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Are Sub Zero refrigerators worth the price?

We need a new fridge. We've found one that fits the space and our requirements (bottom freezer, counter-depth, 36 inches, 80 inches tall, either stainless or w/built in capability) and it's a Sub Zero. I don't mind spending $6K if it's really worth that price, but I hate the idea of paying for the name. We are not show kitchen people. (There is a Thermidor with similar specs, but it's uglier and costs more, so that's out.) Are we insane? Is there another fridge you know of that will suit the above requirements? (No GE or Amana, please--BTDT and was not happy!)

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  1. I moved into a house with an older Sub Zero 600 series. Hands down the best fridge I've ever used. It keeps my produce fresh much longer. I attribute it to the temperature control and vacuum seal.

    1 Reply
    1. We have a similar (older model) 36 inch Sub Zero, freezer on the bottom, for about 15 years. Though we've had no repair problems and it has work well, we don't find it any better than our 20 year old Sears ($600) in our city apartment. We are fairly basic on what we need from a refrigerator/freezer and we tend to do several shopping trips a week. If I need a replacement, I would definitely not spend $6000 for a new Sub Zero. I think when one is spending that much more for an appliance, part of it is for the name, the look, etc.

      7 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        Yeah, that whole name thing is a stumbling point for me. Looks do matter--my kitchen is very pretty, but not brand name, look-how-much-I-spent pretty.

        OTOH, I want a fridge that I won't have to have repaired every six months. The rather cynical technician who comes out to service my wretched GE Monogram tells me that no one makes a quality appliance anymore, but that Sub Zero gives the best and longest warranty.

        1. re: Isolda

          I don't know if you can win this game. I have plenty of friends with sub zero appliances who complain all the time about the numbers of repairs their appliances need, the cost of those repairs, and sometimes ridiculously long waits for parts. OTOH, I've had a GE Profile for the past 6 yrs that has never needed a repair and does the job I expect a fridge to do - and I paid under $1000 for it. I would never pay $6K for a fridge - not unless it can cook dinner and do the dishes.

          1. re: Isolda

            the way i've started to handle ALL my appliance serve is to buy a whole house warranty that charges me a monthly amount.
            they will send the appropriate technicians out to fix anything that breaks, and if the repair isn't satisfactory, they will cover any repeat calls.
            fwiw, i believe they would charge a higher monthly fee if i had a sub zero

            1. re: westsidegal

              Careful! Home warranties aren't worth the paper they're written on. Over time, it's much cheaper and less hassle to simply self-insure.


              Wow, after I typed that, I went back in to edit to add the link to Clark's website and realized that I wrote the exact same wording he used. Hmm, interesting. I have, however, been listening to him for almost 15 years so I guess it's bound to show.

              Sorry to get off-topic.

              1. re: westsidegal

                I am a firm believer in whole house warranties, but their appliance coverage is usually not as comprehensive as a standard service contract on the appliance. On refrigerators, in particular, they tend to exclude the ice maker and also have exclusions if they find your coils need vacuuming. Same thing if you have used the wrong detergent in your front loading washer. It's more economical than individual policies, but once in a while, you find your coverage is lacking.

                1. re: RGC1982

                  i guess i was lucky because they already covered an ice maker repair for me.

                  i have no idea where/what the coils might be, but they've made three repairs to my older fridge in the last 3 years and all have been covered.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    As I've posted, our home warranty ended up replacing our Sub-Zero after a couple of failed repairs, but they've since changed the limits of the policy so they will only pay $4,000 towards a new fridge.

          2. Has to be exactly 80 inches tall? If you can go 84, there's also Miele's KF19x1. Bottom mount, 36 inches wide, counter depth, stainless or built-in.

            Overbuilt engineering-wise (e.g. hinges that can support a concrete fascia if you want).

            1. I would not spend that kind of $ on a Sub Zero -- I have a Jenn-Air single door, freezer drawer on bottom and I like it a lot -- cost about $2,500. It has an ice maker inside of freezer -- I did not want that on outside of fridge door -- some people like that and it's available that way.

              3 Replies
              1. re: walker

                Is your model of Jenn-Air still available? I tried finding Watacetti's Miele, but no one seems to have that particular model, and when it comes to an appliance this costly, the exact model really does matter.

                1. re: Isolda

                  What I bought was Jenn Air cabinet depth euro style jbr2088hes (which is the right hand swing number).

                  I paid $2,175 plus tax, Dec 07. You can call BSC Culinary, 415 626 6246 to see if model # and price has changed. When I was in the show room, they showed me other makes, like Viking, that was the same exact fridge on inside, only difference was outside finish and handle on the door. This one matched the handle on the Miele dishwasher I was buying at the same time. The only thing: the sides are black instead of stainless steel. Some people have a ss panel made to go over the black part. I've learned to live with it. I've had absolutely no trouble with it.

                  1. re: Isolda

                    The model I mentioned comes in either right or left hinge (hence the x in the numeric). Any authorized Miele retailer can get it but it's really on the showrooms that would have demonstrators. I like the standalones rather than the combos but that's personal preference (and you have to reinforce the floor since they're 2000 lbs empty).

                2. Have you looked at a Viking French Door Counter Depth? This one is 72" tall. They cost around $3,000 however Viking currently has a $500.00 rebate. I've been happy with mine :)


                  1. I went $$ with both a Gag Induction, Wolf & Miele.

                    A fridge is just a ice box for me. Went with KA Architect series...which was perfect. No icemaker/water exposed in the door and *inside* the fridge..

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chefwong

                      The KA is actually our second choice--it would have been our first choice, but we ruled it out because they wanted more for that than for the Sub-Zero.

                      1. re: chefwong

                        And oh yes, I agree with you that a fridge should just be an ice box, but after owning one that freezes lettuce and bakes popsicles, I'm not sure it's really that simple anymore.

