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Mar 15, 2010 07:09 AM

New Appliances for New Kitchen in South End

We are gutting our kitchen and are looking at different appliance packages to install - we would love to stay in the same family (Thermador/Bosch) but are having a hard time stomaching the $6000+ price tag for the refrigerators that come in those lines.

Does anyone have any thoughts on Kenmore Elite vs. Thermador? Or any other top-name/brand appliances?

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  1. Everyone will have thoughts on brands. The final decision is yours, do the research. I'd suggest figuring out what STYLE of appliances you'd want. Not color, but style/features - like french door fridge, side by side, do yu want a range, or a cooktop with a sep oven. Double wall oven? Single plus a convection microwave, perhaps. You have many choices to consider, and if you need to have the appliances all have the same name, then you might have to give up some features. personaly, I have no idea why appliances would need to have the same logo on them, but that's me. I'd rather have the best appliances for each job, and if a thermador fridge does not do what I want, there's no way that I'd buy it just because the logo is the same as the oven. Not a chance in this world. I'd suggest a one month subscription to consumer reports, checking out the gardenweb appliance forums, and using as much info as you can for an informed opinion on what to buy.

    From my recent appliance investigation during a gut remodel, one thing that I kept in mind is that a fridge keeps things cold. If you spend 10k, or 2k, or 500 dollars, a box that keeps things 38 degrees has very little variance in how well it keeps things 38 degrees.

    When you ask a very broad question about makers, you're gonna get ppl who love them, and ppl who have had a bad experience. I crossed a lot of high end makers off of my lists because of issues with their repair records. I'll pay 10k dollars for an appliance that I want, but if it breaks or tuns out to be a lemon, and I can't get it fixed? Then I'm going to jail for some crime. It's not worth the hassle. Not in the slightest. I'm sure that all companies have very satisfied customers that have had repairs done well, but with my luck? I'd have problems, guaranteed. My Electrolux Icon Pro double oven went wonky before the 1 yr warranty was up, recently, and they were a pleasure to deal with.

    Anyway, you've got some research to do. Figure out what model of appliance you want, and then start sniffing around for opinions, you'll get way more specific opinions - especially over on gardenweb. Sorry for the ramble - just my two cents. It might be overwhelming right now, but trust me, your choices will get easier once you start researching. There will be a point when you narrow down your choices to one or two models. And check on customer service / repair track records. You do NOT want to be dealing with a company who takes the stuff lightly if you pay premium price for a premium appliance.

    4 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      Thanks Gordeaux..

      I guess I didn't phrase my question very well. I have done the research. We have spent a lot of time in different appliance stores and looking online reading different reviews. I'm just stuck on the refrigerator and because we are hoping to sell our condo in a more "high-end" market, we are wondering if it really matters if we have a name like Viking, Sub-Zero or if Kitchen Aid or Kenmore are just as good. They all keep food cold, and for the most part get good reviews on CR... I guess I was looking for answers more broad based on people's preferences (generally) on the brands.

      I want double ovens - not a microwave combo, but two real double ovens (I bake) - specifically model # ME302ES. Meile was my first choice, but I ended up picking Thermador because they aren't as expensive, get great reviews and have great heating elements ( I believe they are manufactured by the same Company that makes Miele).

      I also want a gas cooktop - again picked Thermador model # SGSX365FS because it has star burners, have "extra low" settings on 2 of their burners and are easy to clean. They also get good reviews/ratings.

      I picked a Bosch dishwasher model #SHX68E05UC because everyone I talked to, all the rating reports and from personal experience - they are one of the best makers of dishwashers. This specific one has internal controls, 3 adjustable shelves and is ranked #1 on CR.

      Which leaves me with the fridge - because all the other appliances were in the Thermador/Bosch family, we thought it might look a little funny to have one appliance be a different brand (and probably aesthetic).I know I want French Door style and I want the overall cubic feet (both freezer & fridge) to be at least 19+ cubic feet. Preferably I would have a water and ice dispenser on the inside of the unit although that isn't a necessity.

      Kenmore Elite ranks the highest on CR - which is why I was wondering what people's thoughts were. We had originally picked out Kitchen Aid (which isn't rated on CR) but I don't really know much about that brand as far as refrigerators - my kitchen aid mixer is the bomb though.

      Anyway, thanks for the reply - my search continues...

