Unfortunately, in our tests we recorded temperatures that didn't stay cold enough for optimal long-term food preservation. Plus, it requires manual defrosting.
If you don’t want to spend any more on an upright freezer, don't mind doing a defrost every now and then, and you're not storing things for months on end, this Kenmore isn’t bad. But if you can afford an extra $100 or so and do serious bulk buying, you should search for something better.
At the end of the day, the numbers don’t lie. After running the Kenmore 28432 (MSRP $579.99) through our rigorous freezer testing process, we found that this highly affordable upright had some issues staying sufficiently cool.
In a lineup of budget upright freezers, the 28432 won't stand out. In fact, it looks more or less identical to the GE FUF14SVRWW, which we’ve also tested.
The white textured finish is typical, and the finish should help you wipe off fingerprints and dust even if your freezer lives in the garage or basement.
Interior storage is composed of three wire racks and a sliding drawer on the bottom, with lots of shelves on the door for storing smaller items. None of the surfaces are adjustable, however, so make sure you measure before going out to buy the Thanksgiving turkey.
Consistent, but warm
We set this Kenmore to the manufacturer-recommended settings indicated on the external temperature control. After running a 72-hour test cycle, we measured average temperatures inside the Kenmore 28432 at 1.5ºF. Average highs and lows came in at 7.5ºF—very warm indeed—and -1.8’F, respectively.
Food stored above 0ºF, especially if it shifts between such drastic extremes, will develop freezer burn. Fortunately, the average temperature shift was only ±0.7ºF, so those highs and lows aren’t being reached too often.
Keep in mind that we tested this freezer when the thermostat was set to 4. Turning it down to 6 or 7 should help mitigate some of this freezer’s problems. Not all, though: the average temperature gap between any two internal points was about 2ºF, which means the cooling isn’t as spatially even as we’d like.
Checking all the boxes
When it comes to features, this Kenmore is as basic as its overall design. A door lock and interior light are always nice touches, but nothing to write home about.
What’s most exciting is the external control panel. Sure, this freezer uses your typically loose 7-point scale, but you won’t have to open it up to turn the temperature up or down.
That’s great if you’re trying to cool a lot of food quickly, but don’t want to let any warm air in that would make your freezer have to work harder—especially since this model doesn’t have a fast freeze option. Found on pricier models, it rapidly chills a freezer's interior to prepare for an influx of warm food.
Like most budget models, this one requires a manual defrost from time to time. Make sure you consult your product manual for tips on how to do this correctly.
This Kenmore is not the freezer for consumers who like to preserve fine cuts of meat or fish. It took our room-temperature test materials over two hours to reach 32ºF, and almost well over a day and a half to reach 0ºF.
The 28432 is also the first freezer we’ve tested that didn’t fully pass our thawing test. The interior had officially thawed after just 33.9 hours without power, warming to an even 36ºF by the end of the full 36-hour test.
It’s not a huge failure by any means, and ideally your local electric company would be able to restore power well before a day and a half had gone by. If you’re in an area prone to outages, however, better play it safe and pick a different model.
Plenty of room
As a budget upright freezer, the interior layout of the 28432 is nothing special. Three nonadjustable wire shelves are found in the main interior compartment, with a sliding drawer at the bottom. Five more fixed shelves are found on the door. This is all very typical, and we measured 11.72 usable cubic feet of frozen food storage.
A bit too warm…
In our tests, this Kenmore's internal temperatures got too warm. They didn't fluctuate much over time, but they did waver more than pricier models. Over long periods of time, those factors can lead to the development of freezer burn. That means the money you save by purchasing the Kenmore can be thrown away with spoiled food.
Turning down the thermostat can help with some of those issues, of course, but we prefer products that work optimally when set to manufacturer-recommended settings.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page
Sometimes, more is more
Sometimes you really do need to spend a bit more to get a good value, and that's the case with this Kenmore. If you really can’t afford more than the $430 retail price at Sears—which is a great price in and of itself—then just make sure you turn down the thermostat several points to overcome most of this model’s failings.
If you can stand to spend a little extra, though, seek out an alternative—like the Whirlpool EV160NZTQ, for instance. The layout is comparable, and you lose the external controls, but its performance definitely proved superior in our tests.
Meet the tester
Logistics Manager & Staff Writer@ReviewedHome
Matthew is a native of Brockton, MA and a graduate of Northeastern, where he earned a degree in English and Theatre. He has also studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and spends most of his free time pursuing a performance career in the greater Boston area.
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email