Alternatives to the Sub-Zero Look

playxboxJanuary 10, 2009

I love the look of the Sub-Zero. I can't justify the costs based on quality reviews and not knowing why it is worth the money.

Are there alternatives to the look? I found a cabinet width Kenmore Pro with the Faux Top that looks pretty industrial.

Thanks for any input.

playxbox

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jeff8407

You have lots of alternatives. The best, IMHO, is to have your cabinets made with a close fit and get a counter-depth fridge and use custom panels to match your cabinets. My previous house had that set-up and I "fooled" many people by the close fitament and matching panels.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 6:26PM
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antss

Their are lots of option. They are all relatively the same price though. Built in fridges are $6k up these days.

SZ started the catagory over 50 years ago, still manufactures in the U.S. is still run by the same family from the U.S., and continues to innovate. Don't let a few folks with problems or a flawed system by CR scare you away. Every brand of fridge on the market has problems sooner or later. There are no guarentees with any one of them that you won't get a defective one or one that fails prematurely.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 8:55PM
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canuck99

Ok call me old fashion but I went with the new Sub BI-48S. I looked at the alternatives and touched and poke at all the options and took my wife's feeling and chose the new SZ BI. I may not have chosen the older models but after seeing the new models I was sold. The efficiency of the BI-48S is higher than the Thermador/Miele group. SZ is refridgeration and they have there business bet on being the best and successful what about the other manufacturers?

Oh by the way a US company and I'm a Canadian and I'm willing to give them a shot.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 9:22PM
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lebwhite

Would you mind sharing the approximate cost of the Sub B-48S? I am looking into that but don't have a local dealer.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 9:50PM
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canuck99

Do you want the Canadian Dollar cost?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 10:24PM
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rennovatorjen

I have had a wonderful experience with Subzero. My first, a bottom freezer, had 2 compressor repairs. After the 2nd one over a 3 year period, the replaced the whole fridge and let me upgrade to a 42" side-by-side. I had to pay the $600 difference in price since I got all-stainless with the long stainless handles the 2nd time around. What a deal!!! Much better than Amana, which did NOTHING for me after 7 repairs in 5 years.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 10:25PM
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playxbox

Thanks for the responses - Can you really tell the difference between a Sub-Zero and a regular fridge?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 11:18PM
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capecodcook

Two points:
First, this question comes up periodically and I have seen lots of pictures posted here of non-built in fridges with close fitting cabinets around them. Frankly they usually look like a box stuck in a hole in the wall rather than built-in. Built-in units have a flange that fits over the surrounding cabinets and covers any gap, giving that true built-in look.

Second, and the reason you can't match the built-in look with a conventional unit, is that all conventional fridges REQUIRE about 1" clearance on each side between the unit and the surrounding cabinets and 2-3" at the top (check installation manuals for actual dimensions.) This is for cooing air circulation. Without it the compressor is apt to overheat or at least work a lot harder, shortening its life. Also improper clearances could void your warranty.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 9:21AM
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canuck99

Play,

What do you mean about difference? In performanc or looks.

Checkout the Subzero.com for pictures/information on the units.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 12:40PM
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lebwhite

Any idea of prices would be great, I am in the US but will have to travel to find a dealer. The local dealer listed is 500 miles - too far to just look.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 1:23PM
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wa8b

Playbox,
Yes, there is a major difference between most ordinary refrigerators and Sub Zeros. It's called a dual compressor system. The freezer and refrigerator sections are entirely independent of one another.

Most mainstream refrigerators have a single compressor. The cooling coil is in the freezer compartment. The refrigerator compartment is cooled by diverting some of the desiccated chilled air from the freezer into the refrigerator compartment. As the air is chilled and circulated in the freezer it is dehumidified to the point that it contains nearly no moisture at all. The result is chilled air circulated into the refrigerator compartment is also dry as a bone. Consequently, food not sealed in airtight containers dries out and produce wilts much sooner than it would in an environment with more humidity. It also means that odors from the refrigerator circulate back into the freezer which can affect the smell or taste of things stored there, like ice and ice cream.

