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Sub-Zero vs. Monogram Refrigerators: Which Is Better? (2023 Update)

November 3rd, 2022 | 4 min. read

By April Castle

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Sub-Zero vs. Monogram Refrigerators: Which Is Better? (2023 Update)

Sub-Zero vs. Monogram built-in refrigerators is an interesting comparison I never thought I would make.

Sub-Zero is the best-known luxury appliance brand, while years ago, Monogram languished as a semi-upscale appliance line sold to builders.

Then it happened.

I will tell you what it is later. Everyone loves a cliffhanger. This is my first time writing one.

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In this article, you will learn the fundamental differences between Sub-Zero and Monogram. I will even tell you what it is and another key differentiator, not on either specification sheet.

First, let's look at the companies behind the best 36-inch built-in refrigerators.


Sub-Zero Refrigeration

sub-zero-CL3650UID-refrigerator-installedSub-Zero 36-Inch Built-In Refrigerator 


Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove is the largest American family-owned appliance manufacturer based in Madison, Wisconsin, and produces products not only in Wisconsin but in Arizona and Kentucky as well.

Sub-Zero was the first with almost anything good in appliances like twin compressors, ethylene scrubbers, nanotechnology shelving, and the concept of a counter-depth refrigerator in the 1960s.

Although family-owned, Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove is the most popular luxury brand in the industry. Appliance service and control of service are what distinguish Sub-Zero from every other brand.

Monogram Refrigeration

monogram-kitchen-appliancesMonogram Kitchen Appliances


Monogram, for years, languished as the unwanted stepchild in the now-unwanted GE conglomerate. GE (Monogram's parent company) lost one billion dollars on a failed new compressor in the 1980s and was for sale seemingly after that.

Then it happened. Haier, the Chinese conglomerate, bought GE, outbidding Electrolux by two billion dollars.

This is the same company that turned around Fisher & Paykel and made many innovative improvements (not an easy job, by the way).

Haier is a company specializing in turning around poorly performing appliance brands. They did so with GE laundry, Café Appliances, GE Profile brands, and Monogram. But can the new product compete against the industry best?

It depends on what you are looking for.

Sub-Zero vs. Monogram Refrigerators: Which Is Better?


Sub-Zero CL3650UID/S/P/R | Monogram ZICS360NNRH


In terms of overall products, Sub-Zero has more than any other manufacturer. You have ten 48-inch models, ten 42-inch models, twenty 36-inch models, and twenty-one 30-inch models.

That's just their Classic series and not the built-in Designer series. The Designer series adds an additional 18 models.

Sub-Zero-Refrigeration-SeriesThey have professional models, French door models, and designer models all with panel-ready and stainless options.

Monogram has four 48-inch, four 42-inch, six 36 inches, and four 30-inch refrigerators. It's a decent yet abbreviated assortment compared to a Sub-Zero.


Let's compare two of the most popular units, the 36-inch bottom mounts.

What They Have in Common

Two Compressors

Sub-Zero was the first to include two compressors in their refrigeration. Now every premium manufacturer employs two compressors.

The warmer, humid air of the refrigerator doesn't blend with the colder, drier air of the freezer, so your frozen food will taste better. You also defrost less because warmer air isn't infiltrating your freezer.

Independent Temperature Controls

You should expect a $9,000+ refrigerator to be adjustable by one degree in the freezer and refrigerator. But until recently, Sub-Zero was the only company to do so.


About 15 years ago, I met with other dealers, and the owner of Sub-Zero did something I had never seen before or since. He read negative reviews about his company based on service. (I prayed that none of them were mine).

Everyone talks about the iconic red knobs on their Wolf cooking appliances, but few realize Sub-Zero has the best service response for a luxury brand.

The second brand with the best service network and response is GE Appliances or, in this case, Monogram. Haier bought GE because they realized the importance of service. They also know setting up a service network is incredibly expensive.

Sub-Zero will be the best, but both are good. A brand with factory service is critical if you buy from a store without service.

Smart Technology

monogram-smarthq-app-with-refrigerator-temperature-controlMonogram SmartHQ App with Refrigerator Temperature Control


Smart features are not as important for refrigeration as they are for cooking. Both brands will tell you the door is open for filter changes on your app.

You can also change temperatures remotely. (Do you ever change the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer?)

The Monogram smart app platform, SmartHQ, is the best in the industry, but Sub-Zero will perform the same functions in their refrigerator.

Water Filtration

They both have built-in water filters for their refrigerators.

Spill Proof Shelving

Sub-zero-refrigerator-shelving-CL3650UIDSub-Zero Refrigerator Shelving


Sub-Zero coats their shelves with nanotechnology to slow spills, making the liquid thicken and not spread. You won't have to clean spilled grape juice for the next six months in your refrigerator.

Monogram has spill-proof shelving. The rim of each shelf is designed to hold up to 12 ounces of liquid. Both are good, but it depends on what and how much you are spilling.

Where They Differ

Crisper Bins

monogram-refrigerator-climate-controlled-drawersMonogram Climate Controlled Drawers


Monogram refrigerators have the temperature control settings on the bottom crisper. You can Express Thaw a piece of meat or set the temperature to Express Chill for your wine or produce. It's a great idea.

Then again, Sub-Zero doesn't have that feature, but their crispers are magnetized to prevent air infiltration.

How They Cool

Sub-Zero-CL3650UOD-Refrigerator-Air-CircilationSub-Zero Refrigerator Air Circulation


Sub-Zero circulates air from the top down and uses a fan. Monogram has a multi-shelf temperature system where air flows from each shelf to maintain an even temperature throughout the refrigerator.

Air Purification System

Turns out that spoiling food emits ethylene gas, and Sub-Zero scrubs the gases to keep food fresher longer. It also prevents cross-contamination of those gases with other foods.

Vacuum-Sealed Door

Sub-Zero-Refrigerator-Vacuum-Seal-1Sub-Zero Vacuum-Sealed Refrigerator Door


Sub-Zero has a vacuum-sealed door to prevent outside air from entering your refrigerator. This is especially great for better temperature maintenance and keeping food fresh longer.

Sub-Zero won our two Project Produce tests with fruit and veggies over four weeks.


Sub-Zero will take a year before your appliances are delivered, while Monogram has about a three to six-month lead time.

Pro Tip: Every premium brand is a problem, so order during the start of your project. Most renovations now take about a year, so you should have an appliance delivery on time (hopefully).


Monogram's best 36-inch refrigerator is $9,600. However, you can have up to $3,000 back in rebates with other qualifying purchases. Sub-Zero is $13,465 with an up to $1,000 rebate with other qualifying purchases.

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Sub-Zero vs. Monogram 36-Inch Refrigerators: Key Takeaways

Overall, Sub-Zero is a better refrigerator. From the vacuum seal door to the air purification system, food will last longer in a Sub-Zero refrigerator.

However, Monogram is a decent alternative in that next tier as a less expensive option with better availability.

What do you think? You can leave comments below. I will also answer any questions you have.

Additional Resources

Download the Yale Counter Depth Refrigerator Buying Guide with features, specifications, and inside buying tips for regular, pro, and integrated counter-depth refrigerators. Well over 1 million people have read a Yale Guide.


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