Kenmore 72152 Refrigerator Review
A roomy top freezer for consumers on a budget
The Kenmore 72152 (MSRP $979.99) top freezer is a budget product that still pays attention to design.
While its performance is mostly adequate, this Kenmore mainly impresses with its many adjustable shelves and roomy interior; there's even an icemaker up top. The sensible layout makes for easy food access and a very user-friendly package overall. The $650 retail price doesn't hurt, especially if you need more room than is typically found in a budget model.
Design & Usability
Spacious and flexible
Advertised as a 21 cu. ft. fridge, the 72152 is slightly larger than most products in its price range. It also offers more customization that your typical top freezer.
Three of the five door shelves can be moved, and five different height slots in the fridge interior give you plenty of options for the two adjustable main shelves. In a sub-$1,000 fridge, we usually see fixed shelves and door buckets, so the 72152's level of customizability is a nice surprise.
That’s not to say this fridge is breaking the mold. From the outside, it looks like it could be ten years old. The textured white exterior and squared-off handles look dated, as does the fixed wire shelf in the freezer. Similarly, while most fridges have switched to bright LED lighting, there's a lone incandescent bulb in the fresh food compartment; the freezer is left in darkness.
Despite all that, there are still a number of small touches that really put this fridge in a bracket above and beyond the competition.
For instance, the crispers are surprisingly smooth to open, as is the storage bin beneath one of the top shelves. One crisper is also wider than the other, so it's easy to store bulky produce like eggplant or heads of lettuce. You can even fold up one of the smaller shelves on the door in order to store taller items in the shelf below. The interior of the Kenmore 72152 really is whatever you make of it.
Performance & Features
A flawed freezer
The Kenmore 72152 is not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good for a fridge in this price range. We set the thermostat to the manufacturer's recommended setting and took our measurements: The fresh food zone averaged just a degree or two under the preferred 37ºF at most points. Unfortunately, there was a pretty wide spread around that average. While it’s not a perfect environment for food preservation, temperatures never crossed the 32ºF line—which would freeze your food—or the 41ºF line—above which can lead to accelerated bacterial growth.
The freezer was a bit more troublesome. Temperatures averaged a surprisingly warm 11.44ºF, much higher than the 0ºF that's recommended for long-term freezing. The 72152 has a single compressor and a single thermostat, however, so you can’t adjust the freezer independently of the fridge. Given the fresh zone’s aforementioned temperature range, there’s no way to cool this Kenmore any further without risking unintentionally frozen yogurt. 11ºF is still thoroughly frozen, but it’s warm enough to risk freezer burn.
In every other test, the 72152 managed to do fairly well. Crispers lost an above-average amount of moisture each hour, but still retained more than many other budget models we’ve tested. Freezing times were faster than average, which should help mitigate some of the temperature issues as long as you eat your frozen goods fairly soon. It also proved to be one of the most energy efficient fridges we've tested among others of its size and type.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Simply a Good Value
Save money in style
If you’re hunting for a big top freezer, we suggest you give the Kenmore 72152 a closer look. It's rare to find a budget fridge that offers a sensible layout, lots of customizability, and accessible room to spare. This Kenmore has all that, plus a sale price that frequently hovers around $650. That makes this good fridge an even better value. If you don't like the white finish, it's also available in stainless (as the 72153) for about $900.
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