American-made appliances – or any home goods, for that matter – are increasingly important to people. Domestically made refrigerators might be of higher quality, though this depends on multiple factors.
Also, for some, it speaks to their patriotism in wanting to support American workers and their families.
In this article, we look into what refrigerators are made in the USA versus those that are not. We also consider the reality that parts are sometimes produced in manufacturing facilities across the globe, and then the appliance is assembled in the States.
5 Refrigerators That Are Made in the USA
Of the popular fridge brands that are made in the USA, they vary widely.
Some of these refrigerators are smaller and more portable, whereas others are built-in installations for a growing household.
Because of this, the appliances span a range of sizes and price points.
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- Headquarters: Boston, New York
- Pricing Range: $500-$3,000+
- Fridge Type(s): French door, Top freezer, bottom freezer, Side-by-Side, Undercounter & Small
Co-founded by the inventor Thomas Edison, GE launched the original refrigerator back in 1927. First made in the USA, eventually, production was exported a few decades later.
However, this has most recently seen a reversal with a greater focus on US-based production following a $1 billion investment at multiple US plants to support this push.
Later acquired by Haier, GE Appliances offers a wide range of appliance types to suit virtually any cooler or freezer need in the marketplace.
Based in Boston, New York, they manufacture refrigerators in multiple states. These include New York, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
GE still uses parts made elsewhere. A refrigerator’s compressor, a fan, or another part might not be made domestically. It is also fair to say that not every refrigerator is made in the States; a few models might be exclusively made elsewhere.
- Headquarters: Benton Harbor, Michigan
- Pricing Range: $500-$7,000
- Fridge Type(s): French door, Side-By-Side, Top freezer, Bottom freezer, Freezer, Counter depth, Ice Maker, and Beverage and Wine
Whirlpool USA was founded in 1911. Located in Benton Harbor, Michigan, they’ve produced home-oriented products for consumers since the early days.
Back in 1948, they stole a march on their competition by offering the original automatic washing machine. The company makes refrigerators (after acquiring Seeger in 1955), plus cooking ovens, washer dryers, and so much more.
As a company that takes pride in its American heritage and century-long history, Whirlpool Corporation is a major player in the US refrigeration market.
They sell all the popular types of refrigerators, including French doors, Side-by-Side, Bottom and Top freezers, standalone freezers, and counter depth models.
Additionally, they have some models with ice makers and sell separate, standalone chilled storage for wine and beverages too.
Whirlpool is known to manufacture American-made refrigerators in plants based in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Iowa.
In addition to their Whirlpool brand with its distinctive oval-shaped yellow logo, they also encompass the Maytag, KitchenAid, and Amana brands too. Several of these also sell refrigerators but aren’t necessarily “Made in the USA.”
- Headquarters: Irvine, California
- Pricing Range: $5,000-$12,000+
- Fridge Type(s): Freestanding, Bottom freezer, and refrigerator column designs. Column freezers and wine refrigerators. Custom Panels.
Founded in 1916 by William E. Cranston Jr., the company started by making electric heaters, then the first wall oven, and later, an electrical space heater.
In 1957, their built-in refrigerator-freezer combo, the first of its kind, was introduced. And much later, in 2006, Thermador added a modular approach to their range of fridges and freezers.
The brand has had many firsts over the decades, perhaps more than any other.
Owned by BSH Home Appliances Corporation, part of the second biggest appliance producer globally, Thermador is a premium, USA-made fridge manufacturer.
Based in California, they complete manufacturing from their factory in LaFollette, Tennessee.
- Headquarters: Greenwood, Mississippi
- Pricing Range: $4,000-$16,000+
- Fridge Type(s): Freestanding and Built-in Refrigerators (Side-by-Side and Bottom Freezers), Freezers (standalone), undercounter, and Ice Boxes. Custom Panels for refrigerators are common
Viking isn’t anywhere near as well-known to most consumers. This is because, for the longest time, it was primarily a professional chef brand of products for commercial kitchens.
Only recently, they expanded their product range to include refrigerators and other equipment for consumers, too.
While being around for four decades, they were acquired partway by Middleby Corporation, which still owns the brand today.
As a luxury brand focused on unique designs, Viking produces its refrigerators in the United States. Their price point reflects this reality too.
Along with refrigerators, they also offer hob ranges and dishwashers.
- Headquarters: Madison, Wisconsin
- Pricing Range: $5,000-$17,000
- Fridge Type(s): Full-size (French door, Side-By-Side, Over and Under, and Column), undercounter, and Wine Coolers
Originating in Wisconsin with a rich 75-year history, Sub-Zero is a modern, designer brand with outstanding refrigeration products. Their fridges are sold in their Classic, Pro, and Designer ranges.
