KitchenAid Refrigerator Review: Is It the Right Fridge For You in 2021?

KitchenAid Refrigerator Review: Is It the Right Fridge For You in 2021?

KitchenAid refrigerator comes from one of the most beloved culinary brands in the world. The 100-plus year old American company’s appliances are famous for their good looks, affordability, and of course, bright colors.

But is a KitchenAid fridge as reliable as its countertop appliances? Or a top rated KitchenAid dishwasher? Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.

In terms of price and looks, KitchenAid stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the best refrigerator manufacturers, like GE Profile, Samsung, LG, and KitchenAid’s own sister company, Whirlpool refrigerators. While those brands have innovative and high tech features like door in door (which lets you grab a drink without letting all the cold air out), Wi-Fi connected cameras, folding shelves, self-filling internal water filter pitchers, and more, they make only counter depth and regular refrigerators. In addition to those types of refrigerators, KitchenAid makes panel ready and built in refrigerators. And KitchenAid built in refrigerators are more affordable than those from the likes of Sub Zero.

Basically, a KitchenAid refrigerator gives you a high end appearance at a friendlier price tag—and that might be exactly what you’re looking for. Read on, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know before you buy a KitchenAid refrigerator, pros and cons included.

KitchenAid Refrigerator Review

Reasons to Love KitchenAid Refrigerators

Multiple Installation Possibilities: Counter Depth, Standard Depth, and Built In

KitchenAid makes a lot of refrigerators. That means one to suit every kitchen. If you want maximum storage and don’t care so much about how far it sticks out into your kitchen, KitchenAid has full depth fridges. If you want an affordable fridge that fits pretty seamlessly into your kitchen, take a look at a Kitchenaid counter depth refrigerator. And if you want to spend more for a fridge that’s fully flush with your cabinets, you can find a KitchenAid built in refrigerator with a stainless steel door or a door that’s ready to be covered in a matching kitchen cabinet panel.

KitchenAid refrigerator in black stainless
KitchenAid refrigerator in black stainless

Every Style Fridge: KitchenAid Refrigerator Types

KitchenAid also makes many different types of fridges with different style doors. You can get a French door refrigerator, with two doors up top and a freezer drawer on the bottom; a classic top freezer refrigerator, a side by side fridge, or a more modern bottom freezer refrigerator.

KitchenAid’s five door refrigerator is a variation on a French door fridge. On top is a refrigerator compartment with double doors. In the middle, just below the fridge compartment, it has two refrigerator drawers. The left one has five temperature settings for meats, deli, and other produce (including frozen food that you need to thaw); the right one has a special food preserver to keep food fresh longer. At the bottom is a large freezer compartment with separate drawers inside.

If you need supplemental space in a butler pantry or bar area, or happen to be a wine lover or love hosting parties, you may also want an under-the-counter solution. KitchenAid makes wine fridges and beverage coolers, with both panel ready and stainless steel doors.

KitchenAid beverage center and ice maker
KitchenAid beverage center and ice maker

Food Preservation: Great Climate Control and Air Filtration

High end KitchenAid refrigerators have dual evaporators to cool the refrigerator and freezer separately. This improves the temperature and humidity control in both compartments and helps prevent freezer burn. KitchenAid has other technologies to pitch in and help, too:

EverFresh temperature management: This sensor based system, available on some models, keeps your fridge and freezer properly cold.

ExtendFresh temperature management: This sensor based system detects when either the fridge or freezer gets above the correct temperature and triggers the compressor to activate a fan to quickly cool that compartment.

FreshChill pantry drawer: Available on some KitchenAid fridges, this deli/snack drawer has independent temperature settings to keep the foods at the right preset temperature.

Max Cool: A setting that quickly chills items you’ve just brought home from the store, like meats, drinks, or ice cream.

Preserva food care system: This food preservation system involves two cooling systems—one for fresh, one for frozen. The FreshFlow Air Filter helps minimize odors, while the FreshFlow Produce Preserver helps delay over-ripening.

KitchenAid refrigerators also use activated carbon to absorb smells.

