Kenmore Elite 79043 Refrigerator Review
Large, efficient, effective... and expensive
The Cold Hard Facts
Most of the test results we recorded for the Kenmore Elite 79043 (MSRP $2,099.99) were very flattering... but not all. Rotten crispers and some necessary thermostat adjustments kept this sizable bottom freezer from earning top marks across the board.
It’s rare to see numeric thermostats in bottom freezers, but even so, this Kenmore will require some adjusting. With the fridge set to 37°F, we tracked average temperatures of 39.18°F at the top, 38.47°F in the middle, and 39.72°F at the bottom. The discrepancy isn’t great, but there’s an easy workaround: A narrow temperature deviation of just ±0.1°F over time means this is an exceptionally consistent fridge, so you can just turn the thermostat down a degree or two for optimal performance.
The freezer was less consistent, with an average temperature fluctuation of ±2.1°F, but it actually doesn’t matter. Temperatures were very chilly, with averages of -0.95°F and -1.04°F recorded at the top and bottom, respectively. That means the freezer stays cold enough to prevent the build up of freezer burn.
Crisper performance was easily the worst element of this fridge. Over the course of three days, drawers lost an average of 0.32 grams of moisture per hour—more than double the average. Keep an eye on moisture-dependent produce, as it’ll likely dry up faster than you expect.
Freezing times were average. Room-temperature test materials cooled to 32°F in just one hour and 37 minutes. You might want to avoid stocking up on delicate cuts of filet mignon or swordfish steaks, but pretty much anything else should be fine.
Storage Space & Energy Efficiency
If nothing else, the 74025 has size working in its favor. A mix of full-width and half-width shelves provide the bulk of the storage space, with two large crispers and a full-width pantry drawer underneath. The wide door, with its gallon-deep bucket shelving, also offers plenty of viable storage options. In total, you get 11.7 usable cubic feet in the fridge compartment.
The freezer is quite basic, with an upper and lower drawer to choose from. We removed the ice bucket for the sake of taking measurements, as its use is entirely up to the consumer. With that in mind, you get up to 4.54 usable cubic feet at your disposal.
Despite its size and the presence of an icemaker, the Elite proved to be an exceptionally efficient product. Using a fixed rate of $0.09 per kWh, we estimate this bottom freezer will cost you about $31.37 per year to operate, an exceptionally low number for a fridge this size. Turn off the icemaker, and the price drops even further. This all translates to about 0.06 kWh to cool each usable cubic foot, making this Kenmore one of the most efficient models we’ve ever tested.
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