A top freezer refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in our homes and today, manufacturers offer different designs for different lifestyles and dwellings. For apartment dwellers, top freezer refrigerators are seemingly ubiquitous. However, with most of us spending time with family and cooking more often, a second refrigerator, like a top freezer model, has graduated from a nice-to-have addition to an essential one.

The earliest design of a home refrigerator was the top freezer model. That design today offers reliability, easily accessible storage space, and an economical price tag over other refrigerator types.

In this article, we will show you why a top freezer refrigerator is a prudent choice to consider if you are looking for more food storage options or need to replace your fridge. We’ve also compiled and reviewed the five best top freezer refrigerators on the market, which should help you make an informed decision.

But before we delve into the reviews, here’s why other people are purchasing top freezer refrigerators right now.

Why Should You Buy a Top Freezer Refrigerator?

Replacement for Small Apartments: Top freezer refrigerators generally occupy less space in any room they are placed in, making them well suited for small apartments.

  • More Affordable Price Tags: The design of this type of refrigerator has been around for a long time. Manufacturers do not have to re-engineer and redesign them, so they remain a budget-friendly option.
  • More Reliable: Most top freezer refrigerators come with a simple yet reliable ice maker the one fridge part that requires frequent repairs. This means reduced maintenance costs and prolonged lifespan.
  • Best Garage Reeady Refrigerator: Unless your garage is well-insulated, most refrigerators won’t work well in your garage thanks to the seasonal temperature swings. Select top freezer models are the only products designed to be garage ready refrigerators to withstand ambient temperatures.
  • Better Storage Space: Top freezer fridges provide adequate storage space as a second fridge/freezer. They can come in very handy, providing extra storage space, especially in during the current pandemic and since freezers are unavailable.

Best Top Freezer Refrigerator Picks for 2020
Top Freezer Refrigerator in White
Top Freezer Refrigerator Perfect for Small Kitchens

What Makes a Good Top Freezer Refrigerator?

What features should you look for when buying a top freezer refrigerator? Let’s look at the qualities of an excellent top freezer refrigerator.

Temperature Control
Top freezer fridges have a simple design to set it to a specific temperature. This simplicity translates to consistent temperature control regardless of seasonal ambient temperature swings.

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Cooling Performance
The cooling performance of a refrigerator is usually indicated by a uniform distribution of cold air, compressor performance, and the cooling technology design. If the refrigerator has warm spots, it is less likely to keep your food items fresh for long periods.

Top freezers are equipped with powerful compressors to keep the fridge interior at the set temperature. They also are designed to distribute cold air uniformly within the fridge.

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Design
While top freezer models may lack some of the exciting features found in modern French door refrigerators or side-by-side fridges, they still pack some design features that make them very desirable.

Finish
While a refrigerator’s finish does not affect its performance, it influences the overall design of your kitchen or garage. Top freezers usually come in white, black, or stainless-steel finishes which can match most kitchen designs.

Shelving System
The shelving system is one category in which top freezer fridges easily outranks other refrigerator types. Top freezers, thanks to their designs, usually offer adjustable shelving. This allows you to adjust the shelves to positions that best suit the food items you want to store. Most top freezers also have sliding shelves for easy storage and retrieval.

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Ice Maker
Universally, top freezers have sub-standard ice makers and do not have in-door ice makers. It turns out that these types of fridges are more reliable since ice-makers are the number one feature that requires repair.
Higher-end top freezer models usually feature built-in ice makers in the freezer section. This ensures you have enough ice cubes for your cold drinks anytime. You also do not need to fill ice cube trays, unlike some regular refrigerators.


What Size Is Best for You?

Before purchasing your top freezer refrigerator, it is always best to determine the size that best suits your household. Top freezers offer adequate space, but this depends on the size of the fridge and your food storage needs. A household of four will require a fridge with a larger capacity than a single person in a small apartment.

Top freezers have various models that come in different sizes but generally offer a capacity of between 16 to 33 cubic feet of storage space. These models also have various width sizes to fit in the available kitchen space dedicated to the fridge. A top freezer refrigerator with 28” width, and between 20 – 22 cubic feet capacity will adequately serve a family of four.


Important Tips Before Buying Your Top Freezer Refrigerator

Here are some tips you should take note of before purchasing your new or replacement top freezer fridge.