A KitchenAid fridge may have electronic or manual controls, depending on the model. If yours has an electronic control panel, you can change the temperature to suit the foods inside. If it has manual controls, you will have to slide the control accordingly.

KitchenAid five door refrigerator and range
KitchenAid five door refrigerator and range 

High End Aesthetic

Many KitchenAid refrigerators have fancy finishes, like chrome frames, shiny KitchenAid brand nameplates, and satin textured, bar shaped exterior door handles.

Conveniences

Water and ice maker: Some KitchenAid refrigerators have an in-door icemaker that takes up much less real estate in your refrigerator. We also like that some have an internal water dispenser, since this looks much more modern than an external one. The Measured Water Fill option is also a cool convenience. It lets you set the exact amount you want to come out of the dispenser—nice for when you’re cooking and need exactly half a cup.

Shelving: Look for adjustable glass shelves with a spill resistant coating. Some KitchenAid refrigerators have them.

Lighting: Most KitchenAid refrigerators have LED lighting.

Fingerprint resistent doors: KitchenAid refrigerators with the company’s PrintShield finish are smudge proof stainless steel.

KitchenAid refrigerator water dispenser
KitchenAid’s convenient Measured Fill water dispenser option (at far right) lets you select an exact amount to dispense—like 1/3 cup, for cooking.

Broad Range of Price Points

Despite their chef-style good looks, KitchenAid refrigerators are competitively priced, though some models are a bit on the higher side. They can cost from approximately $2,799 to over $11,000, depending on the model. To give you a quick idea:

  • The KRFC300ESS 20 cu. ft. model (French door, counter depth) costs $2,249.99
  • The KRMF706ESS 5.8 cu. ft. model (Five door, full depth) costs $3,869.99
  • The KRFF507HPS 26.8 cu. ft. model (French door with Printshield) costs $2,789.99
  • The KBFN502ESS 24.2 cu. ft. model, which is a built-in one, costs $9,269.99.

At the upper price points, we think it makes sense to consider brands with superior technology and more choices, like the Sub Zero fridge which is the gold standard. Also consider the Thermador refrigerator if you are looking for attractive high-end appliance package deals.

The KitchenAid Warranty

KitchenAid offers a pretty standard one-year warranty on most of its fridges, but you get a two-year warranty on built in refrigerators. You can also get up to a 6 year sealed system warranty with parts and labor (covering things like the compressor, evaporator, condenser, connecting tubing), and a longer warranty is definitely a positive.

KitchenAid also provides a FIT System Limited Guarantee. If your built in refrigerator doesn’t for properly, it’ll give you $300 toward professional help in adjusting the existing cabinets.

KitchenAid bottom freezer refrigerator with French doors

Reasons You Might Not Love a KitchenAid Refrigerator

Value for Money

There’s not much technology separating KitchenAid refrigerators from their Whirlpool cousins, but in general you’ll pay more for a KitchenAid refrigerator. Whirlpool fridges have Wi-Fi, while KitchenAids don’t. Compared with other built in refrigerators, KitchenAid models have a white plastic or “platinum colored” interior, not stainless steel.

No KitchenAid Colors

KitchenAid recently introduced a line of commercial-style ranges in a rainbow of colors to match its beloved stand mixers. People went nuts. If you want a range to match your mixer, it follows that you might want a refrigerator and dishwasher in that color too, right? But so far, the company hasn’t followed through—it offers only classic and black stainless steel and panel ready refrigerators. When and if they do launch colorful fridges, we’ll let you know.

No Wi-Fi

Those bright, commercial-style ranges? They have Wi-Fi. But no KitchenAid refrigerators do. That’s another reason its refrigerators seem to be lagging behind.

Common Customer Complaints on KitchenAid Refrigerators

Look around online, and you’ll see that many KitchenAid customers say they’re happy with their refrigerator and give it four star reviews.However, others cite issues with the icemaker, door alignment, leaks, icing up, lights or the light control board not working and needing to be changed, and noise, along with poor service and long repair times.

We saw an overlap among customer complaints about:

  • Rusting
  • Rubber door gaskets wearing out fast, leading to loss of cold air and temperature, and increasing electricity usage
  • Use of a lot of plastic instead of stainless steel (which is more durable)
  • Poor service record
  • No smart features or Wi-Fi connectivity
    After all, whether you buy a reasonably priced model or a high end machine, you want it to work and not give you cause for complaint or expensive repairs.

