Built In Stainless by Thermador

Aug 5, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good lines; nice features; Pro refrigerator

Cons:Bit noisy; pricey

The Bottom Line: Built in design really bumps the price but compared to other built ins, the Thermador is sharp looking and performs well.


Background
We just moved into a new home and it came with the entire kitchen package from Thermador: All stainless steel – a real professional kitchen. It’s beautiful and something to be proud of even if we aren’t quite as skilled at cooking as it looks! But I have to be honest that this was part of the builder’s package. Otherwise, once I saw the individual costs, I would have had a hard time convincing myself to buy. I’m not sure why built-in fridges cost so much more than free standing but they do. I admit that I really do like the looks of the built-in though and when you compare costs of different brands of built-in’s, Thermador is not really out of line.

While I’m being so honest, there’s one more thing to get off my chest. We had just purchased a side-side LG stainless fridge at our old house. It was free standing unit that cost less than $2K and I really loved it. So my review here is going to take that unit into my thinking. (I reviewed this at Epinions so look at my other reviews if you want to see my comments there.)

Looks:

This built-in stainless fridge really looks great with the other stainless package and our granite countertops. Even though you can fingerprint the stainless surface, it doesn’t jump out like some stainless I’ve seen and is easily cleaned up. Overall, the insides have a clean, uncluttered look. Like I said, it really looks and feels professional. Perhaps for this reason, they made the outside of the unit free of digital displays or dancing lights, etc.

Controls:

Outside controls are just a plain set of non-descript buttons placed above the ice-in-the-door area. These are for ice selection, dispenser lights and Lock out features. Inside, the controls are digital and easily seen as well as easily adjusted to set the freezer and refrigerator compartments to the desired settings which you can set in Fahrenheit or Celsius. It also provides a water filter status number that is derived from water usage and not just time.

The deli-pan drawer has a separate temperature control to enable meats stored there to be kept at safer temperatures (28 to 32 degrees).

The icemaker has an easily accessed on/off switch in the freezer area to turn the icemaker off without having to remove trays or anything.

Drawers, Doors and Shelves:

All of the refrigerator shelves are glass with metal frames that are cantilevered from brackets inside back of the fridge allowing you freedom to adjust heights of shelves. They snap in tight and are very secure and solid. The glass lets light shine through the fridge for better visibility. Freezer shelves are open wire racks and are side mounted. Only one is adjustable.

The refrigerator has the deli-pan slide out drawer and two crisper drawers. The two bottom crisper drawers are the full depth of the refrigerator although this prohibits having door bins on the lower section of the door. The freezer has two pull out wire baskets for easy access to items.

The icemaker bin is mounted in the door which provides more shelf storage space inside but limits the freezer door to only having 3 bins. But I think I’d rather have shelves than door bins. The refrigerator door has a nice utility bin with a glass door. It’s great for storing cheese, butter and similar items. The door bins are deep and the bottom door bin holds gallon containers while the other two can hold 2 gallon containers. They are adjustable but somewhat limited in spacing so it’s hard to fit a really tall bottle.

Conclusion and Recommendations:

I like the fact that they used a fairly standard water filter that is easily obtained and about half the price of my former LG and Amana units.

But I’m beginning to believe no one makes a good icemaker. I like the ice storage in the door. I like that the dispenser accepts larger glasses. But I find the dispenser stiff to operate so it’s hard to smoothly pull your glass away from the water or ice dispenser without tilting your glass and splashing water or in the case of ice, letting a couple of cubes jump out. Another pet peeve is that even though you select cubed ice, you still get some crushed ice shavings flying out. This is true whether you’ve ever used the crushed ice setting or not. Maybe these are things that I’ll get used to and figure out how to hold the glass just right.

My biggest disappointment though is that it is not that quiet at times. Turns out they have a variable speed motor in the back of the unit. At slower speeds, it’s fine but at its highest speed, it makes a very evident warbling sound. Part of this may be the acoustics of my house with tile and wood floors and little to absorb noise but at this price it should be as smooth as Bing Crosby. (No pun intended but it just struck me that there used to be a refrigerator brand named Crosby…) Anyway, the noise is not as bad as several refrigerators I’ve had (including my secondary one in the utility room) and is drowned out by the tv being on or my wife shouting orders at me :>)


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