Fancy LG’s eye-wateringly expensive Signature fridge freezer, but find that it’s a little out of reach? Similar in size and with many of the same features, the slightly more affordable GSX916NSAZ could be the answer. It retains the stainless finish and sassy InstaView door-in-door: simply knock twice and interior fridge lighting comes on so you can see inside without opening the door.
Huge fridge space, non-plumbed ice and water dispenser, and exceptional cooling performance are great. It also boasts the highest energy efficiency we’ve tested for a US-style fridge freezer. Add in that addictive InstaView feature and door-in-door convenience, and LG’s GSX961NSAZ is a premium fridge freezer favourite.
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The GSX961NSAZ is a lush stainless-steel-finished fridge freezer with plenty of toys. The horizontal handles keep the door edges clean, and the indent makes this look like a four-door model. It actually has three doors.
The outer layer of the upper half of the fridge door opens on its own. This allows quick and easy access to bottles and goods stored in the door pockets. While the labour-saving benefits are fairly minimal, the real advantage is one of energy efficiency. When you open the big door on a tall fridge freezer such as this, cold air simply falls out. Try opening your freezer door standing in bare feet and you’ll see what we mean.
The smaller door-in-door here stops the bulk of the cool air falling out. More accurately, it stops it being replaced by warm air from your kitchen, which saves energy. Combined with a high-tech linear inverter compressor, it works too. This fridge freezer boasts an A++ rating for energy efficiency. That’s all but unheard of in US-style side-by-side models.
Boosting luxury style further is that outer door layer, which is double-glazed glass. When it’s closed its manages to look a steely mirror black. Knock twice on the glass and the fridge’s interior LED lighting comes on, allowing you to see the contents through the glass.
Okay, we do wonder how much energy that really saves. Few people spend much time peering in their fridge without actually removing or replacing something. It’s an addictively cool feature, though. A month on test and we still couldn’t resist knocking on the door to peer in the fridge as we passed by.
A sleek steel-coloured touch control panel and chilled water and ice dispenser sit on the narrower freezer door. On this particular model that unit is fed from a 4-litre water reservoir inside the fridge compartment. No plumbing or proximity to mains water is required. If you do have water close by, LG’s GSX960NSAZ is an identical model with plumbed-in ice and water.
Throw open the full doors and you’re greeted with two well-lit and well-appointed compartments. The fridge is properly vast. It offers over 400 litres of usable chiller space spread across four shelves, three drawers, five door pockets and a wine rack. Multi-Air Flow cooling should ensure even temperatures throughout, and there’s a replaceable Pure N Fresh odour filter.
The freezer compartment looks compact, relatively. In fact, it has a very usable 196 litres of space across two drawers, four shelves and two door pockets. The upper shelves are truncated to allow for the ice mechanism on the door. LG calls this a SpacePlus slim-line ice maker, but it does rob a few inches from each of the upper shelves. Although – as Jackie pointed out to me – so does my stack of traditional and novelty ice cube trays in our own freezer.
There’s absolutely no criticising the lighting in either compartment, though. Long-strip LEDs down the sides flood the compartment exceptionally well with bright white light.
To ice the overall package, the GSX961NSAZ is a net-connected smart appliance too. Boot up LG’s SmartThinQ app and you can check and adjust temperatures remotely, plus set up to receive alarm notifications in the event the door has been left open, or if a fault developing.
From the top-spec stainless steel and glass door-in-door on the outside, to the excellent furniture and vivid lighting on the inside, this LG is about as sexy looking as fridge freezers get.
At roughly 400 litres of fridge space and 200 litres of freezer space, the answer is ‘plenty’. Not only does this fridge freezer deliver plenty of actual space on paper, we found the layout and furniture allowed you to make the most of it for real too.
The four shelves in the fridge are glass with anti-spill lips, but aren’t adjustable in height. That would usually indicate you might have an issue storing taller items. Yet this LG’s lowest door pocket is more than tall enough for 2-litre pop bottles; the next one up easily holds 2-litre and 4-litre plastic milk cartons.
Up top you get a removable four-bottle wine rack. Beneath the second shelf down is a handy, shallow drawer. This Utility Box is ideal for smaller items such sliced meats and cheese. It glides out on proper rollers and we found it very practical for storing those very items.
A small part of the lowest shelf is taken up with the reservoir for the ice and water dispenser on this model. It has a reasonable 4-litre capacity and is easily refilled through a large flap opening. Given nearby plumbing, we’d opt for the plumbed-in version every time, but this LG offers a very good plug-and-play solution for those without.
The upper of the two big drawers is LG’s Fresh Balancer compartment. This has an adjustable humidity slider control to best set the humidity for fruit or veggies. In another very practical touch, the settings are labelled ‘fruit’ and ‘vegetables’ to save you trying to remember which produce should have more or less humidity. I can never remember – and I do this for a living!
The drawer below is larger still and labelled Moist Balance Crisper. This compartment uses an innovative lattice patterned construction, which LG claims best maintains the humidity to keep salad and leafy veggies in tip-top condition.
