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- Kenmore Elite 41003
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Kenmore Elite 24.0 cu. ft. Counter-Depth Side-by-Side Refrigerator Review$3,039.99
A good refrigerator should take your food to the temperature you set and hold it there without the temperature moving up or down too much. To find how well the refrigerator performs, we put dummy food packages into the refrigerator fitted with temperature sensors at several locations, and measure how much the temperature shifts.
We found that the Kenmore Elite 41003 had only small variations in temperature during our tests, with the temperature of our test packages remaining mostly constant. It was not perfect, though: we did find that the temperature wen above and below our preferred limits a small amount, which could lead to some food damage, especially to fragile foods like vegetables that are more sensitive to temperature variations.
We also test the temperature in the freezer compartment in a similar way, placing a number of fake food packages into the freezer with temperature sensors and monitoring their temperature over time. We found that the temperature here was also pretty constant, but with some minor variations. Over time, these variations can damage food and lead to freezer burn, but we found that the temperature on this freezer section was fairly constant, so food should last a good amount of time in this.
For your veggies to stay fresh and tasty, they have to sit in cool, still air which won't dry them out. We test the vegetable drawer of refrigerators by placing a fake vegetable (made from floral foam soaked in water, to simulate the high water content of vegetables) in the tray and monitoring how much water is lost over time. The more water is lost, the quicker your vegetables are likely to become damaged and inedible. The Kenmore Elite 41003 did well here: we found that our fake vegetable only lost an average of 0.11 grams of water an hour, which is much lower than the other refrigerators we have tested.
Power cuts are a fact of life: foul weather and other problems can cut your power off for anything from a few seconds to several hours. So, we test how quickly the freezer compartment of refrigerators heat up when the power goes out. The Kenmore Elite 41003 performed well here: in the 36 hours that we allow the test to run, the temperature in the center of our test packages never rose above 30 Fahrenheit, so the damage to food should be minimal. One thing to note here: we keep the doors closed for the entire period of this test, and you should do the same: if the power goes out, never open the door of your freezer.
When you put food into a refrigerator, you want it to freeze as quickly as possible. We test this by taking one of our fake food packages, putting a temperature sensor in the middle and putting it into the freezer compartment. We then measure the temperature to see when the center of the package freezes. For this test, we found that the Kenmore froze the food in 1 hour and 52 minutes, which is acceptable, but not great. The graph below shows the temperature over time.