Best (Affordable) Bottom-Freezer CD 30-33" Fridge - Can You Help?
Okay, I really did not want to write this post. I've been working for weeks trying to pick a bottom freezer fridge for our small kitchen remodel. We really need it to be as counter depth as possible and a 36" would REALLY cramp the space. I'm sold on bottom freezers, though I might be willing to give up the freezer drawer as I hear they are harder on short people with back issues (which is me) than the door. We are leaning towards avoiding water/ice to just stay away from those issues, which we experienced on our last fridge.
You'd think it would become an easy decision, given how few the options really exist in this category. However, everything I research gets bad reviews.
Initially, we found the 33" Samsung RF197ACRS. It was looking like an inexpensive and easy fix. It has some of the bells and whistles, like adjustable slide-in shelves and LED lights and twin cooling. Until I asked various salesfolks and called various appliance shops to find out what fridges they discouraged due to repair issues. (They said don't buy LG or Samsung, btw.) I found out there isn't any qualified repair folks for Samsungs in the entire state of Alaska, apparently. It seems people are generally really very happy with their Samsungs - until something goes wrong with their Samsungs and then they are very unhappy with the service issues... However, it's the lowest price option at around $1200 and it is the only one that is french door. It's also the largest at 17.8 CF. I think it also sticks out the most, at 30 1/2 with handles and 28 1/2 without. You can't get it without ice maker, but I assume you can just not hook it up?
Then, a salesman recommended Fisher Paykel RF175WDRUX1. We were able to see it in the store and liked it okay. It seems pretty functional and has a lot of space, though the shelves go all the way across the length, which could be limiting. It has the EZKleen stainsteel finish. It seems a tad less deep, at 28 1/2" with door handles - 27 3/8" without. In seems there is also a E522BRXU model we could consider that is a tad bit deeper (an inch). But, then we started researching on-line and it seems the units do not get cold enough to be safe, both in the freezer and the fridge? That seems like, um, a major problem if that's true. It's also considerably more expensive, which is worth it if it means more reliability and ease of repair, but that doesn't seem true in this case.
So...that doesn't leave much else! Except my first love, which is Liebherr. Okay, I love Liebherrs. I had basically written them off as being too indulgent for my budget - and the neighborhood. And I was unsure about the height with my short-less-than-8-foot-ceilings. And, replacing it would be really limiting. And..the freezers seem super tight. They all fall in the 15.5'ish CF arena. However, there is little question that one would look great in my kitchen! And, I love that they look more integrated/stick out less - with a depth of 24 13/16". Liebherr CS1640 seems to be the base model (at $3800 at AJ Madison). Liebherr CS166 has LED lighting, ice maker, 3 freezer drawers and gallon door storage at $4400 - but still no biofresh, apparently. Liebherr CS161 seems to be it's counterpoint without ice maker, at $4300. I'm knd of confused about which come with biofresh, if any. On some sites, it seemed you had to go integrated to get the biofresh feature. The same questions, though, come up about service. Some of the appliance shops I called were like "Lieb...who?" when I inquired about them. And I do see complaints about smells, frosting and temp. fluctuations with them. And, of course, the proverbial ice maker disasters, which we can avoid. I hear the freezer space is REALLY limited in Liebherrs.The other downside of the Liebherr is the unique dimensions would really limit future replacement. Oh, and I'm 5"2.
I think it basically comes down to these choices. I can't afford a SZ, Liebherr would already be pushing it- at 2-4 times the cost of these other options.
Which do you think is the best value?
Which do you think is the most reliable?
Which do you think gives the best/most freezer space? (This is really important, as I don't have room for a separate freezer)
Are there other options I am unaware of and should be considering?
Thanks in advance for any illumination you can bring to the issue!