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Old April 21, 2019, 08:53   #1
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Best refrigerator to buy?

We need a new refrigerator. We've been looking at "french-door" models with the freezer drawer on the bottom. A local appliance repairman says to avoid any ice-maker in the door models; says all of those are problematic and after the continual problems we've had with ours in a Whirlpool fridge, I tend to agree with him.

So, we shopped for those without that feature, and looked for those with the ice-maker in the drawer. We need around 25 cubic feet capacity. We don't need a counter-depth model.

Yesterday, we looked at a Kenmore, built by LG and a KitchenAid model that both fit our needs. This morning I started looking online for reviews. To access Consumer Reports, I had to pony up $8 for a membership and found that LG and Kenmore were highly rated. The highest rated models all had the ice-maker in the door. I don't want to take a chance with another of those.

I looked at one of the high-rated LG models and hit the "shop now" button. One of the vendors was Lowes and when you read the reviews there, they were mostly negative. So, Consumer Reports says it's good, customers at Lowes say otherwise.

I'm asking you good folks for your opinions now. Have you bought a refrigerator recently that's been good, or do you have tales of a lemon to share? I have a late-1940s GE Monitor Top that runs like it did brand new but that doesn't mean a brand new GE today will be a good buy. Old reliable brand of yore have little bearing on what's being built and sold now. Please let me know what you guys recommend. Thanks!
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Old April 21, 2019, 09:08   #2
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The problem with the reviews are that most of the people that have issues are the ones that comment. I bought one from a scratch and dent place. The guy takes warranty returns from big box stores then repairs and resells. He says that the scroll compressors are better. It was sort of weird though as he says they all suck these days and don't expect more than 5-7 years of service.

I ended up with a counter depth. A larger one could go in the space, but the kitchen island severely limits getting behind to clean the coils.

I've bought nothing but used appliances off of CL for the past few years. SA has a lot of turnover with the military and there are appliances showing up that are lightly used. The french door models are sort of cool. The freezer chest not so much. You're basically stacking stuff on top of each other.
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Old April 21, 2019, 09:09   #3
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Bought a Kitchen Aid with NO water or ice in the door. We'd heard the same thing as you about long term problems. Ice maker and cold water are inside. It has a replaceable water filter that might or might not really be necessary and I get lazy about replacing it.

5 years, so far, so good.

Some pics (no particular order) Note: not using icemaker this weekend, we have a potluck at work next week and needed to use the space in the freezer.






Cold Drinking water


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Old April 21, 2019, 09:14   #4
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I think buying anything these days is a crap shoot. Our last refrigerator was in the house when we bought it new (GE, ice in the door model) and lasted almost 9 years before it shit the bed. Replaced it at the local 'new, but scratches and dents' place with a model similar to what you are seeking. It's a supposedly made in the US Whirlpool and we like it compared to the restricted size of the old fridge we had.

I like the doors and the storage up top because we have a separate chest freezer for most frozen stuff. The ice maker is OK, not great in that it doesn't have a lot of capacity and is slow to produce ice. I'm considering buying a stand alone counter top ice machine as we use a lot of ice in the summer here. I'd take a look around your area for scratch and dent sales places or the big box stores for what they have if your significant other is OK with it. I'm lucky; my gal is practical and doesn't give a crap if there are a few scratches or dents if we save $500. Others I know are more picky...

I have an appliances fund I put $50 a pay check into and figure that just about every 6 to 8 years I'm going to have to replace a fridge or washer or dryer. Last year I got boned because I didn't have that fund up and running and lost the fridge and washer in the space of 2 weeks. That hurt. Just waiting for the hot water heater or furnace to go out now...
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Old April 21, 2019, 09:28   #5
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Sadly TG, anything bought too recently won't have much of a track record.

I can tell you about my experiences over the last 10 to 13 years.