                      2. All fridges IMO will have cold/colder spots...it's just a matter of identifying them...
                        For example, if you're heavy into story frozen meats, buy a non self defrosting freezer for the garage, etc.....

                        1. We got a Jenn-Air JFC2290VEM 6 months ago and are very happy with it. It's 72-inch, counter-depth, and has french doors. This Jenn-Air is actually a Kitchen-Aid but with different handles (yes, we paid an extra hundred dollars for the handles we liked better!). We were told by a couple of salesmen that the Jenn-Air, Viking, Dacor and maybe one or two others were all based on this Kitchen-Aid model (KFCS22EVMS), and it was easy to observe that they were the same fridge but just tricked out differently on the inside. In addition, the Viking and Dacor had an optional grate above the top so that it could look more built-in. I forget the exact price, but if was around $2,300 - $2,500.

                          1. Do not waste your money!!
                            I have a 15 year old 36" Sub-Zero. The only cool thing(no pun intended) is the appearance.
                            It is obviuosly very expensive and not worth the money. We have had at least 5 or 6 repairs done and they are very expensive. Facing a new $2000 repair, the service tech thought perhaps it would make more sense to replace it, as he felt more repairs would be likely in the future. I contacted Sub-Zero customer support for advice, They told me that the average life expectancy is 13-15 years. I have custom panels to match my cabinets and have limited options available. I know for sure that my experience is not unusual. So, if you are comfortable in spending perhaps $7000 + and having additional repair bills, then replacing your refrigerator in 13-15 years for the same ridiculous price....go for it!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Joeparis

                              Have two Sub Zeros Model 590 (48x84). One is 16 years old (motherboard replaced once) other is 24 years old (ice maker repaired once). Repairs are expensive, as is the initial price of each unit (about like buying a small car or boat), but can't complain at all about life or quality of operation.

                              1. re: Falcon7x

                                We purchased American Home Shield's insurance plan at our old house and also our present house. We never paid more than $100 per repair on our 20+ year old Sub-Z (had 2 or 3 repairs over the years).

                            2. When I gutted and redid my kitchen a few years ago, I learned a bit about this stuff. From what I understand, the only difference between a Sub Zero and other fridges are that the Sub Zero doesn't mix air between the refrigeration side and the freezer side. This is good because food odors from the refrigerator don't get into your frozen food and, most importantly, ice.

                              To some people, this is a big deal, to me, it wasn't. I got a GE built in (I know you said you didn't like those) which was still pretty pricey, I think it was $4000, which 8 years in has recently required a repair which ended up being just under $1000. The lessons I've learned from buying high end appliances are that they are NOT worth the money and are generally a big rip off. The only high end appliance that I've owned that has performed well with no repairs needed is my Bosch dishwasher. It's also so quiet that you don't even know it's on.

                              After zillions of problems with my expensive washing machines, I finally just went on line, ordered the least expensive washing machine for the size I needed, and guess what? It washes the clothes exactly the same way! And, I can buy a new one for what it cost me to repair the old one's once.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: touchdown

                                Same here - I have a washer and dryer that cost me $300 each. They do a fine job of washing and drying, I've had no repair issues - and if they break down, either we will do the repairs ourselves (we've done that before on the previous pair we owned - it's fairly easy to do on simple machines) or we will just replace the machine.

                              2. I don't put all my eggs in the Consummer Reports basket, but Sub Zero doesn't usually get a very good review from a product service stand point. They typically have about twice the repair frequency as something like Kittchen Aid or even Whirlpool and Kenmore. That just doesn't conjur up a feeling in me that says go out and drop 6 big on one.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mikie

                                  Thanks, Joe, Mikie, and Touchdown. We have decided to live with our GE until it dies (mainly because after a breakfast room addition, some new windows, and a few other house projects, we just don't want to spend another few thousand on a box that makes our food cold.) But we have ruled out the Sub-Zero, probably permanently.

                                2. You're responding to a thread that's a year old, but here's my update: we never got a new fridge. We just fixed our GE and it's still chillin' along. However, we are selling this house and buying another that actually comes with a Sub Zero, so I'll have one whether I want it or not. Glad to know yours is old and still works well!

                                  23 Replies
                                  1. re: Isolda

                                    So I am reading this thread now as I am debating between a subzero and a frigidaire; now that you've had the subzero for a few months, what are your thoughts? Is it worth the extra $$$$?

                                    1. re: sophialoren

                                      For whatever it's worth, I bought a house 2 years ago that came with a Sub Zero model 611 - it was put in by the owner in 2000. I noted a repair ticket in the manuals left with me, for a repair made a year after installation. I had to have the unit repaired last year, freon apparently was low. Unit worked fine for almost exactly a year, and now freon again is low, which means leaking evaporator that needs to be replaced. Internet research shows this is a common problem with SZ. Cost: evap is still under warranty (it's the 12th year) but part price is about $100. Labor: between $400-600. And the guarantee is only for 1 year. SubZero rep said unit has a typical lifespan of 15 years, so I expect either another huge repair bill or need to replace fairly soon. Twenty years ago I bought a Frigidaire or Amana, can't remember which, for about $300-400. It was still working the day I gave keys to new owner, after 15 years. Not once did it need a repair. Will never spend $6k for merely a name such as Sub Zero.

                                      1. re: barmack5

                                        I can't believe anyone pays that much for a refrigerator, period. Not unless it came with a heck of a long term warranty that covered everything including labor.

                                        1. re: flourgirl

                                          Amen. Even a lifetime warranty would be debatable as to making the exorbitant price tag worth it.

                                          Restaurants demand the best, most durable, and best priced equipment and tools - which is why you almost never find a Sub-Zero refrigerator in the kitchen.

