Refrigerator brands and longevity

LMichaels

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Yeah I know Larry but, these were in my limited budget, if Sears had not gone belly up around here, I’d have gone Kenmore again, the last one lad worked beautifully for almost 20 years. If this lasts 5 I suppose I will have to deal with that again. I don’t care about bells and whistles like ice makers or water through the door, I’m a basic piece of equipment guy. Less geegaws and jimcracks to break just not necessary, if it keeps beer cold and ice cream firm, I’ll be just fine.
Kenmore was/is mostly rebadged Frigidaire. What always puzzled me was how if you looked at Consumer Reports Frgidaire would get terrible rankings but the same appliance badged as Kenmore got top rankings. Until one day I asked our Sears rep (we were building a subdivision at the time and used Sears as our supplier) and he explained that a top level Sears executive was on the BOD at CR. Anyway I never had good luck with anything from them. Yet my Whirlpool/Amana bottom freezer fridge has had only one minor issue in it's 15 year life. The icemaker. I bought another off FleaBay and it's been fine the last 4 years
 

JKalchik

TVWBB All-Star
Heh..... in years past, CR named a seconds brand as best in class for men's blade razors, IIRC. In spite of claiming to not be bought by advertising, not a lot of credibility in my book. Their testing of Suzuki Samurais (and the GM Geo Tracker,) also shows some flaws in testing design.

One other thing about contract manufacturing: it's done to customer specs. If Sears/Kenmore contracted for higher grade materials, tighter tolerances, etc. in order to get a better product, it should have been better than what else was rolling off the same lines.
 

MikeS in Alaska

TVWBB Fan
I was always partial to Kenmore branded Whirlpool appliances. They were built by Whirlpool but sold as Kenmore at a lower price. Parts were the same FSP so repairs, if needed, were fairly simple.

We have a couple of 20 year old Reefer units (top freezer). One I had to replace the compressor but that's it. Now bear in mind that lightning run in on power lines is rare here so I think that contributes to a longer life.

Thought I was going to have to replace the old Kenmore (Whirlpool) Series 90 washer last fall when it stopped mid cycle. Turned out to be the lid safety switch. A couple of bucks and it's back in bidness.
 

Mark Twelve

TVWBB Member
Lol. That's funny. Although not to ruin a good story, the actual fix is about $40 and 20 minutes of labor. I have that same washer and I'm not even a fix it guy and was able to do it. 4 tension rods, one in each corner. Lift the top up, tilt the basin to unhook each rod and pull them out, replace each rod. Done. I bought the tension rods aftermarket because Samsung wanted $50 per.... I paid around $40ish to get it back and working again. Now, mine didn't start having the problem until about 6 years of use, but we'll see how long the aftermarket tension rods last.
Yup.. Mine was one of the recalls. The recall fix they did actually did not fix anything other than a Samsung CYA to keep the lid from flying off. The real fix is the tension rods. I replaced mine (aftermarket) and that fixed the problem like yours. Mine started acting up about 6 years or so.
 

KE Quist

TVWBB Fan
FWIW, we had a good run with a Kenmore refrigerator. Replaced it with an LG french door with freezer on the bottom. It has needed frequent repairs, and I finally gave up on the blasted ice maker. When it is working, it does hold a pretty solid temperature in both freezer and refrigerator. But I still hate it. Wife/budget officer won't let us replace it until it dies a final death.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I have never seen a Kenmore branded Whirlpool appliance. FWIW a few years ago, my brother's house was hit by lightning and suffered a major fire. He lost the entire second floor of his home IOW you could look at the sky from the first floor. The lightning hit took out just about every electrical device in his home that was not protected by Panamax Surge Protectors and what the lightning didn't take out the firemen did with hoses and high pressure water. He was out of his house for over a year. Oddly enough his Samsung refrigerator did not suffer anything more than smoke and water staining. It cleaned up like new (save for a couple small dents from debris falling on it) and is still in use to this day in his beautiful new kitchen. Of course this was AFTER he went in and replaced the blown to bits Panamax :D He is a firm believer in the brand. He now has a full lightning protection system installed as well #1 gauge cables through his attic and tied into large earth grounding rods with small "conductors" sticking up through the roof tied to the cables and into ground. He has the highest house in his neighborhood so of course he was the one that got hit
 

JKalchik

TVWBB All-Star
I have a few Panamax protectors, 20+ years old. Panamax completely rebuilt the one in my entertainment center after it sacrificed the CATV circuit to save the downstream equipment. They do stand behind their equipment.
 

J Grotz

TVWBB Pro
My $.02. We bought a side-by-side KitchenAid counter depth in 2003. It lasted until 2019 when it needed a $500 repair. Not wanting to put $500 into a 16 year-old appliance, then have something else in it go bad, we bought a new side-by-side KitchenAid counter depth.
 

LMichaels

TVWBB Hall of Fame
But then again after being burned on the rebranded Frigidaire stuff I never looked again. I could never see over paying a company like Sears for a rebranded anything
 

Jason in CA

TVWBB All-Star
A lot of problems are known by the manufacturer. And they know they can put Band-Aids over the problem until the warranty expires. The faulty design on the ice maker I'm my Samsux fridge for example. They can't permanently fix it because it never really broke. It's just bad design.

 

Rich G

TVWBB Guru
We remodeled our house in 2003 and installed a KitchenAid, built-in, bottom freezer. It's still going strong, only needing service once (to replace a faulty thermostat, which failed after 16 years.) $150 (almost all labor) from my go-to appliance repair guy. I know nothing about the entire brand lineup of fridges, but ours has been rock solid. We also have a KitchenAid dishwasher, which, after a couple of Bosch's, has been going strong for 8 years.