Other than the huge lower door pocket in the fridge, the remaining four are shrouded by a semi wrap-around clear shield. This stops cold air falling out when you open the outer door and helps stop bottles and jars falling in. It does restrict the access a little from the inside, but the pockets are so stupendously deep anyway, it isn’t a big issue.
As ever with side-by-side models, there’s less to write home about in the freezer compartment. The four shelves and two drawers provide plenty of flexibility for its near 200 litres of space. larger items may be a bit of an issue on the shorter top shelves. We had a comedy moment with a giant frozen apple strudel in a box, although it did eventually go in diagonally.
We liked the addition of good-sized door pockets in the freezer. These are ideal for frequently used items such as ice lollies in summer or, in our case, sliced lemons for the G&Ts.
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LG’s Inverter Linear Compressor has impressed us in the past with its low noise, low vibration and energy efficient performance. Fitted to the GSX961NSAZ it’s every bit as good, creating an almost silent-running fridge freezer. The energy label states 39dB; we reckon it’s quieter than even that. We measured 37dB in the dead of night. We had to do it then since background noise from a distant road is higher than that. This LG is super-quiet.
As with all ice-maker freezers, the noise of ice cubes suddenly dropping into the storage bin does occasionally shatter the peace. When the internal bin is full, the ice-maker pauses, so the noise stops accordingly.
Loading up the fridge with 0.5kg/10 litres of assorted fruit, veg, cheese and jars required a raid of our own fridge. And then a trip to the supermarket. Loading the freezer at 1.0kg/10 litres also required 20kg of produce, this time the usual fare of peas, ready meals, meat and that cheeky apple strudel.
Using the touch controls we set the fridge to 4ºC and the freezer to -18ºC. In the upper drawer of the freezer, we placed a 2-litre container of water with a temperature probe at its core. This would test how quickly this model would freeze fresh food. We opened the main doors half a dozen times a day and used the InstaView a couple more for good measure.
Tall fridge compartments will always suffer the greatest temperature differential from top to bottom. Yet LG’s Multi-Air Flow cooling does a great job of reducing the effect. The very top shelf averaged just 5.5ºC, while the bottom drawer averaged 3ºC. That’s a very small difference for such a huge and tall compartment.
Better still, temperature variation through the compressor cycle was minimal. As ever, the top shelf – near the cooling outlets – was the least stable, wavering +2/-3ºC from average. This is still very good. The mid and lower shelves were nearer +/-1.5ºC, and the salad drawers just +/- 1ºC. That low fluctuation will certainly ensure you fresh food stays fresher for longer than an old freezer with wider temperature fluctuations. This LG’s fridge performance is up there with the very best.
The freezer was no less impressive in stability, but did average 1ºC higher than the thermostat suggested at -17ºC. It doesn’t matter where you place your food in the freezer; the average temperature is the same throughout.
Fresh to frozen time of 20 hours was on the money for an appliance of this size, and temperature stability throughout the compressor cycle was also very good. The top shelf suffered the most fluctuation at +/-2.5ºC, but that will have negligible effect on frozen foods. The lower shelves and drawers were very stable at +/- 1.5ºC and +/- 1ºC respectively. Our water sample core averaged -17ºC and stayed exactly the same throughout the entire two-week performance test.
Fail test results were also good for a side-by-side model. Over three hours with the power off, the top shelf rose 8 to -9ºC. The lower areas showed a rise of a few degrees less. Worst case scenario is food on the top shelf and power fail at the warmest part of the compressor cycle. Even so, frozen food wouldn’t see air above freezing for well over 12 hours. That should see you through all but the most catastrophic of power outages.
With over 600 litres of usable space to chill or freeze, and the disadvantage of tall compartments, side-by-side fridge freezers tend to be the least energy efficient of all. The energy label rating is awarded against capacity but, even so, very few side-by-sides manage better than A or A+. This LG is the first to our test bench with an A++ rating.
After the first week on test, both our power meters suggested that the LG had used just 5.5kWh of electricity. That’s the sort of level we might expect from a tall 60cm-wide fridge freezer with a fraction of the LG’s capacity. We double-checked all the parameters, ensured the environmental chamber was running at the right temperature, and ran the test for a further week. The result was about the same at 5.9kWh. We were expecting nearer 7-8kWh per week for this size of appliance.
Even at 5.9kWh per week, the annual calculation would be just 307kWh. That’s nearly 70kWh less than the energy label states, for running costs of around £46 per year at 15p/kWh.
Given the sheer capacity of the GSX961NSAZ and its side-by-side configuration, this is spectacularly low. Certainly, the lowest running cost per litre of any side-by-side model we’ve tested. Nice one, LG.
Powering comfortably into an exclusive club of all-time favourite fridge freezers, the GSX961NSAZ is stylish, practical, technically excellent and energy efficient.
The door-in-door system is handy, and the Smart ThinQ app functionality might save you leaving the door open. The InstaView ‘knock’ to see into the fridge without opening the door is just ultra-cool, irrespective of how long the novelty might last. Fit, finish and design throughout is outstanding, and we really can’t work out how LG has managed to keep running costs so low for the capacity.
The LG GSX961NSAZ is an outstanding appliance all-round – and if you want plumbed-in water, so too is its GSX960NSAZ sibling.