Kenmore 41173 Side-by-side Refrigerator Review
An affordable side-by-side fridge with room for frozen pizzas
Probably the best reason to buy a side-by-side refrigerator is to keep more of your food at eye level in the fridge and freezer. Children can get their own snacks, since the lower shelves and drawers are easy to reach, and you can keep adult foods and beverages on higher shelves. Side-by-side refrigerators have come a long way since their heyday in the 1990s, and some people prefer them to French door fridges that cost more, and make you bend to reach frozen food.
The Kenmore 41173 is a side-by-side fridge that uses space—and energy—well. It requires some adjustments to keep food at its best, but its affordable price point makes it a good value.
Design and Features
The model we tested in our labs had a stainless steel finish, with textured rail handles. Every fingerprint showed on the front. If this refrigerator ends up in your kitchen, expect to be polishing it constantly. Nobody enjoys that, so if you'd rather not deal with it, you could choose a black (41179) or white (41172) model for the same price
The interior of this 33-inch wide, 25-cu.-ft. refrigerator is well-lit and spacious, with glass shelves. There's a closed dairy compartment in the door, which protects butter from picking up odors from other foods. The bins in the door are all wide enough to fit gallon containers.
A frequent complaint of side-by-sides is that the width of the freezer is prohibitive. That's only partially true here. At 12.5 inches wide, the freezer can accommodate most frozen pizza boxes to be stacked flat rather than on their sides like a book shelf. However, it's still too narrow to fit a standard size cookie tray or baking sheet. Bakers beware.
This model has no water or ice dispenser, though it comes with a couple of old-school ice cube trays. If you don't want an icemaker, enjoy the extra storage space, and if you change your mind later, this model is piped for an aftermarket icemaker.
There are three drawers on the refrigerator side, and the larger ones are noisy and don't slide easily. Only one drawer is labelled as a crisper, with a humidity adjustment. Unfortunately, none of the drawers did a good job retaining moisture. To keep your produce in good shape, wrap your fruits and veggies in plastic bags or containers.
In our tests, the refrigerator compartment stayed consistently between 36° and 37°, just where it needs to be. The freezer was consistent, but with an average temperature of 3°, it's too warm at the recommended setting. If you adjust the slider toward the coldest setting, and use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure it stays around 0°, your frozen food will keep well.
We always measure how long it takes for a freezer to go from room temperature to 32°, and this one took 52 minutes, which is fine. Unusually efficient, we project that the refrigerator will cost under $28 a year to run. That works out to about $0.08 a day-easy on the wallet.
What the users say
Owners gave this fridge 3.5 out of 5 stars. Several reviews praised it for the space it provides for the money. A few noticed, as we did, that the freezer wasn't cold enough on the recommended setting. The negative online reviews we saw were generally related to delivery issues, as opposed to the quality of the refrigerator.
The bottom line
This side-by-side refrigerator has lots of storage, so it can hold plenty of groceries for your family. Like to keep beverages in the door? No problem, every bin on the door can fit gallon containers. Actually, milk lasts longer if you store it on a shelf in the (colder) back of the fridge, but if your family goes through milk quickly, the convenience of keeping it in the door may outweigh that. If you're in the market for a side-by-side fridge, take a look at the best side-by-side models we've tested. But you'll notice that none of them come close to the Kenmore's affordable price.
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