Gaggenau, Sub Zero, or Miele Fridge

alexaquiMay 13, 2013

Hi all,

Still planning my upgrades to my current kitchen. Exploring the following options:

1) Sub-Zero BI48
2) Miele 36" fridge + 18" Freezer
3) Gaggenau 30" fridge + 24" Freezer

The Gaggenau and Miele are about the same price. The Sub Zero has the equivalent amount of space at a far lower price point.

I keep hearing conflicting things about the Sub-Zero (e.g., unreliable, hard to open after closing, noisey). The Miele is stunning person. I can't find good pics of the Gaggenau.


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Well, If I lived in Turkey, I would buy the Miele or the Gaggenau, most likely they do have the variable speed compressors.

Since I live in the US, and of the 3, I would buy the SZ but it does have the old style on/off compressors , as far as we can determine.

Fortunately I did not have to make the decision You are.
I had more choices.

So I bought one that was made in the US, and also has the variable speed compressor, and things like crank up/down shelves, Digital controls and readouts for 3 different zones in the fridge, (IE) Meat keeper, I keep that at 32F, Fruits/veggies, I keep that at 34F and main fridge I keep at 37F.
The thing is huge, both the fridge and the freezer, SXS 48" built in.

It's well lit, trouble free,since 2006, when I bought it,( and in fact in 2006 and years since then, It has been rated the most reliable refrigerator made by respondents to Consumer Reports Surveys). I did have to replace the ice maker after 5 years, $135 and took 10 minutes), It is also extremely quiet, (I can't tell when it's running).

It had a list price of about $6200 back in 2006, I got it for $4588, That was before the company that sold it, "Adapted the Price fixing Policies" of many of the Appliance Manufacturers now days.

Due to that, I can not recommend this fridge now, and in fact they even hide their prices on their own web-site, (Something SZ Used to do), but fortunately SZ "Smartened up"!!

To Me that's "Sleeze bag marketing" if you have to call to get a price, and till they post their prices, I say, "STAY AWAY"
Too bad , as it is a great Fridge, but I don't want to have to call and encounter some "Professional Closer", or someone that has been "Programmed" on what "EXACTLY" to say to you on that Phone call, that You have to make to them for the price!!

What is it????



    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 8:47PM
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All good fridges.

Keep in mind that if you go with the Miele or Gaggenau units you will need to have TWO separate electrical circuits back to your panel. One for the fridge and one for the freezer. The SZ will only require one.

Gary likes to make a big deal about variable speed compressors and they are the latest design, BUT the majority of fridge companies in the USA still use "old" style which should really be called "tried and true" style rather than old.

Is one better than the other ? Depends on your perspective or what you are measuring. Seems even Gary might not be all that convinced since he's telling us that his otherwise fine fridge with a VS compressor isn't worth getting anymore solely because JennAir doesn't publish their prices.

If and item or technology is a clear cut winner - a simple obstacle like a phone call is trivial.

I agree with his premise for pricing transparency , but that's for another discussion i think.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:56PM
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Thanks for the responses. What do you mean by requiring "2 separate electrical circuits back to your panel"? The power draw on these newer fridges seems negligble. Since I am putting the fridge where a desk/raised cabinets are and the existing refrigerator currently resides, I have several power outlets, which will be easy to tap into. Not sure about running separate circuits (probably not a big deal since I have a drop ceiling in my basement regardless... still adds to cost).

I can get the Jenn-Air at a significant discount from MSRP. My only issue is that I believe the parent company operates on the GM mentality; change the label, slap some shiney bits on a design that is good in theory, and yet executed poorly because the bean counters did stupid things like make manufacturing put cheap bearings in their products (e.g., washers???). In any event, even with the steep discount, the newer Jenn-Air seems "flimsy" in comparison. Perhaps I need another look?!

As for price transparency, I find it annoying that I have to call to find out what Wolf, Gaggenau, Sub-Zero, etc. products cost. At least Miele publishes them and they are what they are....

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Sub Zero and WOlf's pricing is on their website.

