Subzero Vs Thermador Refrigerator

gabethanNovember 20, 2013


I'm back to square one on selecting a fridge. I need a lot of refrigeration space, and I was about to settle on a 36" Subzero with one bottom freezer drawer. My cabinet person does not think I will be able to open the door. Given the subzero columns are months away, I need some advice as I am looking at Thermador.

Any advice?? Or is there another subzero configuration other than the old style 48" out there.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Fori is not pleased

Why won't you be able to open the door? You need to check one out in person and see if you like the layout.

I was making my kids (both under 50 lbs) open all the fridges that were live in a showroom and was almost disappointed that they could even open the SZs. I had planned on teasing them mercilessly and promising we would get the one they couldn't open.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 11:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We put a SZ 736 with 2 freezer drawers in our last house. It was against a wall on the right side (the wall came out a few inches, as it was a spec home when we bought it and the builder extended the wall out, expecting a standard depth refrigerator). Anyway, even with about 4" of wall sticking out, we never had any issue opening it (it opened on the left side, swinging right, and the wall was on the right side). The only problem was that I didn't have enough room to open the door back to pull out the tray or shelves to clean - so I had to wash them while still in the refrigerator.

I think SZ is a better bet for refrigeration. I can't speak for Thermador, but we have friends that had a Viking refrig and HATED would freeze anything on the top shelves. I never had any problem with temp control in the SZ (and we owned it for 5-1/2 yrs).

Just my 2 cents here...I'm not sure of the storage capacity of the model you're considering, but I'd assume it was similar to our old one. If you need alot of refrigerator space, and that is your only refrigerator, you may want to think about adding more refrigerator space somewhere. We had a spare refrigerator in our laundry room that was usually half full b/c we just didn't have enough room in that SZ. We're a family of 4 (with an elem age kid & preschooler), who cooks most of our meals at home. We recently moved and I'm THRILLED with our standard size 29 cu ft GE, which has so much room & smarter space that we have eliminated the extra refrigerator.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 3:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

On my SZ 632 48-inch side-by-side, the freezer side is partially evacuated whenever the door is closed. This lasts about 10 seconds, but before the air pressure is restored it is very difficult to open the freezer door. I have no information on drawer styles.

The refrigerator side also requires some effort in to open the door at any time. There is likely some age at which a given child can open it, but small children would need to be fairly rugged to succeed.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 10:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would highly recommend visiting the various fridges you are looking at to see how much space you need to open the door fully (including enough to remove the drawers, unless you don't mind not being able to remove them). We got the Thermador 30" single door, but checked first, and the drawers can be removed even if the door is open only 90 degrees (i.e. Next to a wall, as ours is).

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 12:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If your opening issue is with space, I have the 36" french door model and you need a couple of inches clearance beyond the edge of the refrigerator door to open it far enough for the crisper drawer to clear. You must be able to open the doors 90 degrees, and the handles I chose (Top Knobs bar pulls) protrude 2" from the front of the door. So you'd be okay if your fridge door is, say, 3" from the wall on the hinge side. The doors will actually open wider than 90 degrees, probably about 110 degrees I'd say.

If your problem with opening is the compressor suction, then I'd say it's no problem. On mine the compressor goes off when the door is opened and starts up when it closes. I had trouble sometimes with suction on my 48" wide SubZero in my previous home, but on this 36" model I've had no trouble at all with that.

This is my second SubZero and the first one is 18 years old and is still going strong, zero service in that time. That's why I bought another one. Everything else I checked seemed like a step down in quality to me.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 11:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The only negative about the French door are the shelves in the door. That's the reason I didn't consider them. My cabinet maker believes I will not be able to open the 36" completely because of my island. Sub zero is releasing 30" columns right now. I was thinking of looking into those, although I think Thermador would work out to be less expensive. But, yes, I agree.... I've had 2 48" sub zeros at different homes and have had little, if any, maintenance.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 11:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So really, what you need to know is whether the standard 36" door will clear your island when the door opens? According to the SZ design guide, 37-1/4" is the full out-swing of the 36" door on the 36U with stainless door. How far away is your island?

By the way, I don't think the door shelves of the 36" french door are that bad. We have found them slightly limiting but workable, and I'd still choose the french door SZ over the Thermador.

SZ has 16.4 cu ft of refrigerator & 5.3 cu ft of freezer, while Thermador has 14 cu ft of refrigerator and 6 cu ft of freezer. So the SZ is overall larger and a good bit larger in the refrigerator section.

Also, when I look at the design of the inside of the Thermador, it looks as though the crisper drawer would collide with the bottom door shelf unless you really open the door wide. Have you checked that? On our SZ the crisper drawer clears the door at 90 degrees of travel.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 1:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Fori is not pleased

Oh, a space issue. Ya know, I'm trying to lay out a new kitchen and that sort of thing really ought to be what I think of first! Speaking of which, don't tip your kitchen designer. This should have been caught at the design phase!

If a door just barely misses an island, it's still going to be a real pain in the rear. Unless you can stand in 6", you probably won't like a 30" column either!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 10:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The crisper drawer in the single door Thermador clears the shelf (and can be removed entirely) at 90 degrees.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 10:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Any kitchen that has less than a 36" aisle isn't up to minimum building code standards. You won't be able to get any refrigerator into space without putting it there and building the cabinets around it. And what happens when it needs service and has to be pulled out?

You really need to rethink your island size if it's that impactful on your aisle space.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 11:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I took my cabinet maker's word for it regarding not having the space, but you are correct. I have 3'5". Not sure, why I was told that. Thanks for making me look!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 9:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Bread baking in the Blue Star Range
We are in the process of building a new home and though...
Bluestar platinum vs Capital Culinarian
We are deciding on kitchen appliances for our upgrade...
Magnetic SS Refrigerator
My wife and I keep going back and forth on the issue...
How would you spend my $10k budget?
In the planning stage of a complete kitchen reno and...
Bluestar Platinum interchangeable grill/griddle on RNB?
I have a 36" RNB rangetop. I regret that I chose...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™