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Recommend me a fridge!

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It needs to be big. It's just us, but with all of the concoctions and various things I have going all the time, plus the 2 dogs eating from the fridge, and usually weekly dinner parties, I need lots of storage space. I think our current fridge is 25cu ft.

It needs to be affordable. We are newlyweds and would rather put extra money into fixing up the house. That said, we'll spend the money if it's worth it. I'd rather buy something quality and have it for a long time and not hate myself for saving a few hundred bucks every time I open the door.

We'd prefer no extra bells & whistles. We don't use a water dispenser and don't need an ice maker. If one of the better fridges has those features, sure, I can live with them, but they're not plusses to me.

NO side by side or freezer on the top. Needs to be a bottom freezer. Our current fridge is a bottom freezer, but 2 big wide doors. I have seen french door fridges and freezer drawers. Do you have one? Do you love it? Do you hate it?

Needs to be white.

What do you think?

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  1. We have a second home and just bought our second French door, freezer on the bottom, no ice/water dispenser on the front. Our first is a Samsung. Our new one hasn't been delivered yet and I don't have the receipt in front of me so can't give you the brand. But it's a 'name brand.' It's about 25 cubic feet. Original price at Lowe's was $1400, marked down to $1k and then to $930. My Chow-friend, Alan Barnes educated me that to have the dispenser on the front involves have a gizmo (compressor?) inside the fridge so you lose space. Both of our come with an ice dispenser but it's down in the freezer itself. I couldn't be happier. I'm currently using our old side by side and if I had a weapon handy, I'd shoot the dang thing. Lordy, they're difficult. Have fun.

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      How do you like the french door compared to a more standard style door? This fridge is a hand-me-down from my father who replaced it when he did a kitchen reno a few years back(and it was starting to make strange noises). He replaced it with the GE Cafe series stainless fridge and both him and my stepmom make googly eyes at the fridge every time they come for dinner. I suspect it has something to do with the reduced volume, but I'm always a little curious whether the french doors are irritating to anyone.

      1. re: LaureltQ

        I adore the French doors. Really large platters, bowls, etc. go in so easily. After several years I still hug it periodically :) I've found nothing annoying about it all. Wouldn't consider giving it up --- until 'they' come out with something better :) But I'm 64 so probably/hopefully these are my final purchase.

      2. re: c oliver

        Plus, you have nothing but trouble with the water and ice dispensers on the front. I have a Maytag and can't begin to tell you the service calls and replacements I have had with it, plus the ice is always freezing up. Inside the freezer is the way to go!

      3. Love my French door bottom mount style. However, stay away from anything LG. Our fridge caught on fire as well as tons of other peoples. It wasn't until one of those investigative shows aired on national TV did they do anything. (Our house could have burned down while we were sleeping!) I'm sure they have corrected the design flaw but the lack of caring and service disgusted me. I also know several other people that have bought LG products, stoves, laundry, dishwashers etc. and have nothing but complaints about them. Regarding cost appliances depreciate faster than TV's. Six months after you buy it you will see it for 1/2 the price you paid. Its a fact of life. Newer models, features and designs come out and the "old ones go on sale. The only other piece of advice I can give is to deal with a smaller local business that has been in business for a long time. You get the customer service where they remember your name, their product knowledge, and, no high pressure sales. They will honor any competitors price and probably offer incentives. Extended warranty etc.

        6 Replies
        1. re: 02putt

          Regarding buying from a local business, until recently I would have agreed with you. Without boring you with all the details, that btw have nothing to do with a fridge, my experience is with a store that has dug in their heels and is doing NOTHING to help me. So I'm dealing directly with the manufacturer which gratefully is working out fine. As a result of this, when buying all new kitchen appliances and a washer and dryer, we went to Lowe's. So, unfortunately, one can't really generalize.

          1. re: 02putt

            Gotta disagree with you on LG. Anecdotal evidence is all well and good, but according to JD Power & Associates, LG refrigerators are second only to Samsung for reliability. Not saying that they haven't had problems in the past, but current models are among the best available.

            1. re: alanbarnes

              I can't comment on current models as I don't own any. I still wouldn't touch a LG just out of a matter of principle. Once bitten twice shy I guess but Instead of dealing with the design flaw LG choose to ignore it until the media publicized it. I gather this was to protect their reputation. Why would one expect a different level of service now? Their product could be the best on the market but sometimes things break for whatever reason. I don't think you are going to get the service from LG. When I make a substantial purchase I want peace of mind that any problems will be dealt with in an efficient and timely manner. Remember there were thousands of these fridges that caught on fire and as many that did there are as many complaints about the crappy service. Now Samsung I agree with.

