This fridge blends into the background.
The Kenmore 41152 looks more barren than most refrigerators. The vertical lines created by the doors and handles dominate the white design. Unlike many other fridges in this price range, there's no water dispenser to break up the vertical-only composition, so it looks a little basic. For those of you with kids in the family, it might be a blank canvas. But if you don't plan to cover the front with report cards and photos, you might forget it's even there. And if you're not a fan of the white, consider this fridge's stainless twin: the Kenmore 41153 (MSRP $1,999).
With so little going on, the fridge has very few usability hang-ups. All side-by-sides have inherent difficulties stemming from the narrow shelves, but Kenmore addresses this by spacing the shelves farther from each other. Unfortunately this doesn't maximize space as well as a French door, but that's the trade off.
The control panel isn't much of a panel, but two dials that control the freezer and fridge, respectively. Instead of actual degrees, the dials have one to five settings, with three as the standard 37°F (fridge) and 0°F (freezer). The imprecision might make it difficult to hone in on the desired temperature, so if your milk has ice floating in it, act accordingly and raise the temperature.
Both the refrigerator and freezer delivered even and consistent temperatures. Due to the vague non-degree thermostat, it might be difficult to get the temperature where you want it. We had both the knobs set to the manufacturer's recommended setting, but the freezer still ran a degree and a half warm. The average temperature of the upper, middle, and lower sensors turned out to be right on the dot at 37°F, with the top being colder than the bottom. It's okay to have the crisper drawers warmer than the top shelves—greens don't need the refrigeration milk does—but the temperature difference was a bit wider than necessary.
Like most fridges, the crisper drawer features a variable humidity control, which did an average job in our moisture test and should keep produce relatively fresh. Instead of another humidity control in the lower crisper drawer, there's a variable temperature drawer. Carnivores can set this drawer on the meat setting, and vegetarians who need more crisper space for produce can opt for the veggie setting. Sadly, you do have to choose. Another omnivore's dilemma?
A standout fridge that blends in.
If performance matters to you more than design and features, the Kenmore 41152 is a good choice, especially if you plan on decorating the door with photos and report cards. Since this kind of appliance selection is often dictated by personal preferences over performance issues, this icebox might not have a place in every kitchen. Sometimes people want fridges that blend rather than stand out, and this Kenmore definitely fits that bill.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
The Kenmore 41152 (MSRP $1,649) produced above average results in our various lab tests. Obviously it's difficult to quantify subjective criteria of design and features, but this page should answer the questions you can't answer just by looking and touching the product on the showroom floor.
The Kenmore kept the average temperature at 36.8°F, pretty much exactly where we like to see the normal setting. Though the bottom averaged a warmer 38.3°F, and the top a chilly 35.4°F, we generally like a cooler top and warmer bottom because produce doesn't need to be as cold as the milk. And while the temperature may have differed from to top to bottom, they hardly fluctuated over time during our testing process.
We recorded an average freezer temperature of 1.54°F, which is good, but slightly warmer than the 0°F standard for freezers. Fortunately, the freezer remained at a consistent temperature, so this fridge shouldn't exhibit any major freezer burn issues.
The crisper drawers lost an average of 0.19 grams of water per hour to evaporation, which is about average for moisture retention. A crisper's moisture retention will keep produce like lettuce and broccoli from drying out and losing freshness. This fridge will keep your harvest fresh for a normal amount of time—say a few days—but don't wait too long to chow down.
While many fridges take close to two hours to freeze our food substitutes, the Kenmore 41152 took only an hour and 23 minutes to drag our food below zero. It's a good indication that this is a powerful and effective freezer, and the stuff you freeze won't spend too long at those in-between temperatures on the way to freezing.
Of the 15.4 cubic feet of storage space specified by Kenmore, we counted 10.3 of it as usable, and for the 9.3 cubic foot freezer, we found 7.3 of it usable. These are decent ratios, with the freezer showing an especially efficient use of space. Comparing this space with the 5.4 kilowatt power consumption over the four day testing period, it's relatively green. If we factor in the national average of $0.09 per kilowatt hour, this fridge should cost around $44 to run per year.
Meet the tester
Ethan writes reviews and articles about science for Reviewed.com, and edits the Science Blog. He's originally from Vermont and thinks the bicycle and guitar are examples of perfected technology. Prior to Reviewed.com, he studied furiously at Middlebury College.
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