Kenmore 79009 19.7 Cu. Ft. Bottom Freezer Black Review$1,119.99
Ease of Access
The fridge shelves feel cramped, with the large amount of drawer storage compressing and blocking access to shelves. Items at the back of the fridge may be hard to get to on all but the top shelves, though the large drawers should mean easy access to produce. The fridge door, on the other hand, has expansive shelving units that can easily be reached or slid around. Frozen foods are also easy to get to due to the wide shelf and large pull-out drawer, but like all bottom-freezers, the whole section is rather low to the ground. If you freeze a lot of items, you may find yourself stooping quite a bit, which could get to be awkward and uncomfortable after a while, especially if you can't find what you want right away.
The Kenmore has controls that are located at the top center of the fridge interior. It consists of two meters that adjust both the fridge and freezer temperatures independently of each other. With an arbitrary scale ranging from 1-7 and a manufacturer recommended setting of 4, it lacks any real degree correspondence. If you want to know the actual internal temperature that you're refrigerating or freezing your foods, you'll have to invest in a thermometer.
The controls are incredibly straightforward - you push a button to raise or lower the temperature setting for either the fridge or freezer. The manufacturer's recommended setting is clearly marked, which is always helpful. If things seem too warm or too cold, though, the Kenmore can't help you - there's no actual degree marking that correlates with the 1-7 scale. If you really want to know the internal temperature, you'll have to buy an external thermometer.
A simple ice maker sits in the freezer compartment in the upper left corner. It can turned on or off by flipping a clearly labeled switch on the actual device.
The door storage is easy to remove and very self-contained, making spills very easy to deal with. The rest of the appliance, however, isn't quite as friendly. The half-width shelves are easy enough to remove, but the spill guards won't exactly keep in large spills, and the downward tilt that rear-mounted shelves typically have will cause liquids or loose items to slip to the back. The bottom shelf has almost no spill protection, so if something drips down the back or sides, you're going to need to pull out the entire crisper drawer to get it. This isn't as much of an issue with the freezer, since spilled liquids shouldn't be an issue. The shelves are made of wire, though, so if any bags with smaller items split open, such as frozen peas or corn, they're going to scatter everywhere.
You can hear the fans blowing when the fridge is open, but when the door is shut it's only obvious that the fridge is running when you stand very close to it. The freezer is the more vocal section, as its fan works a bit harder to keep the compartment cold, but since it's close to the ground, you shouldn't notice anything more than the typical ambient hum of a working appliance.