            2. re: 02putt

              Agree with the LG issue. When we remodeled 5 years ago we purchased an LG french door frig, and every time I opened the freezer, ice came pouring out the bottom. Finally called the store, they sent a repair man out; he said it was a design flaw, and he couldn't fix it. Hello? The fridge went back to the store, and the Maytag french door we replaced it with is great. Ice maker, water inside the door, large draw for platters and I can put huge amounts of food in it.

              1. re: breakfastfan

                Ah, see, I'll never own another Maytag. And that's not just based my experience or other anecdotal evidence - according to a Consumer Reports article published shortly after I bought the last one Maytag refrigerators have among the highest failure rates of any made. Mine went through three compressors in 5.1 years.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I agree with you 100%. Every part in our Maytag has been replaced and it is only four years old. Most of the replacements were when it was under three years old, and of course out of warranty!! The touch pad where the water and ice is has been replaced twice. I think every part was made in China. Since Whirlpool now makes them, I am sure that all the makes that Whirlpool makes are all the same, and that includes most all of the appliances made in the USA. Gone are the days of only replacing the refrigerator when you wanted a new model, not because you had to. Also gone are the days when you never had a repair on a refrigerator!!

            3. Seems like you want a bottom freezer, but I have one and hate it. Unless you neatly stack and arrange everything in the bottom, something is always catching when you pull the draw out. And bending over to arrange things and find them is a pain in the neck.

              I much rather stand upright and when stocking the freezer or looking for something. To me it's a minor incovenience to bend for the fruit and vegetable bins, but a big pain when dealing with a bottom freezer.

              1 Reply
              1. re: pemma

                I'm not particularly neat but don't find the "catching" a problem. If I haven't stacked something correctly, I'll know it when I shut the drawer.

                Part of the rationale for the bottom freezer is that people go into their freezer far less often than their fridge. So you're bending down, yes. But you're doing it not as frequently. Also the bottom freezer is more energy efficient. But, all that aside, if you don't like it then you don't like it. I can't imagine going back to top freezer. Also, any freezer is a PITA if not arranged in an orderly manner :) Mine is needing some reclamation work pretty darn soon!

              2. I got a french-door fridge six months ago and really like it. Especially given my kitchen's layout, it just works better than something with full-width doors.

                As noted above, Samsung makes the most reliable french-door fridges on the market (per JD Power & Associates). LG comes in second. LG has an edge on the warranty front, though - they use a linear compressor, which is inherently more reliable, so they warrant it for ten years instead of five.

                Speaking of warranties, avoid Kenmore. A lot of their refrigerators are very well made (by LG, in fact), but while LG provides a 10-year warranty on a self-branded fridge, the same fridge sold with a Kenmore badge only has a 1-year warranty.

                For reliability, usable space, and cost, avoid a through-the-door ice dispenser. Most warranty repairs are for broken ice dispensers. Usable space is compromised because the manufacturer basically has to install a mini-freezer in the refrigerator compartment. And doing so raises the cost by several hundred dollars.

                Here are a couple of refrigerators that might be worth a look:
                http://www.samsung.com/us/appliances/...
                http://www.lg.com/us/appliances/refri...

                One other thing to consider is that you may be able to score a deal on a model that's been discontinued or a special order that fell through. When my last fridge died I went to Sears Outlet. They had lots of scratch & dent units, but also a fair number of refrigerators in pristine condition - including the one I bought for half off. It wasn't the model I was originally looking for, but saving over a thousand bucks made that seem okay.

                7 Replies
                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I completely forgot to mention the door aspect. It makes a huge difference in my kitchen also. With a French door open (or both) someone can stand at the range which is right across from. Or pass by going to the pantry. A full size door would be a pain indeed.

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    What good is it when "everything else" needs repair except the compressor? If JD Power and etc. did their research based on surveys and if, as you can see it's quite true, people give their opinions or reviews on a product based on unrelated factors such as the store, store associates, delivery, scratch & dents on products that is not from the manufacturers..., then how could you trust these survey results? My Samsung had only worked 2 days out of 2 years. There was a loose wire inside the refrigerator control box and I actually took the tip of the wire in my hand to see that it was a shoddy work from the Samsung plant. Keep in mind, you must use Samsung authorized repairman or the warranty is void, and the trip fee for these guys is $65 here. Repairs usually runs about $250 - 500. EACH TIME! If JD Power says Samsung is better than LG, I would not buy either.

                    1. re: HonestV

                      It's unfortunate that you got a lemon, but that can happen with any manufacturer. The simple fact is that, while every manufacturer makes defective units, a Samsung is less likely to need repairs of any kind than a refrigerator from any other manufacturer.

