KitchenAid KRFC300ESS Counter Depth Refrigerator Review
Can a refrigerator be too cold? Yes, and you’ll have to adjust it.
On a recent trip to a local home center, the salesman on the floor referred to the KitchenAid KRFC300ESS (available at Home Depot for $1,898.00) as a fridge “for people who have no budget.” But that’s not exactly true, and not quite on point. The $2000 price range wouldn’t be outrageous for such a sleek, feature-laden fridge, as long as it performed well. When we tested it in our labs, and looked at online reviews, the answer came back: not so much.
Design and Features
With its counter depth configuration, industrial style, knurled bar handles, and stainless finish, this fridge could bring a fashionable look to a kitchen.
But its finish is high maintenance. Other stainless steel fridges are smudge-proof—this one isn't. Bring it home, and you’ll be cleaning off fingerprints constantly.
If you like a smooth appearance on the outside, this fridge delivers. You don’t get ice or water through the door, but that’s a matter of personal taste. Still, it takes two hands to use the water dispenser on the inside. That's a minor inconvenience, but leaving the door open while you pour a glass wastes some energy.
Counter depth refrigerator have less space. That's a fact. But there’s a lot of wasted space in this fridge, too, due to the shelf layout. If you chill a few bottles of Rosé in the fridge's metal wine rack, you may impress your guests, but you'll also be using up even more of the limited storage in the refrigerator compartment.
In our tests, we also found that the crisper drawers can be rough to open, and tend to get stuck. They keep humidity in, but produce has a chance of freezing in there, rendering it inedible. The deli drawer opens from the top, and you can adjust its temperature, but it also might freeze your cold cuts.
The freezer has less desirable wire drawers. It's not spacious, and a significant portion of it is devoted to the icemaker and ice bin.
The freezer temperature is very stable and comes in at an ideal 0°. It's the refrigerator temperature that concerns us. While the digital readout said it was 38°, we measured it at a too-chilly 34°. If the temperature varies by a couple of degrees, your fresh food freezes.
What the owners say
Buyers are attracted to this refrigerator because it’s made in America, it's a counter depth model, and a French door style upscales the look of the kitchen. We read hundreds of consumer reviews, and there are positives for this model, but a number of owners express disappointment in the fridge's quality. Some say that it freezes their fresh food, and several report that they received defective units.
The bottom line
A refrigerator that looks so snazzy and fits in so well could class up your kitchen. But this model doesn’t use space as efficiently as it could, the crisper drawers are noisy and wobbly, and you’d have to constantly polish fingerprints off the outside. What’s more important, this fridge needs a refrigerator thermometer to help you set a temperature that keeps refrigerated foods from freezing. You can't rely on the factory setting—it runs too cold.
Based on what we saw in our tests and what many owners say about its reliability, you should approach this model with caution. It scored near the bottom of all the refrigerators we've tested. This Frigidaire Gallery counter depth refrigerator scored well, also rocks wine racks, and it costs less.
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