So I spend the day checking out fridges at Sears – I had done some research online in advance, and here’s my situation:

  • I’m in an apartment, and my current fridge space is limited (buy surrounding cabinetry) to a max height of 69” and width of 33” – as for depth, well the counter depth is 24” but I don’t mind if the fridge sticks out a bit. I want the largest possible capacity within the physical constraints as I plan on moving into a house in the next 2 years and don’t want a fridge that will be too small.
  • I really want a bottom freezer model, primarily for ergonomics since I’m a bit over 6’4 and I don’t like having to continuously bend down to get to the stuff in the fridge… I use the fridge 5-10 times a day vs 1-2 openings of the freezer, so a fridge with the freezer on the bottom is a big plus for me.
  • side by side fridge / freezer model is interesting, but I don’t like the fact that in these models the freezer side is often far too narrow for wide frozen products such as pizza.
  • I’m also leaning towards a French door model (with the top fridge part having split “French” doors) … the advantage being that the doors don’t open up as wideas a regular full width swing out door.
  • I think a pull-out freezer (as opposed to a swing out) door is also more practical, as you don’t necessarily have to pull out the freezer drawer all the way to get to the frozen goods, whereas with a swing out freezer door, it has to be opened all the way out, and then the freezer drawers can be pulled out.
  • My current fridge is at least 20 years old – I don’t even know what make it is, and while being SUPER quiet and reliable, – it is no longer cooling or freezing equally. It doesn’t control temperature correctly. It currently sticks out about 6 inches from the counter depth, but that doesn’t bother me that much. The food spoilage and loss does

So, I am subscribed to Consumer Reports, and they rate have 3 Samsung bottom-freezer models in their top 5 – but they’re all too wide for my space… over 33”. The RF217 (a 19.7 cubic feet capacity unit) is about middle of the way down. I like it because it is essentially the largest capacity bottom-freezer unit (with split French doors) that will fit in a 33” wide space.

It also has a dual cooling system – not 2 compressors, rather 1 compressor but 2 evaporator systems (coils) and blowing for the refrigerator and freezer parts. This means that the temperature and humidity for the freezer and fridge areas are better isolated. Less odour transfer between the areas, and so forth.

It also has LED lighting (cooler temperature) and an electronic control system (inside the door at the top of the fridge area) to adjust things like the icemaker, freezer and fridge temperature settings, “fast freeze” option to do 2.5 hours of rapid freezing, an audible signal to indicate if the door is ajar after 2 minutes, and an optional water filtration system.

It has a built-in internal ice maker in the freezer area – obviously this means doing a water line hook-up… not super easy to do given my current kitchen layout, but doable. It’s also not a priority for me. I can handle putting in ice cube trays. On the other hand, it’s something I like.

Internally, the shelves are all full width – meaning that you can’t have split shelves that are at different heights. I sort of like the split shelves in other models that allow for a bit more flexibility in terms of height adjustment within the fridge. The door shelves have decent adjustability, but not as much as some other Kenmore (built by Whirlpool / LG / Samsung / who knows?) … especially the lowest shelf which has very tall height – maybe too tall?

There is a sliding pull out deli (cold cut) drawer. Nice.

There are two plastic, transparent, fruit and vegetable compartments with a small horizontally sliding adjustment to adjust humidity levels. It’s a less than elegant or robust-looking setup, basically you set it to let more or less ambient fridge air enter the fruit & veggy drawer. Doesn’t look German precise.

Finally, it is not truly a stainless steel front – it is the Stainless look steel front – … according to Samsung, it’s a finish that provides the sleek look of stainless, yet is resistant to fingerprints (unlike SS) that my kids and me will undoubtedly leave on the door. Also – stainless steel is not magnetic, but this finish steel *is* magnetic … important to put up works of art by the kids, or notes for self.

All that said, I’m pretty impressed with the underlying dual cooling system (evaporator coil and blowers) that separate the freezer and cooling system. It seems reasonably well built. The $1299 sale price at Sears right now until tomorrow, October 17 (down $400, although the current regular price at Future Shop is $1399.) is decent also – but not cheap. Then again, it’s the largest capacity bottom freezer French door unit that will fit in a 33” wide space – correct me if I’m wrong?

So questions:

  1. Have you ever owned a Samsung appliance (preferably a fridge) – how has it been?
  2. The warranty is 1 year parts and labour (in-home) – would you spend an additional $220 (+ tax) for a 3 year in-home warranty from Sears? (I’m thinking no)
  3. If you considered such a Samsung, but wound up buying a competing similar model (Kenmore, LG, Amana, GE, Whirlpool, etc) … which one and are you happy with it?
  4. It will probably take me about 3-4 hours of work to run water connection for the icecube maker – is it worth it, or should I wait until I move into a house and hook it up there?
  5. My primary concerns are temperature performance – of course – and also quietness, and overall usability.

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  • Funny, Tristan & Zachary saw it today…. (yes, I bought the Samsung RF217_ and Tristan noted the Samsung brand – “it’s a TV company” he said in French 🙂

  • Jenny

    We are looking at the exact same fridge. So how did you make out with your purchase. Our fridge opening is the same dimensions as yours, so was it a good snug fit. We are going back to Sears tomorrow to purchase hopefully and it is just so co-incidental that you had the same questions as we are having today. We measured and measured and just hope that it fits. We are also a bigger family of 3 kids and two adults, although the kids like “big people”. Any insight you may have would be most appreciated. Thanks
    Jenny
    [email protected]

    • After about 6 months with the Sammy RF217 it’s certainly time for a brief review of my experience with it. For now I would say that I’m very happy – extremely quiet (though I don’t have the ice-maker hooked up) and temperature performance seems perfect.

      My only wish would be for better shelving adjustment flexibility – but I was aware of that when I purchased it… it has limited height adjustment for both door pockets and the glass shelves.

      If you get the real stainless version (the RS option) then be prepared for never-ending fingerprint stains and no magnetic surface to stick things on to it.

      Other than that – quite happy with it! Yes, it will fit in tight …. check your dimensions carefully!

  • Vishal

     Samsung Cheats entire globe with bogus/counterfeit “made in China” components as “Made in Korea”. 

  • Ravi Gulati

    Samsung is expert in white collar smuggling. They are equally expert in bribing government officials so that they can earn maximum profit from consumers by breaking every possible law. They have ruined the genuine manufacturers and may soon some curse fall upon them. This is not based on assumptions but after seeing and inspecting records. They cannot be trusted with confidence. Its better to buy Japanese goods or German technology goods. They have not spared even American stores selling counterfeit components as genuine Samsung. Shame to Samsung for such neat global cheating. How cheating takes place – Samsung factory in Korea is ISO certified, but 90% Samsung goods comes from China which is shown as “Made in Korea”. No one suspects any foul play as Samsung markets the counterfeit goods made at unknown destinations. No one is against honesty if Samsung openly markets goods “Made in China” as “Made in China” instead of displaying “Made in Korea” and International certifications.  Korean government too supports such cheater with pride and honour. In Korean website, you will hardly find English option so that International surfer cannot understand.  Do not trust me but trust experts. Post mortem of Samsung goods reveal everything in detail about their quality, about their honesty, about their trust. Every counterfeit components  in Samsung products speaks louder than words. Read what consumers have to say all over the world. And fact is Chinese workers get small share while samsung eats the entire pie. Smart thinking, smart ideas do not hide mass scale cheating. 

  • Ib Jones51

    Don’t buy this fridge has a flaw – unless you want water in your crisper.   Design problem with the back of the unit – it freezes and water drips out into eh fridge.