                      That's according to numerous surveys of thousands of purchasers. Not just JD Power. And certainly not just one disgruntled buyer.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        lol this is what I received in email : "Anecdotes are meaningless. You're entitled to your own opinions, but you're not entitled to your own facts. Every manufacturer makes defective..." You probably wouldn't write something hilarious like "...but you're not entitled to your own facts..."

                        Once I believed my fridge is a "lemon" and knew Samsung or its representatives will give no assistance whether their product is defective (meaning Samsung and its representatives will ignore you completely), I went on internet and found that Samsung products are not as reliable as it purported to be, Samsung Customer Service provides no help to customers, and Samsung ignores customers as a rule.

                        I can tell from what you write that you probably like Samsung a lot because you sound like a spokesperson or defender for Samsung and its products. Anyone one who bought a lemon and was ignored by the maker of the product would be discontent, and possibly would want to warn other unsuspecting buyers by presenting the fact that he experienced and the supposed facts that he found on internet. I should probably say that I met two other buyers at the stores last week who happened to be looking for a refrigerator to replace their Samsung. Now, how long has Samsung been in the business of selling refrigerators in the U. S.? Not long. Does that give you an idea how reliable are Samsung refrigerators? I had an Amana refrigerator that had worked more than twenty years without repairs. Can anyone say that about his Samsung? I had a Kenmore made by Whirlpool that worked over ten years also without repairs. Can anyone say that about his Samsung? What numerous surveys of thousand of purchasers can say Samsung refrigerators are reliable and long lasting without repairs?

                        There's no association with me and Amana, Whirlpool, or Sears. Now that Kenmore are made mostly by LG, I will not consider buying them either. In fact, I would consider only American brands like Whirlpool for its reputation as a reliable manufacturer of durable refrigerator. I'm done with my "disgruntle" comment about Samsung refrigerator. Now, I can also tell you that I used to have quite a few Samsung electronics including cellular phones, but I'm not using them now. It's not just because they're obsolete quickly like most electronic products these days, but because they "act up" (meaning not functioning right) after a while. However, not all Samsung products are unreliable. I've got a special edition flat screen thin tv by Samsung that is still working in the gameroom, but I haven't used it much at all.

                        I'm not bashing Samsung, and I would say the same about the products if those products were other brand name products. If anyone still wants to buy Samsung products, then I would suggest that he also buy an extended warranty with it. It's like wasting money on extended warranty or wasting money on repairs, but the cost of extended warranty comes out to be cheaper.

                        1. re: HonestV

                          I edited my post to make it less personal, but now that you mention it...

                          You're **not** entitled to your own facts. Reliability surveys consider just that - reliability. And according to those surveys, Samsung refrigerators are more reliable - that is, less likely to break - than any other brand. When compared to the experiences of thousands of survey participants, one person's experience - yours or anybody else's, whether it's posted on the internet or not - is completely irrelevant.

                          Also irrelevant is the fact that you met people whose Samsung refrigerators needed to be replaced. All refrigerators eventually need to be replaced, and life expectancy of current production models is as little as eight years. Samsungs have been being sold in the US for a lot longer than that.

                          Sure, fridges with Amana name badges have been available for a lot longer. But it's just the name on the front of the refrigerator. It has nothing to do with reliability, and It doesn't even have anything to do with who makes the unit.

                          Amana Refrigeration no longer exists. Goodman Global bought the brand in 1997, then sold it to Maytag in 2002, who sold it to Whirlpool in 2006. So a 1995 Amana fridge was an Amana. A 2000 Amana fridge was a Goodman. A 2005 was a Maytag. (And if you want a really crappy refrigerator, it's just the ticket for you. Maytag made among the least reliable refrigerators on the market at the time.) And a current model is just a Whirlpool with an "Amana" name badge on the front.

                          If Samsung had outbid Whirlpool for the Amana name and started selling "Amana" refrigerators in the US, would you feel any different about them? What if Samsung, instead of Electrolux, bought the right to call its refrigerators "Frigidaires"? The name on the front of a refrigerator is even more meaningless than your anecdotal evidence.

                          Despite your accusations, I have no affiliation with Samsung and don't even own one of their refrigerators (or televisions or dishwashers or computers or washing machines). I was going to buy a Samsung fridge last September, but couldn't resist a screaming deal on a Fisher & Paykel.

                          I'm just trying to put quality information out there for those who are interested. Information that's based on broad surveys rather than individual anecdotes. On research rather than knee-jerk emoting. Quality information instead of meaningless nonsense.

