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Jun 17, 2008 11:47 PM

Subzero or Thermador Refer/freezer?

Hi, can you help me decide between the Subzero or Thermador refridgerator & freezer?
Is the Subzero all that much better because of its dual compressors? Is the Thermador actually, noticeably quieter? Is the price difference significant enough to sacrifice quality?

Both come in the size I want (42" or 48" side by side). I've read so many posts, am now confused. The kitchen is gutted and the contractor awaits my decision. Help?
thank you!

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  1. I have a subzero, 48 inch, side by side. We just built a new house and have had it since October, and it's fabulous. The dual compressors are great and produce and cheeses especially seem to stay fresher for much longer than in our old fridge. I don't have any experience with Thermador. As far as noise is concerned, our subzero doesn't really make any noise, so I wouldn't let that scare you away.

    1. What did you decide and how do you like it? I'm remodeling my kitchen and trying ot decide between the 48" Sub-Zero and the 48" Kitchenaid (which makes the Thermador). Anyone out there have an opinion they would care to share?


      3 Replies
      1. re: Colbrook

        Had a freezer-on-bottom Sub Zero for 4 LONG years - went with it b/c we wanted a copper front on it to match copper countertops. Beautiful fridge - my husband said it was my Jaguar car - gorgeous to look at but didn't run! Sold the house and left new owners an inch-high stack of work orders - had to replace almost everything that was replaceable! Have a GE monogram built-in now - 3 years and not a single hiccup...that Sub Zero was so pretty, but wow, what a problem!

        1. re: lindsley

          Have a 12 year old Sub Zero -- running problem-free since day 1. Have several friends and family members with Sub-Zeros, some older, some newer. All good. Can't generalize.

          1. re: ferret

            And I have a 14 year old Sub Zero which has needed repairs...COSTLY least 3 times. Twice we had to replace the compressor. Not fun. But it's fairly quiet. And you cannot beat the freshness of fruits and vegetables. It's a hard choice to keep or replace (with a different model? or manufacturer?) during the kitchen remodel.

      2. Don't forget that those dual compressors mean you're basically using twice the energy of a standard fridge. Maybe not a concern for someone about to spend $5k-ish on a fridge, but probably ought to be.

        Here's the Energy Star fridge search:

        Looks like the Sub Zero's and Thermadors that are rated are mostly all fridge or bottom freezer models (which I believe is a design licensed from Whirlpool).

        FWIW, KA (Whirlpool) is one manufacturer that I know has units in 42" and 48" that are Energy Star rated.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ted

          You have to take all those Energy Star rating with a grain of salt. Hve a look at this Consumer Reports article:

          testing standards are questionable and the Energy Star shield should only go to the best appliances but it seems it is too easy to get.

          1. re: Jack_

            Some, maybe, but "all" is a bit of a stretch. Note that the french-door LG that CR mentions has the icemaker in the fridge (not freezer) door. Well, of course that's going to use a lot more energy to cool one area more than the surrounding compartment. Side-by-sides, et al, with the icemaker in the freezer shouldn't be affected. That one, relatively-new type of fridge manages to beat the system isn't surprising. Besides, none of LG's models are available in the OP's 42 or 48-inch width.

            Whether Energy Star is perfect or not is immaterial. It's still the best gauge we have, and it's standards for energy savings are getting more strict. CR exists to sell magazines, and their own methodology has been slammed in several instances.

            Regardless, it should be obvious that any fridge with 2 compressors is going to use more energy than a single-compressor model of the same size.

            1. re: ted

              >Regardless, it should be obvious that any fridge with 2 compressors is going to use more energy than a single-compressor model of the same size.<

              To whom? Not to me. Why would 2 5 amp compressors draw more current than 1 12 amp compressors, especially when 1 of the 2 compressors might only run 1/2 the time as the other? Now I don't know how big the compressors are or their power requirements. Just saying it isn't as obvious.

              1. re: Jack_

                I suspect that the total compressor capacity on the 2-compressor models is greater than that of a single-compressor model in the same size. My take on it the last time I looked at the Energy Guide labels in person (a while ago) was that there was some basic 'overhead' energy use associated with running the second compressor that generally put the total use over that of the single-compressor model.

                I concur that it isn't as obvious as I said earlier. But then, by your logic and condemnation of the Energy Star rating system, wouldn't more Sub Zero products be rated?

                Kudos to KA/Whirlpool, as neither Sub Zero nor Thermador show their Energy Guide labels on their sites.

        2. Sorry no help on Thermador, had freezer bottom Subzero for 8 years. Never had any problem with it, during or after warrantee; my problem was with the two compressors, seemed for a big reefer, little comparative room inside, thus needed an additional 'bar' refrigerator, which l had never needed before

          1 Reply
          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            I do not have any experience with Thermador .
            Had a new subzero side by side with an ice dispenser installed in my kitchen. WOW! In ever had so many problems with my $1200.00 GE fridge as I've had with this subzero .
            It's had a problem almost once a year. The cost of anyone just coming to repair it is about$300.00(at least).
            I don't think I'll ever get another one. It looks beautiful, that's it.
            I could have bought another ordinary fridge with just the repair money it's cost me over the past years.