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Thermador Vs. Sub-Zero Refrigerator Columns (Ratings / Reviews / Prices)

Steve Sheinkopf  |  August 31, 2020  |  6 Min. Read

Thermador  |  Sub-Zero  |  Refrigerators  |  Refrigerator Columns

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Refrigerator columns have become extremely popular in higher-end kitchens.

Most higher-end brands now manufacture a column like Dacor, Jenn-Air, GE Monogram, and Viking.

However, Thermador and Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer columns are by far the most popular.

Ten years ago, you bought a Thermador column for a lower price and Sub-Zero as the better product.

However, Thermador's newer series released in 2017-2018 narrowed the gap.

In this article, you will learn all aspects of columns from both Thermador and Sub-Zero, including sizes, configurations, door storage, controls, and shelving.

In the end, you will see how Sub-Zero and Thermador stored fruit and vegetables over four weeks with video and time-lapse photography (which is pretty cool).

First, let's answer what a refrigerator column is and show you how to buy one.

Short on time? Get our free Refrigerator Buying GuideLearn More

What Is A Refrigerator And Freezer Column?

integrated-column-refrigeration-at-yale-appliance-in-bostonIntegrated Column Refrigeration at Yale Appliance in Framingham

 

You probably will have six different answers depending on the website or salesperson.

It isn't obvious, by the way. Many people will call smaller refrigerators and freezers combinations as columns.

To simplify, let's call a column an all-refrigerator or all-freezer unit.

Benefits Of A Refrigerator And Freezer Column

There are many benefits to a column both for you and the manufacturer.

You can place columns anywhere in your kitchen because the freezer is not tethered to the refrigerator.

The measurements are 18, 24, 30, and 36 inches, so you can customize not just the locations but also how much total refrigerator and freezer capacity.

Columns are great for manufacturers as well.

Their smaller capacities comply even with California's strict energy guidelines without retooling the product.

What Does A Column Look Like In A Kitchen?

Columns look great in a kitchen, especially with panels. They are hidden from view due to their shallower depth.

Problems With Integrated Refrigerator And Freezer Columns

Their depth is even shallower than a pro-style refrigerator with the compressor on the top, so there is roughly 15% less total capacity.

An integrated column is also the most expensive refrigerator per cubic foot on the market.

If you need a quick recap of the differences between regular counter depth, professional, and integrated refrigerators and columns, check out our 2-minute video below, or feel free to breeze by it.

What's The Difference Between Counter Depth, Professional, and Integrated Refrigeration? [VIDEO]
 

Sub-Zero 

Sub-Zero-Column-Refrigeration-Options-at-yale-appliance-in-hanoverSub-Zero Column Refrigeration Options at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Sub-Zero was the original industry pioneer for built-in refrigeration about sixty years ago.

Today, they are a leader in manufacturing high-quality refrigeration and wine preservation.

They were the first to market a column, albeit in an odd 27-inch size.

Refrigerators follow cabinet sizes like other appliances. For example, 30 inches is the common size for a stove, because it fits a 30-inch cabinet.

You are probably considering a 36-inch refrigerator for the same reason.

Sub-Zero took a risk. It would have been brilliant to have their proprietary specification, but that size was discontinued about ten years ago

Sub-Zero specializes in refrigeration and owns the cooking company, Wolf, and now the Cove dishwasher line.

There is some promotional packaging when combining Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove.

Sub-Zero Refrigerator And Freezer Columns

Sub-Zero 36-Inch Panel-Ready Column Refrigerator

sub-zero-panel-ready-column-refrigerator-ic36r

Capacity: 21.4 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price Options:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Sub-Zero 30-Inch Panel-Ready Column Refrigerator

subzero-integrated-refrigerator-column-IC30

Capacity: 17.3 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price Options:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Sub-Zero 24-Inch Panel-Ready Column RefrigerationSub-Zero-IC-24R

Capacity: 12.9 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price Options:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Sub-Zero 36-Inch Panel-Ready Column Freezer

IC-36R

Capacity:  20 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Sub-Zero 30-Inch Panel-Ready Column Freezer

IC-30FI-RH

Capacity: 15.3 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Sub-Zero 24-Inch Panel-Ready Column Freezer

ic-24fi

Capacity: 12.3 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Sub-Zero 18-Inch Panel-Ready Column Freezer

ic-18fi

Capacity: 8.4 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Have questions? Click here to check out our Learning Center.

