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Feb 22, 2010 07:37 PM

Which to buy: Samsung vs. KitchenAid fridge and where

Chowhounds, I need your help on a fridge purchase. It has been a painful process - everything seems error prone, so I'm hoping you can help with two issues.

First, is the choice of fridge. We'd like a counter-depth with a single door and bottom freezer. I find the single door easier to navigate than the French Doors where I end up opening both doors to hunt around the fridge. (We may buy an undercounter fridge for a little extra space.) The two that rose to the top of the list are:

1. KitchenAid Bottom Freezer KBLS20EVMS. Consumer Reports lists KA with the fewest problems.

2. Samsung RB217ABWP . I like the idea of the twin coolers and it's cheaper, but samsung seems to have very mixed comments on the internet.

I would love to hear about people's experiences with these two (I haven't seen them yet - this is all by web browsing).

We also considered buying an all-fridge configurationn and a separate freezer, but there aren't a lot of choices. The less expensive fridge models seem to be super loud and not energy star rated (e.g. Frigidaire, Electrolux). The more expensive models are super super pricey (Miele, Sub-Zero). So we have given up this route, although I would love a 17cu ft fridge. If anyone knows of anything, pass it along.

Second issue, has anyone bought a fridge off of eBay? There are many listed from sellers with great ratings. Many of the appliances cost as much or more as at a store, but one does also see some bargains from time to time. I was curious whether we should try that route.


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  1. i had that particular KA in the condo i was renting last year, so i'll tell you about the primary drawbacks:
    - i found myself constantly wishing the freezer had more space.
    - the freezer had humidity control issues - things that shouldn't have developed freezer burn did. in fact, pretty much anything ended up with freezer burn if it was in there for more than a week.
    - the drawers aren't designed well. the crispers have a tendency to catch on the humidity control sliders, and the cover for the meat compartment doesn't always close properly - and if you close the refrigerator door when that cover is off-kilter, you run the risk of cracking it right off at the flimsy little pegs that hold it in place - my parents had that happen to theirs.
    - the water dispenser is a nuisance. it's a little doohickey on the interior wall of the refrigerator, which seems kinda cool at first, until you realize it means that you have to open the door and keep it open every time you want to access the filtered water...and the space between the spigot and the wall is so tight that you can only really fit a glass under it. anything thicker (say, a pitcher, measuring cup, or mug) and you'll end up with water all over yourself and the floor - i learned that one the hard way. oh, and you need both hands to use it because you have to hold down the dispenser button the entire time.

    so basically i'm saying that i wouldn't buy it.

    1. No experience with either, but I've heard worse things from kitchenaid. Samsung, as you say, seems mixed, but it seems that people are really happy with them until they break.

      I would personally buy a Samsung over anything else given the features (but not the same model as you)

      1. OO OO OO
        I bought a french door full sized KA refrig last year. I won't go check the model number. It's been fine, BUT..... I have two issues that if I knew about, I don't think I would have bought it:

        1. The drawers are FLIMSY. I asked on another board about secrets to buying appliances, and one person told me to CHECK THE DRAWERS FOR STURDINESS.
        I let the wife pick out the fridge, and assumed that KA would be decent. I slid the drawers in and out, and my wife and I kind of assumed that once the drawers had stuff in them to weigh them down, they would glide in/out with no issues. Her aunt has a cab depth french door KA, and the drawers have always seemed solid. WE WERE WRONG. The drawers SUCK. Even when filled, you have to twist them correctly sometimes to open/close them. It's not a huge deal in the grand scheme of life, but when you just want to grab an orange, and open/close the drawer, and then you try to close the drawer and it won't go, sometimes, I just wanna take a sledghammer to it. Life should not be that hard for the $ I paid for that stupid thing to have flimsy garbage drawers. I'm not saying that the model you are eyeing will have the same issue, I'm saying go to the store, and put some stuff into the drawers. SERIOUSLY.

        Issue 2:
        The ice maker. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
        The little stupid wire lever. when the ice tray is full, and you pull out the freezer, the little stupid wire ice maker lever will snag an ice cube or two, and as you pull the freezer out, it will shove a cube or two down the back of the freezer tray, and to the back of the freezer, and then the cube(s) will slide from the back of the freezer, and slide out the front, and onto my floor. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

        I was also eyeing a Samsung because they come in bigger sizes. I got a great deal on the KA tho. I think it was a 25% rebate, and also it was on sale. It was pretty much too good to pass up, although those flimsy drawers and the ice thing really tick me off sometimes. I'll be nice, and check the model number sometime today, and post it.

        1. Thanks everyone. It's depressing to hear, but based on what you say I decided to purchase a second hand Sub-Zero. They receive a great rating on consumre reports and we had good luck with one in my last house. I checked on eBay and found one - we'll see how it goes. I'll post if it's a great way to buy appliances or a disaster!

          1 Reply
          1. re: smango42

            for what it's worth, everyone i know who's ever had a Sub-Zero has preferred it over the others. best of luck!

          2. I purchased a Samsung french door refrigerator in Jan. So far, perfect! It runs very quietly, has plenty of room, is easy to clean and the lighting is terrific. The only drawback I have found is the ice makers. They tend to be a little slow to make ice and noisy when the ice drops but that is minor and something we can live with. There are two ice makers, one in the fridge and another in the freezer drawer, so the slowness is really a non-issue.

            We considered KA and others but after looking for weeks at everything on the market, I purchased the Samsung from Lowe's. (There was a minor dent in one side that was noted by the delivery team. I was given a $150.00 discount.)

            4 Replies
            1. re: BoardSMITH

              gotta love the scratch/dent discounts.. that's how I got my cooktop, wall oven and dishwasher.
              Usually they are somewhere where no one will ever see them.

              1. re: grnidkjun

                Hi Grnidkjun, - interesting. How do you find the scratch/dent discounts - at a store or can one do it online? thanks, smango.

                1. re: smango42

                  you can usually find scratch & dent appliances at discount/outlet stores for the major chains like Sears. or just ask at the regular store about any discounts they might have on floor models or open-box items on hand...those are the ones that end up at the outlet eventually!

              2. re: BoardSMITH

                We bought a Samsung French Door fridge from Lowe's, as well, back in October. So far so good! We love it. It's very quiet - except for the ice drop, as you note. We turn the ice makers off at night. What I am most amazed about is how much longer my produce stays "fresh" in this fridge versus our old Amana. I absolutely love the bottom freezer, too.