I bought a French door fridge with lower freezer and ice maker in the freezer about 2012 and I liked it a lot. I had zero problems with it and sold the house it was in in 2015. No problems.
The brand was Samsung and I bought my appliance package of fridge, stove and dishwasher at Best Buy. They will negotiate prices to make a sale. At least they did then.

We remodeled my girlfriend's house where we live now in 2004-2005.
She went pretty deluxe on the kitchen and put GE Profile appliances in.
It's a double door with ice in the door(never been hooked up), and we have had zero problems with it.

Good luck with your hunt. I think the fewer high tech whistles and bells, the more reliable it will be.
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Old April 21, 2019, 09:56   #6
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I think the fewer high tech whistles and bells, the more reliable it will be.
I feel this is the TRUTH today in all appliances, automobiles, machinery of any sort.

My old boss collected 2-stroke, engine-driven Maytag washing machines. 90 years old, they'll still run.

Not his - but these have a whole collector culture (kinda like FALs)

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Old April 21, 2019, 12:05   #7
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Quote:
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The problem with the reviews are that most of the people that have issues are the ones that comment.
Yeah, my son says that pissed off people are more likely to leave review than someone happy with their purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaughter View Post
Bought a Kitchen Aid with NO water or ice in the door. We'd heard the same thing as you about long term problems. Ice maker and cold water are inside. It has a replaceable water filter that might or might not really be necessary and I get lazy about replacing it.

5 years, so far, so good.


Slaughter, I believe your fridge is just like daughter's. She's had hers for three and it's been good so far too. Thanks for the great pics!

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I think buying anything these days is a crap shoot.

I'd take a look around your area for scratch and dent sales places or the big box stores for what they have if your significant other is OK with it. I'm lucky; my gal is practical and doesn't give a crap if there are a few scratches or dents if we save $500. Others I know are more picky...

I have an appliances fund I put $50 a pay check into and figure that just about every 6 to 8 years I'm going to have to replace a fridge or washer or dryer.
I asked our appliance guy when he was here Friday if there was one brand that was better than the others and he said "Not really. Sadly, all of them buy their compressors from China and many other parts as well." He said to avoid the Samsungs with the linnear invertor compressor. Bad mojo.

My wife would be fine with a scratch and dent; One of the ones at Sears we were interested was a "floor model" and it looked fine to us.

George, that is a great idea about feeding that appliance fund! We should do the same thing. Thanks for the inspiration.

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Sadly TG, anything bought too recently won't have much of a track record.



Good luck with your hunt. I think the fewer high tech whistles and bells, the more reliable it will be.
I think you're right on both counts. I'm beginning to think it's a crapshoot as the gman said. And, yes. the fewer bells and whistles the better these days.

Many years ago, one could go out to the appliance store in the hometown (almost every town had at least one) and buy a name-brand and reasonably expect it to work without issue for years to come. Damn, I miss those days.

Thanks to all of you for the help so far! Please keep the advice and suggestions coming.
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Old April 21, 2019, 12:14   #8
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It's a supposedly made in the US Whirlpool and we like it compared to the restricted size of the old fridge we had.
Whirlpool made refrigerators for many, many years in Evansville IN, but closed the doors and moved to Mexico a decade ago. I don't know if they make or made them elsewhere in the US, but I doubt it. As far as I know, GE fridges are still made over in Louisville KY.
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Old April 21, 2019, 12:32   #9
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What ever you do make sure it has a good warrenty and you can add on to the warrenty.

If it's like my washer warrenty it was only a year and bought a extended warrenty because if I wouldn't have I would have been out of pockethe another 1500.00 these things usually never get a week outside of factory warrenty without shitting the bed.
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Old April 21, 2019, 12:36   #10
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When looking for mine when I remodeled the place I mentioned earlier, I was comparing the inside layout of the various models at Best Buy and discovered that on many fridges the interior would be identical on some, and only the door design and brand name would be different.

I think there is a lot of subcontracting that goes on in the appliance biz.

