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The Best Cheap Refrigerators When You’re Shopping on a Budget

Jun 04, 2023

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If you’re shopping for a new refrigerator on a budget, chances are that you want to balance value and performance—without sacrificing a few nice-to-have features typically found in higher-end models. The good news is that you don't have to, as there are plenty of cheap refrigerators out there that check boxes on form and function, priced well below $1,000.

Whether you’re looking for an everyday refrigerator for your kitchen, a garage-ready unit to pair with your upright freezer, or a compact mini fridge, we’ve compiled a list of the best affordable fridges from trusted major brands, including LG, Frigidaire, Whirlpool, and GE. Read on for our recommendations, plus everything you need to know before you shop.

Top- and bottom-freezer refrigerators are the most affordable styles you can buy, often costing less than roughly $1,000. French door and side-by-side refrigerators tend to be significantly more expensive, as they generally have more modern features. But as we mention above, that doesn't mean giving up on everything that might be on your wishlist. Several of the models we write about below come in stainless steel and have a fingerprint-resistant finish, deep humidity-controlled crisper drawers, and even digital temperature control. While most top- or bottom-freezer fridges typically don't have an ice maker, most have compatible units that you can buy separately and install.

Inexpensive refrigerators are available in sizes ranging from 3.2-cubic-foot mini fridges to full-size models that offer 20 cubic feet or more of storage. In terms of width, 24 to 30 inches is typical, though a handful are a "standard" 33 inches wide. There are also counter-depth options and compact, tall, and narrow cheap refrigerators.

Energy Star-certified refrigerators are at least 9 percent more energy efficient than standard models, which can help save you money on your home's electricity bills. When you’re comparing different inexpensive fridges, you may want to consider whether the appliances meet Energy Star standards—many do not, which may make upkeep slightly more expensive in the long run.

The average cost of a refrigerator today is around $1,500, but for this article, we limited our search to models in the $1,000 range or less—in fact, the majority of our picks are under $800. We researched highly rated appliances from trusted brands like LG, Frigidaire, Whirlpool, and more, and we evaluated each model on its size, price, features and reliability. We also included as much variety as possible, highlighting a few popular styles of refrigerators and options that come in several finishes.

For more refrigerator recommendations, check out our stories on the best French-door refrigerators, built-in refrigerators, and stainless steel refrigerators.

Unlike many inexpensive refrigerators, this LG model is Energy Star- certified, which can help minimize your utility bills. Its capacity is also quite decent for a 30-inch-wide fridge, at just over 20.2-cubic feet, and it has a few high-end features that other fridges in this price range lack, like digital temperature control and We appreciate its two large humidity-controlled crisper drawers and that it's available in three finishes, including stainless steel.

While this model doesn't have an ice maker, the accessory can be purchased separately if you don't want to deal with the hassle of ice cube trays. The biggest drawback is that there's no freezer light, though that isn't uncommon for refrigerators in this price range.

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20.2-Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator


Sometimes basic is better—after all, there are less parts that can break—and if it's a bargain you're after, this Frigidaire model is a great value for a no-frills appliance.

Its 18.3-cubic-foot interior features wire shelving and heavy-duty door bins, and there are even humidity-controlled crisper drawers for fruits and vegetables.

Both the fridge and freezer doors close automatically if they’re left cracked open—handy if your family doesn't always shut the door properly. Its door bins aren't adjustable, but two at the bottom are designed for gallon-size containers. If you don't want to fuss with ice trays, the brand's compatible slim automatic ice maker is sold separately.

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18.3-Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator


Like our best overall pick above, this affordable refrigerator from Hisense is Energy Star-certified, plus it has a fingerprint-resistant finish—a less-common feature among fridges in this price range. It's also Energy Star-certified and there's a 2-year limited warranty attached.

The refrigerator has a moderate 17.2-cubic-foot interior, with four shelves as well as a full-width pantry drawer. There are a variety of smaller door bins that can be rearranged to your liking, and the freezer compartment has two slide-out drawers for organization, though it lacks humidity-controlled drawers for fruits and veggies.

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17.2-Cu. Ft. Counter-Depth Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator


Here's another affordable refrigerator well worth considering if a fingerprint-resistant finish is a must.

Frigidaire's moderate 18.3-cubic-foot capacity top-freezer fridge also has a well-organized interior with adjustable shelves and two large crisper drawers, plus a deli drawer, a feature typically found in more expensive models. Like many of the models we cover, the automatic ice maker is sold separately and the fridge isn't Energy Star-certified.

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18.3-Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator


If you need a fridge with more storage than most options in this price range, we recommend this Whirlpool model. It has a large 20.5-cubic-foot capacity, and its shelves and door bins are adjustable, making it easy to customize the interior to suit your needs. Its deli bin can even be shifted from side to side to accommodate tall items. If ice on demand is a priority, the brand's automatic ice dispenser is sold separately.

Although it's available in five finishes (including fingerprint-resistant stainless steel) not all are priced within our cheap fridge parameters. Also, it isn't Energy Star-certified.

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20.5-Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator


The Haier Top-Freezer Refrigerator is a compact model that's just 24 inches wide, making it well-suited for small apartments, RVs, or a secondary storage area.

The fridge has three adjustable shelves with a spill-proof design—there's a raised lip that prevents liquids from spilling over onto contents below—as well as a sizable crisper drawer and several door bins. There's also an adjustable shelf and two door bins for smaller items. Although this refrigerator isn't Energy Star-certified, it won't cost as much to run as a model with more capacity.

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9.8-Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator


This extra-spacious 21.9-cubic-foot interior model from GE is garage-ready, tested to withstand a wider ambient temperature range from between 38 and 110 degrees.

The interior of this fridge has three shelves, two crisper drawers, and a variety of door bins, and the freezer offers a singular adjustable shelf and two additional door bins.

It comes in five finishes, though not all are below our cheap fridge price cap.

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Garage-Ready 21.9-Cu. Ft. Top-Freezer Refrigerator


Mini fridges are a cheap and convenient option for dorms, game rooms, and man caves. The RCA Mini Refrigerator weighs less than 50 pounds, with a 3.2-cubic-foot interior, including a 0.3-cubic-foot freezer compartment. It comes in a wide range of finishes, including several bright colors, and there's a handy in-door can dispenser.

The shelves can be adjusted to several height settings or even removed to make room for large items, and the door is reversible, as well, allowing you to easily situate the appliance in small spaces.

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RFR322 Mini Refrigerator


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For more refrigerator recommendations, check out our stories on the best French-door refrigerators, built-in refrigerators, and stainless steel refrigerators. You Might Also Like