                                          Sub-Zero is the Monster Cable of appliances - marketing and hype with a ridiculously high price tag. Sub-Zero (and the similarly hyped company Viking) do not even list their prices on their websites - nor do most of their dealers. How silly is this? Are these refrigerators free? Visit most restaurant supply stores' websites and you'll find their prices are posted right there for everyone to see. I can either buy a Sub-Zero refrigerator or a restaurant-grade refrigerator that's three times the size . . . for the same money.

                                          CNET's review of them sums it up pretty well:

                                          " . . . for the average homeowner, these gourmet models often end up being style over substantive need."

                                          1. re: 1POINT21GW

                                            "Visit most restaurant supply stores' websites and you'll find their prices are posted right there for everyone to see. I can either buy a Sub-Zero refrigerator or a restaurant-grade refrigerator that's three times the size . . . for the same money."

                                            And it will use six times the electricity and be ten times as loud. It won't have the same handy storage configuration options, nor an ice maker, and it's also likely to be significantly less reliable and more maintenance-needy, at least based on my personal experiences. And good luck getting a commercial appliance repair person to come to your house ever, much less Saturday or Sunday, which in my world seems to be when fridges and freezers always break.

                                            Oh, and I forgot to mention that you can't build it in :(

                                            Also WRT the service/reliability thing, restaurant storage of fridge and frozen stuff is usually much, much shorter term than residential. You might lose a week of prepped something or thaw some meat that can go on the special for the next couple of nights if something breaks. That's not exactly the same as losing the whole fridge or freezers' worth of stuff you're storing at home. I dunno about you, but I buy my beef and pork a side at a time, poultry 20-30 birds at a time. That's a lot more than a resto would ever lose to a failure, so reliability is a bigger deal. Which is not to say that you'll get that by paying the insane $$ for SZ, but it is one of their selling points and you can get (same day) REPAIR. Any other fridge will be garbage, and good luck replacing it same-day.

                                            1. re: splatgirl

                                              I've never once hooked up the ice makers in any of refrigerators we've ownd that included one, and the reason I don't is because they are constant source of irritation for people and often need repairs. I just don't see how it's a big deal to pop ice cubes out of a tray. (The only reason I buy fridges that have them is it is getting almost impossible to avoid without giving up other features.)

                                              While I have no experience with commercial units, I know lots of people who have had their sub-zero appliances repeatedly repaired - and they almost always have to wait a long time for parts. I just don't see the justification for paying such a ridiculous sum of money for something that is designed to keep food cold.

                                              Of course a lot of people who HAVE spent the money are going to be inclined to bend over backwards to justify the expenditure. It doesn't impress me.

                                              I think a lot of people buy SZ's just so that others will know that you not only have enough money to throw around to buy it but an even bigger wallet with which to fix it.

                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                I wouldn't be fooled into thinking how much money someone spends on a particular thing indicates how much money they have. Often, quite the contrary.

                                                1. re: 1POINT21GW

                                                  LOL, not being fooled, 1POINT. My whole point is that I think most people buy stuff like this because of what they think it says to others about their financial situation. I live in the land of McMansions, many of which are nearly empty because the people who bought them can't afford to furnish them. Believe me, I am more than familiar with people who buy stuff they can't really afford. In fact, IMO, that is a very big reason why the country as a whole is in the trouble it's in right now.

                                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                                    As 1point21gw alluded to, we purchased the SZ for the functionality. Our abode is so humble that when people walk in our kitchen it takes 2 minutes until they look past the Formica (old, worn out) countertops and plywood cabinets until they see the stainless fridge at which point they are shocked. Then they look around and see the freezer in the eating area and say, "is that another fridge?" I saved for a year, ate top ramen and hamburger so I could buy this fridge for cash. My husband (boyfriend at the time) loved it so much he did the same thing , saved up the money and replaced the 20 year old deep freeze with the matching freezer. I am only sharing all this to point out that a passion for eating good food can branch out to equipment and that is why some people buy these things.

                                                    1. re: ChezFran

                                                      I appreciate your comment back in 2012 and I hope your sz is still humming along. So many opinions that one can go bonkers when trying to make decisions. We are building a custom home and have so many decisions to make and all we want to do is build a sound, comfortable yet visually satisfying house. I don't want a SZ because it is a statis symbol and I dont have money to burn but have you seen the price of other 42" built in refridgerators?? Right up there with SZ. So if I can ask..what range are you cooking with?

                                                      1. re: CMCgrand4

                                                        I still don't get how the SZ is a status symbol but would definitely recommend a cabinet depth refrigerator and freezer or combo unit. I watch HGTV House Hunters and so many nice kitchens have a fridge that looks like an afterthought.

                                                        We cook on a Dacor duel fuel 30" range. It has an electric convection oven and a gas cooktop. It's been a very good range as far as cooking and baking goes. We really wanted a 36" Wolf at the time we bought it but figured that we didn't have the room for a 36" range. We've kicked ourselves ever since for 2 reasons. 1) We wish we had the built in griddle and 2) the plastic trim on the Dacor has cracked numerous times. The first time the plastic cracked the store we bought it from locally, Deward & Bode said sorry, it's off warranty. We then stopped by a Dacor booth at the Seattle Home Show and complained to the rep. We told her that it is obviously an inferior plastic they were using and should last more than one year. She sent the parts to Deward & Bode and they came out and replaced it on warranty. It broke again and we haven't bothered to replace it. We are planning on getting a new range and it functions perfectly so we don't care too much. Of course if the stove was our status symbol we'd keep replacing it:-) Good luck.

                                                    2. re: flourgirl


                                                      The majority of people can't afford, not only the Sub-Zero but the possible maintenance expenditure that will go along with it.
                                                      However...for the people who can afford it it's a wonderful investment. I've had mine well over 15 years and it's one of the best appliances I've ever purchased.

