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Refrigerator Suggestions


Demetrius
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Construction recently began on our first home, and in preperation of transitioning from apartment living to actually owning our own place we have begun the task of researching which appliances we want the builder to provide, and what we want to purchase ourselves.

Based on what we have seen thus far, I would prefer a refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom. However, each of our trips to the various box stores (Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, Best Buy, etc...) have resulted in little knowledge gained. We subscribe to Consumer Reports, but wanted to ask if anyone could offer any suggestions.

Thank you.

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each of our trips to the various box stores (Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, Best Buy, etc...) have resulted in little knowledge gained. We subscribe to Consumer Reports, but wanted to ask if anyone could offer any suggestions.

Go to better stores. Even if you don't buy from them, you can learn a lot by talking with salespeople at Bray and Scarf, ABD Appliance in Lorton, the few places in the design center (they are open to the public)... I think there's a high end appliance store or two in the Cady's Alley section of Georgetown.

I don't mean to sound like a snob, but in my experience, the staff at the stores you mentioned are not experts. If they do know anything, it's only about the brands they carry. Look at the big picture before zooming in on the subject.

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Thanks Porcupine! That was exactly the advise I was looking for. Our two girls are going to camp grandma/grandpa next week and guess that we will visit the places you suggest then. Afterwards, I will report back and advise on what we find.

The builder offered to sell us an upgraded version of each of the appliances, however, am taking the base model and putting it in the garage, next door a stand up freezer.

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I second the Bray & Scarff recommendation. Very helpful over the phone and in person. Definitely check out the GE Profile Series. There's tons of door and shelf configuration options and I personally have found them to be the best option for the money spent. Good luck with the construction process!

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Construction recently began on our first home, and in preperation of transitioning from apartment living to actually owning our own place we have begun the task of researching which appliances we want the builder to provide, and what we want to purchase ourselves.

Based on what we have seen thus far, I would prefer a refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom. However, each of our trips to the various box stores (Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, Best Buy, etc...) have resulted in little knowledge gained. We subscribe to Consumer Reports, but wanted to ask if anyone could offer any suggestions.

Thank you.

When we did our kitchen, we used ADU. They only worked with builders and contractors, rather than being directly open to the public. You tell them who your builder is, make an appointment and go in to see what they've got. They had a substantial selection of refrigerators, as I recall, but we weren't interested in a bottom freezer, so I can't help too specifically on that.

We bought 2 refrigerators from them at a good price (as well as the rest of our appliances). The one for the kitchen is a kitchenaid superba, with water and ice on the door. It's a side by side. I like it but it doesn't have enough room (of course, I cram any refrigerator too full of stuff, so YMMV). The one we got for the basement so we'd have a fridge while the kitchen was being worked on is smaller than a full size but has a great deal of room inside. I'd have to look up the information to see what that one is, but it's a great second refrigerator (top freezer).

We dealt with the Takoma Park location (Kelly, who was a manager, if she's still there).

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Construction recently began on our first home, and in preperation of transitioning from apartment living to actually owning our own place we have begun the task of researching which appliances we want the builder to provide, and what we want to purchase ourselves.

Based on what we have seen thus far, I would prefer a refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom. However, each of our trips to the various box stores (Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, Best Buy, etc...) have resulted in little knowledge gained. We subscribe to Consumer Reports, but wanted to ask if anyone could offer any suggestions.

Thank you.

As I and others have recommended many times before, you should have a look at the Appliance Forum on Garden Web--it is by far the most active bulletin board on the subject of appliances:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/appl/

Chowhound also has a "cookware" board, but GW has far more information and links posted by its users.

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When we did our kitchen, we used ADU. They only worked with builders and contractors, rather than being directly open to the public.

If I'm not mistaken, ADU was also a perennial pricing favorite of the Washington Consumer Checkbook buying guide.

Personally, I've received plenty of dubious info from appliance vendors of all persuasions, and would suggest that the main advantage of a Bray & Scarff is that they tend to carry better goods to begin with, so your odds of ending up with a lemon are marginally lower than if you were shopping Great Indoors or EXPO, but that's about it. The one thing that everybody seems to agree on is that your chances of getting useful advice from Lowe's / Home Despot / Sears are about as good as at Costco, i.e. zilch.

If you ask the open-ended "which is better" questions, you're going to get a heavy dose of each individual salesperson's idiosyncracies. Some, for instance, are dead set against non-sealed burners for cooktops...they're fixated on having a sparkly-clean showcase kitchen. Others would never consider a sealed burner because it restricts BTU output. As JohnB says, check out the gardenweb forums, and do as much of your own homework as possible.

As far as fridges go, assuming you're not looking at one of the luxury built-ins (e.g. Sub-Zero), you're probably looking at one of the cabinet-depth three-door units (French door fridge compartment over a slide-out freezer). Last time I checked, it was fairly obvious that there were only two manufacturers (Samsung and Whirlpool/Maytag) supplying these to practically all of the brands in the US...look over the interiors and you'll see exactly the same components in "competing" brands. Plus LG, who seems to march to their own tune. I'm partial to the design of the Whirlpool/Maytag-manufactured units; you can identify these easily by the way the gap between the refrigerator doors is sealed. The W/M ones have a mechanical flap attached to the left door that keys into position when the door is closed. The Samsung and LG units rely on a magnetic seal. Look at the design and placement of the door hinges, and shape of the door edge where it pivots - do they interfere with adjacent counters and/or walls? LG doesn't seem to pay any attention to these details at all, and in showrooms this seems to correlate to a high incidence of door and body damage. But those are just my observations as a consumer, and I'm not qualified to speak to their overall reliability or refrigeration engineering.

The easiest way to establish a baseline would be to examine the units at Sears, or at Sears-subsidiary The Great Indoors. Because Sears managed to source their Kenmore Trio models from both manufacturers, it's an easy place to examine the two designs side-by-side.

HTH.

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The easiest way to establish a baseline would be to examine the units at Sears, or at Sears-subsidiary The Great Indoors. Because Sears managed to source their Kenmore Trio models from both manufacturers, it's an easy place to examine the two designs side-by-side.

HTH.

An excellent idea. I might add that the sales folks at GI struck me as being somewhat more knowledgeable than their counterparts in the other big box stores, which isn't necessarily great but at least it's something.

I would keep in mind that a refrigerator is basically a box to keep things cold in. They all do that basic job fairly well, so personally I wouldn't get too hung up on the various "features," which in many cases are gimmicks the purpose of which is to separate you from more of your money. Once you have decided the capacity and basic configuration you want you're 90% of the way to your decision unless you're content to put out more money for "style." If you're serious about cooking, then your choice of range/oven will have much more impact on your happiness than the frig.

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Thanks to everyone for your suggestions, and to Porpucine for suggesting that we visit Bray and Scarff.

My wife and I stopped by the Bray and Scarff location in Tysons Corner yesterday evening and after a couple of hours left having purchased a GE Profile refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom, as well as a GE washer and dryer. The sales guy was terrific and answered all of our questions.

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