Buying a fridge. Are in-the-door ice makers worth the money?

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Feb 14, 2004
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Just what the title says. My wife and I are in the market for a refrigerator. (And boy, is it disillusioning how they've become such big-ticket commodities while simultaneously becoming less reliable. We had the last one for almost 30 years, while no salesman will tell us a new one will last past 10.)

Anyway, the two fridges I've owned in my life, the (interior) ice maker was the first thing to go. Like, early. In your experience, is this also true of in-the-door ice makers? If it is, I think we'll forgo the extra $400 or so it will add to the price of a new one.
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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Well, one thing's for sure.

If your main concern is an ice maker, I wouldn't buy a Samsung — unless you want a man-sized kettle in your kitchen. :D
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
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Er, the days of fridges being designed - let alone built - to last for 30 years are........well and truly over.

Inbuilt obsolescence and all that.

Ten years is good, eleven or twelve, a lot better.

Um, I am not sure that I understand what you mean when you write of 'an interior ice-maker'?

Do you mean the freezer as a part of the fridge, as used to be the case decades ago, when that was the first part of the fridge to break down?

Anyway, for well over thirty years, we have had a fridge where the freezer compartment was completely separate.
 

Gypsy36

macrumors regular
Mar 23, 2013
179
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Canada
I think they are useless and a waste of space. I got a compromise - an ice maker in the freezer. Takes up a tiny amount of space and gives you ice if you need it.

Or you could just buy an ice tray ;)
 

RootBeerMan

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2016
1,266
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Our GE has/had a door ice maker and water dispenser. Had to disconnect the water a couple of months ago when the internals of the ice maker went tits up and started spewing water everywhere. The inside of the the freezer was caked with ice and I had water all over the kitchen floor. Needless to say, we've done just fine without it and I'm not so sure that I want one in my next fridge. They just don't get the usage that some would think they do (at our house) and it's not worth the hassle when they self destruct.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
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I think they are useless and a waste of space. I got a compromise - an ice maker in the freezer. Takes up a tiny amount of space and gives you ice if you need it.

Or you could just buy an ice tray ;)
Agreed. An ice tray is what we use, too.

Our current one is in the freezer...where it hasn't worked in 20 years. It simply drops ice into a bucket. Not on demand, just automatically until the bucket is full.
Um.

I am at a loss to understand why someone would hold onto something that hasn't worked in 20 years without repairing or replacing it.

Obviously, possession of an ice-maker - a functioning ice-maker - is not a pressing necessity in your life.
 

960design

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
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Destin, FL
We just ( 2 months ago ) this refrigerator.
http://www.lowes.com/pd/Whirlpool-Gold-26-2-cu-ft-French-Door-Refrigerator-with-Single-Ice-Maker-Monochromatic-Stainless-Steel/50092008?cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-Appliances-_-Refrigerators-_-50092008:Whirlpool&CAWELAID=&kpid=50092008&CAGPSPN=pla&store_code=479&k_clickID=762a853d-70b4-41c0-8036-a186f94ea55c

We choose NOT to get the additional ice maker in the freezer. This model has the ice maker in the refrigerator part. It produces enough ice for daily use but struggles when trying to fill a small cooler.

If you have cooler size ice needs, I would certainly add the optional freezer ice maker.
 

RobinInOR

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2014
504
335
Mm, I love our in the door icemaker on our whirlpool, that's just like the model we got. Nothing beats instant crushed ice and margaritas in the summer after work! Its also nice because you can program the water to dispense a certain amount - put a cup/bottle in there, start it, and walk away. To tell the truth that's what we use the most, the water.
 

noisycats

macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2010
771
857
The 'ham. Alabama.
Love the automatic ice, have yet to find a "through the door" model that was decent. Most are loud, slow, messy, and really eat up a lot of potential interior storage space. Stick with an internal version.
 

profmatt

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2015
1,601
1,563
UK
I have a Samsung two-door fridge-freezer with an ice and water dispenser in the freezer door. I like it. But you need to use ice a lot. Otherwise the pre-made ice slowly congeals into a solid block and you have to open up the ice box and throw it out.
 

Tinmania

macrumors 68040
Aug 8, 2011
3,454
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Aridzona
While it is a given that refrigerators today do not rival the longevity of those even 15 years ago, I still won't buy one without an ice-maker and separate water/ice dispensers on the door. I prefer an in-the-door ice maker as it takes up less space, albeit with, usually, less ice storage. I still have an old Kenmore (Frigidaire) in the garage that is working great, still making ice, and I bought it in 1998.

We have hard water here in Arizona. I don't rely at all on the filter included with most refrigerators today (use the bypass). For years I have used a whole-house iron filter followed by a good water softener (and regularly test the water to ensure it is indeed soft). From there drinking and cooking water, as well as the lines to the two refrigerators, is then filtered through a reverse osmosis system. Without this ice-makers would not last long at all.

If my ice maker in the kitchen fridge breaks I will simply fill the dispenser bin from ice made in the garage fridge. I'll do the reverse with the garage fridge should its ice-maker break. If I only had one fridge and its ice-maker broke out of warranty I'd just buy ice by the bag to fill up the bin, so I can still use the in-door dispenser. I'm not going to make ice with ice trays.