                                                  2. re: flourgirl

                                                    SZ doesn't impress me, either. In my case they just work well, have never been a maintanence problem and don't end up in a landfill after 8 years.
                                                    Anyway, my point was there's lots of reasons commercial fridges are less than ideal in residential settings whether you like ice or not. If they were as attractive functionally as they are, price-wise, you'd see them in kitchens everywhere--heck, they typically cost less than ANY residential fridge these days, nevermind SZ. It's not like 1POINT is the first/only consumer to notice the price difference.

                                                    1. re: splatgirl

                                                      I'm not arguing about the SZ's functionalty (although it is generally acknowledged that they do not have a good over all repair record, easily verified on line). My argument is that they are vastly over priced for that functionalty and I would never pay it. And I CAN afford it. I choose to spend my money other ways, like on food. And I don't personally need a fridge that will keep food fresh for weeks. I buy what we need for a few days at a time, use it and buy some more. It's a lot cheaper than buying a $6,000 fridge, with potentially VERY expensive repairs in it's future to boot. I need something that will keep food cold, period.

                                                    2. re: flourgirl

                                                      My refrigerator is in a spot that would be a big pain to hook up to plumbing for chilled water/ice. It got to be a hassle using ice cube trays ("who the hell left the empty tray in the damn freezer?!?") so now we buy it in ten pound bags. Makes for a lot less domestic strife. We use a lot of ice.

                                              2. re: barmack5

                                                Ugh, you're scaring me. I love the Sub-Zero we inherited from the previous owners of this house. Hope it doesn't fail because I do not want to have to shell out for a new fridge of any make!

                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                  <the Sub-Zero we inherited from the previous owners>

                                                  Have you had it professionally checked out since you purchased your home?
                                                  A regular maintenance, including the vacuuming of the condenser, is crucial. I would never have anything other than a Sub-Zero. You absolutely pay for the name and it's worth it.

                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                    I just vacuumed off the condenser yesterday. Apparently, the previous owners *never* did it because that thing was filthy. Somehow, the fridge has survived all these years. With my old crap GE, I had to vacuum off the consenser every six months, or the freezer would get hot.

                                                2. re: barmack5

                                                  Sub-Zero's not for you.
                                                  When purchasing a Mercedes. the owner knows going in, the maintenance costs/repair costs are going to be higher than, say, a Honda.
                                                  It's all relative.

                                                3. re: sophialoren

                                                  We've lived in a house with a 1995-era Sub Zero for 6 months now. I can't honestly say if they are worth the price of a new one, but I can say we love this one. It chills evenly, something our crappy GE Monogram did not do, and it makes the best ice I've ever had from a freezer ice-maker.

                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                    I've never paid for a sub-zero but I've inherited them three(!) times in moves (four times if you count my childhood) and all I can say is that wow -- produce placed in a subzero lasts 3x to 5x as long as produce in the other fridges I've had.

                                                    I don't know if that's worth the premium price -- I won't know until it's time to replace this one in a decade or two but for now I sure do appreciate the head of lettuce that stays fresh for two weeks.

                                                  2. re: sophialoren

                                                    Curious what you decided. Also curious if anyone has looked at Kenmore Elite counter depth French door fridge, which has 25 cu ft, whereas so many of the 36" wide counter depth or built in fridges have only 20 cu ft, which is too small. It feels more solid than so many of the other counter depth refrigerators (built ins excepted). Unsure if it's worth spending for true counter depth though, and/or if Kenmore might cheapen the kitchen...

                                                    1. re: sophialoren

                                                      I love this Sub Zero, but I doubt you can find the same model. It was installed when the previous owners renovated the kitchen in 1995 and it works very well, makes the clearest and cleanest tasting ice I've ever had from a home freezer, and never freezes my greens or melts my ice cream. Either we got very lucky or the thing is worth whatever price the previous owners paid for it. When this thing dies, which I hope won't be soon, we will definitely replace it with another Sub Zero and pray that it's as good as the one we currently own.

                                                  3. Dont know if the're worth it but we just priced a SZ 48" glass front doors at pacific sales and it was about $15,000.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: malibumike

                                                      It's beautiful...

                                                      However it depends on the home it's going into. It's essentially a piece of art that showcases the food that's in it. I don't own this one but the home that I've been into? It's spectacular....like a beautiful painting.

                                                    2. YES! Why?- Cabinet Depth, Simple, Quiet, All-Refigerator model 601 R or L and the associated All-Freezer model are the only refrigeration units that make sense to me but my husband and I are average to tall. Take a look at these models online. We bought the fridge first because we were tired of bending down to look in the fridge and didn't really want to get a bottom freezer only to be bending down to open it and we needed more capacity. The 601 model has the compressor on the bottom so your lowest food is the produce drawer that sits about 20" above the floor . (I'm not home so I am guessing. We have had these units for 10 years and they are brilliant! Now why am I here? Oh yes, Boudin at Fishermans Wharf..

                                                      1. The bottom, bottom line is everyone has different priorities with their money and everyone's definition of "worth it" for every individual product and service is different.

                                                        With that said, I can only speak for me (as well as share non-anecdotal findings of other reputable sources) and as for me, my goal is extreme early financial freedom (early retirement), I am very big on keeping more money in my pocket with every purchase I make or am considering making. The reason being is the less money I spend, the more money I keep, and the more money I keep, the more money I have for putting towards things that put money in my pocket (business, real estate, etc.).

                                                        But, that's just me. Everyone is different. There is no right or wrong here. Maybe emotional rather than logical . . . OK, just kidding. But, seriously, everyone has different priorities with their money, plain and simple.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: 1POINT21GW

                                                          Everything you said is true - but people are ALSO allowed to have their opinions about it.

                                                        2. Reading this post has the same drama I have deal with when I show up at the customers home to repair these and other high end appliances.You're dealing with consumer input here.It would be be helpful to talk to a reputable appliance service technician to get input on reliability,cost of repairs,and any other issues.People can buy what they want for whatever reason they want.If financing image is important,then so be it.

