Bright whites and cool blues

You can purchase this fridge for the same price as the black 72059, or spend $230 more for the stainless 72053, but our review of the white 72052 applies to all three of these otherwise identical models.

With smooth tapered handles and an unobtrusive control panel, this fridge will blend into most kitchens. That said, the controls also reminded us a little bit of HAL’s peering eye, especially when the bright and easily-readable blue indicator lights were active.

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Inside, things look just as good. Plenty of pale, bluish LED lights illuminate every nook and cranny of available storage space. The shelves don’t slide forward, but two of them do come with retractable front halves. Drawers move like they’ve been freshly greased, and you get a temperature control drawer with three designated settings—Produce, Deli, and Meat—that provides flexible storage space.

Inside the pull-out freezer, you’ve got your standard buckets, trays, and drawers, as well as a thin shelf on the inside of the door. What’s really interesting about this model, though, is the external door: it tilts open like a descending drawbridge. While it doesn’t go all the way down—that wouldn’t be very practical—it does give you the ability to get at food buried in the bottom of the freezer without having to root around in a cramped drawer.

Not a single misstep

Normally there’s at least one test that a fridge fails, either partially or all out. Not so with this machine: It passed every single test we conducted.

Temperature output in both the fresh and frozen sections proved spot on and consistent enough over time for optimal food preservation. Freezer burn shouldn’t be a huge issue here, nor should the preservation of even delicate items like soft cheeses or fish.

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What really blew us away were the crisper drawers. This model comes with two, both of which we tested: a regular drawer with adjustable controls—one setting for vegetables, one for fruit—and a second drawer labeled the Airtight Crisper. The regular crisper did a fine job retaining moisture, but the Airtight Crisper really lived up to its name—it may be the best crisper drawer we’ve ever seen. If you’ve got some delicate produce, you can place it in the Airtight Crisper with the confidence that it’ll be safer there than in almost any other fridge on the market.

For all of its features—this machine also comes with an accessible on-the-door icemaker that has pretty decent capacity—the Kenmore Elite turns out to be quite energy efficient compared to similarly-sized competitor models. It’s particularly impressive given the large amount of usable storage space.

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

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Elite performance for an elite price

The Kenmore Elite 72052 is a fantastic choice for consumers looking to buy a high-end, high-quality product that looks great and performs even better.

True, it’s pretty expensive, and the fact that Sears is the sole distributor of Kenmore products means sales may be hard to find. Nevertheless, this level of performance is rare, and worth paying for. A discount doesn’t hurt, though, and Sears sometimes sells it for as low as $2,399.99—a exceptional bargain.
For all of its polished good looks, the Kenmore 72052 wouldn’t be worth a nickel if it didn’t perform. At the end of our vigorous testing procedure, we found that this model really is a complete package of high-quality performance that should suit any household’s needs.

Fresh or frozen, this fridge has you covered.

The fact that there was only a spread of one degree throughout the entire cavity—38.72ºF at the top, 39.38ºF in the middle, and 39.9ºF at the bottom—is very impressive, especially for a fridge this size. Sure, the average temperature turned out to be two degrees warmer than the ideal 37ºF, but that’s an easy fix: just turn your thermostat down. Even if you decide not to, the average shift of 0.34 degrees means your food will be preserved at even, cool temperatures throughout the entire product.

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In the freezer, we saw even greater temperature accuracy. Set to 0ºF on the external thermostat, we got average readings of -0.67ºF at the top and 0.08ºF at the bottom. That’s fantastic, and a light shifting towards the cooler end of things means that even with the average shift of 0.56 degrees—very consistent for a freezer already—your risk of freezer burn is minimal.

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An Airtight Crisper for long-lasting freshness

As we mentioned, the Kenmore 72052 has two crispers: a regular one with adjustable controls, and a second drawer labeled the Airtight Crisper. The regular drawer did a fine job on its own: our test materials lost an admirable 0.15 grams of moisture per hour. The Airtight Crisper, however, lost only 0.08 grams of moisture per hour. That’s some of the best results we’ve seen for this test. Whichever drawer you use, this fridge will likely keep your produce as fresh as realistically possible.

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Fairly quick cooling and effective insulation

While the 72052’s massive freezer didn’t cool our test materials as quickly as some other models, it’s definitely on the fast side for products this size. In just one hour and 33 minutes, our materials officially crossed into a frozen state. That’s fast enough to preserve a good amount of the original texture and nutritional value, though there is some room for improvement.

As far as thawing goes, this freezer has it down pat. After 36 hours without power, the internal temperature of our test materials had reached 28.6ºF, still quite frozen.

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Spacious and thrifty

The Kenmore’s main fridge compartment consists of four adjustable shelves—two of which have retractable front halves—a full-width shelf on the bottom, two crispers, and a wide temperature controlled drawer. You’ve also got three shallow shelves on the left-hand door in front of the icemaker, as well as a dairy bin and two multi-gallon shelves on the right-hand door. It all adds up to 12.92 cubic feet of usable space. While we’ve seen more space available in other similarly sized models, that’s still quite roomy.

The freezer was definitely the more impressive compartment. With a wide pull-out drawer on top, a thin shelf under that, and a deep bucket on the bottom bisected by an adjustable plastic divider, this freezer is very roomy. It also has a short, wide shelf just on the inside of the door located at the top. It totals to an impressive 5.64 cubic feet of usable storage.

For a model this size, the energy costs were quite low. Based on an average rate of $0.09 per kWh, the Kenmore would only require $50.87 to operate per year, and that’s with the icemaker running. Spread that out over the entire product, and you’ve got a fridge that needs just 0.08 kWh per usable cubic foot, an impressively low level of power usage.

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
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

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.

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