Stainless Steel Kenmore 2537031321 Refrigerator
Gorgeous and Efficient
All the Bells and Whistles
Kenmore has a lot of refrigerators in their line-up, and even though the 2537031321 isn’t part of their Gold line of refrigerators it is as well-equiped as all but their most expensive models. You will find a stainless steel finish on the door, spill-proof glass shelves, great energy efficiency, an LED control panel on the door along with an ice and water dispenser that both make use of the built-in water filter. The ice dispenser can even dispense cubed or crushed ice.
In fact, with all these features it’s a bit confusing as to why this model isn’t part of Kenmore’s Gold line.
Is the 2537031321 Counter-Depth or Not?
As always with bottom mount freezer drawers, watch out for the depth. Even though narrow kitchens won’t have a problem with the french doors up top, bottom drawers can extend out to 50″ or more (from the back of the installation) in some cases. Kenmore haven’t published the depth of the 2537031321 with the drawer fully extended, so if you do have an island opposite the fridge be careful with this one.
Kenmore isn’t marketing the 2537031321 as a counter-depth refrigerator, even though with a depth of 33 1/16″ (34 1/16″ when allowing for 1″ recommended clearance in back) it is actually not as deep as some “counter-depth” refrigerators out there. Generally counter-depth refrigerators are in the range of 24″ to just under 30″ deep. I’m glad to see that Kenmore isn’t using misleading marketing to get buzz words in their refrigerator’s description.
This is a fridge with a depth that’s right about average for full-sized refrigerators. It shouldn’t be too hard to reach to the back of the fresh food compartment, especially since the interior is wide open given the french door configuration.
How Tall is Kenmore’s 2537031321?
The question of counter-depth or not may not be as important as the height when considering how easy it is to reach the back. With the fresh food compartment at the top, tall refrigerators can cause difficulties reaching the back of the upper shelves. This isn’t such a big problem with top freezer models, as frozen foods tend to sit there for longer periods of time, and won’t go bad as fast if they get “forgotten” way in the back up there. For those rare times you do have to get to the frozen food in the very back, it still may be necessary to get a footstool for some of us who aren’t 6’6″ tall, but at least it’s not a common everyday occurance.
Fresh food on the other hand isn’t going to keep all that long in many cases. Ending up with some rotten food on the top shelf of your refrigerator isn’t a very appetizing possibility, and having to constantly use a foot-stool isn’t much fun either. This makes the height of the refrigerator rather important for bottom freezers and french door configurations, and to a lesser extent for side-by-sides as well. The shelf itself can interfere with the ability to reach towards the back, especially if the top shelf is set close to the top of the refrigerator.
The top shelves on the 2537031321 is adjustable to some extent, and it isn’t a particularly tall refrigerator at only 68 1/4″ cabinet height (and that’s including hidden hinges), so you should be able to avoid this problem. There is a narrow shelf on the ice-maker side of the fresh food compartment, and a half-width shelf on the other side. Then two more half-width shelves that can be adjusted down below. If you are having difficulty reaching the back of the top shelf, you should probably lower at least one side of the top shelves as far as they will go. This will allow you to store your larger items up top, like pitchers of juice, gallons of milk, and similarly tall items. Then on the lower shelves you can store your shorter containers.
In that case though, the half-width shelves below might not make a whole lot of sense. This is the difficulty that comes with including an automatic ice maker, 2 humidity controlled drawers, as well as a full width gourmet pantry drawer all in the fresh food compartment … there just isn’t a whole lot of space left for normal storage. If you have a lot of very short containers that you like to store in the fresh food compartment, like pizza boxes, you may still find good use for those second half-width shelves. I would be tempted to leave one out myself.
How Kenmore’s 2537031321 Looks and Feels
I really like the styling on this refrigerator. The stainless steel finish on the door looks great of course. Make sure you know how to clean your stainless fridge properly if going with that finish. You wouldn’t want to ruin the look of the fridge or your adjacent floors/counter-tops by misuing the wrong cleaning agents.
Like most of Kenmore’s models, the stainless steel finish is just on the door though. The sides are “Apollo Grey”, which seems to be a fancy way of saying “grey”. If you’re going to have this recessed into cabinetry with most of the sides hidden from view, this isn’t going to be a big deal. In fact it’s a good thing because you aren’t paying extra for that hidden stainless stell finish. However if this fridge is going to be exposed on one side or another you might want to reconsider and go for other models that have stainless steel side panels to match the door.
The styling on the handles looks great.
