Now, the Door-in-Door compartment in LG’s latest refrigerators comes with an “InstaView” window. Give it a double knock, and the fridge’s interior lights will come on, illuminating your groceries inside. That lets you browse for a snack or a beverage without opening anything at all. It’s an interesting feature, but a niche convenience at best.
Still, as niche conveniences go, InstaView is admittedly nifty, and it makes LG’s Door-in-Door feature more visible than ever. That, more than anything else, is what LG is probably going for here. The Korean manufacturer has made Door-in-Door a keystone feature of its fridge lineup; it needs people to know about it, and to want it. InstaView isn’t about seeing your groceries – it’s about seeing Door-in-Door.
All of which brings us to the LG LFXC24796D. It’s a counter-depth French door model in an attractive black stainless steel finish, and the InstaView window is its marquee feature. The price: $4,300 – or $500 more than a nearly identical counter-depth Door-in-Door model without the InstaView window. That’s a very steep premium for the trivial privilege of peeking at your groceries, and it makes the otherwise decent LFXC24796D a poor value.
This fridge is a looker
The rise of black stainless steel offered LG a fresh coat of paint for its high-end fridges. It’s an aesthetic that makes everything feel more modern, and it looks great on the LFXC24796D. Add the InstaView window, and you’re looking at a distinctive French door model that your house guests will be sure to “ooh” and “aah” over (they’ll probably want to knock on it, too).
Size-wise, this counter-depth model offers 23.5 cubic feet of total storage space, 15.6 of which get allocated to the fridge compartment. It’s a decent number for a counter-depth refrigerator like this one that’s designed to fit flush with the front of your cabinets and countertops. But keep in mind that counter-depth models offer less depth than their full-size siblings. Try to stuff an extra-large pizza box inside, and the doors won’t close.
Still, I had no trouble fitting our full load of test groceries inside, and, pizza box aside, I fit our large stress test items in, too. My only quibble was that there wasn’t a good spot for 2-liter bottles. The Door-in-Door shelves would be the optimal place for them, but none of those shelves are tall enough to fit one, and none of them are adjustable. You can slide one of the main body shelves toward the back of the fridge to make room for tall items below it, but it only slides back so far. Our test 2-liter sat awkwardly over the edge of the shelf below as a result.
As for features, there’s some good stuff going on inside of this fridge. My favorite is the SlimSpace ice maker, which packs the entirety of the ice maker into the left door. It saves space inside of the fridge and keeps the interior of the door perfectly flat, which makes it easier to fit things into the in-door shelves. You’ve also got a temperature-adjustable pantry drawer that runs the width of the bottom of the fridge – a nice feature, but one that didn’t prove all that useful when we tested it (more on that in just a bit.)
Door-in-Door: What is it good for?
It’s an honest question. What’s the point? LG pitches it as both a convenience and an energy saver, but I don’t see it as either. On the convenience front, you’re still opening a door and grabbing your bottle of beer – it’s just a different door than before. As far as energy goes, we’ve yet to see a Door-in-Door compartment have any appreciable impact on performance, and we’ve tested several of them.
If anything, you could argue that the Door-in-Door compartment actually cuts against performance – and against convenience, too. Door-in-Door temperatures are almost always a little bit warmer than the rest of the fridge, a pattern that held true with the LFXC24796D. And if you want to access those shelves the old-fashioned way (from the inside of the fridge), you’ll need to open – wait for it – another door. Yep, Door-in-Door has another door inside of the door.
So, again, what’s the point? The cynical answer is that Door-in-Door is just an easy excuse for LG to charge more for its refrigerators. That might be good for LG, but it’s not so good for consumers.
LG fridges have a pretty good track record in our test lab, and the LFXC24796D was no exception. Temperatures held steady throughout all of our tests, with the main body shelves and the left door shelves all coming in within 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit of the target temperature at the refrigerator’s default setting. That’s a great result.
There’s a problem area, though, and it isn’t tough to spot in that heat map above. It’s the Door-in-Door shelves, all of which ran a couple of degrees warmer than the rest of the shelves throughout all of our tests. That holds true to what we’ve seen from other Door-in-Door compartments in LG refrigerators. Fridge for fridge, they always come in a little bit warm. It’s somewhat forgivable since you’ll probably use those shelves to store things like butter, beer and preservative-heavy condiments. Still, you’ll want to keep your milk, cheeses and other temperature-sensitive groceries elsewhere.
One other quick note on that Door-in-Door compartment. Take a look at the trio of crisper bins. In each heat map, they show a clear trend towards warmer temperatures on the right half of the fridge, where the Door-in-Door compartment lives. That’s clear evidence that the Door-in-Door compartment compromises performance in the rest of the refrigerator, too, at least to a small extent.
My other complaint with the refrigerator’s performance is with that temperature-adjustable pantry drawer. During the default, 37-degree setting test, I dialed it down to the coldest setting (“Meat”) to see if it could hold a colder temperature than the rest of the fridge. It only came in about a degree cooler than the refrigerator’s main shelves, which was still warmer than the fridge’s 37-degree setting. After that, I tested the refrigerator’s coldest setting and dialed the drawer up to its warmest setting (“Produce”) to see if it could keep things from getting too chilly. The drawer finished a few degrees warmer than the refrigerator’s 33-degree setting – but so did the rest of the fridge. In other words, those drawer settings aren’t good for much more than labeling what you’re putting inside.
If Door-in-Door is just an excuse for LG to charge more for its refrigerators, then InstaView is just an excuse for LG to charge more for Door-in-Door. Both have a “Well, would you look at that!” appeal, but neither offers much in the way of actual utility.
That’s what sours me on these InstaView fridges. They look great and they perform decently well, but in the end, you’re doubling down on expensive features that you don’t actually need. Unless you’re in love with the knock-to-see-inside InstaView feature, I say there are plenty of better ways to spend your money.
Updated 10:35 AM, 11/1/16:The price of this refrigerator has dropped from $4,399 to $4,299, and the text of this review has been updated accordingly. Our value assessment remains unchanged.
For more information please see the list of Best lg fridge