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Mar 31, 2009 04:51 PM

Stainless Steel Refrigerator Question

We are about to purchase a new stainless steel refrigerator (probably french door bottom mount). One side of the refrigerator will not be covered by cabinetry and will be exposed to the rest of the room. Problem is, every stainless steel refrigerator I've seen has either black or grey plastic-y sides rather than stainless sides, and I'd really like to only have stainless steel exposed. Anyone know of any manufacturers that offer stainless steel sides on their moderately priced (under $2,500) fridges? I've had no luck with Kitchenaid or Whirlpool.

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  1. the General Electric Stainless Steel GE Cafe 20.9 cu. ft. Counter-Depth French-Door Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator comes with stainless side panels. it'll run you about $2700 at Home Depot, and a little more at Sears or Lowe's.

    if you want to buy one of the others you've seen, you can buy a stainless panel to install over the exposed side.

    1. Our new last year Samsung has stainless on the sides. Well, I guess it's stainless. Magnets stick to it so it certainly isn't plastic. And it was WAY under $2500.

      7 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        Magnets don't stick to most kinds of stainless

        1. re: Soop

          Well, isn't that interesting. So does that mean it's some other kind of metal that's been painted a stainless steel color? We're away from home for awhile so I can' get out the manual and paperwork. But the front has magnets on it also. And I guess to carry it a little further, do I really care what the base metal is? Probably not.

          1. re: c oliver

            I'd guess it's probably a thin coat of stainless on top of something else less expensive. But you're right, you shouldn't care - the stainless layer will be enough to do it's job (not rust, look pretty) and a hunk of stainless the size of a fridge would cost more $.

            Also, I read something interesting a few years back about a fridge that would use a circle of magnets to produce the cooling. It was in the new scientist. Off topic, but it was a good read.

            1. re: c oliver

              There are many types of SS. Some are magnetic and some are not. So that is not a true indicator of the metal type. In the UK if a manufacturer advertises that it is stainless steel then it would have to be by law. Is that true in the US?

              1. re: Paulustrious

                Depends whether it's austenitic or not. Most commonly it will be, and thus non magnetic. But you're right, it doesn't exclusively prove that it's not stainless steel all through.

                But I'd say that a layer of SS over plain steel pretty much serves the same purpose, and lowers cost.

                Just out of interest, I just checked on online store (UK) and under the specs, "Stainless Steel" was listed as the colour. Cheeky.

                1. re: Soop

                  I suspected it may be something like that. I haven't used words like austenite and martensite since I was at Imperial College. I suspect that they wouldn't layer it. After all SS cannot be deposited and it is is quite expensive to bond.

                  1. re: Paulustrious

                    If I did it, I'd probably get a thin covering in a net (like when you open and flatten a cube) and get a machine to press it in and around a different shell. Stainless steel is not too heat conductive I think.

                    Hang on, I'm trying to think how this works. Fridges are not cold on the outside, they keep it it, so you want insulating material. And for the back, which is hot, you need to radiate the heat away from the front. so it's probably airtight plastic around a metal frame?

        2. I have a Fisher & Paykel bottom mount fridge/freezer that has stainless sides. Lowes sell them for less than $2000. They make a french door version too.

          1. Thanks to all for the replies. My own digging has found some Amana and Electrolux refrigerators with stainless sides.

            1. You could always go with the stainless film stuff if you have a cabinet depth fridge or if the whole side isn't exposed-

              I know people who have had good experiences using it on the front of their dishwasher.