That said, there were a lot of issues with performance, especially in the freezer. Frankly, if you don’t mind wire shelves or aren’t planning on using the icemaker, you’re better off saving about $200 and buying something cheaper, because the 78892’s performance doesn’t merit any extra expense on its own.

Keeping it simple.

This basic white top freezer has a matte finish on the front that’s great for households with small children: no stainless means no fingerprints. Glass fridge shelves are easy to clean, but the lack of spill protection on the left and right edges can lead to drips down the sides which could go all the way to the bottom.

Two extra shelf racks give your fresh food storage a modicum of flexibility, but that’s more or less all you’re getting in terms of customization. All the shelves on the door are built in, but the assorted heights and widths shouldn’t result in too much grocery storage grief. You can still fit gallons of milk easily, though they may be rather snug up against your other items.

A plastic deli bin and two crispers with adjustable humidity controls are nice touches, as many similarly priced units don’t have them. Cold, Colder, and Normal markings give you an idea of how the fridge will work, but an external thermometer is required for calibration if you want your fridge to function the way it should.

What’s most exciting about this model, though, is the inclusion of an icemaker. Very few of the top freezers we’ve tested have factory icemakers preinstalled, but the ice bucket only fits when the freezer shelf is in its upper slot.

They should just call this one a top freezer burn.

Both the fridge and freezer ran warm, which is more or less par for the course with budget top freezers. The fridge managed to balance this with steady, consistent temperatures over time—great news for sensitive fresh food like cheese or other dairy products.

The freezer was just bad, despite having the separate freezer dial set to Normal. We recorded temperatures as high as 12ºF, and the temperature swings were outrageously wide. That’s a surefire recipe for freezer burn.

Energy efficiency ratings, on the other hand, were fantastic. Even with the icemaker running, this proved to be an exceptionally cheap fridge to operate. That, combined with the icemaker, could make this a really good model to get if you need a second fridge to store extra cold drinks in the summer.

The crispers were slightly below average in terms of their moisture retention. Veggies placed here may start to dry out in less time than you might think, another strike against making this your primary fridge.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.

Not a good bet for either your first or second fridge.

The 78892’s decent design, accessibility, and icemaker are great—and unusual—perks for this price. On the other hand, the freezer and crisper issues are too glaring to ignore. A $789.99 MSRP is too much to pay for a fridge that may prematurely spoil both your fresh and frozen food. Don’t fret, though, as we’ve tested several great alternatives: the Amana A8TXNGFXW, for instance, is cheaper and offers better performance.
Energy efficient and consistent fresh food storage: the two big performance draws for the Kenmore 78892. Sounds like a good start, right? Unfortunately, the results of our freezer temp tests were very disappointing, and the crispers were quite lackluster. Saving money on energy costs can be great, but not if those savings are wasted on improperly frozen food or shriveled vegetables that you have to throw away.

A too-warm fridge is fixable; an inconsistent freezer is not.

Both compartments in the 78892 ran warm. The fresh food section, for instance, exhibited average temperatures of 39.78ºF at the top, 41.53ºF in the middle, and 45.57ºF at the bottom. It’s not outrageously warmer than the desired 37ºF, which should be reachable by turning down the control dial and checking periodically with an external thermometer. In fact, warmer temperatures at the bottom are better for storing produce. The more important fact is that average fluctuation was just 0.22 degrees over time, much steadier than average.

The freezer, on the other hand, flat out failed. This shorter compartment averaged 6.43ºF at the top and an even warmer 8.72ºF at the bottom, far from the ideal 0ºF. The lowest temperature recorded was 1.28ºF, while the warmest—likely to be found at the very end of a defrost cycle—hit 12.73ºF. That’s an 11.45 degree spread, which is simply unacceptable. Throw in the average 2.53 degree fluctuation and you’ve got a truly lousy freezer that’s likely to cause freezer burn. It’s one of the worst we’ve seen.

Only slightly under average, which doesn’t really help this fridge.

The crisper drawers managed to pass our moisture retention tests, but just barely. Over the course of four days, our test material lost an acceptable average of 0.21 grams of moisture per hour. Most produce stored here should last long enough for you to enjoy it, but you may want to avoid buying bulk produce at your local farmers market.

Average freezing, satisfactory thawing.

Despite the fairly small freezer size, this Kenmore took one hour and 45 minutes—a fairly standard amount of time—to freeze our room temperature testing materials. This won’t win any awards for freezing performance, but it’s quite acceptable, and is well suited for storing standard bags of frozen vegetables, ice cream, or other household staples.

The Kenmore also managed to retain its cold air with all the skill that we have come to expect from every model that enters our labs. After 36 hours without power, it had thawed to just 28.47ºF, plenty frozen to give your local utility providers time to clear that dead tree and fix the power lines.

Plenty of space for a mid-size top freezer, and great energy savings.

Three shelves, two crispers, and a deli bin are the primary storage units inside the main cavity, with an assortment of four shelves and a dairy bin on the door to supplement. It all adds up to 11.02 cubic feet of usable space, which is surprisingly roomy for a mid-sized top freezer.

The actual freezer, on the other hand, isn’t quite as spacious. Running par for the course, one wire shelf cuts the main cavity into an upper and lower section, with a fair amount of space taken up by the icemaker (and even more if you use the ice cube bucket as intended). Two identical shelves on the freezer door offer a little more storage, but not an overwhelming amount. It totals 3.24 cubic feet, a fairly standard amount for units of this size.

More impressive is the amount of energy required to run this model. Based on a rate of $0.09 kWh, you’ll need a mere $35.33 for annual operation, and that’s with the icemaker running. Spread out over the entire fridge, it translates to 0.08 kWh per usable cubic foot, making this an exceptionally efficient product.

Meet the testers

Matthew Zahnzinger

Matthew Zahnzinger

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.

See all of Matthew Zahnzinger's reviews

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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.

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