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Jul 3, 2011 11:05 AM


Hi All,

I'm looking to buy a new refrigerator and I need some advise. What do you love, what do you hate. It needs to be a medium size refrig because they have to be able to get it in our apt. which is okay cause there are only two of us living here. I love to cook and want a nice frig and will at some point buy a new gas stove as well and eventually renovate the whole kitchen.

If renovating is it okay to buy a frig 1st before everything else?

I want to hear about no limit on spending refrigs, and moderately priced but great ones.

I also hear that Cherins on Valencia in SF is the place to go for appliances.



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  1. I have no recommendation on a particular brand of frig, but here are my observations. I really like having the freezer on the bottom. I don't like side by sides because you lose the really wide shelves. The same for counter depth ones, you lose the depth. As to buying before you renovate, that is fine if you are positive those renovation plans won't effect the size or placement of the frig--if you get one that is larger or smaller than the space you will eventually have available that would be annoying. Water/ice in the door can really increase the price so unless that is something you know you will use I would skip it. Personally, I'd rather have a clean-fronted frig anyway.

    4 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      And if noise is a concern--which it is for me because I have an eat in kitchen that opens onto the living room--study that like crazy before you buy. My sister swears by GardenWeb for that kind of info.

      1. re: escondido123

        It's also a good idea to check the decible level if it's an issue for you (some manufactureres make it difficult to find!). Many factors can change how the same appliance sounds in different homes. Many people think they're telling you their appliance is very quiet, when it could even just be that it's so comparatively quiet to their old one or a new configuration or surroundings is muffling it more.

        1. re: mlou72

          Along with decibel it's important to know the cycling on/off/on/off of the model you're looking at. We had one frig that didn't seem to hold temp or was so picky about getting the exact them that it was always turning on and off and no matter how quietly that happens it is annoying.

      2. re: escondido123

        I like the bottom freezer idea. Having the refrig part at eye level makes sense.

      3. I am another fan of freezer on the bottom. Our freezer has a shelf that pulls out, as well as 2 baskets underneath that also pull out. I like having the fridge food at eye level, esp. the vegetable drawers. We have never had ice or water thru the door, and don't mind at all. It always seems like those break easily on my friends' appliances, anyway.

        2 Replies
        1. re: elfcook

          I don't like cool water and we hardly use ice anyway.

          1. re: love food

            Ice makers are notorious for breaking (all brands). Many models I've been interested in don't have an option to nix the ice maker. I wouldn't choose one now, but can say that when I do a lot of iced tea or get out the old ice cream maker it's been handy to have.

            But manufacturers are catching on that few people need/want party ice these days and are making the ice makers smaller and less obtrusive, which is a huge plus if you're forced to have one by your model choice.

        2. I've never had a side-by-side, but I have had freezer on top, freezer on bottom and separate refrigerator/freezer. That latter one is not relevant to your plans because of space considerations.

          If you're going to renovate and don't have an immediate need for a refrigerator, I'd suggest waiting so that you can have the most flexibility for laying out your kitchen and selecting your appliances rather than being restricted because of the existence of one item.

          That said, if you are looking at a single unit, you will also have to consider European vs North American shelving. The primary difference is that the North American models will have sliding drawers and are physically larger (30 or 36") whereas the European ones are smaller (24") and will have removable compartments rather than sliding shelves.

          I like an ice maker (because it allows a lot of flexibility for cooking) but don't see the need to have through-the-door.

          Brands: I like Miele. Liebherr also an option for European. Have also used Frigidaire pro. Wasn't too impressed by Fiskar & Paykel.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wattacetti

            A major problem with through the door water/ice is that it takes up a lot of space in the main compartment.

            Also, if you get a bottom freezer, you can get either one or two doors for the refrig part. This might be a consideration.

          2. If renovation is a long way off, get a fridge now. Unless you get a strange finish or trendy design, you should easily be able to coordinate a new kitchen/appliances around it. While my appliances are all SS, my old fridge is white but is situated far away from everything else and surrounded by white cabinetry so it looks quite nice and not mismatched as it would were it next to the stove. So placement is also a factor -- if yours is smack next to the stove you might want to wait and buy a matching set as all finishes and design touches such as handles vary.