Those pics Slaughter posted look VERY much like the Samsung I had.

We know that Sears doesn't make any Kenmore appliances. They were all made for them by other manufacturers.
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Old April 21, 2019, 12:52   #11
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Whirlpool made refrigerators for many, many years in Evansville IN, but closed the doors and moved to Mexico a decade ago. I don't know if they make or made them elsewhere in the US, but I doubt it. As far as I know, GE fridges are still made over in Louisville KY.
Every Whirlpool I looked at yesterday had made in Mexico inside the door. I've had a lot of trouble with several Whirlpool appliances over the last 10 years. I think I'm done with them. But, honestly, I don't think it makes much difference anymore.

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What ever you do make sure it has a good warrenty and you can add on to the warrenty.
Definitely.

Quote:
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I think there is a lot of subcontracting that goes on in the appliance biz.


We know that Sears doesn't make any Kenmore appliances. They were all made for them by other manufacturers.
I think you're right. The Kenmore we looked at yesterday at the Sears store is made by LG.
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Old April 21, 2019, 13:56   #12
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I have had the same fridge since I bought my house in the early 90s, bought it new and it had water and ice in the door. Whirlpool with freezer on one side and fridge on the other. Some years ago I disconnected the water feature and don't regret doing it.

I am not sure I would buy a new fridge, I think I would look in garage sales for what I need. To many friends are having trouble with their new appliances. My stand up freezer is 35 years old and runs well, looks like crap but works good. If it dies I will by used.
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Old April 21, 2019, 16:06   #13
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I am not sure I would buy a new fridge, I think I would look in garage sales for what I need. To many friends are having trouble with their new appliances.
My wife asked me just a few minutes ago if I had decided on a fridge. I told her yeah, I'm gonna buy a used one. She laughed and said we already had one...
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Old April 21, 2019, 16:10   #14
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Why do you need a fridge? I've got one in my garage that I've got hotwired. The compressor always runs. It's worn out but still will get the freezer down to 15. Sometimes they're easy to fix if it's a control board.
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Old April 21, 2019, 16:14   #15
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My wife asked me just a few minutes ago if I had decided on a fridge. I told her yeah, I'm gonna buy a used one. She laughed and said we already had one...
Then it won't bother her that the next one isn't new???
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Old April 21, 2019, 16:33   #16
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Just tell her the next one she won't have to worry about dust on the top or new magnets and post it notes because they will allready be on it.
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Old April 21, 2019, 19:47   #17
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I have the refrigerator from the Oracles apartment in The Matrix.



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Old April 21, 2019, 21:33   #18
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Pretty damn close! How's it run?
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Old April 21, 2019, 21:48   #19
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Whirlpool ...
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Old April 21, 2019, 21:55   #20
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Whirlpool ...
I thought that once too. Never again. In 2009, we bought six Whirlpool appliances for a big kitchen redo. Three of them failed in some way or another within 2-3 years. The side-by-side refrigerator has been the worst of all.

I grew up thinking Whirlpool was a standard of sorts. One of those iconic name brands like Maytag or GE. It used to be. I found out the hard way that it's not that way anymore. I know some folks may be satisfied Whirlpool customers because surely, every single one of their products can't be garbage. But, no more laps around the ol' 'Pool for me.
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Old April 22, 2019, 08:21   #21
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We looked at Lowes, Hd, and sears. Ended up at a local store that guided us through features, reliability, useability, and beat the big box store prices.

Its a LG French door, bottom freezer. Performance reflects reviews if one ignores the haters. Ergonomics prove to be less than Id like- cant open cold cut drawer without opening both doors, cant open left drawers without opening both doors. Freezer upper tray jumps off rollers since we have so much in bottom tray.

