Kenmore 79009 Review
For its price range, the Kenmore 79009 is about as high-quality as you can get.
For a mid-range fridge, the Kenmore 79009 is actually a really dependable appliance. It manages to deliver superior temperature control, excellent moisture retention, and a level of energy efficiency potent enough to actually make a difference in your electric bill.
There are, of course, some things that keep this appliance from ranking at the very top: a cheap-looking interior, no water filter, and difficulty accessing food stored in certain locations. The price tag, at least, doesn't hurt that much. The Kenmore 79009 has an MSRP of $1,119, but we managed to find it on sale for as low as $780. The large vegetable drawers and easy-access fridge at least make this an excellent choice for fresh produce lovers. As long as you don't overstock, then this appliance is definitely an excellent choice.
Design & Usability
This fridge takes full advantage of the assets that a clean black finish can offer.
The black front picks up stains and dust easily, but fortunately it’s easy to clean, as long as you don’t get anything gooey on the matte finish. The handle is one of those design flaws keeping the Kenmore set firmly at a mid-range level. Unlike the front of the doors, the handle has a glossy black finish that smudges easily and often; it's somewhat ironic, really, since this is the one part of the fridge exterior that you're going to touch most often.
Speaking of handles, the one on the freezer runs left to right, as is the case with pull-out freezers. The catch? This fridge doesn't have a pull-out freezer; it opens left to right, just like the fridge door—though both are adjustable to suit your kitchen's layout. It's probably as minor an annoyance as you'll find on an appliance, but it's emblematic of some of the other design missteps from Kenmore.
Lots of shelves and drawers in the fridge make the unit look deceptively small. The white plastic edging feels sturdy and durable, and just barely manages to avoid looking cheap. While the layout is standard for a bottom freezer, the two crisper drawers are unusually tall—a good thing for salad lovers, but a potential pain for those who want to take more advantage of traditional storage. Even though the freezer door opens on a hinge, the compartment itself still utilizes a pull-out drawer... at least, on the bottom. The wire shelf on top can slide in and out, but it's really meant to just sit there. The door itself lacks any storage space—like any pull-out fridge—making it truly puzzling from a design perspective.
The cramped fridge and low freezer can inhibit access to food.
The fridge feels cramped, with the large drawers compressing shelf space. As such, items at the back of the fridge may be hard to get to, though the large drawers should mean easy access to produce. Everything else is readily at hand, with one small caveat: Like all bottom-freezers, the lower section is rather close to the ground. If you freeze a lot of items, you may find yourself stooping quite a bit.
The Kenmore's controls, located at the top center of the fridge interior, consist of two meters that adjust both the fridge and freezer temperatures independently. With an arbitrary scale ranging from 1-7, it lacks any real degree correspondence. If you want to know the actual internal temperature, you’ll have to invest in a thermometer.
There's an ice maker located inside the freezer compartment, but it can be a bit of a pain to use. The machine itself has a very low learning curve: There's a wire handle used to activate the device, and you get an ice tray to collect it in. Given how low to the ground the freezer is, however, any consumer with back problems may just prefer to use ice cube trays instead of stooping down to deal with the old-fashioned built-in unit.
The Kenmore may be a mid-range fridge, but it performs just as well as some of the high-end models.
We set the Kenmore to the manufacturer’s recommended temperature setting of 4, but even so, the fridge ran a bit warm. It's easily fixed by dropping the thermostat, but you won't know for sure what's going on without a thermometer. That said, this Kenmore offered some of the best temperature consistency we’ve seen. The temperature was almost exactly the same from top to bottom, showing minimal shift over time. You can put your food anywhere in this fridge and it will be kept at almost the exact same temperature regardless of location.
The freezer wasn’t quite as uniform in its temperature output as the fridge, but it still did really well. The top was noticeably colder than the bottom, but at its warmest, the freezer was still just above the ideal zero mark. As long as you’re not swapping things from the top to the bottom, you’ll also have very little risk of freezer burn.
A mid-range fridge that offers high-end performance.
The Kenmore 79009 is a very good buy, offering excellent performance for a very reasonable price. An MSRP of $1,119 isn’t a bad base rate and means you can likely find this fridge on sale for as low as $780. Sale prices may be just a bit hard to locate, as new Kenmore appliances are usually found only at Sears. Regardless of the price, though, you would be buying an appliance that offers superior temperature management, fantastic moisture retention, and high energy savings.
Despite this high-end level of performance, keep in mind that this fridge still isn’t the top of the line. Its overall appearance isn’t the fanciest or sleekest available, and some of the food storage is a little hard to get to. If you don’t typically block shelf access by overstocking, or if you don't mind a fridge with a not-so-fancy feel to it, the Kenmore 79009 is a value proposition worth considering.
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