Gaggenau's is not on their site but places like publish the prices on the web.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 11:35PM
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To be honest, back in 2005-2006 Jenn-air had not yet been bought by Maytag, which was subsequently bought by Whirlpool, so no Whirlpool bean counters were in the act back then, and nothing, has ever broken on the fridge, except the ice maker.
I have not had one clip break, a door catch, (You name it) break.

I have not looked at the latest model JA Fridges, and I really do hope the bean counters, have not destroyed a good thing!

If you do take the time to look at Kitcheaid Fridge reviews here, (A Whirlpool Company), you will find just about all positive reviews. Ovens, not so the case, particularly older ones.

That's why most of us here in Gardenweb do not buy appliances of all the same brand.

I think it's "fair to say" that "most" appliance manufacturers do not make ALL bad appliances, Just as we say, that they do not make all great ones either, some good ovens, some good fridges, some good dishwashers----etc.

I feel very strongly about prices. Every car in a lot, used or new has to have the price posted. Every gas station has prices posted, so do grocery stores, I see no reason Appliance Manufacturers should be a "Special Group" and hide the prices, with the hopes you will take the bait and make the call and then they "Get A Shot at You", NOT me, I won't play that game regardless of how good something is!

AS far as variable speed compressors go, "TO ME" when a company advertises "The Latest Technology" they darn well better have it, otherwise it's just "Marketing Hype".

Here's an example.

Lets say you buy the latest Bentley or Rolls Royce, (They are 2 to 4 times the price of an "average car"), as are the "High end Appliances".

You open the hood of the Bentley or Rolls, You look and you see a carburetor, you also notice a distributor that has ignition points.

You open the door to the car, and look around. Hmmmmm, "3 on the tree", and an AM radio with only 2 knobs, volume and station select, (No preset button Stations).

Now TRUE all this is "Tried and True" (Not Old, I guess???)

You get out of the car and you close the door, ahhhhh what a great sound, soooooo solid!!!!!!


    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 12:11AM
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I have seen the Gaggenau 30" fridge tower "live" at a local store, and it is beautiful, inside and out IMHO.

I purchased a 30" Thermador Freedom fridge column and 30" Gagg freezer column from a store that was going out of business. I love both units. The interior layout of the fridge works very well for us. It is wider and shallower than what we had before, so it is easier to find things. The drawers really hold a lot of produce, deli items, meat, etc. The 30" freezer is bigger than we really need (although it makes Costco trips more fun), so 24" wide would be plenty, but I wanted symmetry. DH was skeptical when I bought these units, but he loves them now -- best fridge we have ever used, by far.

I believe the difference between the Gagg and Thermador columns is mostly cosmetic: the Gagg units have beautiful SS interiors and different lighting. It is up to you whether it is worth paying extra for those items and the Gaggenau name.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 1:56PM
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How long do varible speed compressors have to be around to not be considered new fangled contraptions? They have been in regular production refrigerators for around 14 - 15 years now.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Thanks Gary - your emails have helped me with my decision. Jenn Air it is!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 3:47PM
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I hope your Jenn-air treats you as well as mine has, Wardman, Like I said, I luv the fridge, but hate their "Marketing Strategy", is that soooooo complicated to understand.

Here's what I think a "High End Fridge" should have.

Safety first, if you check older postings of LG fridges, you will see where the lights inside the fridge stayed on, burnt the plastic covering, and actually cause a few kitchen fires.
My Jenn-air turns the light out after a certain time if the door is left open, (How do I know that?, "Been there done that").

Of course any fridges that use LED's for lighting, we don't have to worry about that, but if you have a fancy fridge, see if your lights go out, if you leave the door open.

Latest technology compressor and controlling circuitry.
The new Jenn-airs are specked to stay within +/- half a degree F. See if you can even find a temp stability specification on your high end fridge.

Crank up/down shelves, both in freezer and fridge. They really come in handy when you encounter a "tall bottle", you dont havta lay the bottle sideways or "CattyWhompus", just a turn of the crank, will do it!

Doors don't take a "Gorilla" to open, even after immediately closing.

Well lit, whether with incandescents, or better yet LED's, even our icemaker is well lit.

