New Basic Refrigerator
July 9, 2015 10:47 AM   Subscribe

We are on the verge or buying a new fridge. Needs to be only 30" wide. We are considering a Samsung,

One caveat is that we will not be hooking any water up to it for icemaking or cold water. Price is only semi-relevant.

If you could get anything, what would it be? Is Kitchen Aid worth the extra money?

Your opinions and experiences are solicited.

posted by Danf to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We got a new one a couple years ago. The thing that mattered to me that was not apparent in the stores was there is a wide range of noise levels. Some of them are really quite noisy and whiney.
posted by H. Roark at 10:56 AM on July 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have this LG fridge and I love it. I like the large freezer capacity because I process a lot of produce from my CSA -- but if that's not a factor for you, LG has other 30"-wide models with more fridge space. The other great thing is that it's almost silent.
posted by dogrose at 11:31 AM on July 9, 2015

Best answer: Five years ago, we bought a Whirlpool Gold 30" wide - a slightly older version of the one in the link, but with virtually identical design and specs. Except for some cosmetics, I believe it is identical to the 30" 19 cu foot KitchenAid - same specs, same parent company.

It's been a pretty mixed bag, but I think we'd end up buying the same one again.

We bought that specific model for three reasons. The dimensions were an exact fit for the fridge nook in our 1925-built kitchen - not only narrow but short - and yet it stores nearly as much food as a standard-sized refrigerator. At the time, it was the only Energy Star-qualified fridge that would fit. It was also not terribly expensive - I believe we got it on sale for $899.

On those matters, the fridge has been perfect. It's an incredibly efficient use of space, and the power consumption has been very low, with us seeing an immediate and very substantial monthly savings over the early-80s Kenmore that was previously in our kitchen. Even at the most efficient settings, the fridge and freezer temperature levels stay low. It squeezes in the absolute maximum amount off food storage we could expect from a fridge its size.

There are times when it is noisier than others - it sometimes makes a strange grinding noise for a few seconds as it adjusts a ventilation baffle, and there are times where you can hear it hum as it runs what I assume to be a defrost cycle for 10 minutes - but most of the time it's really pretty quiet after 5 years.

However, there are a couple of things that we don't like:

The stainless steel trim has not held up well. There are, in fact, small stains - oxidation spots - that we can't seem to get rid of. The material dents easily, and there are a few dings. It looks fine from a few feet away, but for only being 5 years old, it seems much more worn than I would like. In retrospect, I might have preferred the resilience of a standard black or white finish.

In addition, the bottom, pull-out freezer is awkward. I hadn't realized that frozen pizzas, which fit fine in the standard freezer of the old Kenmore, wouldn't fit in any of the trays in this particular freezer. The door has come off of its track assembly a couple of times, resulting in sealing and icing problems, and after having technicians out twice to repair it, they were both confused by the assembly and never quite got it right. It's working pretty well today, but I ended up having to reassemble/align it myself, which I think was beyond the call of duty. The sealing problems still result in some condensation leakage from the unit, but not enough to really impact performance or to get me to do something more about it.

tl;dr: fundamentals of the 30" Whirlpool Gold are quite good, fit and finish are blah.
posted by eschatfische at 11:42 AM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Side-by-side fridge/freezer is a nightmare. Avoid. Ditto stainless steel.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:17 PM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

We bought a 30" bottom freezer Whirlpool last August. No icemaker. White. The ratings on the Whirlpool website have a few complaints about noise, but we sit and watch TV or read 12 feet away from it and have not heard anything problematic. There is also mention of the fact that the freezer shelves are non-removable for cleaning. This being the freezer and not the fridge portion, we have not gotten around to figuring that out but for a once-yearly cleaning job I think we can contort ourselves to clean it up. The big benefit of bottom freezer is not having to get on your knees to see what's on the bottom shelf — for the extra money I highly recommend it.

We have not run into the issues eschatfische mentions.
posted by beagle at 12:41 PM on July 9, 2015

beagle (or Danf), if you do ever experience the icing issues I mentioned, this is a very handy guide to resolving them. Ours didn't start doing it until after a year in.
posted by eschatfische at 1:44 PM on July 9, 2015

Response by poster: For the record, we want a french door fridge with freezer on the bottom. It will not have any water plumbed into it as it would be prohibitive to get water there and an damn ice tray or two are our speed.
posted by Danf at 3:58 PM on July 9, 2015

Thanks eschatfische. According to the tech bulletin (linked in the comments thread on your link) that problem relates to models with serial numbers prior to K333. I'll look at my SN when I'm home but since the date of the bulletin was November 2013 and I bought mine in August 2015, I'm going to assume the issue was fixed going forward from that date. (Note that Whirlpool will fix this problem free for two years from date of purchase, if you have it.)
posted by beagle at 11:03 AM on July 15, 2015

I'm late to the discussion, but my 20-year-old Kenmore died a couple of weeks ago, making it imperative to buy a new fridge that would fit a narrow (30"), shallow (34") space right beside a doorway in the kitchen. I got this one (it comes in stainless and white too).

I didn't expect to (I wanted a single top door), but I love it and I think it's gorgeous inside and out. Plus, it's from Costco, with their generous return policy, so there was no risk involved - they'll come pick it up if there's ever a problem - but it also comes with a Whirlpool limited warranty (parts & labor for two years from date of purchase). I wish I could remove the stupid icemaker because it takes up freezer space and I'm an ice-cube tray kinda gal too, but that's a minor quibble.
posted by caryatid at 4:35 PM on July 25, 2015

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