I think feeding the ice-maker good water, and using some common sense can make it last a bit longer. By common sense I mean not reaching in for ice with your hands and touching/moving/forcing anything while it is in a drop cycle (like the drop bar). There are a lot of parts in there that are not that robust. So I leave it alone. My old fridge stopped making ice once. It seemed "frozen" (literally). So I turned off the fridge and defrosted the ice-maker with a blow dryer. It worked again after that.



Mike
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
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Out Bosch Fridge Freezer is 14 years old and never had any issues.
It doesn't have an ice maker, but we just use an ice tray. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.
Agreed.

Mind you we don't have much need of ice with our climate.
Well, yes.

This also occurred to me; I think Our Transatlantic Cousins have rather different priorities on this matter, but then, their climate is drastically different, too.
 

curmudgeonette

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2016
505
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California
I am at a loss to understand why someone would hold onto something that hasn't worked in 20 years without repairing or replacing it.

Obviously, possession of an ice-maker - a functioning ice-maker - is not a pressing necessity in your life.
It's likely built into the freezer and cannot be removed. The OP probably does not need it nor expects a repair to work very long.
 

Thomas Veil

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Original poster
Feb 14, 2004
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It's likely built into the freezer and cannot be removed. The OP probably does not need it nor expects a repair to workm very long.
Exactly. It's built in and the whole fridge cost, as I recall, about $600 (medium priced at that time). I wasn't about to spend $150 or so, parts and labor, on something that broke so quickly.
 
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Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,007
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The Misty Mountains
Just what the title says. My wife and I are in the market for a refrigerator. (And boy, is it disillusioning how they've become such big-ticket commodities while simultaneously becoming less reliable. We had the last one for almost 30 years, while no salesman will tell us a new one will last past 10.)

Anyway, the two fridges I've owned in my life, the (interior) ice maker was the first thing to go. Like, early. In your experience, is this also true of in-the-door ice makers? If it is, I think we'll forgo the extra $400 or so it will add to the price of a new one.
To answer the question, absolutely while recognizing the mechanism and ice holder will take up more space in the freezer than 4 stacked ice trays. I've not purchased a fridge in the last 8 years, but in't that pretty much standard equipment these days? Having a cold water spicket is also nice. My major complaint is the cost of the replacement filters which run about $60 and asked to be changed often.
 

Thomas Veil

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Original poster
Feb 14, 2004
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I've not purchased a fridge in the last 8 years, but in't that pretty much standard equipment these days?
No, we went to a good independent dealer (not a box store) and found quite a few that can be had without in-the-door ice and water.

Based on what I'm reading here, I think we'll save the bucks and get one with French doors and no water or ice in the door. I can settle for having the ice maker in the freezer. (As long as it lasts, that is.)

Thank you, everybody, for the advice.
 
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Huntn

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May 5, 2008
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No, we went to a good independent dealer (not a box store) and found quite a few that can be had without in-the-door ice and water.

Based on what I'm reading here, I think we'll save the bucks and get one with French doors and no water or ice in the door. I can settle for having the ice maker in the freezer. (As long as it lasts, that is.)

Thank you, everybody, for the advice.
Very good. Personally I would not to go back to digging ice cubes out of trays. :)
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
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CT
I hate French door fridges. No room in those things. Call me old school but I also hate bottum drawer freezers.
 
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Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Feb 14, 2004
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OBJECTIVE reality
I hate French door fridges. No room in those things. Call me old school but I also hate bottum drawer freezers.
My wife hates side-by-side refrigerators for that same reason -- the divider down the middle really cramps your space. But for people who are getting older like us, having the fridge on top means most stuff is a lot easier to see and reach.
 

nebo1ss

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Jun 2, 2010
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My wife hates side-by-side refrigerators for that same reason -- the divider down the middle really cramps your space. But for people who are getting older like us, having the fridge on top means most stuff is a lot easier to see and reach.
I was visiting a friend recently who just got a new unit. He went for bottom drawer freezer with built in ice maker in the bottom draw. He said he wanted to avoid the ice maker that dispenses the ice because of reliability problems. He seem to have done his research and was very happy with his choice.
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
8,990
10,080
I've never had a modern appliance die on me without me doing something incredibly stupid with it or to it. We have a pair of Samsung washer and dryer that's been used 2-3x a week for the better past of 9 years without fail. My suggestion towards buyers is to research as much as you can about your future purchase. This is what I always do and I never have issues.

Having said that, refrigerators are taste based. Some prefer bottom loading freezers, others prefer the traditional design, side by sides, four door, and then there are French door advocates. The best side by sides are made by professional companies such as Viking and offer at least 40" of width and tremendous space. Of course, they also take up a lot of price and cost more than your average $1,700 Kenmore or whatever brand is available at your hardware store. To get quality and space, one must pay up for such requirements. One shouldn't expect a high degree of quality and resistance to abuse and heavy items inside for a pallid $1,700. I consider washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, stand mixers, cups and saucers and whatever tickles your fancy to be items one should invest money into. When you do, you're left with products that will last a long time and are made with better quality standards than the stuff available in any old store.


As to the question at hand, I actually prefer standalone ice makers. There are small units for under a few hundred that have good build quality and make fine ice. It makes ice faster than your refrigerator and can make more at a time.