How to Shop for a Refrigerator

Your refrigerator takes up more space and gets used more often than any other appliance in your kitchen. It’s constantly working (hear that low hum?) to live up to your food storage and cooking expectations. But you don’t want to buy one that underperforms just because you didn’t know what to look for. So we’ve put together this checklist of things to do to determine if the model you’re looking at is a good refrigerator.

1. Confirm The Dimensions

Always double check the space you have in your kitchen and the measurements of the refrigerator—particularly the depth. A counter depth fridge should sit flush with your counters, giving the appearance of being built in. For a full depth standard fridge model, check the depth measurements to see how much the box will stick out and be sure there is enough clearance for the door and drawers to open fully.

2. Zero in on Climate Control (It’s More Than Just Cold Air)

In the refrigerator section, fresh foods should be kept fresh for as long as possible. In the freezer section, frozen foods should remain frozen and usable up to the best before date. It might sound obvious, but it’s really important for your fridge to keep food at the correct settings. Bacteria can multiply very fast on foods kept at the wrong temperatures.

Most new refrigerators also come with a touch control panel that displays the temperature instead of a thermometer. You can use it to set the temperature according to the weather and your requirements.

Some refrigerators also offer quick freezing, which is useful for re-hardening ice cream you just bought from the store or freezing fresh meats, while others can automatically sense and change temperatures according to the foods you put in.

Humidity is another aspect that keeps food fresh for longer. Your refrigerator should have some kind of humidity control so fresh foods stay fresh and do not dry out or rot.

Air circulation/filtration helps keep the designated areas at the right temperatures. That’s the function of a double evaporator and/or compressor. With one evaporator/compressor, when the freezer is the coldest, the refrigerator section may not reach the coolest temperature, and vice versa. A dual system also eliminates mingling of the cold air (and gases) from different areas of your refrigerator.

Different manufacturers have different technologies to manage these elements, and some take research and development in these areas more seriously than others. Features like sensor temperature and humidity controls and advanced air filtration tell you a fridge maker is focused on doing the basics really well.

3. Consider the Interior Design

Shelf and drawer options—the more customizable (and easy to customize), the better. Some refrigerators have drop down shelves or at least adjustable ones to accommodate large items like jugs. Drawers can help you organize your refrigerator and freezer storage better. You want to make sure they’re sturdy; glass and stainless steel are better than plastic. Some shelves may also have coatings or textures that help contain spills.

4. Check Out the Water Dispenser, Water Filter, and Icemaker

Refrigerators can come with water dispensers on the outside of the door or the inside of the door. The water has to be connected from a water outlet via a small pipe leading to the dispenser. The refrigerator has inner plumbing that connects it to the filter, so you get filtered, chilled water outside the door. We think a dispenser on the outside of the door looks a little dated, but you might also think it’s a big convenience.

Icemakers connect pretty much the way the water does, eliminating the need to fill ice cube trays. It’s important to note that some high end refrigerators do not have an icemaker; they might anticipate that you’ll have a separate clear icemaker at home. Also, keep in mind that the filtration in the refrigerator is very basic, and the filters need to be replaced annually.

Water dispensers and icemakers are the refrigerator parts most prone to leak, break down, and otherwise cause problems, leading to repair and additional costs. These features also cost more initially, require constant electricity, and take up valuable internal space.

Always do an online search to see if the refrigerator you’re considering has a lot of complaints about its icemaker, water filter, or water dispenser.

5. Find Out How Noisy It Is

Refrigerators, like any other appliance, aren’t silent, but they can get pretty close. They’re loudest when the compressor is going, and hum along pretty quietly when it’s not. This noise is measured in decibels (dB). We consider a quiet refrigerator to be under 50 dB.

