refrigerators
  • Editors' Choice

Kenmore 78002 Refrigerator Review

Top marks for this top-freezer.

December 26, 2013
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

The Kenmore 78002 (MSRP $1,304.99) may cost more than your average top-freezer, but it’s definitely worth the expense if you want a fridge that’s efficient, surprisingly roomy, and very effective at refrigerating food. It’s one of the best top-freezers on the market today. Some high-end design touches give what could have been an average-looking product some pizzazz to match its great performance, too.

Design & Usability

Smooth and classy

When it comes to fit and finish, there’s very little about the 78002 that disappoints. Most top-freezers on the market look clunky, boxy, or just plain boring, but this Kenmore is one of the few models to sport bright LED lighting—even in the freezer. The crisper drawers’ prominent handles are easy to grip, while the drawers themselves glide shut almost as effortlessly as an Astaire dance routine. The plastic-on-plastic leaves a little room for improvement, but we’re plenty happy as is.

Kenmore 78002 Fridge Controls
The fridge controls would be easy to use if they were set so unusually far back inside. View Larger
Kenmore 78002 Freezer Controls
Crank the dial down to below the recommended setting for optimal performance. View Larger

Controls are very basic: You’ve got a button in the fridge and a switch in the freezer, both utilizing an ambiguous “cold to coldest” scale. Both are set surprisingly far back, making them a bit tricky to reach with a full-stocked fridge. Fortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any reason to adjust them once the appliance is up and running.

The wide shelves may not give you as much customization as a side-by-side or French door, but it means you’ve got fewer gaps for spills to drip through. The biggest complaint we had was with the short vertical spacing between shelves, especially underneath the deli drawer. If you want something in the way back, get ready to bend over and start rooting around. That’s a problem consistent across almost all top-freezers, though, and if you’ve ever had one before, you’ll know what to expect.

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Performance & Features

Nearly flawless

Kenmore 78002 Fridge Interior
Pale blue LED lights give this top-freezer an unexpectedly soothing appearance. View Larger

When it comes to performance, the 78002 comes as close to nailing our tests as we’ve seen in a top-freezer. The fridge temperature was almost perfect, running a little cool on the top and a little warm on the bottom. One degree colder than the ideal 37ºF is no reason to complain, while a little warmth around the crispers is actually better for produce.

It’s true that the crispers were a bit lackluster, and were arguably the one thing we’d love to change about this model. As long as you don’t let your produce sit for too long, though, you should be okay.

The freezer came in a bit warm—it never got down to 0ºF—but that’s an easy fix. We kept everything calibrated to the recommended manufacturer setting, so all you’ll have to do to optimize your freezer is to turn the dial down a bit. Since the controls use a vague numeric scale, you may want to pop a thermostat inside to make sure things are running appropriately. Nevertheless, freezing times were some of the fastest we’ve ever recorded, coming remarkably close to the one hour mark.

Kenmore 78002 Freezer
You can raise the freezer shelf, but only if you don't want to use the ice bucket. View Larger

Perhaps most impressive was the 78002’s energy efficiency. This was one of the most efficient refrigerators we’ve tested. Compared to almost every other model on the market, it’ll definitely keep your electric bill down—even with the icemaker running.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.

A Winning Model

This fridge is the top

Kenmore 78002 Exterior
On the outside, it's just a plain ol' white top-freezer. View Larger

If you’re looking for a high-performance top-freezer that looks as good as it runs, be prepared to spend a little extra money. Even with Sears’ discounted price of about $1,110, the Kenmore 78002 is still more expensive than most similar models. That said, it’s also a heck of a lot better when it comes to refrigeration.

True, we did have some quibbles: the crispers were a little lacking despite their sleek design, and you’ll want to double check the freezer temperature with a thermostat before you start stocking up on ice cream and frozen peas. Nevertheless, an effective fresh food compartment and some of the best energy efficiency we’ve come across help catapult this model to the front of the pack.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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