If my fridge dies tomorrow, I will replace it with a KitchenAid.

Rich
 

Dan Leighton

TVWBB Super Fan
My wife did some time in the appliance business back in the 80's. Sears used several different manufacturers which they put their own label on. We had a Whirlpool upright freezer that was still running other than replacing starter relays for 17 years. Our Kenmore fridge, ran about the same number of years with only the icemaker needing replacement. Oddly, it wouldn't quit making ice. After we moved west she got a Big Chill fridge which is a Whirlpool. No problems after 12 years. Kitchenaid dishwasher already has had pump/motor replaced. Whirlpool washer and dryer have been trouble free for 12 years except for a high water switch which failed after a month under warranty. Kitchenaid rangehood/microwave/convention oven has only needed the turntable motor replaced in 12 years of daily use. Our gas range has been a dud/lemon. Made by Elmira Stoveworks we have gone thru 2 door lock assemblies, draw slides, front bezel (rusted out) and a 2nd thermostat. Looks nice, but a lemon with expensive sole source parts in Ontario. At one time we had a dishwasher back in Rhode Island that was built in Australia. It caught fire out of warranty. Later they were recalled for defective electronic control boards causing fires!
 

MikeCantell

TVWBB Super Fan
Kenmore has never been mostly Frigidaire, at 1 time if it said Kenmore it was made by whirlpool, then it went to any 1 they had something changed on like shelfs or door bins,then Ge wanted too much $ to put Kenmore on them so they were dropped from the name, there isn't any brand as good as they were 10 years ago, I see a lot of stuff posted by folks that's no where near the correct answer. keep some kind of a warranty on them if its a high end unit, $400-$600 aint uncommon to fix a icemaker,
 
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JKalchik

TVWBB All-Star
That's the sort of data that I'm really looking for. Thanks a bunch.

The Samscum has a 10 year compressor warranty, the Bosch we're looking at only has 2 years on non-electronics parts, up to 5 on electronics. The Maytag model has a 10 year compressor warranty.

Interesting.... The Maytag warranty is only 1 year on everything but the compressor. Only the compressor is covered from year 2, Bosch covers the electronics for 5 years. I do have a wall mount surge suppressor (not a GFI outlet,) so that should help with the electronics failures. Still, Bosch seems to have more faith in the electronics.

More interesting.... Home Depot really won't be beating my local hardware on the Maytag by more than a few bucks. At that price, if we buy the Maytag, I'll keep them in business. We do prefer the interior layout of the Bosch, split compressors, and the model has fully recessed handles, but it's substantially more expensive. The Bosch is also a 4 door/drawer model. She's on a high fiber diet, she's in & out of the vegetable drawers a lot, that crisper drawer may be awfully handy. All in all, the Bosch looks like it'd be about $700-900 more than the Maytag.
 
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Dan Leighton

TVWBB Super Fan
Mike: On the money about Kenmore being whoever gave Sears the best deal. I memory serves correct. most all American brands are now built in the same factory unlike 15 years ago. Less bells and whistles is better. I would never go for one of those extended warranties. I still do most of my own appliance repairs, like icemakers, etc. Back in the day my wife's boss sold us the parts at cost and said fix it yourself, but that was back in the electro-mechanical days unlike today. This spring I put a new icemaker in my son's 12 yr old Kenmore side by side for about $140. I don't see any point in buying overseas brands that you can't get parts for. The key like anything else is finding a reputable repair person or company that won't gouge you or sell you a lot of parts you don't need. If you find someone good, keep them for the next time since there will be a next time.
 

JKalchik

TVWBB All-Star
The local Bosch repair guy has already been here to do the power cord recall on our Bosch dishwasher. He seems to know what's goin' on. If we go Bosch, I'd like to buy from/through him, but there's no way he can match the price of the box stores. We're fine with that, we do pay premiums to keep the local guys in business, obviously, there's a limit to what we're willing to pay. He's also a Speed Queen dealer, and that's unquestionably what I'd by when our LG washer & dryer kick the bucket.

I've got no problem diggin' in to the washer & dryer, but there's something about refrigerator packaging that I don't like to dig into.
 

MikeCantell

TVWBB Super Fan
I would never buy a unit with 2 compressors, things can happen and you might end up with a fridge that only 1/2 works, not every thing can be repaired, there are Freon lines that run thru the cabinet ect.. . Samsung put 2 systems in the nice 4 door units when they first released them, 1 side was 134, the other 600R, Freon leaks were common in the 600R side so they stopped making them that way. they may start back as several company's are putting out some units with it already. It changes every day and I wished I was closer to retirement some days lol.
 

JKalchik

TVWBB All-Star
I would never buy a unit with 2 compressors, things can happen and you might end up with a fridge that only 1/2 works, not every thing can be repaired, there are Freon lines that run thru the cabinet ect.. .
Well, nuts. We'd pretty well decided over dinner to go with the Bosch. I'd already figured out we could end up with only one side working, that'd still be a tiny bit better than the whole thing croaking. Let me guess, on the units with both 134 and 600R.... same compressor? If so, that does sound like they'd be asking for trouble, kind of like trying to run R-134A in an R-12 system without modification.
 

MikeCantell

TVWBB Super Fan
I wouldn't think its the same, the 600r is a flammable gas and the compressors are have to be different. Electronic boards and sensors can be nightmares, keep a warranty on anything that's upper end for awhile. I am hoping most of the problems are being worked out as folks are suing left and right. I hate to see companys go out of business as that drives prices higher on the ones that are left.
 

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