Refrigerator Purchase Anyone have a Samsung, an LG, a Kenmore, or a Whirlpool Gold French Door Refrigerator?
Be aware of what company manufactures what.
To quote a CNN article, "Whirlpool, for example, manufactures KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Roper and Estate; Maytag also makes Amana and Jenn-Air. And they all make products for Sears' house brand Kenmore, which doesn't actually manufacture anything."
re: Shaw Oliver
Funny, I just mentioned this elsewhere... The CNN article is a bit outdated as Whirlpool bought Maytag, meaning Whirlpool Corporation now makes all eight of those brands, plus they make appliances for IKEA.
If you want a reliable fridge, get one that does not have a through-the-door ice maker; it's by far the most likely part to break on a refrigerator. You can find refrigerators that have internal dispensers; I did and love it that way. With a French door fridge, the through-the-door ice makers make even less sense because they take up a significant chunk of refrigerator real estate to hold a mini-freezer for the ice cubes. Also look for refrigerators that have a mullion bar (technical term for the mullion bar is "flappy thing") in between the two doors; the mullion bar creates a much better seal than one without it.
Last, consider buying a refrigerator with a bottom-mount freezer and a standard fridge door. The French doors are very popular right now, but aren't necessary unless your refrigerator is in a tight space. You're paying a premium for less shelf space in your refrigerator because of the split in the doors.
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We bought a Samsung French Door model at Lowe's 9 months ago. So far so good! I love it. I find it to be much easier to arrange than our old side-by-side. I don't have as much stuff going bad in it because I can see more of it. We have a model that defies all ice maker advice given so far...not only does it have thru-the-door ice and water, but it also has a second ice maker in the freezer below. We use A LOT of ice though. It's hot here in Phx and we like cold drinks. Also makes it easy to fill a cooler for road trips! Knock on wood, we've had no problems with it yet. I hope it will last a long time. I think of all the models we looked at, this one had the best interior layout for maximizing shelf space.
However, there are a few things I don't like, but they are probably not necessarily brand-specific. First, we have couple glass shelves that have a split down the middle so you can lower the front portion of the shelf in order to make room for more tall items. The problem is that there is a support rod under the shelf that really gets in the way of things on the shelf below. Sometimes I have trouble fitting a half a watermelon if it's big because of that rod. Second, I thought I would love the wide cheese/meat drawer under the produce drawers, and I kinda do, but it's really a pain to have to open both fridge doors to open the drawer. Now I wish it was two smaller drawers as we don't tend to store a lot of things on trays or platters (which is what it's meant for I think).
Anyways, I would buy it again. Love my "new" fridge. And, the french doors are great for tight spaces (we have a galley kitchen so it was pretty much a necessity).
Not all of them have 2 ice makers. As BoardSmith below said, the bottom ice maker is faster and easier to use. But, the top one comes in handy. Our old side by side fridge was pretty inefficient, so even with the ice/water system, I think this one is still more efficient.
This is the model we purchased. Not sure if they have a newer version of it since it's well into 2010 now and our fridge is almost a year old.
Just for reference, I thought I'd post an update about our Samsung French Door refrigerator. During the summer, my husband attempted to clean the glass shelves in the fridge after a rather large watermelon oozed all over the place. In the process, the bottom, full width glass shelf that sits above the crisper drawers shattered into a bazillion pieces.
We called Samsung and they were very friendly and covered the broken shelf under the warranty. Unfortunately, they sent us the wrong shelf (wasn't even for our model as it had plastic instead of glass).
As friendly as their customer service is, their parts database/ordering software seems woefully inadequate. After 2 months and many, many, many phone calls with customer service and their parts department, we FINALLY figured out the correct shelf's part number and they sent it to us.
Was it frustrating? Yes, but at least they were always friendly (even if not extremely responsive). Lesson? Be persistent. In their credit, the first shelf was sent out extremely quickly. The problem only arose in trying to explain to them that they sent the wrong part and then getting customer service (on the East Coast) to follow up with the parts department (on the West Coast) to send out the correct part. But at least we finally got it! Thank you Samsung. We still love the fridge, too.
We purchased a Samsung French Door refrigerator in January from Lowe's. So far it has done well. (Our last one was a Whirlpool that was 21 years old.)
The upper ice maker does take up a lot of interior room but we use it a lot. I do enjoy the chilled water and crushed ice. The drawback is that the ice distribution is somewhat slow.
The lower freezer drawer is rather convenient and spacious. However, some of the item stored there can get lost under things so we use it for those items we will need frequently and store everything else in the upright deep freezer in the storage room.
The lower ice maker works faster than the upper one does and makes filling glasses and coolers so much easier. The drawback is that sometimes when opening the upper basket, some of the ice will fall off behind the lower basket and just sit there on the floor of the freezer. Doesn't hurt anything until the ice finally make its way out to the floor.
I am satisfied with Samsung. The one service call was handled quickly and efficiently. The replacement part was late in arriving and Samsung called to offer a replacement refrigerator rather than wait another week for the part. Head and shoulders better than LG!