• Kenmore Elite 71052
  • Consistent freezer, confused fridge

Kenmore Elite 71052 Refrigerator Review

$2,949.99
7.7
  • 0
  • 10
Better than 77% of Reviewed Refrigerators

Consistent freezer, confused fridge

The Kenmore Elite 71052 (MSRP $2949.99) seems to have gotten things a bit backwards: It has all the basic features you’d expect from a mid-range French door fridge like an icemaker, through-the-door water dispenser, and bright LED lighting, but its performance disappointed in our lab tests. Even though the freezer was great, the fresh food compartment spoiled our opinion of this fridge.

Design & Usability

Standard size, average design.

The Kenmore 71052 is a standard French door refrigerator. Its 36-inch wide frame is marketed as being able to hold up to 27.6 cubic feet worth of groceries, putting it on the more capacious end of the spectrum. The layout is quite basic: Fridge shelves slide forward for rear access, while adjustable shelves on the right fridge door give you plenty of gallon-sized storage.

Kenmore 71052 Controls
Features like the energy saver and ultra ice are easily activated using the Kenmore's control console.
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The symbols on the external control panel glow bright blue when you open the fridge door or make a selection and fade out after a few seconds of disuse. Buttons labeled in a small (but readable) font manage not to detract too much from the glossy white fridge exterior.

Kenmore 71052 Crisper Ridge
The ridge on the crisper handle is easy-to-grip design alteration for this Kenmore.
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The 71052’s only unusual design elements are its crisper drawer handles. I found the handle ridge on top easier to grip compared to typical handles, and it doesn’t get in the way of the bottom shelf. Unfortunately, the crisper’s sliding switch was so stiff; adjusting it pulled the entire drawer to the left and right.

Bright LED lights illuminate the fresh food storage, while the freezer relies on a yellow incandescent bulb. The freezer itself is standard pull-out fare: two buckets on the bottom with a drawer on top. It comes with a large ice bucket even though the freezer lacks its own icemaker. That means the bucket will likely be more useful as segregated freezer storage.

For folks who like this fridge’s look and layout but have too small of a kitchen, you’re in luck! The 71032 is a slightly smaller, thinner version of the otherwise identical 71052.

Performance & Features

High highs, but disappointing lows

Kenmore 71052 Fridge Interior
Lots of bright lights illuminate plenty of white plastic and steel trim.
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This Kenmore had enough strong points that we really wanted to like it. The freezer got very cold—and stayed that way—and our tests indicated low energy consumption for a fridge this large.

Unfortunately, fridge temperatures were all over the map, with average temperatures coming in two to three degrees both over or under the target 37ºF depending on where in the fridge we looked. Moisture retention in the crispers was only so-so—bad news for salad lovers.

As far as features are concerned, this fridge neither surprises nor skimps. An on-the-door icemaker should handle mixed drinks, but you’ll need to buy a bag of ice if you’re having a summertime barbeque. Also, a temperature control drawer in the fridge sports three nebulous settings: Deli, Meat, and Produce. We know nothing beyond that; even the manual doesn't have any specific temperatures for the different settings.

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

A Chilly Verdict

Kenmore Elite 71052 French Door
Your run-of-the-mill French door.
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Too pricey for a flawed fridge

While holiday sales gave the 71052 a pretty steep discount, current prices on the Sears website peg this model for just over $2,100. That’s still a huge drop from the much higher MSRP, but don’t be fooled—it’s not that much of a bargain.

The good news is that there are some great budget French door models out there. While they may not have an icemaker or some other features, they do offer up really great performance for equally budget-friendly prices.

Matthew Zahnzinger 6a7c2d75511135d422defd182b909c0a?s=48&d=mm
Matthew is a native of Brockton, MA and a graduate of Northeastern, where he earned a degree in English and Theatre. He has also studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and spends most of his free time pursuing a performance career in the greater Boston area.