At 16.7 cubic feet, the Kenmore Elite 28712 upright freezer isn't as large as the top-rated Frigidaire FFU21F5HW (Est. $600) , but users say it's very easy to organize. It's also packed with features, from adjustable door storage to a soft-freeze zone for ice cream. Its temperature performance is good, but its efficiency is only so-so despite its Energy Star rating. Users also have some complaints about its noise level and reliability.
Loaded with features. The Kenmore Elite 28712 freezer isn't huge, but users say its storage features make it easy to use every bit of the space. It has glass shelves with sliding "bookends" to organize food, sliding baskets, adjustable door storage and a pull-out pizza shelf. The freezer also has digital controls on the door that show the inside temperature and can be locked to prevent accidental changes. Other features include interior lighting, a quick-freeze setting, a soft-freeze zone for keeping ice cream at a scoopable texture, and an alarm to alert you if the door is left open.
Mixed performance ratings. The Kenmore Elite 28712 gets mixed scores in professional tests. Its temperature control is excellent, yet its measured energy efficiency is only middling, and its noise level is worse than average. Owners disagree over whether the freezer's noise level is really a problem: Some reviews say there is "hardly any noise," while others complain that it "sounds like a hulking monster had just entered the house." They do agree, however, that the freezer "keeps food nicely frozen," and they like the fact that it defrosts automatically.
Disappointing durability. Reliability appears to be the Kenmore Elite's weakest point. In roughly 100 reviews, we read about a dozen reports of breakdowns. Some owners report that their freezer failed after two to four years, others say theirs broke down during the one-year warranty period; others say the freezer never worked at all. People whose freezers failed during the warranty period also complain about the poor service they received from Sears. Many say it can take over a week to get a repair; repair people routinely show up several hours after their scheduled appointment, and customer service never returns calls.
ConsumerReports.org evaluates about 20 upright freezers on its website, including the Kenmore Elite 28712. Each freezer is rated for temperature performance, energy efficiency and noise level. Editors also compare each freezer's claimed capacity to its actual, usable space.
Review: Freezers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Roughly 100 owners review the Kenmore Elite 28712 at Sears.com, awarding it 4 out of 5 stars on average. Although they love this freezer's luxury features, they're divided over its noise level, and we saw a fair number of reliability complaints.
Review: Kenmore Elite 16.7 cu. ft. Upright Freezer Energy Star, Contributors to Sears.com, As of November 2013