refrigerators

Kenmore 78892 Refrigerator Review

Design elements better than budget, weak performance that isn't.

$759.99
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The Kenmore 78892 (MSRP $789.99) is essentially one step above the manufacturer’s basic models such as the 68802. Glass shelves, dual crispers, and a deli drawer give the 78892 an upgrade in design and accessibility, and the inclusion of an icemaker is rare for this price bracket.

That said, there were a lot of issues with performance, especially in the freezer. Frankly, if you don’t mind wire shelves or aren’t planning on using the icemaker, you’re better off saving about $200 and buying something cheaper, because the 78892’s performance doesn’t merit any extra expense on its own.

Design & Usability

Keeping it simple.

This basic white top freezer has a matte finish on the front that’s great for households with small children: no stainless means no fingerprints. Glass fridge shelves are easy to clean, but the lack of spill protection on the left and right edges can lead to drips down the sides which could go all the way to the bottom.

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Both crispers have independent humidity controls, an unexpected perk for a fridge this cheap.
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The inside of a budget top freezer: no surprises here.

Two extra shelf racks give your fresh food storage a modicum of flexibility, but that’s more or less all you’re getting in terms of customization. All the shelves on the door are built in, but the assorted heights and widths shouldn’t result in too much grocery storage grief. You can still fit gallons of milk easily, though they may be rather snug up against your other items.

A plastic deli bin and two crispers with adjustable humidity controls are nice touches, as many similarly priced units don’t have them. Cold, Colder, and Normal markings give you an idea of how the fridge will work, but an external thermometer is required for calibration if you want your fridge to function the way it should.

What’s most exciting about this model, though, is the inclusion of an icemaker. Very few of the top freezers we’ve tested have factory icemakers preinstalled, but the ice bucket only fits when the freezer shelf is in its upper slot.

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Performance & Features

They should just call this one a top freezer burn.

Both the fridge and freezer ran warm, which is more or less par for the course with budget top freezers. The fridge managed to balance this with steady, consistent temperatures over time—great news for sensitive fresh food like cheese or other dairy products.

The freezer was just bad, despite having the separate freezer dial set to Normal. We recorded temperatures as high as 12ºF, and the temperature swings were outrageously wide. That’s a surefire recipe for freezer burn.

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The freezer shelf can't be moved to its higher slot if you want to use the icemaker

Energy efficiency ratings, on the other hand, were fantastic. Even with the icemaker running, this proved to be an exceptionally cheap fridge to operate. That, combined with the icemaker, could make this a really good model to get if you need a second fridge to store extra cold drinks in the summer.

The crispers were slightly below average in terms of their moisture retention. Veggies placed here may start to dry out in less time than you might think, another strike against making this your primary fridge.

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

Conclusion

Kenmore-78892-ice-maker.jpg
Most budget top freezers don't come with icemakers, giving this model a definite edge.

Not a good bet for either your first or second fridge.

The 78892’s decent design, accessibility, and icemaker are great—and unusual—perks for this price. On the other hand, the freezer and crisper issues are too glaring to ignore. A $789.99 MSRP is too much to pay for a fridge that may prematurely spoil both your fresh and frozen food. Don’t fret, though, as we’ve tested several great alternatives: the Amana A8TXNGFXW, for instance, is cheaper and offers better performance.

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