A sub Zero refrigerator works like two separate appliances, there is no exchange of air between the freezer and refrigerator compartments. The cooling coil in the Sub Zero refrigerator compartment is behind the back wall of the refrigerator compartment. Because it never lowers the temperature in the refrigerator below freezing, it doesn't remove as much moisture, so the humidity level in a Sub Zero refrigerator compartment remains much higher than in a typical single compressor refrigerator. Consequently, food doesn't dry out as quickly and produce stays fresher longer.

That accounts for the most obvious difference that most new Sub Zero owners discover -- food, especially produce and cheeses, remain fresh longer in a Sub Zero. There is a difference.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 1:29PM
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antss

leb-

"Their are lots of option. They are all relatively the same price though. Built in fridges are $6k up these days. "

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 6:32PM
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rennovatorjen

Food lasts forever in my Subzero. As a single and very busy working mother, I don't always get to the store when I need to, so this is important to me. The fridge seals so tightly my children used to have difficulty opening the door when they were younger (a good thing!). The ice always tastes good. There is a 10 year warranty on the compressor and a 3 year warranty on other parts and labor - the best I know of. It is solid as a rock. My mother's new stainless steel french door fridge feels so flimsy in comparison.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 7:56PM
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wa8b

Actually. the warranty is 2 years parts and labor on the entire refrigerator. The closed system (compressors and cooling coils) is fully warranted (parts and labor) for 3 additional years (total 5 years), and for an additional 7 years the closed system has a limited warranty which covers any necessary replacement parts. In total, the full and limited warranties have you covered for 12 years.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 8:38PM
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playxbox

Would you consider other built-in fridges? I found the Homeclick site with alternatives like Liebherr.

playxbox

Here is a link that might be useful: Homeclick

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 11:33PM
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homepro01

Playxbox,
When you say an alternative to SubZero what do you mean exactly? Are you looking for other brands of integrated fridges or fridges that you can put a wood panel on? I think if you explained your need we may be able to help better. Other integrated fridge manufacturers include: Liebherr, Gaggenau, and Thermador, just to name a few off the top of my head.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 12:30PM
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playxbox

Thanks for the help.

My guess is there is no real replacement to the built in look. Everything else is close but not built-in.

It looks like the quality of Sub-Zero has value but is there a cheaper alternative that is just as good.

playxbox

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 9:58PM
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homepro01

Playxbox,
That is the wrong conclusion. Please read my post again. There several other manufacturers of integrated fridges. There is no real price difference between all the integrated models be it SubZero, Miele, Liebherr, Thermador/Gaggenau, etc. It becomes the question of what features you want and need for our particular layout.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 10:23PM
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alice462

We chose Electrolux Icon as our alternative. These met our parameters for price, size, look and function. We wanted built-in look as well as units that would accept cabinet panels if we decided to go that route. We purchased the optional trim kit and then modified it for our needs - i.e. only used a portion of the top "vent" as I did not want to lose 9" of upper cabinet space, instead we only lost about 4".

Here are some pics of what we did -- obviously still in progress, freezer still needs to be pushed back a bit, bottom grills are not on as we are not finished with the floor. We are happy so far although we have not actually loaded either with food, they are turned on and seem to be holding temps. steadily. We spent less than $5000 for both after discounts and rebates.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 6:27AM
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davidro1

playxbox, I think it is wonderful that you are able to express vague hesitation about all other alternatives without ever mentioning reading any other related thread or mentioning any other facts in favor of any other fridge.

Good luck with your love of SubZero!

David

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 7:18AM
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playxbox

Alice462,

That clearly looks like an alternative and has that built-in look. Utilizing the a portion of the top vent worked great.

Thank you for the pictures, they are great examples.

playxbox

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 11:25PM
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