                                                          Most subzero's have 2 compressors/separate sealed systems allowing the freezer and fresh food side to run independent of each other and are unaffected mechanically by each other.The operating costs will be higher.The problem is if you move into a home with one of these built in SZ's,and we end up condemning it for repeated major sealed system repairs,you will have to buy another new SZ to fit in the same 6 1/2 foot high space,or get your remodeler out to do some wall work to fit a standard unit in the same area of your kitchen.

                                                          Image costs money.As an appliance technician,the look of disappointment and disbelief on a customers face for repeated/expensive repairs on overpriced lifestyle products doesnt affect me one bit.Use common sense and dont let marketing ads dictate your life

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: shikken

                                                            Thank you very much for your input.

                                                            1. re: shikken

                                                              We have a 48 inch subzero that is on it's last legs. It has the panelled front that matches the cabinets, etc... and I've loved it, but the repair costs were horrible, and even getting some one to agree to come here and repair it was/is an ordeal, we are way in the country, if they didn't sell it, they don't want to service it. Anyway, you sound very knowledgeable, and we must do something now, the fridge side hardly cools now and the freezer side is totally gone.

                                                              Can you suggest a replacement brand of refrigerator that will have the same size specs (so we don't have to hire a carpenter) as this 48 inch one? It is a 1988 model, and identical in size specs to the current 48 inch SZ's.


                                                              1. re: jwestmc

                                                                I recommend Kitchen Aid build in fridge.

                                                            2. Bizzare how great a subzero is. We, too, have a subzero that is old. I mean really old - 1984! Perfect. We have had it worked on several times, small things, and it is amazing. I cant imagine owning another.

                                                              1. Our Sub Zero 550 is 18 years old. We disconnected the ice maker because we never used it, but there have been no major repairs in the last 10 years we have owned it. If it died tomorrow, I would likely start at SubZero. That being said, I also have a GE side by side that we bought for our first house and have taken with us for the last 25 years. I have never had a repair done on it, and again, we do not use the ice maker. I am pretty regular when it comes to cleaning drip trays and coils...

                                                                1. Over 35 years of marriage we've had three Subzero fridges. With each new house and kitchen remodel, we decided to install Subs, partly for function, partly for aesthetics. We have never had a service call. My husband likes the fact that the condenser coils can be cleaned without moving the fridge (clean them every six months) and the coils are located on either the top or bottom of the fridge, not on the back like most other fridges. So, no wrestling the fridge out from the wall and damaging the floor (happened to us in our very first house). Also, the Sub is intelligently designed - it's simple. When I look in just about any other fridge than a built-in, they're full of flimsy plastic and appear to be awkward to use and because they're deeper, it's easy to forget about food hiden way in the back. I've learned over the years that people love to hate high end appliances thinking it's practically criminal to pay $$$to have them. I don't make the judgement either way because it's none of my business what people spend their money on. But, if you want a seamless look in your kitchen with great performance, consider a Sub.

                                                                  1. What seems to be missing from this discussion - at least in the recent replies -- is an issue I think I brought up a few dozen posts ago: the lengthy duration produce lasts in Sub-Zeros.

                                                                    I can put a head a lettuce in the produce drawer and 2 weeks later it still looks brand new. I can put herbs in a glass of water on a shelf and a week later they look like I just bought them.

                                                                    Is that worth the extra money? That's up to you. But I suspect that over the life of the fridge (which will likely be at least 20 years in my experience) you'll save 2x the extra cost on produce that would have otherwise gone bad.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Peter

                                                                      I agree. The quality is un-comparable. Mine is 28 years old. One major repair a couple years ago. It's an amazing appliance. Comes down to - you get what you pay for.

                                                                    2. I am a state certified mechanical contractor and a mechanical engineer. I purchased all of the mechanical equipment for our new home. The kitchen is all commercial equipment including a Thermadore commercial fridge. The MSRP for the fridge is, I believe, over $10K. Since my wife and I have a three story with commercial space on the first floor and an elevator which is to small for the fridge. I had to rent a Lull to lift the unit about 20' and also remove the patio guard rail. It was worth the price. A commercial fridge is built for heavy use and quick recoup of temperature. Since it's just my wife and I (kids are long gone) the unit does not get used to it's full potential. I keep up with the filter changes (about every 6months) for a $19+ dollar filter. I buy 3 or 4 at a time. There are many reasons to buy commercial. I hope this helps.

                                                                      1. This whole post is ridiculous. Produce lasts longer? You're leaving your produce in the fridge too long if that's the case. Not only that... how many years of buying produce will it take to make up the extra 6000 dollars difference? 30 or 40? Maybe more. Not only that, the fridge that I'm looking at has an exact temperature control... so unless a sub zero does something special with the temperature I honestly don't see how it can make produce last longer. As long as you're not sitting in front of your fridge staring into it for more than a minute. Whoever buys a sub zero is a sucker and is pretentious. Any fridge for over 1600 for that matter. I'd rather own a 1000 dollar fridge and have it break in 4 years than spend 7 grand. 4 years x 1000 is 4 grand... and 7 times 4 is 28 years (meaning for the same price as a sub zero, buying a 1000 dollar fridge every four years you could keep that going for 28 years). You do the math.

                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                        1. re: charlieGGGG

                                                                          So let me get this straight if I buy any refrigerator over $1600 that would make me pretentious? Why not $1500 or $1700??

                                                                          1. re: VeganVick

                                                                            I'm pretentious. Who knew?
                                                                            I thought I was balancing good looks with good function.
                                                                            Actually, I was.
                                                                            In my kitchen (redo), looks were quite important.

                                                                            In my laundry room, the fridge is purely functional, much, much cheaper, and does a fine job.

                                                                            SZ and other really high end appliances were not in my budget, but I think as long as your using them and they're not just for show, then go for it.

