Suggest you google your question and read some articles.
A good deal part of choosing is how the thing is going to be used and
part is what you like.
If I had the $$ I would get a french door (has freezer on bottom).
Brand is another story.
We had a Kenmore Eurotech (worked fine - just too small). It was 18 cf
and top-freezer, about 15 years old. We wanted a larger fridge and
We picked up a Maytag 20 cf unit from Sears Outlet store for something
like $750 (it was a steal at that price).
This fridge seems to "cluck" about a dozen times every time the
compressor comes on.
Our Eurotech was extremely quite - except that half the time the
compressor shut down it did so with a loud clunk. It had an exposed
rear radiator, but this new maytag must have the radiator under the
fridge (nothing exposed on the back) so it needs a fan to move the air
and cool the coils. I don't like that - I wish it had exposed coils and
no fan (I don't like the additional noise of the fan, even though it's
quiet by most standards).
The Maytag has an ice maker, but I don't go through enough ice to deal
with installing a line and messing with maintaining it (keeping it
clean, etc). It's easier to just throw some water in a tray and shove
it into the freezer.
We specifically did not want double doors - you loose a lot of space
with a french-door setup, and it just makes it less ergonomic.
I think the most desirable features are:
1) size -> 20 cf better than standard 18 cf.
2) Bottom freezer -> better than top freezer (but they will make
you pay a premium for bottom freezer)
3) swing freezer door <-> slide-out freezer drawer (personal
preference, maybe depends on available space in front of
fridge, but they will REALLY make you pay for slide-open door
vs swing-open freezer door)
4) stainless steel vs painted (or powder-coated?) finish
(personal preference I guess)
5) operating noise (hard to judge on a show room floor, very
noticable in the dead of night in your kitchen)
Amount of insulation or ease of service is next to impossible to judge.
Many units from different brands are actually made at the same plant.
i was just in an appliance store and saw a new idea. try to get a bottom
freezer with 2 smaller doors rather than a single large door with a pull out
drawer. it is much easier to get to stuff on the bottom shelf of a bottom
freezer if it has it's own door.
cave creek, az
I find that for every 10% higher the price, you get 5% more in value. What
you get extra is often not ever seen, such as the compressor system. Some
are more efficient and quieter than others, but you won't find
specifications of what is actually behind the fancy cabinet. More money
tends to buy more features, heavier material, glass shelves instead of wire,
and so forth.
I prefer the Whirlpool lines rather than say, the Frigidaire family of
brands. You may see two brands under the Whirlpool flag with the same price
but with different layouts inside. That is your preference.
Most models are now Energy Star rated and yours should be too. Given the
age of your old unit, the electric bill will go down.
Be sure to check your local dealers too if you are looking at the big box
stores. The local guy usually belongs to a co-op and can be very
competitive in price and will usually offer better service for delivery,
removal, setup, etc. If you have a problem, the local guy is going to be of
more help than calling some conglomerate.
We ve never liked the SXS types..freezer part is too narrow.
We do like the 22 cu ft, bottom "Roll out" freezer made by Amana and sold
under their name, Maytag and KitchenAid (and maybe now Whirlpool since they
bought Amana). It has an icemaker down there but plenty more freezer room.
We have GOOD water here so I made sure I DIDN'T get one REQUIRING a water
filter of ANY kind.
On my list would be water and crushed ice in the door. The ice
systems have improved a lot over the last 20 years and I love the
crushed ice. It instantly cools warm beverages and you don't have
the anoying cubes trying to escape the glass when you drink. If you
want to see a nice ice system, check out Kitchenaid, which is what I
have. It doesn't take up as much space as many other ones and has a
nice bucket in the door which you can just pick up and remove if you
want to take it out to get bulk ice cubes. Also, with the water
system, most of the better ones have water filters. The downside is
the replacements cartridges that last about 6 months cost about
$25-30. You could install your own inline conventional one, provided
you have a place to locate it, eg basement.
The energy star rating should be looked at too, though for most models
the energy used has been improved greatly and in the end likely won't
be the deciding factor.
One big difference in cost is going with stainless. No one can
predict design trends, but I feel safer with stainless and think it
looks great. But of course it depends on what else you have.
I shopped by comparing the yellow gov energy tag, at www.EnergyStar.gov
all units are compared as to annual operating costs. I also picked a
unit with the coil underneath since I wanted it against an insulated
wall that closed in to save energy.
Read up on the ins and outs of current offerings in Consumer Reports.
Whether you choose to use their ratings as a guide is up to you, but
they have many technicians involved in real live tests which IMO are
well supplemented by anecdotal opinion from newsgroups. Bottom line,
never turn down a credible source of good information.
Just avoid Maytag. They are the noisiest on the market. Try to get an
Energystar model of any kind.
When we moved last year we bought a GE Profile with in-door ice/water
dispenser. We are in Nevada and these hot summer days it sure is convenient
and energy conserving to not open up the doors for cubes or water. Also,
ours has a big slideout freezer on the bottom and split doors on top. It
gives us slide out shelves; shelves that tip up to make room for large
items; room for the big soda bottle and three separate pull out drawers for
meat, produce veggies etc.
In general the mid-upper priced units will be better built, fit, finish
and durability than the lowest end units. The highest prices units
usually only differ from the upper middle priced units in the foofy
brand name badge on them.
The first thing to determine is what style you prefer as this is very
subjective and based on your typical use and will drive your other
The top freezer models are typically the most efficient from an
operating cost perspective, but in my opinion horribly inefficient from
an ergonomic and daily use perspective since they force you to bend down
constantly to get routine stuff from the refrigerator.
The bottom freezer models are ok, however I find that since the bottom
drawer requires stacking items on top of each other, they can be pretty
inefficient organizationally, and also problematic when you have a pan
of something you need to chill, can't find a flat surface in the freezer
drawer, or have slosh issues trying to close the freezer drawer.
I prefer the side by side configuration since it eliminates most of the
stacking and flat space issues, eliminates slosh issues, and allows you
to organize both the refrigerator and freezer sections to avoid bending
for commonly accessed items.
Once you get past the style selection, you look for operating cost
(energy star rating), durability of the construction, functionality of
shelves, bins, etc., warranty, parts availability, operating controls (I
prefer digital with real temp displays vs. arbitrary numbers), and
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