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New fridges: Less energy, more features

July 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you need a new refrigerator, then now is a good time to buy. You get more features in basic models than ever before. The new refrigerators use a lot less energy too.Today's refrigerators use half the electricity they did in 1990, which can mean tremendous savings on your power bill. And when Eyewitness News teamed up with Consumer Reports, we came up with a best buy too.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch the accompanying video to this story.

Consumer Reports tests refrigerators inside a temperature-controlled chamber to make sure they'll keep your food at a constant temperature. This round of tests, headed up by Joe Pacella, included 88 two-door, three-door, and even four-door refrigerators, like the G.E. Profile. The freezer has two drawers which gives you easier access to your frozen food.

And the Samsung model has two drawers on the bottom that you can change from a freezer to a refrigerator, depending on what you need.

Ice and water dispensers are more common, and Pacella finds they're getting more elaborate.

"The G.E. Profile lets you set exactly how much water you want," said Pacella.

But those added features come at a cost. These refrigerators go for $2,500 or more.

Measuring interior and Consumer Reports' measurements show all those drawers and ice dispensers cut into storage space for food.

"Some of these refrigerators only give you 60 or 65 percent of the promised capacity," said Jim Nanni, Consumer Reports.

But you don't have to pay top dollar to get a refrigerator with handy features, like pull-out shelves that make it easier to reach food in the back, drawers that have their own temperature control to keep meat colder and crisper, drawers with a humidity control to keep vegetables fresher. These are handy features that don't add a lot to the price tag.

Consumer Reports tests show you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a good basic refrigerator with those handy features.

One of Consumer Reports best buys includes a bottom-freezer from Hotpoint, model HSS22GFT. It costs $760.

 

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