Their best refrigerators are fitted with a microprocessor, providing climate control and temperature management. Additionally, air purifiers include an anti-microbial process that purifies the internal air 3 times hourly.
Manufacturing for Sub-Zero refrigerators is performed in Wisconsin and Arizona. Assembly is completed at these plants using parts produced both in America and elsewhere. Recycled materials, including plastics, are increasingly used too.
Refrigerators That Are Not Made in the USA
At the time of publication, this is a non-exhaustive list of the refrigerator brands that do not make their products in the USA:
- LG – Some refrigerators are assembled in Tennessee. However, others originate from China, Mexico, India, and South Korea.
- Insignia – Their refrigerators are known to be produced in China.
- Beko – A popular brand for its affordability, they usually make their fridges in Turkey.
- Bosch – A high-end, highly respected appliance brand. Many of their appliances, including refrigerators, are made in North Carolina. Some also come from Germany, where quality standards are typically high, and other models originate in China.
- Samsung – The South Korean consumer goods giant produces all kinds of fridges and other appliances and consumer goods around the world. While some fridges are made in South Carolina, others are produced elsewhere in Poland, Hungary, India, Germany, South Korea, Sweden, Luxembourg, and South Africa.
- Frigidaire – It’s a mixed picture with the major refrigerator brand, Frigidaire. They do make some fridges in the USA. However, others are produced in Italy, China, or Mexico and shipped or flown over to the States.
Can Any Refrigerator Be Marketed as ‘Made in the USA’?
The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for ensuring that consumers are treated properly when it comes to fair representation.
This includes statements from consumer brands confirming their products are “Made in the USA.”
It’s important to note that the FTC does not operate like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where new medicines must be approved before reaching the market.
Instead, products are sold and may be marked as “Made in the USA” without a vetting process in place. Only when consumer complaints are registered with the FTC do they consider investigating whether previous claims were reasonable or misleading.
Product origin is not an easy subject to cover. There are different facets to it. What constitutes a product that was made in the US?
For example, some electronics brands state that they are “Designed in California, Made in China.” Others may use parts produced internationally, with the final assembly all done stateside.
This is often to ensure better quality control on the final product, but it still doesn’t prevent a high fault rate on imported parts.
Fines for Companies Misleading Consumers
One example of the FTC moving to action is when it received complaints about the true source of manufacture, in the case of DreamCloud.
The FTC fined the mattress company behind the DreamCloud brand $753,000 for advertising while making false claims. Marketed strongly indicated that certain mattresses were 100% USA-made.
The FTC determined that materials were internationally sourced and potentially the mattresses were assembled outside the country, too.
There is an FTC ruling standard from August 2021 relating to using either a Made in America or Made in the USA marketing campaign or product labeling.
It broadly states that a product must have been manufactured almost completely in the US or the major majority of parts/materials were sourced from the US.
Therefore, consumer goods companies are extremely careful to avoid making misleading claims about the origins of their products.
Refrigerators Made in the USA Vs. Not Made in the USA
The building materials of fridges include plastic, steel, and fiberglass. The US is a major producer of fiberglass and plastic. China produces steel, but it is known to not be as strong as US-made steel.
In terms of functional parts inside a refrigerator, the quality of the component manufacturing is important. Unfortunately, quality standards in some countries aren’t as high as expected.
Also, quality control checks are questionable at times, too. Therefore, reliability and durability play a part because consumers don’t necessarily want to sacrifice the lifespan of a fridge for a lower initial price.
Some brands include a more affordable range of products – or all of them – made in countries where parts and labor are less expensive. The cost savings are passed onto the consumer through a lower price point.
The potential downside is that these products won’t always last as long or operate trouble-free during the full ownership period.
Should You Only Buy Refrigerators Made in the United States?
Some consumers want to support their country and only buy American-made refrigerators.
Others take the view that the product quality is higher, and it’s less, if at all, about patriotism or supporting the US economy.
Some upmarket refrigerator brands are made in the USA, where the buyers are willing to pay a premium. Maybe an American-made refrigerator will last longer and require fewer appliance technician callouts.
While cheaper appliances made abroad don’t hurt the pocketbook as much, they may require repeated repairs and replacement parts over the years.
Outside the warranty period, expensive repairs can eventually outweigh the cost savings of purchasing a cheaper brand or a foreign-made fridge.