Sub-Zero Refrigerator And Freezer Column Features:

  • Made in the United States
  • Nano-coated spill-proof shelving is durable and can prevent spills from spreading
  • Soft-on LED internal lighting
  • Tested in US facility for 20 years of heavy use
  • Soft-close doors and drawers
  • Touch controls to regulate temperature
  • Air purification system to remove ethylene gas to keep food fresher longer
  • Option for an internal filtered water dispenser in the refrigerator
  • The automatically filtered ice maker in freezer with max-ice feature

Hallmarks Of Sub-Zero Refrigerator And Freezer Columns

Sub-Zero was the original two compressor refrigerator.

In a two compressor system, the moist warmer air doesn't commingle with the freezer's dry colder air.

Food tastes better, especially in the freezer. You also have less frost.

Most premium refrigerators are two compressors now, including Thermador.

Vacuum Seal

Sub-Zero-Refrigerator-Vacuum-SealSub-Zero Refrigerator Vacuum Seal Door

 

However, Sub-Zero has a vacuum air seal keeping outside air out of your refrigerator. It's even designed to be harder to open than any other refrigerator.

Air Purifier

Sub-Zero-Refrigerator-Air-Purifier-at-Yale-ApplianceSub-Zero Refrigerator Air Purifier

 

The NASA inspired filter scrubs ethylene gases off foods, so they stay fresh longer.

It also eliminates cross-contamination to other foods keeping them fresher as well

Magnetic Crisper Drawers

Sub-Zero-Refrigeration-Crisper-DrawersSub-Zero Column Refrigeration Drawers

 

The crispers close shut, so air does not infiltrate from other parts of the refrigerator.

All these core elements are designed, so food stays fresh longer.

Nanotechnology Shelves

sub-zero-refrigerator-shelvingSub-Zero Refrigeration Nanotechnology Shelving

 

Sub-Zero shelves have a coating, so spills congeal rather than spread.

It's a great idea for a refrigerator because it is impossible to clean that sticky juice spill from every crevice and cranny of your refrigerator.

Is A Sub-Zero Refrigerator Worth It? [VIDEO]
 

Thermador

Thermador-Kitchen-in-at-Yale-Appliance-in-HanoverThermador Kitchen Featuring A Column Refrigerators at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Thermador is a premium appliance brand owned by the BSH Corporation. They were primarily known for manufacturing cooking products like pro ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens.

Their refrigeration is made in Turkey, along with Gaggenau, Bosch Benchmark, and Miele.

Sub-Zero was the first with its 27-inch columns.

However, Thermador was the first to introduce their "Freedom" integrated columns in the other standard sizes of 18, 24, 30, and 36-inch widths.

Thermador was also one of the first brands to have a "Freedom Hinge" so that their refrigeration could integrate completely flush with your cabinetry.

Their rebate program is the best in the industry dubbed the "1, 2, Free" with free dishwashers and hoods with qualifying purchases of Thermador cooking and refrigerators.

Thermador Refrigerator And Freezer Columns

Thermador 36" Panel-Ready Column Refrigerator

T36IR900SP

Capacity: 19.7 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Thermador 30" Panel-Ready Column Refrigerator

T30IR900SP-thermador

Capacity: 17.2 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price Options:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Thermador 24" Panel-Ready Column Refrigeration

T24IR900SP

Capacity: 13.2 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price Options:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Thermador 23.5" Panel-Ready Column Refrigerator

Thermador-T23IR900SP-column-refrigerator

Capacity: 13.2 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Thermador 36" Panel-Ready Column Freezer

Thermador-T36IF900SP-column-freezer

Capacity:  19.7 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Thermador 30" Panel-Ready Column Freezer

T30IF900SP-column-freezer

Capacity: 15.8 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Thermador 24" Panel-Ready Column Freezer

T24IF900SP-column-freezer

Capacity: 12.2 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price Options:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Thermador 18" Panel-Ready Column Freezer

T18IF901SP-column-freezer

Capacity: 8.6 Cu. Ft. 

