Our fridge/freezer unit (we have another, big, freezer), after many years serving us well, has died. There’s a hole in the cooling system/unit/doohickey, and basically the repair dude sais it wouldn’t be worth it to fix. So we’re a’ gonna get us a new one.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I personally do not read Refrigerator/Freezer Monthly, and as such am not terribly aware of breakthroughs in the past few years in the area of refrigerators/other food cooling units. So I kneel prostrate before you, O Teeming Millions, and ask these simple questions:
What brand should we avoid like a bad 80s hairband? Conversely, what brand should we be drawn to like a magnet?
What buzzwords should we be on the look-out for (good and bad)?
phantomdiver (my mother) wants a bottom freezer. Jokes about frozen rump roast aside, is this really a superior design, or is it just a new fad that’d gonna go out like slap bracelets?
What should we expect to pay for a unit approximately 75 inches by 33 by 30 or so? That’s the size of the broken one we got.
Is my fly open?
There is no number 6.
Anything else. I dunno, I haven’t gone fridge shopping in a while:)
Went through the same thing a couple months ago but we had to buy all of our appliances (new home). I did a fair amount of research, I’ll try to help.
Believe it or not, Maytag makes quite poor fridges. They still make OK washers and dryers, but thats about it. GE usually makes crappy stuff, but for some reason their fridges seem to be OK. Just don’t get one worked on as their parts prices are terrible. Whirlpool makes a great fridge. Frigidaire (electrolux) are good too. Thats what we ended up with.
Well, heat does rise, so I guess in theory they might be better but I couldn’t care a less. I believe Ammana were about the only people to make bottom freezers. I think they got bought by Maytag and their quality has suffered.
Geez. Depends how many bells and whistles. Could be $600 US, could be $2500. Depends.
Yep! Please close it. It’s starting to smell.
A lot of it is preference. Personally, I tried to go plain but functional. We ended up with a 18.8 ft[sup]3[/sup] Frigidiare that we bought at Costco for a song (I think $680 CDN). Very happy with it. Basic, no frills but not bottom of the line either. Glass shelves, 3 crispers 1 with humidity control. I personally shy away from the built in ice makers and water dispensers as they are something else that can just go wrong.
FYI - The power consumption of new fridges has dropped considerably in the past couple years. A new fridge now only uses about 1/2 the power a fridge 5 years ago used. You’ll be saving on power over your old one.
I prefer the freezer on the bottom. I HATE A SIDE-BY-SIDE. And we paid around $600 for ours five years ago. My mother-in-law says if you don’t use tons of ice, don’t get an ice-maker because they start to taste funny if they sit around too long. Go figure. Oh, and go with Kenmore. They last forever.
Ah! Something I forgot about. Kenmore. They do not mfg their own fridges. They are usually rebadged Frigidaires and Whirlpools. Either way, a pretty safe bet if you can get one on sale. Otherwise, they are priced a little high.
Damn! I wrote a perfectly good post and now it is gone, gone, gone . . . <sob>
I want a bottom freezer because 1. I hear they are more energy-efficient and b. they are definitely more person-efficient if the people using the fridge are taller than about 4 feet, which all of the phantomfamily are. (Okay, phantomdaughter2 just barely makes it, but she does qualify.)
I don’t want a side-by-side, because they seem cramped to me. Also energy-inefficient. Also my late MIL had one. 'Nuff said.
I could go for a top freezer if it were considerably cheaper than a bottom freezer.
No icemaker or cold water in the door. They get messed up more than any other part of the fridge, and I don’t think they’re worth it. We can make our own ice and get water from the sink.
I love our Amana (the moribund fridge), but I gotta admit it’s always been rather troubled. Still, it lasted a good 13 years or so, and that’s pretty good. I guess. If you squint.
We’ve always had terrible problems with the gaskets around the doors. Could be that it’s because we never wash them. I dunno. Anyway, they’re always rotting. If anybody has any hints on that, I’d be glad to hear them.
Oh. And I don’t care about color. And it can be a scratch’n’dent. But the closest Sears discount outlet is 50 miles away by some nasty highways.
There was a side-by-side in the house I rented in college. We all hated it. No room for anything, and especially not pizzas.
Mr. S and I bought an Amana bottom-freezer model in 1993 when we moved into this house. It was about $950, IIRC (and we paid cash, thankyouverymuch). Love it. I never realized how annoying it was to bend over just to see what’s to eat. Still runs great.
I would only have one with the freezer on the bottom.