Energy Efficiency of Kenmore’s 2537031321
An important feature to note here is the control panel on the door. This allows you to adjust the 2537031321’s temperature settings without having to open the door and fiddle with dials. These are the sort of usability features that not only make a lot of sense in making the refrigerator easy to use, but also will factor into energy efficiency. Not having to open the door means the compressor doesn’t have to pump as much heat out of the refrigerator. This isn’t something that will show up in the Energy Guide, but it’s definitely a plus for this fridge model and others that have similar control features.
With the 2537031321 you are getting an Energy Star qualified refrigerator. I’m not sure what CEE tier it is rated at though. This is because there is not yet a Federal standard for french door refrigerators with through-the-door water and ice service as far as I can tell.
Normally french door refrigerators are treated as bottom mount, but there is no Federal standard for bottom mount refrigerators with through-the-door ice service. This is why if you look at the yellow energy efficiency sticker on Kenmore’s 2537031321 (or any other bottom mount freezer configured refrigerator with an ice dispenser in the door) you won’t see a range of similar models’ yearly operating cost.
Federal guidelines will have to be updated at some point. Not only to accomodate the vast number of french door refrigerators with ice and water dispensers in the door, but also because we are seeing some top and bottom freezer configurations which also include water dispensers in the door. It’s only a matter of time before someone puts a through the door ice dispenser on one … if it hasn’t happened already … it’s hard to keep up!
So far I haven’t seen a CEE tier rating for this model. If we do the math ourselves, the 26.7 cubic feet of capacity is broken into 7.66 cubic feet for the freezer, with the remaining 19.02 cubic feet left to fresh food capacity. Using the formula AV = (freezer_volume * 1.63) + freshfood_volume, we get an adjusted volume of (7.66 * 1.63) + 19.02 = 31.5058.
Using that adjusted volume, we can plug it into the formula for side-by-side refrigerators with automatic defrost and through the ice service. This formula is 10.10AV + 406.0, so that gives us (10.10 * 31.5058) + 406.0 = 724.20858 for a Federal standard. Comparing that to the 487 kWhs of the 2537031321 means that this refrigerator is 33% more efficient than the Federal standard. That’s quite impressive, as Energy Star qualified refrigerators only need to be 20% more efficient than that standard, and the CEE tier 3, which is the highest tier, calls for only 30%.
That’s a little misleading though, as usually bottom freezers have a slightly lower Federal standard than side-by-sides. The Federal standard listed on the Energy Star website is 696kWh, but I’m not quite sure how they are calculating that. Using that number, the efficiency is very close to 30% more efficient than the Federal standard. It’s not clear to me whether the 2537031321 is actually a CEE tier 3 qualifier or not, but in any case it does clear the Energy Star guidelines with plenty of room to spare! With only 12.8% of Energy Star refrigerators qualifying for CEE tier 3, this means that the Kenmore 2537031321 is easily within the top 15% of Energy Star qualified refrigerators, and hasn’t had to skimp on the features to get there!
I should also note here that with recommended clearances on the top and sides of just 3/8″, it doesn’t look like this Kenmore fridge is having to work hard to get there. Some of Kenmore’s other refrigerators that aren’t so efficient need up to 3″ of clearance on top to allow for proper heat dissipation. It’s nice to see these small recommended clearances on a Kenmore refrigerator.
Kenmore’s New French Door Family
The 2537031321’s siblings are the 2537031221 and 2537031921. These model numbers are even more confusing than Kenmore’s regular model numbering convention. Most other brands include information about the refrigerator’s features or size in the model numbers. Kenmore’s numbering though only references color in a straightforward manner. Other specification references in their model numbers are vague at best.
Unlike most of Kenmore’s refrigerators’ model naming conventions, these are marketted with the leading 3 digits (253) and trailing 2 digits (21). Generally Kenmore model numbers will be seen with just the 5 digits in between. In the Energy Guide the models are referred to by only these 5 numbers, and the item numbers follow the same naming convention as all other Kenmore refrigerators as well. So I’m not sure why these models are marketted with the longer naming convention.
Using the more common naming convention, that would make these models the 70312, 70313, and 70319. Using just those 5 conventional digits it becomes much more clear what differentiates the models. Kenmore refrigerators that end in 3 are their stainless steel models, 2 is for white, 9 for black. Sometimes there will be models that end in 4 for bisque, or 6 for monochromatic, but Kenmore hasn’t released a bisque or monochromatic finish in this family of fridges as of yet.
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