I spent about 2 years looking at refrigerators, reading reviews, checking specs, trying to decide what brand to buy to replace our aging Kitchenaid side-by-side. We purchased that one in December 1992, and while it still ran well, there have been issues with the ice maker and the in-door ice dispenser. The filter for the water dispenser was a pain to change as it was behind the fridge and the whole unit had to be pulled out for access – no easy task with no rollers on the bottom and an uneven tile floor.
Recommend this product?
In the end, it finally came down to one thing: what we could afford and get for the best price. We went with Kitchenaid again, partly because our last one was so generally reliable, and partly because all the other appliances in the kitchen, which we installed during a remodel 2 years ago, are Kitchenaid. Plus, our beloved neighbor used to be a custom home builder, and still has all his contractor’s contacts, and going through him saved us a few hundred dollars.
We’ve had the fridge for 4 months now, through two holidays with all the resulting cooking and leftovers, and for the most part, it’s done very well.
We chose the black one, but except for the color, it's exactly the same as the model pictured for this review.
First the specs: Kitchenaid Architect Series II KBFS22WEBL(Black) , French door with bottom freezer.
· Energy Star qualified;
· Cabinet Height: 68.88" / Total Height: 70.13" / Width: 32-5/8" / Depth: 34-1/2
· actual capacity is 21.9 cubic feet; fridge is 15.6 cf, freezer is 6.3.
· digital controls and temperature readout;
· door alarm;
· “Adaptive On Demand Pulsed Defrost System”;
· “FreshChill Temperature Management System” which “regulates temperatures to keep ingredients in optimum storage conditions” (according to their website);
· 2 “FreshSeal Humidity-Controlled Crisper” drawers (what’s with running words together? It’s Kitchenaid’s marketing, not my typing, honest) which “help retain humidity for optimum storage of fresh fruits and vegetables”;
· 1 full-width meat/cheese drawer;
· interior filtered water dispenser;
· 4 half-width adjustable shelves
· 6 adjustable door compartments (3 per door), one is an enclosed butter compartment;
· 2 freezer baskets; bottom (deep) one is attached to front, upper (shallow) basket slides out independently;
· Ice maker in top basket.
Cold air distribution seems pretty even. Our old side-by-side would be close to freezing on the top shelf, and seemed to refute the old scientific rule that “hot air rises, cold air drops.” Eggs kept on the top did freeze, but it was perfect for Dr Pepper. ;-) This one doesn’t seem to have so many “zones” – it’s all cold.
The temperature settings are easy to use and read.
The water filter is inside the fridge, with easy access for changing.
The crispers do seem to keep veggies crisper and fresher than the old one did. Mushrooms have not become slimy, spinach is not a runny mess, and the broccoli we got before Christmas and forgot about was still fresh and crisp a week later.
There are infinite ways to adjust the shelves, depending on what you need to make space for. You can fit a full-sized pizza box in it, something not possible with a side-by-side. I can put my 5-gallon yeast-dough bucket in there for the dough to rise overnight; the door bins hold a 6-pack of long-necks, 2 large bottles of wine or a gallon of milk.
If you know where something is located, you only have to open the door for that side to get the item out, instead of having the whole front open.
It’s not particularly noisy. Certainly no worse than the last one was, and we rarely noticed that one, except sometimes when ice fell into the bin.
It does have an alarm if you don’t get the door closed all the way.
The doors operate smoothly, although the seal was so tight the first few days we had to really pull to get them open. You can open and close either door independently of the other.
It has an interior water dispenser for cold filtered water. The dispenser is enclosed and not going to be subject to dust, dirt and any icky film that makes you afraid to drink anything that comes from it. Very easy to clean.
It’s easy to get what ice is needed from the top basket of the freezer. We’re not ice-crunchers and don’t use much ice at all, so we don’t miss the dispenser, and my sister, who is an ice-addict, did not miss the dispenser while she was visiting.
No ice dispenser in the door means more interior storage space in the door. It also means you don’t have to clean the ice dispenser, worrying whether it’s worse to have it looking mildewed, or to get bleach all over it.
It’s on rollers, and much easier to pull out to clean behind and under. If on a smooth surface, one small person could do it. (Since our Mexican tile floor is not smooth, one larger, male person is going to get that chore.)
It looks purty! The black finish is not the mirror-finish-showing-every-speck-of-dust-and-fingerprint that they used to be. It’s more like a slight orange-skin texture on the front; the sides are a bit more textured. Set into our natural maple-finish cabinets, it looks very sharp. The surface is easy to clean, and it is magnetic if you do want to put any magnets on it.
I really, really wish I’d gotten the 25 cubic foot model. With just two of us, I thought the smaller one would do nicely, but it’s a bit too small. Our old one had a lot more freezer capacity, and we can’t fit as much frozen meat into this one. :-( Plus, I’m a real "holiday cook", and really had trouble fitting everything in over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Turkey, yes. Ham, yes. Turkey and ham at the same time, uhhhhh. Even after sending left-overs home with my in-laws, it was a tight squeeze.
The interior water dispenser is awkward. Instead of having some sort of lever that you can just push your glass or bottle against to get the water, there is a button above the dispenser that you push with one hand, while you use the other hand to hold the glass or bottle under the spout. I’ve got relatively long fingers, and I have barely managed to do this with one hand if I’m refilling a water bottle, but it’s not easy. Plus, the placement against the side wall means that you are not only using both hands, you’ve got one arm practically inside the fridge as you get your water. This might be nice during a Texas summer… right now, not so much.
The door alarm isn’t very loud. I’ve only heard it once – the freezer didn’t quite shut – and we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Checked all the smoke detectors, the phones, the alarm clocks, the computers… just about everything else in the house that could make a noise before we figured it out. It is persistent, though.
The 25 cubic foot model comes with a nice ice scoop; I had to provide my own for the 22 cf. (Nitpicking, I know.)
It does the job well, isn’t particularly noisy, and I can put up with the awkwardness of the water dispenser since I don’t have to worry as much about trying to clean it. There’s no drip tray under the water dispenser, which has not been a problem so far – and the drip tray under almost every other dispenser I’ve seen can be pretty scary!
A few times I’ve had the right side door open and decided that I needed something from the left side. So I put my hand on the edge of the door and pulled… but it wouldn’t open. You do have to use the handle to open the left door, because of the way it shuts to seal. Not really an issue, just sometimes disconcerting if you forget.
But that's about the worst I can say of it. So far we're happy with it - except for holiday overstuffing - and hope to keep this one for another 18 years.
Amount Paid (US$): 1300.00