Kenmore 72023 24.7 Cu. Ft. French-Door Stainless Steel Review$2,349.99
Ease of Access
The adjustable shelves in the fridge mean you can arrange your storage any way you like, and the ample room allows for easy access to nearly any corner of the interior. Fridge door storage is also easy to get to, given that having the fridge on the upper portion of the appliance means all fresh foods are more or less at eye level. The smooth-sliding freezer means the drawers open with ease, but any appliance with the freezer on the bottom means there will inevitably be some stooping involved, and the deep freezer could be difficult to access for consumers with bad backs.
The controls are located on the left fridge door exterior, and consist of a gray inset panel with green lighting. Buttons are large enough to read without being garish, and wide enough that you don't have to worry about hitting more than one at a time. The green signal lights also go out after a minute or two, so you won't have an ethereal green glow filling your kitchen and making neighbors think you have some sort of spectral guest.
The controls are quite comprehensive, yet remain very simple with a low learning-curve. The buttons are easy to read, and the green lights on the control panel mean you won't have to squint to know what is on or selected. The only disadvantage to this layout is found when adjusting interior temperatures. The Freezer and Refrigerator Temp buttons scroll downward through a range of degrees, meaning if you miss the one you're shooting for, you'll have to make your way through the whole scale again to get at the one you want. Since you shouldn't have to adjust this once your appliance is calibrated, though, it shouldn't make for too much of a hassle.
The water dispenser can be a bit frustrating to use. It's well-lit and has plenty of room for regular drinking glasses, but the controls are almost too recessed. Unlike dispensers that operate using a traditional paddle, this one has a padded button that you have to depress. There's so much padding that it can be difficult to find the actual button behind it, and if you're filling a small glass, you may find yourself needing to reach in with one hand to make the water flow while holding your glass in place with the other.
The On-Board Ice Maker, as Kenmore has labeled it, is found entirely on the left fridge door. It's covered with a solid white door of its own that opens easily by pulling on a small handle. The interior houses the Ice Storage Caddie, a tall bin made almost entirely of thick, transparent plastic. This holds the bulk ice, and covers the actual ice maker when its in place. The whole thing is operated using a simple little switch located near the top of the interior, and explicit instructions regarding the operation of the device, as well as correct removal and replacement of the bin, are found both on the ice maker and the inside of its access door.
Despite the use of half-width shelves and minor spill protection in the fridge, this appliance can actually be a pain to clean. The spill guards in the fridge are minimal at best, and the adjustable door shelves all have slits in their bottoms. The freezer at least has self-contained compartments, but since the main section is so deep that the presence of any spills will require the complete removal of everything in order to clean thoroughly.
For such a large fridge, this Kenmore stayed very quiet. Other than the usual ambient noise of a working appliance, this fridge never made any extra noise when the doors were shut.