Consider the door swing

The door swing has a big impact on the space. Will a left swing top freezer or a right swing top freezer fit best? These are questions that should determine the type of top freezer to purchase.
Most of the popular top freezer models have reversible door swing option, but your installer may charge an extra fee for the service.

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Measure your space

Refrigerator size is an important factor to consider before deciding which top freezer model to buy. While your storage needs and your budget determines the best top freezer fridge size for you, the available site space is very important as well. You certainly do not want to buy a 33” width fridge for a space that can only accommodate a 28” top freezer fridge.
Measure the available site space for the refrigerator. Check to be sure space can also handle the width of an open door swing.

Is the Fridge Garage ready?

GE GTS22KSNRSS

Most garages have extreme ambient temperatures. This is true especially in areas with seasonal temperature changes. A regular refrigerator will not provide adequate cold air to the items in the fridge because the ambient garage temperature impacts the thermometer reading.

Top freezers are generally meant to be set at a specific temperature. This means they can handle the ambient temperature. But you should check with your salesperson and be sure the model is garage-ready.

Is the Fridge energy-efficient?

Each extra home appliance means an increase in annual energy costs. Energy-efficient appliances can help to reduce extra costs by as much as 15%. While the energy efficiency does not necessarily determine the performance of the fridge, you should opt for top freezers with the ENERGY STAR certification.


Our 5 Best Top Freezer Refrigerators

1) Best Overall: Frigidaire Gallery FGTR2037TF

Frigidaire Gallery FGTR2037TF

Width: 29 5/8": | Height: 69": | Depth: 31 3/4" | Total Capacity: 20.4 Cu. Ft. | Color: Stainless Steel

Why We Like It:

  • Crisper drawers are humidity controlled which improves food preservation
  • Sliding spill safe glass shelves
  • Reliable
  • Energy Efficient
  • Uniform temperature
  • Thermostat is adjustable
  • LED interior light

Cons

  • You will need to install an ice maker

This Frigidaire refrigerator, the 20.4 cu. ft. FGTR2037TF comfortably sits atop our best top freezer refrigerators list thanks to its excellent cooling performance, humidity-controlled crisper drawers, and ice-ready interior design. The ice-ready design is a huge benefit since it allows you to add an ice-maker later, should you decide to get one.

The Frigidaire Gallery FGTR2037TF has other interesting features such as the spill-proof shelves, the full-width deli drawer that offers extra storage space, and the wire freezer shelf that enables you to organize items in the freezer. The fridge’s 20.4 cu. ft. capacity provides more than enough storage space for a family of four. The FGTR2037TF also has a smudge-proof stainless-steel exterior.


2) Best for Garage: GE GTS22KSNRSS

GE GTS22KSNRSS

Width: 32 3/4" | Height: 66 3/8” | Depth: 34 1/2" | Total Capacity: 21.9 Cu. Ft. | Colors: Stainless steel, white, black, slate, black slate

Why We Like It:

  • Garage ready - can handle extreme temperatures
  • Organized door modular bins
  • Adjustable fridge and freezer shelves
  • Good temperature control
  • LED interior light
  • Many color choices as well as a 30-inch sister model

Cons:

  • Just like most top freezers, the ice maker can be improved.

The 22-cu. ft. GE GTS22KSNRSS is the best 33-inch width garage ready refrigerator with a top freezer on the market. It offers enough space to serve a family of five. Some of the features that set it apart from the rest include the spill-proof freezer floor, adjustable glass fridge & freezer shelf, sliding deli drawer, and upfront easy-to-use temperature controls. You have plenty of color selection with this refrigerator. This GE refrigerator also has a slighly smaller sibling at 30-inches (width) under model GTS19KSNRSS

The GTS22KSNRSS is garage-ready and tested to operate from 38°F to 110°F. This makes the fridge adequately capable of handling ambient temperatures, which is a great point in its favor. The fridge has a premium inner door with organized modular bins for holding bottles and cans. The GTS22KSNRSS also has a high-gloss stainless steel finish, which gives your kitchen (or your garage area) a sleek feel.


