 1-7 scale rather than a degree-based thermostat. There’s also just one crisper drawer with an adjustable slider (the bulky icemaker takes up already limited freezer space). Mercifully, the water filter is located down at the bottom of the fridge, where it's easy to access.

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Performance & Features

A warm fridge risks spoiling the package

In our lab tests, almost everything about this Maytag's performance turned out positive: The freezer was nice and cold, the crisper did a decent job retaining moisture, and it’s even relatively efficient.

Maytag MSF21D4MDM Controls
Controls certainly look sleek, but are less precise than we'd like. View Larger
Maytag MSF21D4MDM Crispers
The single crisper was decent, albeit unremarkable. View Larger

That said, our tests revealed some warm temperatures in the fresh food compartment. Turning the thermostat down to compensate will help, but not completely.

Most side-by-sides exhibit a wide range of temperatures from top to bottom. In the case of this Maytag, we saw a five-degree shift from the top shelf (38.04°F) down to the lowest drawer (43.29°F).

Turning the thermostat down a notch or two might bring the warmer sections in line, but then you run the risk of freezing food stored on the uppermost shelf, especially since the scaled controls lack the precision of a degree-based thermostat. While there’s no ideal solution—short of getting a different fridge—careful organization of groceries could salvage the fridge’s performance.

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

Only If You Need It

A specialty product without much competition

Maytag MSF21D4MDM Interior
Lots of adjustable shelves with silvery trim give this fridge a high-end look. View Larger

Despite a few performance flaws, there are certainly things about this Maytag that we loved: The price is great (some retailers are offering it for as little as $1,350), plus the design is unique and eye-catching. Overall performance was fine, despite warm temperatures in the fresh food compartment.

But even if there weren't any problems with the MSF21D4MDM, at the end of the day this is a specialty fridge designed to fit in a specific kind of kitchen. The fact is, if you’re looking for a side-by-side that’s larger than 21 cubic feet, you’ll be able to find a superior model for a similar price.

For that matter, if you’re looking for a 21-cubic-foot side-by-side and have an extra $300 to spend, we’d recommend the KitchenAid KSF22C4CYY over this model. It’s the same size as the Maytag—and both are made by Whirlpool Corp.—but the KitchenAid offers superior performance in ways that really count.

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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