                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                              What gets me is that full commercial appliances, especially stoves, last darn near forever in one of the most unforgiving environments you could put appliances in with a labor force that is less gentile than a gorilla and they are 1/2 the price of the high end residential appliances which have a reliability ratings no better that low end residential appliances and often times a worse reliability record.

                                                                              I have an expensive Dacor range. Let me just say never again.

                                                                              Bottom line, for a cost factor of 3 to 4 times as much, they should be a lifetime product that makes the old Maytag repairman look busy.

                                                                            2. re: VeganVick

                                                                              You're right... the number is arbitrary.. But considering you can get a working fridge brand new for 500 dollars, and get something more stylish and functional for around a grand.. yes I would say above 1400 to 1600 you start to get into the range of diminishing returns and also start to waste your money... and if you're wasting your money on a name brand and something that's "trendy", then yes, you're pretentious. Even if you're warren buffet and money is no concern... you just sort of look stupid if you throw 7 grand away on a refrigerator. Like my earlier comment... you could buy a new refrigerator every 4 years and it would be cheaper than buying a sub zero.

                                                                              1. re: charlieGGGG

                                                                                Luxury has a price.

                                                                                There are people who have the money to drop major coin on high end appliances.
                                                                                And cars and houses and jewelry.
                                                                                Oh, and restaurants, too.
                                                                                You know, the stuff you don't really need, but want, and can afford to buy.

                                                                                I don't get the vitriol- it seems angry.

                                                                                People spend money on luxury all the damn time, and frankly, it supports legions of other people and gives them income, so let the market handle itself and put your milk away into your Amana.

                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                  There's no vitriol... I made a simple point that yes, it's a bit pretentious. Just like buying a gaudy overpriced sports car is pretentious. At least with the sports car it goes faster and performs on a higher level than other cars. Refrigerators don't, and if anything there's plenty of comments above that claim SZ's break quite often, and repairs are expensive.

                                                                                  And your food and luxury analogy doesn't hold up... you pay more for quality and expertly prepared food. There's no evidence that a subzero is better quality and performs better... some may argue slightly better (I wouldn't, may parents have had one for the past 10 years, I'm quite familiar with them). So it's diminishing returns.... you pay a TON more to possibly get a little better of a fridge.

                                                                                  Not only that point, but refrigerators don't look very different from one company to another... it's a square box that has different finish options. I care very much about looks and that's why I just ordered a 1200 dollar GE in black without an obnoxious logo, and it received very good reviews. I constantly get compliments on my kitchen... robin's egg blue cabinets, concrete countertops, black appliances.

                                                                                  1. re: charlieGGGG

                                                                                    I don't get your counterpoint to ME, we agree!

                                                                                2. re: charlieGGGG

                                                                                  When you buy a new $800,000.00 home that comes with a Wolf Range and a Bosch dishwasher, you don't put a $1500.00 Kenmore fridge in the kitchen. It's not just a style issue. When you eventually sell the home, the $8,000.00 SubZero you put in will give you more than that back in the selling price of the home. I know this from personal experience.

                                                                                3. re: VeganVick

                                                                                  The same reason why I think buying gucci and louis vuitton bags is a complete waste of money. It's arbitrary, but to be very conservative with my numbers: once you pass the 2000 dollar mark on a refrigerator, you're definitely wasting your money... let alone 7 or 8 thousand for a subzero. But to each their own. Just giving an opinion. I feel it's pretentious and makes you look like you're trying too hard and are insecure. Give the extra dough to charity (or burn it)... don't give it to an overpriced company.

                                                                                  1. re: charlieGGGG

                                                                                    That $7000 gives you something that a $1600 refrigerator does not give you. For one the ability to have a built in refrigeration system. To have two separate units a separate refrigerator and separate freezer. Three to be able to integrate into your cabinets(I happen to like the look of the refrigeration systems matching the cabinets and you can't get that with a $1600 refrigerator). But then again it's all relative so why judge. Because if I spent $1600 on the refrigerator I might seem extremely pretentious to someone who's only willing to spend $300 on a refrigerator.

                                                                                    1. re: VeganVick

                                                                                      Built ins and cabinet depth fridges are simply more expensive, maybe someone wants it for the look, or maybe there are space and functional constraints such that they will work better.

                                                                                      It's all about choices and what the market will decide for itself.

                                                                                      1. re: VeganVick

                                                                                        About 15 or so years ago I gutted our kitchen. I wanted a built in refrigerator with wood panels because I liked the seamless flow without a big white good sticking out like a gold tooth. I did the same with the dishwasher. I also liked the functionality of a wider shallower unit with the refrigerator on tip.

                                                                                        At the time I couldn't justify the cost of a Sub Zero and wanted to put the $$$ into actual cooking appliances. I ended up with an Amana BBI20TE. With the stainless handles & trim kit that hold on the wood panels it came to about $1400. (1998 dollars)

                                                                                        With the weight of the wood panels the tapered plastic bushings that automatically close the door wore out within 5ys. Tilting the unit back a little more fixed that. No other issues (knock wood).

                                                                                        My Amana is out of production so I am literally boxed in. Fans / thermostats / gaskets are easy cheap DIY fixes. A compressor & recharge are not. Hope I don't have to go there.

                                                                                        Would I go built in again, absolutely. Would I box myself in with custom wood panels, NO. Would I go 7k plus for a SZ, I didn't last time and at this point in my life it makes even less sense.

                                                                                      2. re: charlieGGGG

                                                                                        Charlie, unfortunately it is a misconception of many that spending that much is a waste. With the only refrigerator with two separate compartments and a wet evaporator in the refrigerator, we throw away very little food from our refrigerator. We estimate we save over $700 a year over our KA that was in the house when we bought it. I have many friends with SubZeros over 20 years old. At that rate it looks like your $2000 refrigerator may be costing you more money than mine.