                          If anybody can fairly be accused of having an an agenda, it's you. You have not posted on Chowhound at all except to anonymously disparage Samsung appliances. Sure sounds to me like somebody with an axe to grind...

                          1. re: HonestV

                            Not to continue with my own anecdotal experience...but I will anyway :) But I believe I've already stated that I like all my Samsung appliances so well, that I just bought all new ones for a second home. A key factor in that decision was their superb service when the appliance store where I bought my induction range basically blew me off. I thought the thermostat had gone cuckoo and they were all ready to send me a new range. Being a bit of an environmentalist that seemed a bit excessive to me but that's where they were headed. I had to do a little arm-twisting (not really) for them to send out a VERY knowledgeable repair person who taught me plenty about ranges in general.

                            So my anecdote cancels out yours and we wind up back with the "facts." I'm sorry you had the experience you had but go forward and cook a lot of good meals with whatever brand(s) you choose.

                            1. re: HonestV

                              I too had those refrigerators that lasted forever without a repair, but sad to say, those days are long gone. I totally agree with you that these companies cannot ignore their customers, especially now that we have the internet . Maytag is made by Whirlpool, and it's as poorly made as all the rest..

                      2. Take a look at LG. We bought one to spruce up our kitchen a few months before we recently sold our house and I was very impressed with it. The space it was to go in defined what I looked at. I wanted something that filled the space, was stainless steel, and was as inexpensive as possible without being a piece of crap and I ended up ordering this fridge from Best Buy online, sight unseen. It is a bottom freezer, but instead of a pull out drawer it's a door with a big wire cage you pull out. I thought from the pictures that it was a drawer and was a bit pissed when it arrived and I found out it is not, but I have come to actually prefer it: more freezer space, less room taken up with a drawer mechanism. I'm 50 and I don't mind bending over to root through the basket, lol.

                        The quality seems quite good, as well as the basic design. It's quiet, efficient, and all in all I'm very impressed. The mark of a good fridge is that it "disappears" and you don't think about it. I don't think about this fridge and I consider that to be a good thing.

                        1. If I wanted an affordable refrigerator, I'd go to Costco. If I didn't have a membership, I'd get one just for this one purchase.
                          They have good delivery, good warranty, and good price.

                          I bought my second refrigerator from them, and a chest freezer.
                          They both have been Whirlpool, which have performed well.

                          Just recently I had recharged my 1988 Sub-Zero - just the refrigerator side - and had a gasket replaced around the door- it cost over $1,800. I looked at new ones which were around $12,000. Mine is better.

                          I recently bought a Whirlpool large stand-up freezer from Lowe's.

                          My recommendation: I'm thinking that the brands are all similar in today's market, and I wouldn't recommend any medium-priced refrigerator-freezer over any other. Find what seems good to you and go for it.

                          1. My mom bought a Liebherr fridge and just loves it. She has exactly what you are describing, french doors, DOUBLE freezer on bottom, no front mounted water/ice dispenser thought it does have an ice machine in the freezer, which may have been an option. She paid around $3500 and it seems very well built. She really wanted a Sub Zero but couldn't stomach the prices. This unit seems to have the majority of the features that sub zero has, but at a more affordable price.

                            http://liebherr-refrigeration.com/Eur...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Rick

                              When I was trying to decide whether to replace or repair my Sub-zero, I didn't see much difference in the new Sub-Zero's and others that were lesser priced.

                              I am so used to the configuration of my old one that the new space configurations
                              seemed surreal to me. Also my old one uses heavy-duty materials inside the box itself that I did not see in the new ones. Still love it!

                            2. i have a GE profile w french doors and a bottom freezer. sadly, living in a walk up apartment i could not get one as large as i wanted, but i really like it. the arrangement f the drawers in the freezer are great. the in door space in the fridge is a little limiting however. but it works like a charm (which is nice after the lemon i had been living with before)

                              1. OK, so I went to Sears on my lunch break today. I found 2 Samsung refrigerators that I like. One is $1319 with free delivery and haul-away through Wednesday. It will work great for our needs, and I like it better than the comparable models in other brands. http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12...

                                In the scratch/dent section, they have this gem, marked down from $2700 to $1350. It has a small ding on the freezer drawer that doesn't bother me one bit. I like it. I like the adjustable temp fridge drawer, but I'm concerned that I may put things in it and forget them? It also has an ice maker in the door though, and it takes up a bunch of room. Both the refrigerator and the freezer are smaller than the cheaper model as a result of the separate drawer and ice maker (the white model's ice maker level is chrome and the metal finish in our kitchen is oil rubbed bronze). I'm not sure whether it's worth it to get the nicer model with the big ice maker. It does have a cool screen on top of the ice maker that tells you the exact temp in the fridge and freezer.
                                http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12...