Energy efficiency aside, you’re in the refrigerator much more often than the freezer, so it makes more sense not to have to bend down to look for stuff and retrieve it.
Side by side forget about, unless you never eat pizza or cold watermelon.
Adjustable shelves are also necessary. Especially if you have unfinished bottles of wine or champagne.
I also like shelves in the door that are deep enough for a gallon of milk and 2 liter soda bottles.
And whatever size you think you can live with will be too small.
Get a Smeg and you can naked cook just like Jamie Oliver!
Another vote for an Amana bottom freezer (since, as has been pointed out, they are effectively the only manufacturer). We have had ours for 3 years, and being a 6 foot kvetcher who hates to bend down, the bottom freezer design has been the shiznat. (except possibly when trying to load in two full ice trays of water on a funny angle…)
At the time that we bought, the Amana was in the upper quartile wrt dependability and efficiency. Good luck in the hunt.
'vark the happy homeowner
I hope this helps. NOTE: They REALLY don’t like GE stuff.
The freezer-on-the-bottom does give you easier access to the fridge and is more efficient. There is one drawback (that we discovered the hard way) if you have young children or slobby adults in the family. If you spill anything in the fridge part and don’t wipe it up immediately and completely, liquids can drip down onto the seal of the freezer door. The freezer door then gets sticky, and pulls a bit every time it is opened. Eventually, the rubber seal starts stretching, gets loose, and must be replaced to the tune of $100+.
This thread is good timing since my GE fridge is now in its 20th year of service.
It will be cheaper. Probably by a couple hundred $$$.
The link in the aboce post is a good one. Some people there are really helpful and know there stuff, some are dolts too. I post there off and on.
From my experience:
Kenmore and Amana are dependable workhorses. Avoid GE like a plague zone. (Bought one that was a pure nightmare. Brand new, but whoops, they forgot to insulate the box during manufacture. Then some cooling coil doohinkus broke on the replacement. And their service department ranged from awful to horrendous.)
By all means go for the bottom freezer, if you can swing it. Side-by-sides mean less stooping but totally suck for space and storability. They’re both deep AND narrow. If pushed to a choice, opt for a top freezer over a side-by-side.
Bag the pricey ice/cold water gizmos on the door. They’re convenient but problem-prone. Their purported convenience fades fast when you’re taking time off work, drumming your fingers and waiting for the speedy “We’ll Be There Sometime Before The Next Equinox” service folks.
Adjustable shelves rock! Pure liveability bonanza for the most frequently used portion of the fridge, 'punha. (My aging, cheapo model isn’t very adaptable and this is the feature I lust after.) Even chilled inventory turns over** and it’s a pure pain shuffling around the whole box to make stuff fit.
** Eventually. Don’t be misled by enthusiastic New Fridge Resolutions. Sure, you’ll probably do weird stuff like planting open baking soda boxes. You’re playing for the long-term. Those creepy margarine tubs filled with unidentifiable blue-molded leftovers will creep back.
Mrs. F. and I did some serious refrigerator comparison shopping when we bought our first house, 8 years back. We bought an Amana (with the top freezer, though), and have never regretted it for a minute.
Our Amana has adjustable shelves, and Veb’s right - they rock. I wouldn’t buy a fridge without them, now that I’m used to them. You can set up your shelves to fit the stuff that you have in there.
Amana’s fridges mostly (maybe all; I don’t know) have meat drawers that stay colder than the rest of the fridge, and fruit/vegetable drawers with adjustable humidity. These things are very handy. I was surprised at how much longer meat stayed ‘good’ in the Amana than I was used to from the fridges in the various places we’d rented. And if you’re a fruit-and-veggie type, you know that some produce needs to stay dry, and some produce really prefers humidity. Our Amana has two produce drawers, which allows you to adjust one drawer each way.
And it hasn’t had a single problem in 8 years, and not showing its age in the least.
We got a fridge. Marked down $300, I think because they just wanted to get rid of it. It was originally ~$1K, and we got it, all told, for $800 (service plan, etc).
Freezer on bottom.
Adjustable shelves. The kind that you can adjust every few inches, not the kind where you have to remove a drawer to maneuvre stuff.
I dunno why, but it just seems bigger. I just measured it and it isn’t, but … Iunno:)
Fun part of this: driving back home with the thing in the suburban. Did I mention it wouldn’t all fit? We had to tie it down. Even then, we were driving home not more than 35 mph and toward the end more like 10-15. Not fun.
I should probably mention that the reason it was marked down wasn’t the green haze emanating from inside…
It was the last model the store had. For what reason, I dunno.