With high-end design elements like LED lighting, plenty of flexible storage space, and excellent overall freezing, there’s very little about this appliance that’s not to like. If you’ve got the cash, and you're hunting for a freezer you don't have to hide in a basement or garage, look no further. And if you don't need a stainless finish, you can buy white (27002) or black (27009) for about $200 less.
Based on our lab test data, we know the Kenmore Elite 27003 (MSRP $1,359.99) is capable of offering consumers stable temperatures over time and throughout its large compartment. That kind of one-two punch is hard to find in freezers, regardless of whether you’re looking at an upright or chest model.
This Kenmore nailed both accuracy and stability. Average temperatures hovered around -0.7°F, which is about as good as it gets.
The average difference in temperature between any two points was just ±0.6°F, which means your food will be chilled at roughly the same temperature regardless of which shelf you store it on.
What’s more, we only noticed an average temperature shift of ±0.9°F over time. That’s likely more consistent than the fridge/freezer combo you’ve got in your kitchen right now.
Tall, steely, and cold
With an advertised 21-cu.-ft. of capacity, this upright freezer is quite large. The outside is an expanse of stainless steel interrupted only by the matching door handle and black touchscreen controls.
Inside, you’ve got copious amounts of LED lighting. Pair that with the large number of shelves and drawers at your disposal, and there shouldn’t be any overcrowded, dark corners to lose your food in.
Speaking of shelves, most freezers don’t offer a whole lot in terms of storage flexibility. Not so with this Kenmore: In the main section, all of the full-width shelves are adjustable. Plus, two removable plastic dividers can be snapped into the drawers to make organization even easier.
The door, too, gives you plenty of options. The lowest shelves are fixed in place, but all four of the half-width buckets up top can be adjusted to suit your needs.
This model's freezing times were also quite fast. Room-temperature testing materials are placed inside the Kenmore, which itself is stored in an environmentally controlled room.
After 1 hour and 31 minutes, our items were chilled to 32°F. In total, it took just under 11 and a half hours to bring internal temperatures down to 0°F.
Unfortunately, this Kenmore isn’t quite perfect. To simulate a power outage, we simply unplug the freezer and leave it alone. The insulation wasn’t entirely up to snuff, as internal temperatures had officially thawed at the end of our simulation: Sensors warmed up to 37°F after 36 hours. As a pass/fail test, we’d have to say this Kenmore failed. Keep that in mind if you live in an area with an unstable electric grid.
Options that are actually useful
There aren’t many extra settings on this freezer, but Kenmore did manage to include a few that are actually quite practical. Express Chill cranks the compressor into overdrive, chilling the inside of your freezer at a faster rate—perfect for when you restocking or setting back up after a full clean.
Conversely, a special Soft Freeze zone located on the door is perfect for storing ice cream and other items that you might not want as cold as a block of steak.
The Control Lock is useful for making sure no one messes with the freezer settings, especially helpful if you keep the appliance in a heavily trafficked area... or just have curious children. Use that in conjunction with the physical door lock, and you’ve got one secure freezer.
Of course, the best perk of this model is its Auto Defrost function. No pans of warm water, towels on the floor, or screwdrivers in hand with this baby. Just sit back and let the Kenmore do its thing.
The only other gripe we had with this model was its usable storage space. The numerous adjustable shelves and drawers are great when it comes to keeping food accessible, but it does mean that the advertised 21 cubic feet of storage is a little misleading.
In total, we found that the 27003 only serves up 16.52 cu. ft. of usable storage. That's still a substantial amount of room, but not as much as you might expect given the numbers on the box.
Stable and accurate
What impressed us about the 27003 was its ability to both steadily maintain temperatures over time, as well as consistently cool the top shelf to the same temperature as the bottom. Most other freezers tend to do really well in just one of those areas, but few succeed at both.
Average temperatures hovered just below 0°F, barely shifting away from that ideal sweet spot regardless of where we placed our sensors.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page
It may cost a lot, but this upright cools as good as it looks
Given that some upright freezers can cost less than $450, the Kenmore Elite 27003 might seem overpriced.
With that said, the Sears sale price of $1,149.99 is acceptable for the 27003's combination of looks, accessibility, Energy Star certification, and overall chilling performance.
Of course, if you're not putting it where it'll be regularly seen, the stainless model might not be the best value. The white 27002 and black 27009 versions are both available for $200 less.
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