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Jul 11, 2009 04:20 PM

need refrigerator advice

Remodeling a house and down to the last thing. I need a fridge, and I don't want to spring for a built in. I want cabinet depth, stainless steel and preferably a bottom freezer, as I want room for casserole dishes, etc. so a side-by-side won't work. I don't want to spend any more than $3500 or $4000 (and I'd certainly spend less), but I also want to know that I'm getting something quality. Any recommendations?

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  1. I have an Amana, bottom freezer, that's been cranking along pretty successfully for 17 years now (don't want to jinx it!) I'm sure it it didn't cost the equivalent of $4K at the time -- we had very little money. I've been very happy with it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: somervilleoldtimer

      somervilleoldtimer: "I have an Amana, bottom freezer, that's been cranking along pretty successfully for 17 years now"

      We are happy with our bottom freezer Amana, also; ours was purchased in 1995.

      Unfortunately, "our" Amana is no more. Amana is a brand of Whirlpool these days, and Whirlpool has decided that Amana is not one of its premium brands. There is no continuity between the Amanas that you and I enjoy and the Amana-brand refrigerator that someone may purchase today.

      1. re: Politeness

        While the loss of Amana appliances may be unfortunate, there is nothing wrong with Whirlpool appliances. In fact, they are consistently highly rated by Consumer Reports, and we've had a Whirlpool fridge, stove, and dishwasher since 2003 with zero problems. Can't say the same about our previous General Electric fridge and jenn-air range.

    2. We've had good luck with Kenmore, from Sears. However, I can't vouch for their bottom-freezer models.

      I've heard wonderful things, also, about KitchenAid's offerings.

      1. Amana, Maytag, most of Kenmore, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, and Jenn-Air are all made by Whirlpool. The main difference is the trim (KA has a deeper bottom drawer, Whirlpool has a soda 12-pack holder in the door, Jenn-Air's thermostat shows the temperature instead of a setting from 1-7) and several hundred dollars. If you're committed to counter-depth, you're going to pay a premium for a smaller fridge. I think it's ridiculous. Personally, I decided to live with a standard depth fridge and sprang for a shiny new Electrolux range. I'm absolutely thrilled with both. After looking through lots and lots of stuff online, I found that anything in the Whirlpool group is going to be a good bet. They're built solidly, and if something does go wrong they have excellent customer service.

        Kenmore is a sucker bet. Kenmore doesn't actually *make* anything; they get someone else to make it and slap a Kenmore label on it. It's like any grocery store's private label, e.g. Target's Archer Farms or Trader Joe's. You end up saving a little bit over the identical item with the manufacturer's label. However, that cost savings comes at a price: If the appliance breaks, the Sears repairman comes out instead of the Maytag (or Jenn-Air or what have you) man, and Sears is infamous for having horrid repair service. Spend the extra bucks for the original brand. If the fridge breaks, you'll be glad you did.

        Oh, speaking of breaking fridges, the part of a fridge most likely to break is an in-the-door ice maker. To boot, you end up having the ice maker eat up fridge space (which comes at quite the premium on counter-depth). Avoid models with them.

        One more note: Stay away from Viking unless you like replacing compressors on a fairly regular basis. I had a family member offer me a GORGEOUS counter-depth one and I turned it down because I knew what happens to Viking fridges.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

          "Kenmore doesn't actually *make* anything; they get someone else to make it and slap a Kenmore label on it."

          That's true but if you know the codes you can find out who made that particular unit. We had trouble with a fridge in the past, and when we complained the service guy came out and looked at it. First thing he did was look at the serial number, then he said that it was made by "so & so" and we really should send it back and get one that started with the letters "XY" since that was top of the line. We did and it lasted for years.

          Edited to add: The new fridge we have is a side by side but it has a built in water filtration system that makes the water and ice taste so good. Filters out 99% of impurities.

        2. I hope that Whirlpool quality has held up like my 1992 model. No repairs or glitches whatsoever. Only mistake I made was buying an 18 sq-ft model - go bigger!

          BTW it usually consumes about 84 watts, roughly 1/3 of my ~$30 monthly electric bill. I don't know what details the current energy guide stickers show, but if you need to determine actual power consumption consider getting a P3 Kill-A-Watt:

          5 Replies
          1. re: DiveFan

            $30 dollar electric bill? Really? I am impressed. How do you do it?

            1. re: DiveFan

              Spartan living :-):
              - mostly CFL bulbs now
              - new computer motherboard (45 watts typical)
              - Most importantly, Gas range/oven, gas water heater and No washer or dryer

              1. re: DiveFan

                Thanks, DiveFan...perhaps I'll be inspired.

                1. re: pesto

                  DIveFan -- NO washer or dryer? You're pumping quarters into a laundromat machine somehwere?? .... And I have to ask, do you have a dishwasher?

                2. re: DiveFan

                  - No dishwasher - my hands work just fine, thank you.
                  - No provisions for W&D in this old house, major remodel required, budget not yet available :-(.

              2. We recently bought a Samsung with a bottom freezer in "platinum" finish. This is slightly warmer than stainless and cleans easily. So far we are very happy. We use very little ice so have not set up the ice maker, so can't comment on that. It isn't counter depth though.
                It lists for under $1500. We got it on special for just under $1000 at Costco.