Home Appliance + Lighting Blog
Honest insights, opinions and resources about buying home appliances, lighting and plumbing

Viking vs. Sub-Zero Refrigerators 2015 (Reviews/Ratings/Prices)

Viking and Sub-Zero are arguably the industry's two best premium brands.

Viking purchased the tooling of Amana's high-end refrigerator production about 15 years ago to become a refrigerator as well as a range company.

Sub-Zero bought Wolf to become a range and refrigerator company. For the last 10 years, they have become the choice of luxury homes.

After some initial problems, Viking has produced a better refrigerator, but does it compare to the Sub-Zero?

Short on time? Get our free Counter Depth Refrigerator Guide for more »

subzero bi36 stainless refrigerator kitchen

Counter-Depth, Professional + Integrated Refrigerators


Thanks for reporting a problem. We'll attach technical data about this session to help us figure out the issue. Which of these best describes the problem?

Any other details or context?


The History of Sub-Zero

In 1943, Westye F. Bakke built the first freestanding freezer in the basement of his Madison, Wisconsin home. Bakke founded Sub-Zero Freezer Company just two years later in an old two-car garage. From its modest beginnings, Sub-Zero has become the recognized leading manufacturer of premium built-in home refrigerators.

Indicative of the company’s innovative engineering is its dual refrigeration system, which relies on two separate, self-contained cooling systems to keep food fresher and preserve frozen food longer.

Get our free Counter Depth Refrigerator Buying Guide for more on Sub-Zero products »

For sixty years, Sub-Zero has offered innovative, aesthetically appealing and technologically advanced solutions to meet virtually any home refrigeration need.

The History of Viking

Viking Range Corporation was founded by Fred Carl, Jr., a fourth-generation building contractor, as a speculative venture aimed at developing the first commercial-type range specifically designed, engineered and certified for home use. Viking is considered not only a major appliance manufacturer but a culinary company involved in all aspects of the kitchen and the world of food and wine.

The Viking refrigeration plant was totally renovated in 2000 and produces Viking built-in refrigerators, freezers, wine storage units and an entire line of outdoor refrigeration products. Viking was acquired by the range manufacture Middleby in February of 2013.

viking VCBB5362RSS refrigerator


subzero bi36u refrigerator

Viking VCBB5362RSS


Sub-Zero BI36

Viking vs. SubZero Refrigerators

Air Filtration

Both Sub-Zero and Viking produce excellent refrigerators. Both have air filtration systems inside the refrigerator. Viking uses Sharp's Plasmacluster Ion Air Purifier to eliminate airborne mold, bacteria and other impurities while removing odors.

Sub-Zero’s air filtration system has an air scrubber which scrubs the gasses off food, keeping food fresher for a longer period of time. It also eliminates cross contamination from spoiling foods.

Crispers / Seals

Sub-Zero also has a vacuum seal on the door, which eliminates outside air entering the refrigerator. The refrigerator also features a high-humidity drawer with dividers and an adjustable dairy compartment. The crisper and deli drawers also form a special low temperature zone. They are magnetized to seal air out.

Viking has two high-humidity zone drawers as well as an adjustable cold zone drawer which can be set for either produce or long-term fresh meat storage with separate temperature controls.


Both have electronic controls to maintain temperature. Sub-Zero maintains temperature within 3 degrees, while Viking claims temperature control within 1 degree.

Compressor / Warranty

Sub-Zero uses a two-compressor system, whereas Viking utilizes one compressor. Both Sub-Zero and Viking offer excellent warranties. Sub-Zero is 2 full years and up to 12 years on the compressor and Viking is 3 years full.


While Viking is improved over previous models, from a technological standpoint, Sub-Zero still has the clear edge. Two compressors means the air stays chambered in the proper area. Thus the moist air stays in the refrigerator and doesn’t mix with the drier air of the freezer. The tastes don't crossover (ice cream tasting like fish). I also like the vacuum seal of the Sub-Zero which keeps air from infiltrating the refrigerator, keeping food fresher for a longer period of time.


Middleby now owns Viking. I originally was excited about the new Viking, but the service issues are perplexing especially on a brand so reliant on their name recognition. We are lucky with 23 techs on staff, because the Viking service rate is now over 60% in the first year. Technology aside, the product does not work as it should.

I think the problems are organic and for the meantime I would stay away from this refrigerator. Hopefully, Middleby will sort out the issues.

Additional Resources

Download our Counter Depth Refrigerator Buyers Guide specifically addressing all current counter depth refrigerators including regular, integrated and professional. Over 70,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our counter depth refrigerator buying guide


About The Author

William Hanley

William Hanley is an appliance sales consultant at Yale Appliance + Lighting. Before joining Yale, William worked for twenty years in jewelry sales and is a lifelong Patriots and RedSox fan.

Read more about Bill here.

Share This Article

View our Resource Center
Remodeling and Home Design

Subscribe to Email Updates


see all

A note about pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing.

Please call the store for most accurate price.