My suggestion is pay attention to quality reviews and when evaluating them try to test it how youd use it. In our case the quality is great, day to day ergonomics is not.
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Old April 22, 2019, 10:02   #22
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After spending way too much thought on this over the weekend, I'm tempted to buy the cheapest one among the three we "narrowed" down from our search Saturday. I don't have much faith that anyone of them will last very long. That's the sad part of the story. Terry, the appliance guy here in town has been doing this work for 40 years and has been through numerous factory training sessions from various manufacturers, and he says they are all about the same these days. He couldn't (or wouldn't) recommend any brand over the others anymore.

We looked at a Kenmore, made by LG, at Sears. Today it went on sale for $1199.99. Regularly sells for $1899.99. I'm tempted to roll the dice. And really, that's what it is, a crap shoot as the gman said. I'm going to sell our old Whirlpool; Terry said he usually sells ones like it for about $250. That will cover some of an extended warranty.

Damn. I miss the 20th Century. I wish a buck was still silver...


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Old April 22, 2019, 10:26   #23
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We bought a Samsung French door with flex drawer at Home Depot, had it about 2 years now with no issues. For a fridge it's a relatively short time-frame, but there are a few things I do like about it.

First, the flex drawer is a great feature. It can be set as a fridge or freezer. We keep it at 33deg and use it for all the stuff we access frequently, and for things like soft drinks, beer, wine, and champagne when entertaining.

Next, the filter is one of the nicest designs I've encountered. It's low, right at the bottom of the fridge compartment between the crisper drawers, simply turn out to remove, slide in and turn to lock to install. Others have been inside at the top back, or worse, behind it, which are both pains in the azz.

The controls for temp aren't too terrible for ease of use. The ice maker is fine for day to day use, but don't expect it to keep up with entertaining very long. The reservoir isn't very big, but with the flex drawer you can choose to store ice in there. Even though the 33deg setting isn't "freezing" I've used it for a bag or 2 of ice and they really don't melt for a couple of days when in there.

On the flip side though I still have reservations about anything electronically controlled. Circuit boards seem to always be the weak link in a system, especially when water and temp extremes are part of the daily functions of an appliance. The wife really wanted this fridge for the new kitchen, and considering the $150k we had just dropped on that, I figured another $1700 was a relative pittance. Because of this though I do recommend taking extended warranties where they are available. I know HD offers them as we took them with the appliance we bought, as I expect the controls to be the first issues we have.

Like all things though, YMMV.
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Old April 22, 2019, 11:04   #24
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We bought a Samsung French door with flex drawer at Home Depot, had it about 2 years now with no issues. For a fridge it's a relatively short time-frame, but there are a few things I do like about it.

First, the flex drawer is a great feature. It can be set as a fridge or freezer. We keep it at 33deg and use it for all the stuff we access frequently, and for things like soft drinks, beer, wine, and champagne when entertaining.

Next, the filter is one of the nicest designs I've encountered. It's low, right at the bottom of the fridge compartment between the crisper drawers, simply turn out to remove, slide in and turn to lock to install. Others have been inside at the top back, or worse, behind it, which are both pains in the azz.

The controls for temp aren't too terrible for ease of use. The ice maker is fine for day to day use, but don't expect it to keep up with entertaining very long. The reservoir isn't very big, but with the flex drawer you can choose to store ice in there. Even though the 33deg setting isn't "freezing" I've used it for a bag or 2 of ice and they really don't melt for a couple of days when in there.

On the flip side though I still have reservations about anything electronically controlled. Circuit boards seem to always be the weak link in a system, especially when water and temp extremes are part of the daily functions of an appliance. The wife really wanted this fridge for the new kitchen, and considering the $150k we had just dropped on that, I figured another $1700 was a relative pittance. Because of this though I do recommend taking extended warranties where they are available. I know HD offers them as we took them with the appliance we bought, as I expect the controls to be the first issues we have.

Like all things though, YMMV.
Thanks for that good review. The Samsung refrigerators were highly rated by Consumer Reports too. I was warned to avoid those with the linear inverter compressor. But that might not be a problem for all of them or they would surely change the design. You covered some good features!

