GE GTH18ISDSS Refrigerator Review
Too much money for a mid-range fridge.
The GTH18ISDSS (MSPR $999) is a fairly ho-hum member of GE's mid- to budget-range top freezers that definitely failed to impress. Performance results were, at best, mediocre; at worst, they were downright poor. Energy efficiency was amazing, however, which would make this a good second fridge for storing cold drinks in the garage... if only it didn't cost so darn much.
Design & Usability
Making changes that no one asked for.
A stainless steel exterior finish with a prominent grain and doors with reversible handles create a fridge that looks... well, like almost every other generic, fairly cheap, stainless top freezer on the market. There's almost nothing innovative here with respect to design, and what is different doesn't seem to add much in terms of functionality. Having one full-width shelf and two half-width ones in the fridge makes for easier cleaning, but limits storage customization. The two-level freezer shelf... has two levels. It's a design choice that may make storing large or tall items easier, but it just felt arbitrary to us. And don't get us started about the door shelves; with all the gaps, nooks, and crevices, you can kiss spill containment goodbye.
The more interactive parts of the fridge aren't really any better. The weird dial-based thermostat is vague and feels very cheap, but it allows you to control the two compartments independently. A bright orange sticker was attached—in a very askew manner, we might add—indicating which arbitrary dial number was the correct one to use. Unfortunately, the fridge ended up needing some additional calibration, and the act of using those odd control dials was exceedingly frustrating: they were difficult to turn, didn't click solidly into place, and correlated with inaccurate temperatures to produce a crap-shoot thermostat that causes more irritation than satisfaction.
Performance & Features
Too much money for too much mediocrity.
If the MSRP on this fridge were three or four hundred dollars less than what it is, we could have argued that you'd be getting what you paid for. As it stands, a $999 fridge should be fairly accurate, even if it's not very pretty. The GTH18ISDSS proved to be only moderately accurate, the product of a shoddy thermostat and poor air circulation. Normally, we see temperatures in a refrigerator compartment gradually warm up as the air falls. Oddly enough, the top of the GE started out a little warmer than we'd like, cooled off to our preferred temperature in the middle, and then got even warmer at the bottom. While it's not a level of performance that will remove this fridge from any consumer consideration, the freezer downright failed to ever hit the ideal zero degrees despite being calibrated to a cooler thermostat setting. That's just sloppy.
Moisture retention in the vegetable drawer was more or less average, a surprising and welcome result given that the drawers in this GE have no humidity control. Storage space all around was fine, no surprise given the very traditional layout of the interior shelves. The one truly redeeming factor here is the energy efficiency levels we saw in this fridge. We can't say why—perhaps due to the lack of ice maker or water filter, or possibly as a result of an underperforming thermostat—but this GE is exceptionally energy efficient. Assuming you keep food waste to a minimum, you'll very likely see some long-term savings on your electric bill.
The acronym here should stand for "Generally Evaded".
No product truly exists in a vacuum. Each item that we test is judged on its own merit, but is also placed into a general context involving fridges of similar style, size, and price. For instance, the GE GTH18ISDSS could have been a fridge worth recommending despite its performance issues if only the price had been lower. Sporting a mid-range MSRP of $999 combined with budget-range performance, however, it simply can't hold up to other fridges in its bracket. Sadly, you won't be able to find it on sale very easily... or at all, for that matter. This fridge has been taken off the GE website, which means it's discontinued. You can find nearly identical models for the same price, however, but if they perform as poorly as this one did, your best bet would be to avoid those ones, as well.
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