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Mar 20, 2011 06:08 PM

Recommend me a fridge!

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:

                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.