Pros: It's huge, easy to clean, reliable operation, well-lit, well-organized
Cons: Many kitchens can not accommodate the size of this refrigerator.
I have always thought that one of life's little luxuries would be to have a really huge refrigerator that would hold everything in easy view. Plus, of course, it would have to be easy to clean and look nice.
That huge refrigerator has always been out of reach because affordable housing in the Boston area generally means small, old houses with little room for a large refrigerator. However, we recently renovated our kitchen, and a priority for me was to create space to accommodate the refrigerator of my dreams.
SOME CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE MAKING A PURCHASE
The first thing to know about this refrigerator is that it is really big. Although at first glance, the specs say it fits in a '36 inch opening, they are only describing the width. This refrigerator is also very deep. We needed a '33 deep cabinet to accommodate it which means that it sticks out considerably from normal depth counters of '24 inches. We accommodated the bulk by placing the refrigerator at the end of a row of cabinets. However, if you are considering this purchase, take a long look at your floor plan.
Another consideration is color. We chose stainless steel but the sides of the refrigerator are black. Since our kitchen cabinets are white, we purchased a cabinet to encase the sides of the refrigerator, otherwise the black sides would be too apparent in a sea of white, not to mention calling attention to the bulk of this appliance.
FEATURES AND RANDOM THOUGHTS
Once we worked around these two obstacles, it turns out we love many things about our Amana.
Size: Size does matter and this refrigerator easily holds enough food for our family of four (plus one on the way). The refrigerator is very high so the refrigerator shelves are all at eye level.
Bottom Freezer: The freezer is on the bottom of this unit which work well in our family. The nice part is that there is one very deep, wire mesh basket to hold bulk foods. There is a much narrower drawer above the basket to hold items you use frequently. In our house, this is the frozen novelties shelf. Many refrigerators with bottom freezers only had the basket. We find the additional drawer very useful.
Rather than opening with a door, the freezer is a drawer. I worried that loading the freezer would make the drawer hard to open, but it functions fine. A friend warned that overstuffing the freezer causes the seal on the drawer door to not seal properly - allowing air into the freezer which fills the freezer with frost. We haven't overstuffed and we haven't had that problem. But if you are a freezer stuffer, consider that this drawer function might have a flaw.
Easy Cleaning: Cleaning this refrigerator is pretty easy. The shelves all slide out and raised edges contain minor spills so they don't migrate all over the interior of the refrigerator. There are baskets inset into the doors that are also removable for cleaning.
Lighting: Our old refrigerator had one dim bulb. This one lights up like Fenway Park. You can see everything clearly on every shelf.
Operation: This baby hums. Operation is very quiet - much more so than our old dinosaur of a refrigerator. The inside temps are adjustable and seem to stay consistent.
Compartments: You couldn't ask for more compartments and drawers. There are compartments for produce and deli meat. These drawers have their own individual controls depending on the intended contents. According to the web site there are:
2 Humidity Controlled Garden Fresh Crisper Drawers; and a
Temperature Controlled Chef Pantry drawer that keeps deli meats fresh
I don't really notice how the humidity or temperature effects my food, even in my old refrigerator that had no individual settings. However, I do like having all the drawers to keep stuff separate.
Another thought is that if you entertain a lot and want to store trays of food, there are a lot of drawers and less shelf space compared to other refrigerators. In theory, small trays might fit in the bigger drawers but there is not a lot of wide open room.
Style: One of our considerations in purchasing a new refrigerator was style - especially since we were renovating. We chose the stainless steel door for our model. The style is very minimal with only one curved handle for the refrigerator and another for the door. I liked the neutral style that blended well with my other appliances and kitchen decor.
Some thoughts on stainless steel: It does show fingerprints. It is more work to clean than other available finishes. It costs more than other color options. When we first started shopping for appliances, I thought stainless steel was overrated. However, now that the refrigerator is installed in my kitchen, I love how it looks and how the matte - yet slightly shiny - door reflects the light.
Options: I should mention that our model does not have water filtration, ice-making or water dispensers. We had an ugly experience once with an ice-maker gone awry and have never been able to face once since. However, there is an easy reach model that has these features.
$20 accessory: You get a $20 gift certificate for an overpriced, no shipping costs included, Amana accessory. Basically, for the coupon, you can get one small wire rack.
Rebate: When we purchased, Amana offered a rebate of $100 if you bought two Amana appliances within a certain time frame.
The manual comes with pages of information on installation. We had our contractor install the refrigerator so I can't tell if it was easy or hard to install.
This refrigerator meets ENERGY STAR? efficiency standards.
There is a 1 year "Full" warranty, but there are lots of qualifications.
DIMENSIONS (FROM THE WEB SITE)
Height: 68 5/8"
Height w/hinge: 69 7/8"
Width: 35 5/8"
Depth: 31 3/4"
Depth w/handle: 32 7/8"
I love our new refrigerator. It is huge, but for the first time I can easily store and see everything in my fridge. Less cramming means less mess and spills. While it does take up a lot of room, I find it works well for our family.