A very Lounge topic: recommend a refrigerator manufacturer?

My fridge is failing and needs to be replaced soon. Seems like every time I need an appliance I need to do new research on which manufacturers are good, and which ones to avoid.

This seems like the kind of research-motivated crowd that would do the same. So if you happen have any recent fridge wisdom to share... Lay it on me. :slight_smile:

I haven’t had a reason to check in a while, but consumer reports has info on reliability and customer service experience for major fridge brands. Possibly behind a paywall for all the details though.

For the most part, large appliances are horrible even compared to what they were 10 years ago. It is all crap. Nothing is built to last more than 5-10 years no matter what you pay for it, and in fact the more complicated it is, the worse it is. It is all cheap plastic and the bare minimum of refrigeration equipment (compressor, evaporator, etc) with no thought to servicing or longevity.

I purchased a top of the line $4000 5 door Kitchenaid fridge 3 years ago. It is awful. I have replaced every motherboard (5 of them), a wire harness, and some other stuff for about $1000 in repairs, and it still doesn't cool consistently all the time. You have to pull the plug, wait, and reboot it to get it to cool. Kitchenaid just shrugs and says it is normal.

It is a very beautiful appliance, but so annoying because you never can tell when you have a freezer full of thawed food. I suspect that it will be totally dead by the 5 year mark with this track record. And I am not the only one with this problem with Whirpool/Kitchenaid fridges. There are hundreds of reports of this on the Kitchenaid feedback page.

My brother had a Samsung dishwasher that after about 6 months leaked and made his hardwood floors buckle to the point they had to be torn out. They wouldn't do a thing about it. "Sorry for your bad experience, here is $50 (or some token amount) off your next purchase!" was their response.

Everyone complains about LG and Samsung fridge icemaker issues.

I don't know what I would buy, but be ready to be disappointed in what you find out there.

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...knock on wood... I've been lucky. I had a dual ice maker LG in Phoenix that I sold with my house and had zero problems with it. I moved to northern Mexico and bought another about a year ago and so far it's been solid as well. And yes I read all the bad reviews on ice makers but I really loved the last one so I took the chance a second time. I have friends down a lot, I live on the beach, and so we use lots of ice.

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Sadly that seems to be the consensus everywhere. Man, at this point I might buy the same fridge again even if I knew it would only last 7-9 years. At least, how it failed did not result in a cooling problem or a water leak. It is accumulating ice on the back, and rusting out the back panel, but so far this has incredibly only made for a couple of drips on the wood floor.

Here's the kill shot:

Do you recall the model number of your LG? If you can snap the sticker inside with model and place of manufacture, that would be excellent!

LG is still a dark horse in the race, though... even my mom has had LG ice problems.

Unfortunately unless you do real research (like looking at Consumer Reports' summaries, and to a lesser extent online reviews) you'll get a lot of n=1 results that aren't very valuable statistically.

For instance, we have a KitchenAide side-by-side that has been flawless for 16 years, just keeps on keeping on. But I bet there are others here w/a totally awful experience w/their Kitchenaide.

Maybe someone here has access to CR recent fridge ratings, I believe they are behind a paywall.

Note that AFAIK there are a lot more brands of refrigerators than manufacturers, so when you buy a fridge you can get the same guts from several manufacturers, and you're paying more or less for the brand name stuck on it, and any additional tweaks and gizmos added on.

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This is the one I have here.

Bought a Samsung side by side 10 years ago; it has been the best refrigerator by far that I have owned. Very quiet, ice make slow but reliable, and most impressive of all, foods like fresh spinach, salads, etc. seem to last FOREVER rather than wilting away to a soupy mess in a few days.

All of that said, Samsung has probably the worst rep in the industry for lack of customer service; and the dual evaporator setup seems to be notorious for icing up in humid weather resulting in loss of cooling performance. I dodged this bullet for 10 years and earlier this summer started noticing the variable speed compressor always seemed to be on 'high'. Sure enough, my Iris V2 contact sensor in the fridge started reporting 39... 40... 42.. (yet the door mounted display which senses temp at the coils still showed 36). Took it apart and found this:

A panicked search on the web showed dozens of similar complaints. Defrosted it and it has been running normally for 3 months now, but I don't trust it. Have ordered defrost sensor just in case (not from Samsung; every single repair part I searched for was unavailable). Also found out that the main control board just flat out isn't available anywhere.. not even from ebay. Apparently advice of every repair shop is ' if it breaks junk it, we can't repair them, they don't keep any parts inventory'. Shame, because I still like the way this appliance performs.

