refrigerators

Kenmore Elite 51162 Refrigerator Review

Not bad, but you can do better

March 24, 2014
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 Elite 51162 (MSRP $1,839.99) white side-by-side isn't a bad fridge, but it's got some stiff competition that either outclasses or underprices it.

For instance, our tests showed cold temperatures, but they weren't quite accurate. The design looks pretty sleek, but it's not as easy to configure as other models in the same price range. And with retail prices hovering just below $1,470, it’s not even cheap enough to be a bargain.

Design & Usability

Elegant looks, but lacking in usability

Kenmore Elite 51162 Icemaker
The icemaker design is fairly standard for this sort of model, and is quite easy to remove for bulk ice access. View Larger

The aesthetic qualities of the 51162 are some of its best. A glossy white, fingerprint-resistant finish will brighten up any kitchen, while the blue lighting on the external console gives it an air of cool sophistication. The inside is just a sharp, with bright LED lighting and stainless trim on the shelves to make this fridge look more expensive than it is.

Unfortunately, the interior isn't quite so sleek. The customizability of the shelf layout isn’t terribly expansive. No matter how we arranged the shelves and drawers in the fridge, there was always at least one that was cramped and too short to hold anything taller than a carton of eggs. The freezer was a little better, but there was still no way to arrange the shelves to easily store a large frozen pizza.

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Performance & Features

Doesn't fail, but doesn't stand out

In our lab tests, the 51162's temperatures varied a bit over time, and the external display wasn't accurate: Our measurements showed the freezer was a bit colder and the fridge was a bit warmer than the numbers on the Kenmore's display.

Kenmore Elite 51162 Controls
The controls look sleek, but having to hold down buttons to adjust most of the settings make for a clunky experience. View Larger
Kenmore Elite 51162 Crisper Drawer
There's only one actual crisper; the lowest drawer has an adjustable temperature control instead. View Larger

Other performance points were a decidedly mixed bag: The lone crisper (the other drawer in the fridge is a temperature-controlled compartment) was essentially ineffective when when it came to retaining moisture.

Size-wise, it's small enough to feel cramped with a family's worth of groceries in there. On the plus size, energy efficiency was fantastic and freezing times were incredibly fast.

We were pleased that Kenmore included a few extra features on the through-the-door ice and water dispenser, such as a measured fill option. That said, we didn't like how the Kenmore made us hold down buttons on the touch display to both access special features and perform regular functions like adjusting the temperature.

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

Blander Than the Rest

Unable to stand out in a crowd

Kenmore Elite 51162 Exterior
This glossy white side-by-side looks better than it actually is. View Larger

In a vacuum, the Kenmore Elite 51162 is a decent, low-cost side-by-side. We don’t live in a vacuum, though, and this Kenmore has some stiff competition. On sale, the 51162's $1,467 price tag is pretty low, but for $300 less, you could get one of the best budget side-by-sides we’ve ever reviewed: the Kenmore 41152.

Alternatively, the Frigidaire Gallery FPHS2699PF—our 2013 Best Side-by-Side of the Year award winner—costs almost exactly the same amount as the 51162, and it’s in stainless! For a stainless version of the white 51162, you’d have to spend an extra $250.

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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