Please note – The refrigerator I’m reviewing was purchased by myself and this review is in no way connected with Sears, Kenmore or any representing PR agency.
When my husband and I first bought our house it came with brand new appliances. I was excited to see an updated side-by-side refrigerator with an ice maker! After apartment hopping for many years, it’s the little things that get you excited, especially when all the previous refrigerators were tiny with a top-bottom design. Little did I know that I would miss those old fridges. The side-by-side fridge quickly became my enemy, one I struggled with constantly just to even fit a frozen pizza. The freezer space was pathetic. Then we started dealing with the ice maker breaking, then water leaking all over the place. It got to the point where I just couldn’t take anymore and started researching the new french-door style refrigerators with a bottom freezer. My search led me to Sears and originally I wanted to buy the LG 31 cu.ft french door refrigerator but as luck would have it, Sears didn’t stock that model. So I reluctantly let the salesman introduce me to the Kenmore Elite 31 cu.ft French Door Refrigerator.
Right away I was impressed with the size, features and even the Grab-n-Go feature on one particular model. While I could see how it would be wonderful, I also wasn’t willing to pay an extra $500 for a plastic covering inside the door. Instead I bought the model without that particular feature. I have to say, I think it was the best decision I made because I could see my kids breaking it easily.
Refrigerator French Door Storage
Inside the refrigerator the first feature I fell in love with was the door storage space. Although it’s not fully stocked today, we can fit 2 gallon milk jugs or 5 half gallon milk jugs. This allows us to buy milk just once a week without running out.
*UPDATE* – To provide a more accurate view of the milk storage I updated the photo below. As you can see we can easily fit 6 half gallon milk jugs, not 5 like I had mentioned above.
While it’s not a feature that was a deciding factor in my purchasing decision, I do appreciate the interior lighting. There are several strips of LED lights that give you a bright and clear view of everything in the refrigerator.
Again, not a big deciding factor but the in-door ice maker allows full use of the left door for more storage. Three bins allow you to store small bottles, soda cans and condiments.
Refrigerator Interior Features
Moving to the center of the refrigerator, I quickly realized just how big this giant 31 cu. ft. refrigerator is when I started stocking it and saw I have more space than I know what to do with … for now. Starting at the top there are are two Slide-Away trays that can be used as a full shelf or slide them back to make room for tall bottles of organic apple juice. At first I was worried the shelves wouldn’t support the weight of heavy bottles but they are surprisingly sturdy.
Just below the shelving units you get two very large storage bins that are climate controlled for fruits or vegetables with an air-tight crisper. The full-width pantry drawer is temperature controlled with the touch of a button for meat, deli or produce. For now we use the pantry drawer for fresh meat and small items but it could easily be used for full deli trays of meats and cheeses .. or in my case, a full sheet cake.
Freezer Storage and Features
Finally, a freezer I can love and actually use to store frozen food. It includes 2 slide out trays at the top that includes an extra ice bin and plenty of space to stack frozen boxes, large pizzas. The very top drawer is actually one I forget is even there most of the time. Well you pull the freezer open that tray stays in place and hidden so unless you pull it out yourself it just kinda stays out of sight. Below the two pull-out trays are two large storage bins that are great for bagged foods and anything with odd-shaped packaging. The curve on the back of this bin prevents you from stacking rectangular packages. On the door itself you’ll notice it tilts at an angle (called Tilt-n-Take) to make it easier to reach into the bins and also reveals a small bin where I like to store my bags of frozen fruit and smoothies. You get quick access to the contents of your freezer without having to pull the drawer all the way out.
The best part of this freezer for me is the fact that I can now crumb coat just about any sized cake and I can actually put it in the freezer!
Ice/Water Maker Features
One thing I absolutely love about the ice maker and water dispenser is that both features are combined into one spout, unlike our previous refrigerator which had separate spouts for ice and water. The one touch panel gives you quick access to control the light, freezer and fridge temp (shown in actual degrees), air filter, water filter, cubed or crushed ice and water. We particularly like the door alarm that goes off after 30 seconds of the doors being opened. This lets us know when a child is sneaking in there or has left the door open by accident. My only wish is they would come up with a locking system for the refrigerator doors. Twice this week my youngest daughter got sneaky, pulled out the chocolate milk and dumped it on her head.
When researching french door refrigerators with the Slim In-Door Ice Maker I saw a lot of complaints that it didn’t provide enough ice and people were forced to use the extra ice bin in the freezer. I actually found this to be the opposite. For our family of five, we use ice all day long and have never run out of ice from the in-door ice maker.
The ice storage caddie itself is easy to pull out, dump ice and replace without too much fuss.
The only problem we have encountered so far is with the french doors. On the left door there is a vertical lip I suppose you’d call it that folds when the door is closed to create a seal between the doors to keep the air inside the refrigerator. When you pull the door out the lip folds back against the door. The problem? Sometimes it gets stuck and the doors won’t close properly. I’ll have to manually fold the lip to get them to shut.
Also, as much as I love the look of stainless steel, I probably wouldn’t buy it again. It’s a daily chore to clean and fingerprints are obnoxiously visible at all times.
The Kenmore Elite French Door Refrigerator with Bottom Freezer exceeded my expectations. I love having the freedom to store as much food as I need with a freezer that fits just about anything. Only time will tell how it will hold up to our daily use but at this point, I think it was well worth the hefty price tag. Should this hold up as well as it has thus far, I can definitely see myself looking at Kenmore appliances again in the future, especially since I’ll be shopping for a new stove/oven very soon.
Got questions? Just leave a comment and let me know, I’ll answer what I can.