This review is written with several years of experience with this refrigerator. It was purchased because we were moving into a new house and wanted all stainless appliances and it was on sale. We are a family of 6; three teenagers, a 9-year-old and two adults. Add three dogs and you can see that we have a full house. In reality, we weren’t expecting any refrigerator (short of a commercial version) to truly keep up with our family’s needs, but this one didn’t even make our lowest expectations.
Recommend this product?
FIT AND FINISH
The brushed stainless outer skin on this fridge is very nicely done, though very thin. It only covers the doors, the sides of the fridge are a standard powder-coated black steel leading us to believe that the fridge is designed to be inset into a cabinet. Leaving this fridge free-standing in a kitchen would look terrible, in my opinion. The finish is easy to clean using the right cleaner and truly is a stainless steel, meaning it won’t tarnish, rust or corrode. The thinness of the stainless means the outer skin is easily dented by carelessness. Ours now has a few dents in it – luckily in inconspicuous places, but we know they are there. The real damage comes in with the freezer door, with it being so low, any time you drag something against it, you will – WILL – leave a scratch, so great care has to be taken with moving around it – unless you don’t mind the scratches.
The handles have an appealing curve to them and are easily removed with the included Allan wrench to get it through a standard doorway opening. We have found that they tend to collect “junk” on the side that faces the fridge (where you hands grip), so extra care has to be taken to get them clean.
Being used to a larger side-by-side, we thought that having the freezing on the bottom would be a great idea, allowing us to store larger items lower, making them easier to remove. In the showroom, it appeared more than adequate and we really like the sliding trays at the top for more frequently used items. It also allowed us to keep our frozen saltwater fish food separated from human food, or so we though.
The freezer does get very cold and water solidifies quickly in there, unless you have it overloaded with non-frozen items. This doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize that you go through an entire freezers’ worth of food in a week and have to re-stock with items from a grocery store. We have had three different experiences where something like Ice Cream has been put in the freezer only to continue melting until the freezer could catch up – and anyone that has had frozen then melted then re-frozen ice cream understands when I say it was totally ruined.
We have since had to change how we shop… all because of this freezer, Making several trips during the week to keep the load down on it.
Although we thought the space would be adequate, we were woefully wrong. The size and shape of the drawers is awkward, usually leaving just enough space next to a large item to make you think you can fit something in, only to find out you can’t. I would estimate that over 1/3 of the space in the freezer is lost to the odd dimensions of the bins. The sliding tray do indeed work well, but we find that we easily exceed the space requirements of the bins below, making the sliding trays get “stuck” on frozen items below. The depth of the trays is adequate to store meaningful items on top. For example, you can stack Swanson’s Pot-Pie’s, on edge, and still be able to close the door without crushing them.
Since we have lost so much space to the odd shape of the bins, our thoughts of keeping the fish food separate from human food went out the window. Instead, we keep frozen popsicles in the same tray.
We love the large lower drawer on this unit. In fact, that drawer was the final feature that made us decide to make the purchase. It’s wide mouth and fully opening hardware make it easy to store large trays, long sausages etc.. in. We normally use this tray with its’ divider to store luncheon meats, cheese, or any other item that may need humidity control.
Below this full width drawer are two half-width drawers that you would expect to see in any fridge. Although the manufacturer sates that you can control the humidity and temperature in these drawers, we have found that it’s almost impossible. It’s either on or off... the slider only opens a small vent, and the vent doesn’t create enough airflow to make a meaning full change.
Above the full width drawer are a series of shelves, all adjustable. There is a single shelf that can be adjusted using a small “crank” on the front of the shelf. This feature has come in quite handy several times when we needed to move it up or down without having to unload it first. Great engineering feature!
In the upper left corner is the dreaded ice machine. Probably the worst part of this unit. Ice production happens at a snails pace. Keeping up with our family never happens. The storage for finished cubes is also very small, meaning we can empty it at one dinner sitting. We often find ourselves buying bags of ice – especially when we are making tea or having a guest over (yes….ONE guest..). Woefully inadequate – it’s almost like not having an ice machine at all.
Next to the ice machine is a small shelf, the size of a wine bottle. Being at the top of the fridge, this shelf FREEZES anything you put there, so it’s virtually useless. We have moved it down a bit and use it to “supercool” cans of pop. At the far right is the filter for the water dispenser. We loved this feature as we have very hard water in our house – but this filter doesn’t help with that and we were disappointed to find that out. The filters last for about a year for us. The front panel tells you when it’s time to change it, but it’s only a timer. It doesn’t measure anything (from what I’ve been told) – so I don’t depend on it at all. We change the filter once every six months and call it good.
Once nice thing about this fridge is the lighting. Everything is easily seen with the interior lights of the unit. Something we’ve found in the past is a problem with many other brands and models.
ICE/WATER IN THE DOOR AND CONTROLS
Being able to monitor both the fridge and the freeze temp from the front panel is nice – but not a feature that I would think needs to take center stage on a front panel like this. There are adjustments to temperatures in both zones as well, but once you set them, you never use them. I would think this might be better served to be INSIDE the unit that taking up space on the massive black plastic panel. The readouts for the temperatures are cheap 7 segment LED’s in green. If you’re going to place information like this so prominently on the front, a nicer display would have been very nice.
Cubes are all you get. There is no feature for crushed ice. And like several other posts here – yes, they do go everywhere. This unit makes a crescent shaped cube that can be a pain in most glasses.
The water dispenser can also cause quite a mess. It uses full water pressure to dispense water, and if it hits a cube of ice just right, you’re all wet. It can be a challenge to get a full glass of ice water and stay dry at the same time.
There are other features as well on the front. We do like the “door open” warning bell, and the ability to put in into vacation mode, which is supposedly an energy saving mode, but again, we don’t feel those are features that need to be so prominent on the front of the unit.
Clean and simple would have been a better way to go.
Overall, we regret spending the nearly $2,000 on this unit. Our next purchase will be better thought out and will be a larger fridge. I cannot recommend this refrigerator unless you’re single and don’t care about storing lots of groceries. IF YOU HAVE KIDS, PASS ON THIS FRIDGE
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Amount Paid (US$): 1850