Samsung RS25J500DSG side-by-side refrigerator
This black stainless refrigerator is dark—on the inside
We tend to go into a test of a Samsung appliance with high hopes—the massive tech company has had some appealing ideas. For example, we liked the washing machine with the built in scrub sink, and the door-in-door refrigerator wasn't just clever—it worked well.
But this 25 cu.-ft. side-by-side refrigerator, the Samsung RS25J500DSG (available at Home Depot for $1,108.00), is something of a disappointment. It has some good things going for it, like its efficiency, and the way it makes room for tall foods (pizzas!) in the freezer. Still, after spending a week testing it in our labs, and comparing it to similarly-priced French door models, we’d have to say that this refrigerator was not one of our favorites.
You can choose this fridge in sleek black stainless, or, for about $100 less, regular stainless steel (RS25J500DSR), black (RS25J500DBC), or white (RS25J500DWW). It looks fine in any finish.
Like all side-by-sides, this refrigerator appeals to some buyers because keeps more food visible at eye level, and lets a family put kid-friendly snacks where little ones can grab them. Adult food and beverages can be stored out of their reach.
The freezer side is always skinnier with this type of fridge, but this one does better than most side-by-sides, because of the bin it provides for those frozen pizzas—though not where kids can reach them.
Though it’s a plus to have a display on the outside, we found the icemaker and water dispenser area on the front of the fridge dark and hard to see. And the light in the fresh food compartment doesn't carry to lower shelves, either.
The way the crisper drawers are designed—with gaps between them—makes it hard for the crispers to hold onto humidity. We’ve seen this issue with other Samsung refrigerators before. Also, you lose space in the bottom crisper because the water filter takes up some of the space.
One of our fridge’s biggest problems was its unresponsive control panel. Our tester had to tap it very hard to make any change at all, and sometimes it didn't work. That would be a major inconvenience in your kitchen.
Average temperatures in the refrigerator were close to our target of 37°, but inconsistent. At times, the temperature at the bottom of the fridge hit 43°, and since anything above 40° can hasten food spoilage, we worry about families who store milk gallons in the lower portion of the door.
In our tests, the freezer side was very cold, averaging at -2°, which is lower than the standard 0° F, but in a freezer, too cold beats too warm. The freezer cooled relatively quickly, too, taking one hour and 20 minutes to get room temperature foods down to the freezing point.
This refrigerator was fairly efficient. We project that it will cost an average of $42 a year to run it. That's close to average for refrigerators we've tested.
What the owners had to say
User reviews for this model averaged in the 4 out of 5 range, with about 78% of owners saying they’d recommend it to a friend. That's not as good as we've seen for many models. Others shared our concerns, and a number of reviewers found the internal and control panel lighting to be inadequate. Some mentioned that the temperature wasn't cold enough.
The bottom line
The side-by-side refrigerator we tested had some welcome features and attractive design. However, it also had an unresponsive control panel, not very bright LEDs, and poorly designed crisper drawers which couldn’t maintain humidity for fruits and veggies.
If you're sure you want the side-by-side configuration in your kitchen, we’ve tested better models. While the Samsung RH29H9000SR, with its door-in-door Food Showcase, is a favorite of ours, it’s pricey. The Kenmore 51122 and the Whirlpool WRS325FDAM aren't perfect, but they're great values.
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