      1. re: jodes

        Ah, well -

        I still would never ever buy an appliance just to match name brand of others. When I was doing my research, several ppl told me that when I was pinging forums. The colors will all match just fine. It's possible that the HANDLES might not match as well as you might want them to, but for the other 99% of the population, it just won't matter.

        I will tell you that I have a full sized Kitchen Aid french door. When I was researching the fridges, someone told me to check the drawer structure for sturdiness. Wish I paid more attention to that. The drawers on mine are kinda flimsy, and twist out of place when you open/close them. When we were in the stores looking, we figured that once the drawers were full, the weight would make them more sturdy. not so. I would not have bought this fridge if I knew this would be the case. Although this doesn't answer your qq, I would suggest to pay close attention to the drawer structure on the fridge.

        In my opinion, if I were in the mkt for your condo, and I saw a thermador fridge sitting in there, I'd be worried. (only because I've read up on their track record for service.) It's quite possible, however, that the fancy ppl would be enthralled to see the brand name.

        I personally, would rather have the Kenmore or Kitchenaid if the drawer structure was solid.

        One other thing (persoanl pref) in door water/ice dispensers are a huge waste of space. I'd much rather have that space for storing food, but that's me.

        1. re: gordeaux

          I'm concerned about the Thermador track record too... and the fact that they really don't have consistent ratings on CR. That said, the top "rated" fridge - Kenmore Elite has multiple reviews from customers saying that the cooling elements aren't worth a darn and are always breaking down.

          I agree that the in-door water dispensers are a waste... and we don't like them. I was looking at ones that had a very small button on the inside of the fridge that dispensed filtered water - in lieu of a britta pitcher; and the ice maker would be totally separate in the freezer. Alas, that's not my main concern though...

          Thanks for the heads up on the drawers - would have never thought of that. I'm going to look more closely at Kenmore or perhaps LG and see what I can find out on them.

          1. re: jodes

            One thing about the reviews - take them with a grain of salt. I can deal with a lemon part if the service agreement backs it up. If a Kenmore appliance breaks, and you bought it from sears, I bet you'll have it repaired in a timely fashion compared to having a Viking or Fulgor, or Bosch appliance that might only be able to be serviced by a specific repair entity. I don't know this to be an absolute fact, but there might be something to be said for that.

            Samsung is also in the arena of french doors. They make a bigger one than most standard sized models - 29+ cu feet perhaps? I would have looked into them more as well. LG ( a while back) had a HUGE problem with their fridge lights staying on, and getting hot enough to cause serious damage (smoking/melting) other components in the fridge. I'd bet that issue has been addressed, BUT, it was enough to deter me from taking the risk when I was in the market. I did like the LG layout, however- the one with the two door freezer. I also really liked some of the lighting on the GE models. LOL, so many options. My main thing on the fridge tho, was that it really is just a box that keeps things cold, so price, service track record, and options that I wanted were all that i was looking for. I wound up with a very attractive rebate + a sale price on the Kitchenaid, so we went with it.

    2. Hello. We're at a similar place that you're at in the search process, and are having similar issues with the choice of a refrigerator. We, too, do not want the ice maker/water dispenser on the outside, and we prefer a side-by-side because we use the freezer almost as much as the fridge itself & don't want to be bending over to make our selections. Those two preferences (non-dispensing and S-B-S) really limit the choices! I asked my brother, who is an appliance repairman, which brands to stay away from, and which might be worth looking into, given that we don't want to get up into the 5K category. His reco was stay away from Samsung & LG. He said Kitchen-Aid, Jenn-Air and Whirlpool are decent. He didn't say much about the Kenmore, other than that Sears doesn't make any of their own appliances - they are all made by another manufacturer and the Kenmore name is put on it (IMO, that's not necessarily a bad thing.) We're leaning towards the Jenn-Air. But we want that S-B-S, so you may have more choices. Good luck!
      P.S. Just had another thought - who would you call if an appliance needed to be repaired? Call that person or company ask them if they think the lower-cost model will be reliable. A cynic might say they'd steer you to the most unreliable to get the business down the road, but I doubt that would really happen. Might be worth the conversation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: scc.cmf

        That's a great idea scc.cmf! I hadn't thought of calling repairmen to see if they had any suggestions. We are still on the hunt, but it looks like either Viking or Sub Zero will win the battle. We have been "lookie lous" at all the open houses in our neighborhood, and the ones that are in our price point seem to have these as selling points.

        Good luck with your search!