Looking for non-evil, normal fridge
September 5, 2007 8:50 PM   Subscribe

Online reviews of fridges are scaring me. Looking for suggestions for a solid, no-frills, long-lasting fridge...

I'm looking to buy a new fridge. Typical size of 35-ish inches wide. Side-by-side with ice/water in the door. (I'm open to a bottom freezer model, but most of the mid-priced ones seem to not have ice/water in the door.) And price: Less than $1300. And energy star compliant please!

Online complaint sites have led me to believe that basically every brand is evil and will break immediately and offer no customer service. This includes Maytag, GE, Whirlpool and Frigidaire. Apparently buying at Sears is also a bad idea. Sites that do offer good reviews rarely have more than one person reviewing that model and it never says how long they've owned it for.

Are there any suggestions out there from folks who love their fridge, haven't had any breakdowns and have owned it for more than a few years? In in Orange County, CA, so any store suggestions are also appreciated. Thanks!
posted by faunafrailty to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Consumer Search has always steered me well in this area

And some useless anecdotal evidence: We've had a bunch of Maytag things break and refuse to buy them now. I'm sure lots of people have great Maytags, but there you go.
posted by geodave at 8:54 PM on September 5, 2007

Wait, that's not the site I thought it was at all. Dang. It appears much more ad-based and less reliable.

Epinions might help you out.
posted by geodave at 8:57 PM on September 5, 2007

I would second Consumer Search - read the text and ignore the ads along the side. Performace seems to all be pretty good but in terms of reliability, consumer search says "Among specific brands, Whirlpool and Kenmore side-by-side refrigerators are more reliable than Frigidaire, Maytag, Jenn-Air and Amana side-by-sides. When it comes to refrigerators without an icemaker, Maytag leads in breakdowns by a fair margin, according to large owner surveys. Performance-wise, Maytag doesn't do much better or worse than others. But given Maytag's less appealing track record with respect to repairs, you might consider a different brand instead." This is consistent with Consumer Reports review too.
posted by metahawk at 9:29 PM on September 5, 2007

I just went through four attempts to get a GE Profile bottom mount stainless steel fridge from Sears. The first time, they "lost" the fridge and informed me just as the delivery of the other appliances was taking place -- and just as the charity wheeled away with my existing fridge. I ended up losing >$125 in food, as there was a heat wave. Then they thought they found my fridge and sent me one that opened the wrong way. I was stuck with this for a month. Then they brought a fridge with a giant scratch in the stainless front door (at eye level) and offered me $100 off. I refused. Two weeks later, they finally brought the right fridge. However, it's missing a very small part. They're ordering it in.

Still, they were pretty reasonable to deal with. We negotiated $350 off the sales price. This was pretty good, as we'd gone to them on a price match in the first place, having got another store to drop the price by $400. Of course, saving the final $350 was hardly worth the food spoilage and aggravation. But at least Sears will stand behind their service. And their delivery people did not appear to be the scary delivery people who have brought appliances from other stores.

So far, the fridge is great. But I have only had it a few weeks. I'm happy, though, *now*.
posted by acoutu at 10:57 PM on September 5, 2007

This is a good time to sign up for Consumer Reports, I should think; we're going through the same process, and so far so good.
posted by davejay at 12:27 AM on September 6, 2007

When in doubt, buy a Kenmore. That's always been my mantra when buying appliances. It hasn't failed me yet.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:29 AM on September 6, 2007

I've owned 4 or 5 fridges over the last 18 years (whatever came with the house / apt). The only thing that has ever broken on any of them is the icemaker or in-door water and ice dispenser. Personally, I've found the fridge to be the most reliable appliance in my home. If I could just get a friggin dishwasher to last...
posted by COD at 5:46 AM on September 6, 2007

I second the anti-Maytag sentiment. We had a Maytag dishwasher and I was very unimpressed with it.

My Frigidaire fridge is running strong after about 14 years, so there's a data point...
posted by Doohickie at 6:17 AM on September 6, 2007

Oh, and.... you have to remember that most people who bother to write product reviews online are the people who are mad as hell because the product did not perform. Have I ever written an online review for my Frigidaire? No.
posted by Doohickie at 6:31 AM on September 6, 2007

Seconding Consumer Reports. We're in the process of a kitchen remodel and it's been really helpful.

FWIW, we're going with the GE Profile freezer on bottom, French door fridge. The specific model we're going with doesn't have water on the door (I might be one of three people in the world who does not want water on the door), but other models do.
posted by cooker girl at 6:31 AM on September 6, 2007

Online complaint sites have led me to believe that basically every brand is evil

Selection bias? As noted above, the people who post to these sites are the sub-set of customers who are unhappy and complaining. The happy ones are home in the kitchen getting cool stuff out of the fridge.

Another vote for Consumer Reports here. Also, don't just go on the brand-name. There is a lot of variation within brands depending on the features you want.
posted by Robert Angelo at 6:57 AM on September 6, 2007

Consumer Reports recommends Kenmore over all other brands. Based on that, I bought a Kenmore 32" side by side about a year ago. It hasn't pissed me off yet.
posted by faceonmars at 9:40 AM on September 6, 2007

As a follow up, I wanted to say that Sears sent over a part today for the fridge mentioned above. It's not only the wrong part, but it's not even similar to the part that is missing. (It's about 1000x bigger.) But I'm happy with the fridge itself.

If you recently moved, ask your real estate company if they have any discounts at appliance stores. We qualified for contractor pricing on appliances at a major chain -- but had Sears price match.
posted by acoutu at 2:37 PM on September 6, 2007

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