You are most definitely right about the circuit boards. Our Whirlpool gas range had the self-cleaning feature. My wife used it twice, maybe three times at the most over 3 or 4 years. Then, our oven became difficult to light. You could hear it trying, smell a bit of gas but no deal. After many attempts, it might fire up, or maybe not for several days. Terry came over, contacted Whirlpool about it. They told him it was because of the self-cleaning oven feature. The extreme heat from that process rose up the back to essentially "fry" the circuit board. We had to replace the board, and never use that feature again. So, a function of their range, touted as a "benefit" to their customers, actually rendered the oven unusable when utilized.
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Old April 22, 2019, 13:50   #25
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ENOUGH ABOUT THE FRIDGE


Let us talk about what you will put in it.

No really, what did you decide?
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Old April 22, 2019, 14:55   #26
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Pretty damn close! How's it run?
Runs great.

Smells bad because my wife spills stuff in it and expects me to clean it up.

Which aint gonna happen.
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Old April 22, 2019, 18:45   #27
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Originally Posted by Bawana jim View Post
ENOUGH ABOUT THE FRIDGE


Let us talk about what you will put in it.

No really, what did you decide?
Thinking strongly about this one:

https://www.sears.com/kenmore-73025-...pe=SKIP_LEVEL#

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Runs great.

Smells bad because my wife spills stuff in it and expects me to clean it up.

Which aint gonna happen.
Baking soda.
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Old April 22, 2019, 18:50   #28
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Give your old one to that mexi side chixx you introduced me to. She'll get someone to put an icemaker in it for not much.
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Old April 22, 2019, 18:57   #29
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Give your old one to that mexi side chixx you introduced me to.
Shssshhhh...Siri might be reading along.
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Old April 23, 2019, 09:51   #30
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Will Sears still be in business to back the warranty?
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Old April 23, 2019, 10:05   #31
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Will Sears still be in business to back the warranty?
Magic Eight Ball says "answer not clear. try again later."
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Old April 23, 2019, 10:25   #32
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Magic Eight Ball says "answer not clear. try again later."
Tell em to knock off a big chunk of the price if you buy from them. if the warranty isn't any good then no sense paying for a warranty.
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Old April 23, 2019, 10:47   #33
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Jim, I am going to ask them about that. It's common knowledge that Sears is struggling, and worth asking them if they think they'll be around long enough to handle warranty issues. I'll see what "assurances" I may get.
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Old April 23, 2019, 11:01   #34
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Whatever you do don't buy a Kenmore. They won't honor any warranty now.
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Old April 23, 2019, 11:10   #35
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Jim, I am going to ask them about that. It's common knowledge that Sears is struggling, and worth asking them if they think they'll be around long enough to handle warranty issues. I'll see what "assurances" I may get.
Maybe a gift certificate to a refrigerator repair shop Warranty is built into the price of appliances so if they can't back the warranty then it should be cheaper. Everything is a risk so I only wish you good luck.
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Old April 23, 2019, 12:09   #36
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I always try and save a couple bucks by buying a scratch and dent model if I can. I'm not partial to any particular brand. The last fridge I bought, I purchased at Lowes based on which brand the appliance salesman said he saw the fewest customer returns and had the fewest warranty issues. From there I bought the size that fit the hole where the previous fridge had been.

All I can offer to the discussion is to make sure your fridge isn't on an arc fault or ground fault circuit. The last thing you want is for the compressor to trip the circuit protective device while you're out and loose all your meat.
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Old April 23, 2019, 12:34   #37
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I had a bad experience with LG. Bought the fridge about six years ago. Started having problems after about three or four years. Parts and service were a nightmare. Finally gave up and bought a different brand about a year ago.
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Old April 23, 2019, 13:53   #38
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Whatever you do don't buy a Kenmore. They won't honor any warranty now.
Black Blade, did you learn this from personal experience? What happened? I'm leaning toward a Kenmore, made by LG.

gajin, that sounds about like my experiences with Whirlpool.
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Old April 23, 2019, 15:08   #39
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When the local Sears closed down, they priced stuff to sell. We found an in-the-wall, double oven, with microwave, convection, and every other bell & whistle can be found in an oven. The original marked price was almost $4K, marked down to $2K, then marked down to $1K. We bought it out the door for something like $300 IIRC.