6. Ask About Smart Appliance Technology

Most newer refrigerators sound a beep or alarm when the door is open for longer than a minute. That’s really helpful in that an open door reduces the internal temperature of the refrigerator, leading to higher energy usage and potentially food spoilage. Many brands offer smart appliance features like internal cameras and Wi-Fi connectivity to sync your fridge and yoursmart phone via an app; if you have several appliances from the same company, you may be able to control them all remotely from the same app. Some refrigerators can tell you which foods are expiring. Others will tell you when you are running out of food. And others can look up recipes, add the ingredients to your shopping list, and then walk you through the steps as you cook. Smart technology in the refrigerators adds to the cost, of course.

Our Top KitchenAid Refrigerator Picks of 2021

1. KitchenAid Counter Depth Refrigerator: KRFC300ESS

KitchenAid KRFC300ESS

20 cu. ft. 36-Inch Width Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator

Why We Like It
This French door fridge fits in with your counters, giving your kitchen a built in look without the extra expense of a true built in refrigerator. It’s sleek and compact but actually really spacious inside. You get plenty of shelves and drawers in the refrigerator section, a wine rack, three racks on each door for drinks and condiments, and a built-in water dispenser inside the refrigerator rather than on the outside.

Key Features:

  • EnergyStar qualified
  • Fancy finishes (chrome frame, satin textured handles, KitchenAid medallions)
  • LED lights
  • EverFreshTemperature Management system to keep food fresh in the refrigerator and prevent freezer burn
  • Ethylene gas absorber to help keep fresh foods from spoiling
  • Humidity controlled crisper
  • FreshChill pantry drawer
  • Icemaker

2. KitchenAid French Door Refrigerator: KRMF706ESS

KitchenAid KRMF706ESS

25.8 cu. ft. 36-Inch Width Multi-Door Full Depth Refrigerator

Why We Like It
This is KitchenAid’s five door/drawer model, and we think it gives you a lot of unique conveniences. The door design actually optimizes cooling, since you open only the door or drawer that you need, saving energy and keeping the temperature even inside most of the fridge. There’s also dedicated herb storage to your rosemary and thyme fresher, longer. The in-door ice system provides access to ice without taking up valuable internal refrigerator real estate. The adjustable spill resistant shelves are a plus. And you can set the water dispenser to dispense specific amounts—really helpful for when you need exactly a cup for cooking.

Key Features:

  • LED lighting
  • Dual evaporator/Preserva Food Care System and FreshFlow Produce Preserver
  • Spill resistant shelves
  • Soft close middle drawers (one for deli items, one for produce)
  • Three tier freezer storage with divider

3. KitchenAid Built-In Fridge: KBSN608ESS

KitchenAid KBSN608ESS

48 ¼-Inch Width, 30 cu. ft. Built In Refrigerator

Why We Like It
This stylish side by side style built in has ample space inside with multiple racks, door shelves, drawers, and great visibility thanks to the LED lights. The exterior’s stainless steel has the smudge-resistant PrintShield finish. On the inside, there’s intuitive electronic temperature control, roomy shelves, an easy-access icemaker that’s very quiet. (Pro tip: Built-in fridges don’t always have an icemaker.) The SatinGlide Crisper drawers also move smoothly, and you get durable, spill resistant glass shelves.

Key Features:

  • LED lights
  • ExtendFresh Plus Temperature Management System
  • Ethylene gas absorber
  • Spill resistant glass shelves
  • FIT System Limited Guarantee

Conclusion

People love KitchenAid because they see the brand as reliable and love it for making a style statement. We definitely understand the appeal. KitchenAid makes nice looking refrigerators at any price range, and more affordable built-in refrigerators than their competitors.

If style is your priority, or if you want all your appliances to match, consider a KichenAid refrigerator. If you want a regular fridge with more features, or a built-in that could last as long as 20 years, you may want to keep looking.

When and if the company introduces a retro style, colorful fridge to match its commercial-style ranges (and its stand mixers), it’ll definitely make a splash in the refrigerator market.


Join the Conversation

See what other Designer Appliances readers are saying.

SIDENOTE. This post was last modified on September 27, 2021. However, we regularly update our content as we test more products and new models are released. We also listen to the feedback of our customers and make changes to our product recommendations based on their experiences. So don’t be surprised if you see some old comments below! Since reader comments contribute to the topic, we have decided not to delete them.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *