From the outside, the 24 cu. ft. Kenmore 79432 (MSRP $1,389) may look like a simple white top-freezer—albeit a big one—but it's façade doesn't tell the whole story. With phenomenal fridge performance, unexpected internal design touches, a ton of usable space, and an awesome internal water dispenser, there's a lot to be excited about.
The 79432's report card wasn't all A's—the freezer got a little warm for our liking—but overall, this fridge is a top-freezer to keep an eye on.
Don't judge this fridge by its front.
A glossy, sleek exterior gives a modern touch to this classic top-freezer, but inside is where this fridge differentiates itself. The 79432 features an interior water dispenser—a cool feature that does eat up some space in the top shelf. LED lighting, reflected through the prismatic designs in the door shelves' glass, adds a touch of luxury.
In use, the fridge had few usability hangups, including impressively smooth-sliding drawers. Like most top-freezers with full-width shelves, we had trouble getting to items at the rear of the fridge. It also might be difficult to access the back of a packed freezer, which is also where the controls are.
The Kenmore 79432 has a phenomenal fridge. In our tests, it averaged a very consistent 38.1°F when set to normal—very close to the 37°F recommended temperature for a refrigerator. The cavity averaged 41.8°F at the bottom and 36.1°F at the top, a gradient that benefits produce, which doesn't need to be kept quite as cold.
It was hard to believe the freezer and the fridge were the same unit. In contrast to the excellent fridge performance, the freezer averaged 7.37°F, a full seven degrees off the 0°F normal temperature. Large fluctuations compounded freezer performance further, as our sensors recorded temperatures between 3°F and 14°F. Even if it had averaged 0°F this would be an unacceptable temperature window for a fridge. If you like to keep food in deep freeze for a while, it's at risk for some serious freezer burn.
The crisper drawers lost 0.18 grams of moisture per hour, which is about average for a fridge. Lettuce isn't going to keep forever in there, but this fridge doesn't speed up any expiration dates.
Better for fresh foods than frozen ones
This is a great fridge. In our lab tests, the 79432 consistently kept the temperatures right where they should be, and were warmest at the bottom—which benefits the produce in the crisper drawers. But despite the excellent fridge performance, the freezer's temperature fluctuated and never quite got cold enough. That could lead to freezer burn, so make sure not to store anything in here long-term.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Does almost everything well
The Kenmore 79432 has a lot to love. We're big fans of the interior water dispenser, luxurious design, and great fridge performance. We weren't thrilled with the freezer, but nearly everything else about this Kenmore was ideal. It's not often that you can find a feature-laden top-freezer, and it works well if you're short on space but still want a roomy fridge with a water dispenser.
If you can find it on sale for around $200 below its MSRP—which we have—the Kenmore 79432 isn't a bad choice at all.
While the freezer's temperature regulation demonstrated its incompetence, it did quite well in the freezing test, bringing our 500-gram block of food substitute below 32°F in just an hour and 23 minutes. The fridge's insulation showed its abilities in the thawing test, where it held onto a sub 32°F temperature for over 36 hours of no power, a required characteristic for anyone who might get snowed on.
This fridge made excellent use of its freezer cavity, converting 5.9 of its 6.2 cubic feet into usable space. With all its shelves and features, the fridge couldn't convert as much of its 17.3 cubic foot volume, but still wound up with 11.6 cubic feet. Since it only drew 3.5 kilowatts-hours over our four day test, that's a very efficient usable space to power ratio. A year of using this fridge shouldn't cost much more than $28, if your power is close to the national average of $0.091 per kilowatt hour.
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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