Sadly, it was gonna cost me most of $3K to have our cabinets re-done to make it fit, so it is currently sitting under a sheet in the back of my shop and needs to find a new home when I get around to it. The wife unit loved the idea of having this big fancy-shmancy oven, but an oven that fits the existing hole in the cabinets was only about a grand

My real point is that regardless of Kenmore warranty or lack thereof, if you have a Sears closing in your area, they can get really creative in pricing things to move if you are ready to buy
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Old April 23, 2019, 16:28   #40
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I bought a Samsung in the $900 dollar range. Primarily because it had two refer systems-one for refrigerator, one for freezer. Two years later it took a dump. Estimate to fix was $700. Repairman said if I fixed it he would be back in two years to fix it again.

I bought another brand next time. Didn't fix it.
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Old April 23, 2019, 18:43   #41
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Black Blade, did you learn this from personal experience? What happened? I'm leaning toward a Kenmore, made by LG.

gajin, that sounds about like my experiences with Whirlpool.
Yep, had a stainless Kenmore brand new. It went out after a few months and still under warranty. We tried to get it fixed or replaced but said that they wouldn't honor the warranty. Essentially they said "**** you" and did nothing. We went through several avenues to get some satisfaction and then they went BK and that was that. I doubt that they are any better now from what I hear and read from other dissatisfied buyers. This is when we gave up and bought the Whirlpool (from Best buy) and so far so good.
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Old April 23, 2019, 23:03   #42
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About three years ago my fridge went bad and I had to buy one in a hurry. I bought about the cheapest Samsung french door model, freezer on the bottom the local appliance store had, The ice maker is in the freezer, I never use it, or hooked it up. The Samsung has been operating well so far......
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Old April 24, 2019, 06:28   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Invictus77 View Post
When the local Sears closed down, they priced stuff to sell. We found an in-the-wall, double oven, with microwave, convection, and every other bell & whistle can be found in an oven. The original marked price was almost $4K, marked down to $2K, then marked down to $1K. We bought it out the door for something like $300 IIRC.

Sadly, it was gonna cost me most of $3K to have our cabinets re-done to make it fit, so it is currently sitting under a sheet in the back of my shop and needs to find a new home when I get around to it. The wife unit loved the idea of having this big fancy-shmancy oven, but an oven that fits the existing hole in the cabinets was only about a grand

My real point is that regardless of Kenmore warranty or lack thereof, if you have a Sears closing in your area, they can get really creative in pricing things to move if you are ready to buy

Ah yes. Buy a fridge that fits

Weve been without cabinets over the new fridge for eight months, waiting for me to cut 1/2 off the bottom.
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Old Yesterday, 09:52   #44
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Well, well, well..."C'est la vie" say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell. I've read so many negative reviews on every fridge I've looked at. Oh, there are lot's of good reviews as well but many folks seem to get a "bad one" no matter which I look at. That started me thinking about our Whirlpool fridge. I've bad-mouthed it for years but that was because of the ice-maker. It dawned on me that it's never failed to cool properly and is very quiet. Both were frequent complaints with so many brands now.

So, I started looking for a Whirlpool french-door model without ice in the door, the apparent Achilles' heel for so many brands. I found one that did get a lot of great reviews at both Lowes and Home Depot. Not all great but still it seems to be overwhelmingly approved by buyers. Both of those big-box stores have them, with free delivery and a 5 year extended warranty at prices within $16 of each other. Damn. I'm actually considering buying it over the phone and be done with it. A bloody Whirlpool after all. Hecho in Mexico!
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