                                                                                        1. re: Boomer_Rang

                                                                                          I have a spare well insulated energy star refrigerator down stairs that only gets opened once a day or so and holds a perfect 34 - 38 degrees. Very long product shelf life in this compared to the upstairs fridge where the door is opened non stop.

                                                                                          IMHO, the biggest spoilage problem these days comes from gassed items like pre-cut bags of lettuce that start turning the instant the bag is cut opened. I don't know of anything that can help with this problem.

                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                            That is only one of the problems. And SubZero has a air purification system that eliminates ethylene gas from the fridge (that is what you are talking about). My SubZero stay at 37 +/- 1 degrees so even if I open it like a normal refrigerator it keep a consistent temp.

                                                                                            1. re: Boomer_Rang

                                                                                              There is no question Boomer that SubZero & other premium fridges do a superior job.

                                                                                              My bitch is with the gassing of produce at the factory. It keeps product from spoiling but when you open the bag it goes bad w/in 48 hrs once it comes into contact with oxygen.

                                                                                  2. Subzeros are rip offs and pretentious. If you bought a 1000 dollar fridge and let's say it broke in 4 years (which it wouldn't), you could keep buying them every four years and have a relatively new fridge for 28 years to catch up with the subzero price. If your produce isn't lasting long enough in a normal fridge you're leaving it in there for too long of have your temperature settings off.

                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: charlieGGGG

                                                                                      Pretentious or not, counter-depth refrigerators are pretty much expected once you hit a price point in home sales. You can go with less expensive options, but they're less reliable and not really a better value even if you do save a couple thousand. I have a Sub-Zero in my current home (purchased by the previous owner) and had a Sub-Zero when I purchased my last home. I don't doubt that the Sub-Zero will factor into the resale of my current home whenever that happens.

                                                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                                                        IF you have a buyer interested in paying for what YOU perceived as a bankable splurge.

                                                                                        The chances are not good that another buyer wants to pay for your extravagance.
                                                                                        It's GREAT that you are happy, but that level of appliance is truly a luxury, with no real advantage as far as performance, and frankly looks, other than the name plate.

                                                                                        In fact, I'm a home gourmand and would balk at such an appliance.
                                                                                        No thank you.

                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                          i thought long and hard about cd versus standard depth, and CD were just not big enough for my family.

                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                            Once you hit a pricing level in homes then there's an expectation of higher-end appliances. The general rule of thumb is that a kitchen should reflect about 15% of the home's value (it's the most cabinet and appliance intensive room). Spending in that range will get you value on resale, spending below will cause the buyer to take the kitchen upgrade into consideration as part of the overall cost.

                                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                                              Kitchen upgrades and redos are definitely decent investments, but you have to know your market.

                                                                                              My neighborhood isn't a Viking/SZ, but if you live where placards are an expectation, then it might get you a decent return.

                                                                                              In most cases, SS appliances and granite do the trick.

                                                                                              1. re: ferret

                                                                                                I agree with a custom kitchen in a pricey neighborhood (furniture grade/trimmed cabinets, granite or equiv counters with over sized sink, high quality floors, recessed lighting, under counter lighting & high volume exterior venting unit over stove. I also think a counter depth refrigerator is worth it. The reason I mention all the above is because the only practical way to include most of these items is with a complete kitchen redo and real estate agents are quick to point that out. A house either has it or it doesn't and it can be a big selling point. I think money spent here has a better chance of being recouped than an old high end appliance package that can cost as much as all of the above.

                                                                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                  I agree- it's the overall look.
                                                                                                  People want updated and refreshed with some nice finishes.

                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                    Back in the day one had to go extremely high end with appliances to get that professional look.

                                                                                                    Today most of the traditional appliance manufactures offer a similar look for a fraction of the cost. IMHO, better to take the "huge" savings and put it into wood trim, solid surfaces, flooring and especially lighting.

                                                                                                    I get more comments on my Seagull high end dimmable under cabinet lighting than anything else. Light ranges from soft ambiance to powerful task lighting with a push of a knob.

                                                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                      Lighting is key ;-)

                                                                                                      You can get the "pro" look on a home cook's budget nowadays.

                                                                                            2. re: ferret

                                                                                              my parents have a sub zero.... it's a nice unit. I'm looking at units right now and even the higher end samsung's and LG's I think are sort of laughable. Like 2000 dollars or more.

                                                                                              The fridge in my new house that finally conked on me is probably from the early 90's and it's not some high end brand. Lasted a long time. I'm going to buy something around 1000-1200 dollars, black, ice and water dispenser, digital temp control. If it breaks in 5 years (which it wont) no biggie, I'll buy another.

                                                                                              1. re: ferret

                                                                                                Thank you all very much for your thoughts and opinions. CharlieGGGG you must have a lovely garden, not do the family shopping or simply be a carnivore. Otherwise you would understand the price for produce is high. I live in California in the area where much of it is grown and I spent 6.00 for a few ounces of cherries Friday night at a local farmers market and it's just going to get worse as we are in another year of drought. Ferret your comments are spot on also. I learned along time ago We all decide how to spend our money and it may not be 10,000 on a SZero but it might be on vacations, eating out or expensive handbags. So for me I have chosen A $10,000 Thermadore ..why because I can and for a number of reasons. It hasn't even been installed and I'm kicking myself for not sticking with my original decision to get SubZero. What can I say..the thrifty daughter of Texas dust bowler couldn't pass up the free 3500.00 hood liner and blower for the attic.

                                                                                                1. re: CMCgrand4

                                                                                                  I live in los angeles (highland park)... I have a nice garden, yes. Who would want a refrigerator for 20 years? Styles change. Sub zeros are nice. I can't talk shit. I'm just saying... the original post (while I was fridge shopping) rubbed me the wrong way. If I made more than 500k a year I would consider one.