Plenty of ice, No problem here, cept when the icemaker died after 5 years, (It was the heater). What is the cost of a replacement icemaker for yours, and can you change it yourself?

So were I to buy a new fridge today, these along with a good reliability record would be what I would be looking for.

Service?????, Sorry, I haven't a clue, it's never needed any, like some of the other "Premium brands", where folks "Brag about the service"

Please let us know, how it works out for you, wardman, and do the new JA's still have the features mine has, or have the "Bean Counters" been at work?


    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:34PM
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Good feedback. Sounds like the Thermador/Gaggenau are pretty much the same, as is the Miele. I have to admit I am leaning towards the most expensive option, the Miele, due to my luck with their other appliances. They also have the best size configuration for my needs.

That being said, I feel after these comments that Jenn-Air and Kitchen Aid may need a second look. Perhaps I am mistaken; I believe I saw a lot of negative reviews on the reliability of both brands, particularly kitchen aid.

The Gagg units are actually competitively priced. The 30 fridge + 24 freezer with front panels is just slightly more than the Miele offerings. They also have a 5 year warranty which seems nice. Reliability seems uncertain; I found a few negative posts and very little positive.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Sorry Gary, your car analogy is pretty lame.

Fuel injection has been adopted wholesale in the domestic auto industry since the early 90's. It has been around since before World War II. The engineers have spoken on this one and Fuel Injection won out. If we were having this conversation in the late 80's or early 90s' then I might bite. Back then the forward thinkers were adopting Injection over carbs, but there was still debate - enough so that it was not a foregone conclusion that Injection would win. History of course says it did - And I'm not even arguing that VS compressors won't take over.

BUT, we are not there yet- not even 50 % of the way. SO, I think it's easy to say that buying a fridge with the old or tried and tested way is not going to give the end use a dinosaur or be a reason for buyer's remorse in 3 years.

A better analogy would be to dismiss that Roller because it DOES HAVE a injected engine. DOn't you know that all the modern progressive hipster forward thinkers only buy a hybrid engine - and the upper crust of that group even looks down their noses at anyone whjo has a combustion engine period.

Now, I bet you're not advocating all electric vehicles - but that is the future.

jakvis -no one is saying don't get a VS compressor because it's new fangled, or to not get one at all. I'm simply saying VS has it's drawbacks too. I am also saying there is nothing wrong with the "old" style and it is far from dead or going to fall out of the market anytime soon ! It's still used by 75 +% of the market.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 10:07PM
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The 5 year warranty sounds nice, alto several manufacturers used to offer 12 year warranties on the "sealed system", so best to read the "fine print" on the warranties.

More important than that, however, is WHO is doing the warranty service???? Do they stock the parts, are they trained on the product? Nothing worse than having a "Look & See'er" come out, take a look at the thing, make a "guess", then come back again with a part that did not fix it, and the whole "Process" begins anew. First you have to spend your valuable time waiting for them, (Maybe even taking off work), but worse than that is the food which you would lose, unless You have a "Backup". I never have had one, nor do I want to pay our electric company the money to run 2 fridges, butttttt
"(Your mileage many vary), LOL.

I think it was JW, (I could be wrong), that posted "Whirlpool Fridges, in general, have the highest reliability rating, according to respondents to Consumer Reports Surveys" and myself, at least, I think He has enough "Insider Knowledge" to know what he is talking about. Myself, I can only relate my own experiences, and that which I've researched via google, as you have done, alexaqui.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 10:25PM
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The "sealed system" warranty for built fridges is still 10-12 years.

In the last year or two, appliances companies in general are cutting back their exposure to warranties from my perspective. This is across the board from the lowliest garbage disposal to the mega expensive pro range or built in fridge.

Reminds me of airline tic pricing. Someone has a sale or increase and the herd soon follows. It's just a question of whether it sticks or not.

That Gaggenau 5 year warranty is the best in the business as far as I know. That's a parts and labor inclusive for 5 years. On the fridges the "sealed system" is still under parts warranty thru year 12.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:21PM
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I took a look at the Gaggenau in person. Sure enough, the freezer was covered in frost on the SS interior. The fridge seemed "dim". Compared to the Miele, it just feels dark and dreary.