                                I can't make up my mind on this. The marked down one obviously is a better deal, and it has a more advanced "climate control" system, but other than that, I'm concerned that the "upgrades" over the lower end one won't benefit us at all. We can't even USE the water dispenser/ice maker. The kitchen isn't plumbed for them. Help me make up my mind, please!!!!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: LaureltQ

                                  I love Samsung products.
                                  Does Sears have a sheet where they have described where this refrigerator 'has been," what has happened to it?

                                  Let's see: there are things that can happen to a product -- floods? I know for instance where I live that those that feel they can't drive up my driveway will bump the appliance all the way up the hill and more - with attitude -- but one can never document that.

                                  1. re: LaureltQ

                                    If it makes a difference, you don't have to have a kitchen that's plumbed for an ice maker and water dispenser to use them. You just run a thin plastic tube from a cold water valve (usually under the kitchen sink) and you're good to go.

                                    1. re: LaureltQ

                                      If your kitchen is above unfinished basement area it's easy enough to drill a hole behind the fridge through the floor, run the plastic line down, and tap it into a cold water supply line.

                                      Or, if it is on the same wall as your kitchen sink, run it behind the cabinets or though the cabinets (drilling holes through the partitions up near the top where you would not see it unless you stuck your head INTO the cabinet) to the cold water supply to the sink.

                                      An icemaker and cold water supplyare things that once you live with them, you wonder how you ever did not.

                                      1. re: LovinSpoonful

                                        Paragraph two is what we've done. Icemaker is necessary for us. Cold water not at all. Dispenser on the front of the fridge totally NOT necessary. For us.

                                    2. If you have the room in your kitchen, might you consider an all-refrigerator/no freeze model? I have a six year old Crosley (17cu I believe) that I use for parties, and it works very well. My regular fridge, a Kitchen Aid SbS is falling apart at the seams. I'm going to haul my Crosley up from the cellar and use it as a main. I'll probably buy a chest freezer as a separate piece. Fridgidare also makes refrigerator-only, as well.

                                      For reviews I always hit AJ Madison: www.ajmadison.com

                                      1. I love my 3 year old Kitchen Aid cabinet depth fridge. French doors, no ice maker on the door, with a drawer bottom freezer. Saw door-style bottom freezers, which sound bizarre to me--you gotta get on your knees to find something? My drawer pulls out to me. I have mega back problems, so the most-used items (fridge) are easily accessible. I don't like the looks of the ice makers being prominent (and we don't use much ice anyway), so like the clean lines of mine. Love it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: pine time

                                          Door-style bottom freezer is not all that bizarre; we had one (one big door on top, one big door on the bottom). I find a door for the bottom freezer results in more efficient use of space than a sliding drawer. A drawer wastes room with slides, baskets, gap between basket & interior wall, etc.

                                          That said, our current fridge/freezer is a "wide by side": <a href=http://www.epinions.com/review/Maytag... by side, but the fridge part is wider on top and the freezer part is wider on the bottom</a>. It's my favorite combination, over the traditional side-by-side and freezer-bottom styles.

                                        2. Love my French door GE...think it's a monogram but not sure. I don't have the ice/water dispenser so not sure what it comes with. Ours is narrower because that's the space I have available but bought a really large one of the same for my nephew as a housewarming gift for his new space and it's divine. Come to think of it I think it has an ice/water dispenser. Mine is white. His is stainless. Fabulous. We all love them!

                                          1. I decided to get the lower priced one. I just determined that I can't deal with the door ice dispenser. We'll run the water lines behind the cabinets so the in-wall water and freezer ice maker work.

                                            I feel like the "upgrades" are lost on us. And I called Samsung to find out what the difference is between the cooling systems on the 2 fridges. They told me that the difference is that the higher end one is rated for a larger fridge (the size the expensive one is) and then it has a drawer. So it's basically just suited to the needs of that particular fridge. I feel really good about the cheaper fridge. YAY!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: LaureltQ

                                              Without reading through again all the postings, am curious as to what "lower priced" brand you bought.

                                              1. re: Rella

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7733...
                                                http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12...

                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                  I'm so glad you bought a Samsung.

                                            2. i purchased the Whirlpool Gold French Door Refrigerator with Bottom Freezer -- Consumer Reports Best Buy Recommendation. (Samsumg models also rated highly). And I am pretty satisfied with it -- although the bottom freezer does hold less than my old top freezer model. Some shelves on the freezer door would have been useful. As other posters have noted, you have to stack things neatly in the bottom freezer or things can fly out when the freezer door is opened.