Model And Price Options:

Both options are available with left or right hinged doors.

Thermador Refrigerator And Freezer Column Features:

  • Made in Turkey
  • Half-gallon produce bins on the door for more fresh food space
  • Door shelves and produce bins can be adjusted to any level on the door for more flexibility
  • Open door assist, the door can open with a light push to the panel, great for full integration with handless kitchen cabinets
  • Humidity controlled crisper drawers
  • Super Cool, a feature in the refrigerator, allows you to reduce temp to cool foods quickly temporarily
  • LED internal theater lighting
  • Soft-close doors and drawers
  • TFT touch controls to regulate temperature
  • Option for filtered external ice/water dispenser on 18" and 24" freezer columns
  • The automatically filtered diamond ice maker in the freezer

Hallmarks Of Thermador Refrigerator and Freezer Columns

The redesigned (after 2018) models have a new robust control panel governing every possible aspect of the refrigerator.

The refrigerator bins are inspired. You can also customize them for different foods.

The refrigerator has a push to open function. I used to think it was gimmicky.

You can push the door open with your hands full, rather than pulling on a handle.

It's also a nice design element because you can have a handleless refrigerator.

Sub-Zero Vs. Thermador Refrigerator/Freezer Columns: Which is Better?

Column Refrigeration Doors:

Thermador has a new type of door. You can now push to open without a handle assist. It is a benefit with your hands full.

You will also like the storage on the Thermadors door. You can have bins on the door for mushrooms, veggies, and other more delicate foods.

The storage may be better with a Thermador, but Sub-Zero has a better seal. It's almost hard to open by design and allows less air into the refrigerator.

Controls:

They are both pretty robust, but Thermador has updated many user guides directly into the controls itself.

You have monitoring and better diagnostic capabilities with Thermador.

Shelving:

Ever spill anything in your refrigerator? You are still finding it days, weeks, and years later. Milk, sticky fruit juice all seem to linger.

Sub-Zero has a nanotechnology film, so spills do not spread. They congeal.

Air Cleaning:

I am surprised Thermador did not duplicate this feature.

Sub-Zero has an air scrubber, so it scrubs ethylene gases of foods reducing spoilage and cross-contamination.

Sub-Zero is still built better with magnetic crispers and design to keep air out of the refrigerator.

Thermador is very cool, and I like the bins and more flexible storage.

Ice And Water Dispensers:

Sub-Zero offers internal water dispensing on a few models. Thermador offers outside dispensing on some of their freezers

Project Produce: Which Refrigerator Keeps Food Fresh The Longest?

 

We tested Sub-Zero and Thermador refrigerators over four weeks. Sub-Zero was better, but Thermador was number 2 out of the five refrigerator brands tested.

Price Difference Between Sub-Zero and Thermador Columns

Sub-Zero is over $1,000 to $2,000 more expensive than comparable Thermador column refrigerators. The other Thermador appliances are less expensive and can be compared with rebates.

You will be spending $4-6,000 more for a Sub-Zero and Wolf kitchen versus a comparably-priced Thermador kitchen.

Have questions? Click here to check out our Learning Center.

Key Takeaways

Both are excellent. You should consider both for your kitchen.

Thermador has good storage on the door and some pretty cool controls. It is a less expensive option, but still a good consideration, especially in a package.

However, for keeping food fresher longer with its air scrubber, vacuum seal, and magnetic crisper, Sub-Zero is still the best refrigerator on the market.

Additional Resources

Get the Yale Counter Depth Refrigerator Buying Guide with features, specs and inside tips to all the brands like Sub-Zero, Thermador, Viking, Miele, Gaggenau, Liebherr and more. Well over 820,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our counter depth refrigerator buying guide

Related Articles:

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

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 stores for most accurate price.

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