            For the better part of 10 years my fridge has been threatening suicide, so I've been visiting new fridges all these years. Playing with them has definitely paid off -- although to get my ideal fridge now I'd have to combine three different brands and models. *sigh* But I'm frugal, as well as being utterly attached to the beverage center door that makes getting milk and cold drinks a dream in my galley kitchen, so the fridge stays until it takes its last breath.

            Function is definitely my biggest factor in a fridge. A good appliance store has fake/empty food packages to try in the fridges, but if they don't do not be embarassed to take along your pizza box or oddly tall bottled beverage you keep your fridge stocked with. Never be embarassed to do fridge aerobics -- pretend you have an aching back and try and reach into the back of the freezer, figure out if french doors make it easier to juggle a heavy platter out and onto the right-hand countertop which happens to be the only available free space. Never be afriad to be a little silly about it, because you will have to live with the hulking beast for a decade or two. I love drawers that slide well, and tilt out bins that tilt out more than 1/4", easily adjustable shelves, spill catching shelves, adjustable shelves in the doors that hold more than jars of capers and Perrier. I love fridges that don't have gimmicks. I love to hunt down the actual manufacturer to make sure what I'm falling in love with isn't really a $1500 Hotpoint with a stunningly gorgeous front panel that accounts for the rest of the $3500 price tag.

            And do you want to be happy and hug your fridge every day because it makes your life easier, or do you wish it to magically glow in front of your friends and impress the heck out of them? Frankly, I'd take an ugly avocado beast if it would share my love of food and function. Someone can tell me brand X is the best, and it might be, but it still might not be the right fridge for my needs. You truly have to just go pet all the fridges until you find one promises it will make your life easy and never make funny noises at you or develop an unhealthy obsession with the repairman ;)

            11 Replies
            1. re: mlou72

              I hate the we have stove too, so I might have to get the stove to match because it is right beside the frig. I'll have to start a stove thread. I had a peach frig at one point in my life.

              1. re: love food

                2 things pretty much point to doing the change as part of the overall kitchen renovation. Then you can get the layout that you want and the appliances that best suit both the space and your cooking style and needs.

              2. re: mlou72

                This is really, really good information. I designed my kitchen around the appliances not the other way around. And they only need to impress me. I have a neighbor with all the high-end appliances that you can shake a stick at. she was a bad cook before and still is :)

                1. re: bobcam90

                  So you were okay designing the kitchen around the appliances?

                  1. re: love food

                    Definitely. I got the appliances months before the remodel cause we got a great deal at Lowe's. Stove, fridge, DW and MW/convection oven. We used Ikea for cabinetry (second time around and we love them) and they have great, online software for design. I don't know about you but design/layout for appliances is pretty straightforward. Generally there are only a certain number of places they can go. At least for me, it was no problem. Maybe visit Ikea's website and play around with the software some and see what you think.

                    1. re: bobcam90

                      Thanks Bob, Great idea about Ikea. Glad you like their cabinetry. So it holds up to stand the test of time?

                        1. re: love food

                          Six years a going strong. Even my snooty friends are saying 'wow.'

                          I have all Samsung except for the DW which is a holdover from a previous life and I'll stick with it til it dies. I'm frugal.

                  2. re: mlou72

                    We nursed a fridge for a long while and when we finally got a new one we were amazed at how much longer food stayed fresh and how much colder the freezer was. I wouldn't wait - it's costing you money to nurse the old one plus they usually die when you have just put an expensive shopping trip's worth of food in them and you have to throw everything out. My 2 cents

                    1. re: Berheenia

                      The new ones are more energy efficient, but I'm really now just waiting until the next model comes out on the fridge I want and hoping they tweak a few things.

                      The absolutely maddening thing is that this old beast does hold its temp; I've had thermometers in it for years. Every four months or so it spends a few days growling at me, then shuts up and behaves again for months.

                      Well goodness, I'm glad you spoke up, I just checked on the fridge I've been hanging my hopes on and it's discontinued. I'll give GE a holler and see if they're replacing it or just dropping the design. I might have to hunt one down if it'll be the last with the beverage door.

                      This is the one I've had my eyes on. I just wish it had a different freezer. It's actually a Samsung fridge, but the GE version lacks a nifty easy opening mechanism on the freezer drawer that the cheaper Samsung has. But the GE has the little beverage door which is just ultra handy for my kitchen. And even though they're less capacity I'd rather have two freezer drawers.

                    1. re: love food

                      The two side-by-side doors that open up to reveal the entire compartment.