                                                                                                  1. re: CMCgrand4

                                                                                                    I understand what charlie is saying here. When the fridge that came with the house finally conked out (it was at least 20 yrs old (appliances used to last much longer!) I bought a Jenn-Aire for about $2,000. Looks nice, freezer on the bottom, internal icemaker. I keep temp on 39 but I can adjust it if I wish. I don't see how a SZero could do a better job with produce.

                                                                                                    1. re: walker

                                                                                                      Right. SZ, or any other really pricey fridge does not circulate magical air that keeps produce fresh all that much better than any well made and in good working condition fridge that costs a fraction of the SZ price.

                                                                                                      That said, I understand that some people can afford it (or maybe not!), and want that certain cachet.

                                                                                                      Whatever their reasons and motivations to spend that much on appliances, I'm not going to judge.
                                                                                                      More power to you.

                                                                                              2. Way back a few years ago I kept this thread going as we have an ancient Subzero that to this very day is still in the kitchen, and doesn't work. Yes, we have a backup in an old oil field trailer that the rich due lived in while this house was built. Ah well, it ain't good. I'm sick and tired of it. For all of these comments given for so long, the fact is we have a significant hole to fill where the dang thing is. It's great for potatoes and bread and odd things in its non functioning state, beyond that, worthless. It's 1987 vintage, I live in rural East Texas, and I've no doubt that one of the local yahoos who is supposed to be an appliance repair person likely helped it on its way to doom. In light of that, it seems nuts to get another as I'm so far from the city, Houston is two hours away, who is going to service that? But, and a big butttt, is to fill that hole without hiring a carpenter is really only going to save me a few thousand on the fridge, and Lord knows what the carpenter will try to stick us with make it all look attractive yet again............ Sick of the whole thing. Why should a fridge cost 5% plus of the value of the home it is housed in?

                                                                                                1. Way back a few years ago I kept this thread going as we have an ancient Subzero that to this very day is still in the kitchen, and doesn't work. Yes, we have a backup in an old oil field trailer that the rich due lived in while this house was built. Ah well, it ain't good. I'm sick and tired of it. For all of these comments given for so long, the fact is we have a significant hole to fill where the dang thing is. It's great for potatoes and bread and odd things in its non functioning state, beyond that, worthless. It's 1987 vintage, I live in rural East Texas, and I've no doubt that one of the local yahoos who is supposed to be an appliance repair person likely helped it on its way to doom. In light of that, it seems nuts to get another as I'm so far from the city, Houston is two hours away, who is going to service that? But, and a big butttt, is to fill that hole without hiring a carpenter is really only going to save me a few thousand on the fridge, and Lord knows what the carpenter will try to stick us with make it all look attractive yet again............ Sick of the whole thing. Why should a fridge cost 5% plus of the value of the home it is housed in? Does that come in to play on resale at that level of value?

                                                                                                  1. Absolutely worth the price. That is, if you can afford it, and if it is important for you to have a kitchen full of high-end stuff, and if you believe your repair guy should be able to send his kid to an Ivy League school.

                                                                                                    1. Sub zero has the best freezer and refrigerator out there. They are built to last.
                                                                                                      I have the all freezer and refrigerator and I love them. Will not buy anything else.
                                                                                                      Im moving to another house.. and guess what?... I will be purchasing subzero.

                                                                                                      1. Had always wanted a sub zero because of it's excellent reputation and the ability to build to countertop depth. I purchased an all fridge model with a stand alone 2 drawer freezer. I have been amazed at the number of problems and repairs both units have. After waiting so long for my dream kitchen it has turned into my nightmare. The parts that have had to be replaced have had to be replaced again. I would definitely not recommend paying the price they watch for the quality they are now producing.

                                                                                                        1. No. Have a GE that I was forced to buy as it is the only thing that will fit an odd space. Have had to replace mother board twice in 8 years. But at the cost, it does the job remarkably well. The regional temperature controls cannot be beaten. I have accidentally kept raw fish for longer than I care to admit without any hint of spoilage.

                                                                                                          1. We had a 27 year old Sub Zero that was chugging along although sounding as though it was on its last gasp. Something new was in order (a major repair would have involved a complicated Freon removal/recharge operation - very expensive). We researched the Sub Zero and were impressed. It would have involved the simpler pull-out, then plug-in of a new one. They have retrofit kits to adapt the new ones to the old space. But the fridge and kits put it at a cost beyond our present means.

                                                                                                            Instead we went to the KA KFCS22EVMS which essentially fits in the same space to a 72" height (the remaining space is filled with our original Sub Zero grill). The refrigerator space (volume) looks about the same as the SZ, but the freezer space is much less. The compressor and other hardware is tucked in behind the bottom of the freezer. So far, that is our only space compromise. Actually, the refrigerator is the Viking rebranded unit (KA does a lot of rebranding).

                                                                                                            We hope we made a good decision.

                                                                                                            1. I purchased a 12+ year old sub-zero 42" built in for a home remodel. I ran out of funds toward end of remodel but when I researched the options for 42" built in fridges, they were riddled with problems and very expensive. A neighbor was selling their older subzero and I purchased for 1200.00. I've owned viking, GE and Whirlpool over the years. I took a gamble on this thinking I would replace it if needed but wanted to fill the gap in my new kitchen. Well, what has been said is true. The ice is amazing and my guacamole lasts for longer as does all produce... I throw it out before it goes off. I am big into organic and juice my greens daily so I notice freshness. This fridge is amazing and if it ever breaks down, I will invest in another. I am a big fan of old done right. Believing that older appliances in general were made to a higher standard. With that said, I am totally impressed with this workhorse model subzero. It says 642, has a few scratch marks on it but I figured for 1200.00 I could afford to gamble. Now I am spoiled. It is fantastic fridge. So happy I took the chance on this.