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Best Affordable Refrigerators for 2020 (Reviews / Ratings / Prices)

March 19th, 2020 | 4 min. read

By Steve Sheinkopf

At a Glance

We are writing a few articles to help you during these tough times. The focus will be on critiquing less expensive replacement appliances.

Less expensive does not mean without features or buying unreliable equipment.

These are solid products. Some we do not even actively promote because many of you reading this live outside of Boston.

This is our last article on how to buy cheaper appliances like the previous 4 articles on washers, dishwashers, gas and electric ranges.

There is a definite way of saving money while buying a refrigerator, even without sacrificing capacity. You will learn why the type or style of refrigerator you choose is the most important.

I will also show you some pretty sobering repair stats based on 35,256 service calls completed last year.

Let's get started. 

How To Buy A Refrigerator

refrigerator-education-station-hanoverRefrigeration Learning Center Featuring Counter Depth Refrigerators at Yale Appliance in Hanover


Most Common Refrigerator Cabinet Sizes

Appliances are designed to fit your cabinets. For example, dishwashers are 24 inches wide, so are wine coolers and under-counter refrigerators. Ranges are mostly 30 inches wide. These are all standard cabinet sizes. 

The most common sizes for refrigerators are 30, 33, and 36 inches. There are a few 18, 24 and 28-inch sizes.

For this article, we will look at the most popular sizes.

Refrigerator Types

Refrigerator Types

At present, there are 6 styles of refrigerators: top mount, bottom mount, side-by-side, French door, built-in, and integrated.

Top Mount: Freezer on the top, refrigerator on the bottom.

Bottom Mount: Refrigerator on the top and freezer below. Bottom mounts are better for refrigeration, because you're not bending like the top mount.

Side-By-Side: Refrigerator and freezer side by side. It's the most organized storage and has the most freezer space of all the refrigerator types.

French Door: Is a side-by-side refrigerator with a bottom freezer. The French door is the most popular configuration because you have better lateral storage than a side by side. French doors are also available in a number of configurations like 4 doors, Door N Drawer and 5 doors.

These last two are shown as reference due to their premium price.

Built-In: Also called professional with compressor on the top to emulate a commercial refrigerator.

Integrated: Designed to fit within the cabinet so it is indistinguishable from the cabinet itself. It is also the most expensive refrigerator to buy.

counter-depth-vs-integrated-vs-professional-refrigeratorsIntegrated and Built-In Refrigeration at Yale Appliance in Boston


Best Affordable 30-Inch Refrigerators For 2020

Amana Top Mount Refrigerator ART318FFDS - $649.99 

Amana ART318FFDS

  • Basic top mount refrigerator in stainless steel. $599 for a black or white finish. 


GE Top Mount Refrigerator GTS18GSNRSS – $729


  • 18. Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Top Mount Refrigerator. $639 in white

Samsung Top Mount Refrigerator RT18M6215SR - $749


  • 18 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Top Mount Refrigerator, $679 in white

Of these top mounts, Samsung has the unique feature of the freezer being convertible to refrigerator. It's a good idea for parties as well. Yes, you can always convert it back to a freezer.

GE Bottom Mount Refrigerator GDE21ESKSS - $1,579


  • 21 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel Bottom Mount Refrigerator 

Just as an FYI, a bottom mount will cost more than a top mount but will have more cubic footage.

Best Affordable 33-Inch Refrigerators For 2020

Samsung Top Mount Refrigerator RT21M6215SR - $989


Much like the smaller 18 cubic foot, this Samsung is 21 cubic feet and offers the convertible freezer.

GE Bottom Mount Refrigerator GDE25ESKSS - $1,709


This refrigerator may be the cheapest per square foot at a whopping 25 cubic feet. However, the depth is 35 inches plus the door so make sure it will fit.

Samsung Counter Depth Refrigerator RF18HFENBSR - $1,199

samsung RF18HFENBSR refrigerator

This Samsung is counter depth. However, by cutting the depth, it is smaller at 18 cubic feet

Counter Depth Vs. Standard Depth Refrigerators

Counter-depth refrigerators look better in your kitchen because you will not see the sides of your refrigerator. However, you do lose interior capacity.

Best Affordable 36-Inch Refrigerators For 2020

Samsung Full Size Refrigerator RS25J500DSG - $1,169


Samsung Full Size Refrigerator RF261BEAESR - $1,349


Samsung Counter Depth Refrigerator RF23R6201SR - $1,899


Samsung seems to be the cheapest of the brands. They have twin cooling, so the refrigerator and freezer air does not commingle. Your food especially in the freezer will taste better.

We do not sell every brand. Frigidaire may be an inexpensive product to consider as well.

Refrigerator Reliability

We sell mostly French door refrigerators. There tend to be issues with ice makers and dispensers with every brand.

Most Reliable Counter Depth Refrigerators for 2020 

  Service Qty Shipped Qty Service Ratio
BlueStar 23 36 63.89%
Jenn-Air 308 595 51.76%
KitchenAid 103 239 43.10%
Whirlpool 6 17 35.29%
Bosch Appliances 135 422 31.99%
LG Electronics 10 46 21.74%
Samsung 248 1220 20.33%
Fisher & Paykel 31 192 16.55%
GE Profile 9 59 15.25%
GE Appliances 5 35 14.29%
Café Appliances 2 41 4.87%
Grand Total 916 2932 31.24%

Just make sure your refrigerator can be fixed. Some brands have sparse service networks, so inquire before you buy.

Pro Tips For Shopping The Best Deals

I would add this given the times.

Buying around holidays like Presidents' Day and Black Friday is a good idea. However, we are not near any holidays.

So consider these alternatives:

  1. Buy a floor model.
  2. Closeouts/discontinued: Refrigerators are a relatively dull item. New models have irrelevant upgrades mostly. This is an excellent way to save money.
  3. Dented/Scratched: As long as that dent will not affect the operation, then why not save the money. Just make sure it's still covered under warranty.
  4. Look for rebates.

Key Takeaways

First, know your cabinet size. If you live in Boston, you should measure the stairs, landings and doorways as well to understand what will fit.

Top mounts are the least expensive followed by bottom mounts. There are some cheaper French doors and side by sides in larger sizes.

Look for floor displays and other alternative ways to save money.

Additional Resources

Download the Yale Refrigerator Buying Guide with features, specs, and inside buying tips for regular, pro, and integrated counter depth refrigerators. Well over 680,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our counter depth refrigerator buying guide

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve Sheinkopf is the third-generation CEO of Yale Appliance and a lifelong Bostonian. He has over 38 years of experience in the appliance industry, and he is a trusted source of information for consumers on how to buy and repair appliances.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

Steve is passionate about helping consumers find the best appliances for their needs, and he is always happy to answer questions and provide advice. He is a valuable resource for consumers who are looking for information on appliance buying, repair, and maintenance.

Despite being the worst goalie in history, Steve is a fan of the Bruins and college hockey, loves to read, and is a Peloton biker. The love of his life is his daughter, Sophie.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.