Ya my research when I was looking led me to NEVER on a Samsung appliance. Love their TV's.

Man I had an old Whirlpool that I bought for my first house out of college. The thing ran forever. At one point it became by beer and soda fridge and got put in a laundry room and then we moved and it ended up in the garage in Arizona. When the compressor would come on it would sound like it was going to fall out of the bottom of the unit. It kept on running like that until I finally donated it to charity. It was probably 20 years old when I got rid of it.

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Best decision I made when buying this thing was keeping the 12 year old Maytag (still worked but unattractive and loud) in the basement. Utility company wanted to pay me $50 to haul it away. Glad I resisted the urge; I know I will have it as a backup when the need comes.

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Consumer reports isn't necessarily any better than just looking at customer feedback on forums etc. Their methodology is not that great, sample sizes are not shown, and things like a minor scratch are rated the same as a compressor failure. You can even see their statistics problem if you look at say a Whirlpool vs Maytag vs Kitchenaid which other than the door handles and badges are identical. Yet the CR ratings are totally different for all 3.

So that is the problem. They WERE good then. So you can't go by brand name any more. The Kitchenaid you buy now is nowhere near as well built as the one then. Every part has been cheapened to the point of it barely doing its job anymore.

Another example. I WAS looking at a Kitchenaid range before I started having the fridge issues. They are so cheaply built that I question the quality of the important stuff. The bottom drawer for instance is now a single layer, un-lined, probably 22 gauge metal. My older one has two layers (inner and outer panels) and of much thicker metal. The door and drawer on the new one wobble like warm jello and don't close right or sit square on every one of them in the store.

Maybe someday we will build stuff like we used to, but for now, I think that we are just going to have to accept junk.

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Exactly...though I don't think CR info is useless, it's some of the best of the flawed info out there, IMHO, and has been relatively reliable future indicator for me on purchases that I've vetted through it. And since I'm still an n of 1, my bad experience w/one of the well recommended items from CR is also statistically irrelevant by itself.

My main point is what any one person says is "good" is about as useful as using your dog's naptime (>1 hour = rain, <1 hour= snow) as a weather indicator. :smiley:

And yes, cost-reducing has turned almost everything into a short-term purchase. Sad, and not sustainable at all.

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Been a CR subscriber for years, yet somehow I don't trust their perspective in certain categories (Washing machines, for example, where their tests of energy efficient models never seem to encounter issues that drive consumers crazy... imbalance problems, cleaning issues with low water levels that don't even get some clothes wet, etc.). When I was looking for a dishwasher I stumbled upon this appliance dealer's blog-- one of the rare dealers that still has their own service department-- and found this article that gave their perspective on reliability (they fix them, after all): Most Reliable / Least Serviced Appliance Brands for 2020 (Reviews / Ratings)

Interesting to see that from their data Samsung comes out better than Bosch (but I still bought a Bosch; too gun shy re: Samsung). They do note that lack of service after the sale is a major problem for that brand.

Back when the WWW was young I had subscribed to CR as there were some specific reviews I wanted to read. Once I was done I found that, at the time, there was no way to unsubscribe from the webpage and there was no contact information. So they billed me the following month and I had my credit card company reverse the charge. This went on for about 6 months and they never tried to contact me they just kept billing me. I finally told the credit card company to close that card and send me a new one as I was tired of dealing with it. It struck me as funny that a company that is supposed to be concerned with consumer well being made it impossible to cancel the subscription.

I'm sure that got fixed long ago but it sure left a bad taste in my mouth for them.

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Probably, but I've subscribed to them for a month or two at a time a few times in the last few years, and lately I've noticed that when you try to cancel your membership, it warns you that you'll lose access--which makes sense except that it hints that this is immediate (perhaps, though not explicitly, prorated) and that you should just cancel the renewal if you want to keep access through the original schedule. Problem is: however they hint that you should do that (I forget the wording) does not exist. I eventually just went through with my cancellation mid-month (using this, the only way I could find; I'd historically waited to the end just in case...) and it worked exactly as I hoped: renewal cancelled, subscription retained until then.

Different problem, same irony. :slight_smile:

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Forgot to mention this (funny that Consumer Reports themselves never does): If you have a library card, check your library's web page to see if they subscribe to consumer reports dot org... you can access it completely free of charge from the library's website.

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You mean I can get my CR review fix for free!! Woot! :smiley:

Yes! And yet I still continue to renew my a paper subscription. I have no idea why...

I miss the crap out of that little mag...I guess growing up with it makes a difference, it was my "consumer internet" back in the day. :slight_smile:

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