Sub Zero Built-in alternative? What's wrong w/GE Monogram/Kit Aid

beantownrenovatorMay 26, 2013

We are starting to plan our kitchen and trying to figure out our appliances first. My husband almost fell over at the price of the SZ along with the salesman discussing the pros of it. The store near us discontinued carrying GE products. We are going to have the fridge built in with cabinet cover so not so focused on the outside. We did not like the Liebherr b/c it was way too tall (inside). Jenn Air and Miele are nearly the same price as SZ so we would just choose a SZ at that point. What is the issue with a GE Monogram or Kitchen Aid built in? Any other thoughts if we can't stomach SZ? THANK YOU!

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The issue is most likely one of status-consciousness.
Any (brand, size, color) refrigerator that keeps perishable foodstuffs at the appropriate temperature so as to avoid spoilage is by definition doing the job. Spending exorbitant sums on something so basic is fairly silly and clearly driven by ego. SubZero's 36 degrees F is no different than Frigidaire's 36 degrees F.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 4:59PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Be sure you understand the difference between built in and fully integrated. You are describing a fully integrated, and there are no cheap options when it comes to that.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 5:57PM
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@ hollysprings - we are ok with built in or fully integrated as long as they are 36-42".

Trying to look for viable alternatives - there is a big difference between a $5000 alternative and a SZ...

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Hi Beantown. I would have loved having a fully integrated fridge in my new kitchen but it was out of my budget many times over. I didn't want a regular fridge, though, either. Even a regular BI unit was out of my budget so I called appliance stores for floor models and scoured ebay and CL for a couple of months. I scored a 36" BI KA on ebay for just over $3K. I've been very happy with it. I've never had an ice maker--what a luxury! Since we live in a colder, rainier climate mass quantities of ice aren't necessary. This ice maker more than keeps up with us.

The freezer has enough of an organizational system that I don't really have to dig around much. I also keep a regular fridge and an upright freezer in the garage.

The crisper drawers are large but aren't quite enough to hold all our produce. No fridge would, though, as we go through large quantities. All my veggies and fruit stays fresh for a long time if I forget something needs to be cooked.

I'm still shocked after 18 months at how quiet it is. I'm very noise sensitive, and in our whole house reno, we opened up the kitchen to the FR. I was nervous about hearing a fridge run whilst enjoying a read in the FR. I'm very pleased at rarely hearing the unit run, and even then its very quiet. Of course, you can hear the ice maker drop ice.

I'm very happy I splurged on this KA. I'd happily buy it again if I had to make the choice again.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 2:11PM
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We have a SZ because my husband was sold on the dual compressors, and we both liked that the compressors were above the fridge instead of behind it, and the water filter is underneath (IOW, we don't have to pull it out to change the filter every few years). Unfortunately, we had to pay the price for the features we wanted, but we did everything to get the best deal around.
Others don't necessarily see these as "pro's" and are therefore not willing to pay the price.
Figure out what features you really want and what you can live without and go from there.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:10AM
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My wife has the 48" Monogram in her kitchen. About 11 years old, no problems. It is no SubZero (have those at work), but quality is still better than most. We went 36" wide full depth free standing when we remodeled my house (which looks counter depth since we have 31" deep counters).

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 2:10PM
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I have posted about my extreme satisfaction with the GE monogram built-ins. We currently have a 42". We had the 36" in our last house. No problems. We have a wood front to match our cabinets also. The huge physical difference for me between the SZ and the GE was that the GE is not truly/fully integrated, it sticks out about 1.5 inches with the hinge and wood panels. It blends in nicely, but it is not flat with the cabinet run. Price was not my concern, but I didn't feel the features warranted the sticker, just my opinion...and other priorities. I have had this one for 7 years and no problems, and it is so quiet I never even notice it. If I wanted fully integrated, then I would have purchased the SZ. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:39PM
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Sophie Wheeler

When you can build in a standard depth refrigerator, what
s the point of the expense of going to a built in that isn't that disguised to begin with? Sure, a fully integrated fridge is a HUGE visual difference, but a standard built it, not so much.

Standard regular depth refrigerater "built in". It's not difficult to design your kitchen with extra deep counters or to recess a regular fridge to achieve this look. And you get a LOT more storage.

Built in. (Doesn't fool anyone and costs a lot extra.)

Fully integrated. The whole reason to pay for an upgraded "invisible" fridge. It's playing hide and seek and removes itself from the appliance category into the furniture one.

(It's the mirrored cabinet, fully invisible.)

(The "armoire" is the fridge.)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:00AM
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Liebherr is another fully integrated option that hasn't been mentioned yet. Ours was about $2k less than the same size SZ. We have had it about four months now, and absolutely love it. The height did take a bit of getting used to, as it is a full foot taller than the 27 year old "built in" Amana it replaced.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:27AM
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I'm sorry, I'm new here, so this might be an ignorant question, but: what the heck are all those ugly spots on your cabinets??

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:36PM
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It's "Aged Wood". I'm aged and have quite a few of those spots too, I think they call them "Liver Spots" on humans, for wood they call them "Sliver Spots".

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:09PM
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Those would be known as knots, they are found in trees, in this case, pine trees, the wood of which can be used to make cabinets and other furniture. It was also used extensively for wall paneling, ceilings, and floors in many homes built prior to the mid 1900's, as our house was. Since you had to ask, I'm assuming this practice is something you're not familiar with, likely because it went out of "fashion" long before you were born;)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:16PM
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Thanks y'all. I've never seen cabinetry crafted from white/silver wood with such pronounced spots.
That ain't the greatest image, and my eyes are old and tired, so it appeared to me to be something other than a desirable feature.
Carry on.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:37PM
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The problem for a lot of people is while these "other" brands cost less than SZ, their fit and finish and sometimes features are not on par with the king of the hill.

When you consider that the lower price is only several hundred dollars in most cases, the value proposition of the lower price starts to diminish. Several hundred is still real money , but as a percentage of the cost of a built in fridge's starting price it's not a lot.

Then there is the consideration of dealing with a company that only deals in highline appliances or dealing with a co. that wants to be all things to all people.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 8:01AM
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Agree with xedos, we had to go with a 48 inch frig because the old frig stuck out in the doorway. I did not go with SZ because I did not like the layout. We bought a KA and it was not that much less in the scheme of things. The fit and finish is not as good and the service is not that great. It does work far. It is 5 years old.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:26AM
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