I'm really torn; the 48" sub-zero has a fantastic setup and would be perfect for my space. I don't think I mind the grill up top.

I went down to the Miele factory showroom this weekend and the manager has followed up with me and informed me of some special programs. I have called Miele before and their customer service seems excellent. Is that worth the extra 2k over the SZ? Hmmm....

I also took another look at the JA; seems very nice. Just seems finished off cheaply compared to the other brands. Outside of my corporate discount, I don't think I'd seriously consider it, new compressor technology or not.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:11PM
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I've been living with a new SZ for a year and I like it. It isn't silent but it doesn't bother me. The sound of air moving inside the box dominates, with a soft compressor hum audible under it. The freezer and fridge start and stop independently. There have been comments here by people who are annoyed by a whine that changes pitch coming from the Miele.

In 2011 there was a long thread about high end fridges that would be worth looking at. If you search on my screen name you'll find it. There's a link below, too.

The SZ fair trade agreement is sometimes ignored. Don't be afraid to ask for a discount. You can also pay full price and get a free dishwasher or such in a side deal. One of their listed local dealers simply discounted the box about $1,700 to get my business. I'd be afraid to buy one on the net.

Here is a link that might be useful: Is Subzero fridge worth it?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Interesting that you say Sub-Zero is willing to move a bit on price. I was told they can only move by a very small percentage (

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 5:35PM
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If you are noise sensitive, you'd better find someone with a Bosch. T'dor, Gaggenau, Miele unit that you can hear running in a home.

The vari compresors they use makes a distinct noise. It's not loud but the pitch, freq. ect... drives some people up the wall. I don't notice it , but there is at least one thread around hear where folks are convinced the thing is defective.

If you are truly getting 40-60% off of list on the JennAir - I don't see how any of the others are going to be price competitive to that. That will be waaaay under what a dealer can buy one for.

Agreed that at full price , their fit finish quality doesn't stack up well against the other brands in the same price range. At a discount of several Thousand dollars, it's quite attractive.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:12PM
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As for the noise from the Miele/Thermador/Gaggenau, I did not notice any noise from the running models.

As for the discount, I wish it was 40-60% off... it's about 20-30% off the lowest price I've see online. It's still a lot of money at the end of the day.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Good input xedos, I recall those posts about the noise too, a "whir whir" or something similar.

As they say, "different strokes" for different folks".

When I looked at fridges, and I wanted a built in 48", I only had 3 choices, back in 2005-2006, GE, JA, and SZ. I did a lot of studying about the 3. The new fridge was replacing a rusty GE that was maybe 10 years old, (I forget), but that's the 1st fridge I ever had that rusted, but to be fair, it was the 1st and last that I ever bought with water/ice thru the door, so GE would have had to "really beat out the others" to win, and it didn't.

That left JA and SZ. The JA, (at least back at that time), had a much nicer interior than did the SZ, (crank shelves, 3 different digital controlled temp settings in fridge, was better lit, etc).
I also did not like the gills showing on the SZ, (just my preference).

I studied Consumer Reports Surveys about reliability, and back at that point in time, JA was rated #1 and SZ last.
SZ was having copper problems with their evaporators, alto another SZ Big Shot mentioned that the 2 year warrranty, back then, might have had something to do with the reliability ratings, (Most fridge warranties were for 1 year and warranty repairs were based on that time, whereas SZ had a 2 year warranty and warranty data based on 2 years), ((At least that was his claim))---regardless I was not left with a "warm fuzzy feeling" about SZ reliability back in 2006.

Thanks for the input about the interior, I guess I best get down to Pacific Sales, and see what the bean counters have done with the JA, because at least in 2006, the other 2 "contenders" had pretty "spartan interiors", compared to my choice.

My variable speed compressor makes no noise, whatsover and I can never tell when its running, ----lest you think I'm deaf, I can hear my Elux wine fridge running, (Old style compressor) and when I hear it running too much, I know it time to clean the cat fuzz out of it's filter!