3) Best 28-inch Width: Whirlpool WRT518SZFM

Whirlpool WRT518SZFM

Width: 28" | Height: 67 1/8" | Depth: 31 5/8" | Total Capacity: 17.64 Cu. Ft. | Colors: White, black, stainless steel, fingerprint resistant stainless steel

Why We Like It:

  • LED interior light
  • The handleless design fits any kitchen
  • Excellent reliability
  • Excellent energy efficiency
  • Holds temperature at the desired setting
  • Uniform cool air distribution

Cons:

  • Fairly noisy
  • Just like most top freezers, the ice maker can be improved

The 28-inch Whirlpool WRT518SZFM with its 18-cu. ft. capacity may not have enough space for a large family, but it can handle the storage needs of a small family comfortably or serve as a secondary fridge quite nicely. Besides its capacity, the WRT518SZFM has exciting features that make it number one on our list of 28” width top freezer refrigerators.

Whirlpool fridges have an optional EZ Connect ice-maker kit (sold separately), which will conveniently handle your ice needs when installed. Other features include humidity-controlled crisper drawers for keeping fruits and veggies fresh, frameless glass shelves, adjustable door bins, separate freezer temperature controls, and an extra flexi-slide bin.


4) Best for Budget: GE GTE16DTNRWW

GE GTE16DTNRWW

Width: 28" | Height: 61 3/4" | Depth: 32 5/8" | Total Capacity: 15.6 Cu. Ft. | Colors: White, bisque

Why We Like It:

  • Energy efficient
  • Great price/performance ratio
  • Excellent interior design with gallon storage on the door

Cons:

  • Just like most top freezers, the ice maker can be improved.

The 28-inch 15.6-cu. ft. GE GTE16DTNRWW has enough space to handle the storage needs of a small household. It replaced the GTE15CTHRWW and is designed with about 10% more storage capacity. The top freezer refrigerator provides top performance, quality, convenience, reliability, and has a more affordable price point.

Features of the GTE16DTNRWW include adjustable wire shelves, upfront easy-to-use temperature controls, brilliant LED lighting, ice bucket with spill-proof freezer floor, and two large fresh food cabinet drawers for your fruits and veggies. The GTE16DTNRWW also has the ENERGY STAR certification, which makes it one of the most energy-efficient top freezer refrigerators on the market.


5) Best Overall: Blomberg BRFT1522SS

Blomberg BRFT1522SS

Width: 27 7/10" | Height: 67 7/10" | Depth: 27" | Total Capacity: 15 Cu. Ft. | Color: Stainless steel

Why We Like It:
Has an ice maker
Digital Thermostat can be adjusted to an actual desired value (and not just low/med/high)
Uniform cold air distribution
Published low noise rating (47dB)

Cons:
Bloomberg is a household name in the UK and other European countries but is not widely known in the US
Just like most top freezers, the ice maker can be improved
Crispers are basic.

The 28-inch counter depth top freezer has an automatic ice maker that produces up to 6lbs of ice per day. This is a huge point in its favor as top freezers usually come without ice makers. But besides the ice maker, the Blomberg BRFT1522SS has other interesting features that set it apart from regular top freezer fridges.

Top of these features is the dual evaporator design that maintains separate cooling zones, preventing the transfer of air/flavor from the freezer to the fridge compartment and vice versa. Other features include the antibacterial interior, which keeps food safer/fresher, brilliant interior lighting, flexi-rack bottle holder shelf, electronic controls, and fingerprint-resistant, stainless-steel full wrap doors.


Conclusion

If you need a good refrigerator that provides extra storage space, is very reliable, and has a great price point, then you should consider a top freezer. An excellent top freezer can conveniently handle ambient temperatures, and they are easy to maintain, making them one of the best fridges to consider for primary or secondary extra food storage space. The only major downside to having a top freezer fridge is that you may have to add an ice maker to enjoy full refrigeration benefits.


FAQs

Are top freezer refrigerators more reliable?

Compared to more expensive French door refrigerators or other style-rich types of fridges the top freezer refrigerators are more reliable. One reason is that they have a simple ice maker which resides in the freezer compartment. An ice maker not connected to an external dispenser is less affected by temperature swings from opening the door. In addition, top freezer refrigerators come with a time-tested conventional compressor which is ultra-reliable. Lack of bells and whistles makes the top freezer a durable work-horse for 10-15 year lifespan. Considering you can get 6-8 years life from a "modern" fridge, the top freezer refrigerator offers a great bargain.







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