    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:17PM
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we were planning our kitchen and after much debate my wife decided to do exactly what you are proposing - the 30 inch Gaggenau refrigerator and 24 inch freezer. The items that persuaded my wife at the time were the stainless steel interior, glass shelves, separate zones and the upper electric shelf most of which were not available on the lower-priced Thermador. first, after six years of continuous use, I can tell you that the only problem we have had is that ice sticks in the collection bin in the automatic ice-maker and eventually you really need to manually loosen it. The refrigerator works perfectly and we have had no downtime whatsoever.I would also point out that the units actually run exceedingly cool giving off little heat. It also has a vacation mode that's economical and terrific. We chose these over subzero despite the fact that we were replacing two 20-year-old Subzero's. we were satisfied that these had better technology and still feel that way. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Thanks for the feedback on the Gaggenau. Do you see a lot of "freezing" of the stainless steel? Display model looked like everything was covered in ice.

I'm struggling more with this purchase than I thought I would. I like the price/size ratio of the SZ BI48. The Miele is just too expensive when everything is factored in. The Gaggenau sits between them. SZ when you go integrated is just too much money.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Gary - the big thing JennAire has not done yet is LED. Wish that was not the case, but livable IMO.

Crank shelves also went away, but I'm not seeing them on many fridges out there (my Fridgidaire has them from 7 years ago). Maybe they have been phased out?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:31AM
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I have a Jenn Air 48". It's about five years old now, and I love the interior configuration, but I wouldn't buy another. There have been two separate recalls (one on the freezer section, one for the produce fridge drawer) and Whirlpool (parent company) is just about impossible to deal with regarding service. I was without the freezer section for nearly 4 months while they tried to figure out what was wrong, swearing no one but me had ever had this issue, and then, after the fourth fruitless service visit, we find there's been a product-line-wide recall for the same issue. Doh!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:48AM
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What model do you have, applnut?
I never had any problems with mine but I am curious about the recalls.

Really a shame they have cheapened the newer ones as I sure like the features on mine, and nary a problem in the 7 years I've had it, except for an ice maker I replaced after 5 years, new ice maker works great.

I wonder if some of their newer "Upscale Models" have the LED lighting and the crank shelves?

While I'm a "Techquie" and like the LED lighting, I sure cant complain about the incandescents in mine, It has not blown a bulb yet, it the 7 years I've had it, and if you do accidently leave a door open , it turns off the lights after 5 minutes or so, and sounds an alarm, alto the alarm could be louder, (in my opinion), but as I recall, the door has only been improperly closed only once in the 7 years we have had it, there was pot/pan or box that had not been pushed far enough in to allow the door to close.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 12:48PM
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The Jenn-Airs have some very nice features. Certainly quiet. I really like the independent shelves. I have to say that I am just skeptical of the overall build quailty and the overall mentality of the parent company.

I'm actually leaning towards the Gaggenau. The 30" and 24" combo is a good size for my area and I can build a small cabinet next to it. It's either that or the SZ.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 6:19PM
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We've had our Gagg 30" fridge and 18"freezer units for 8 months now. I'm really impressed with the control you have , especially with the different compartments. Food definitely lasts longer with the right temps. These 2 units have greater capacity than a 25 cu. ft. stand alone.
We have had no frost in the freezer and I presume that's because of our settings. Again, you can make these units behave like you wish and I've seen nothing comparable after considerable research.
It's too bad that American engineering and quality are not world class in this case.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:33PM
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Thanks for the info on the Gagg. My wife and I both looked at them all today and we really liked it. The only question is if we save the money and go for a 36" bottom freezer unit.

I'm about to order something...can't let this drag on so much. My heart wants the 30+24 but the wallet says 36...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 11:26PM
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Thanks again everyone for the feedback/input on this forum. My wife and I went back to the store and ended up ordering the 48" SZ. It's a great size with plenty of room. It also ended up being a lot less than the Miele/Gaggenau integrated columns. It should be installed this coming week!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 6:06PM
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Good luck with your SZ. I have had mine 36" all fridge for a year and love it. No problems with sound. It keeps my food extremely fresh.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:44PM
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Finestra - what did you do for a freezer?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 3:26PM
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