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

Jessica Petrino  |  October 11, 2017  |  6 Min. Read

Thermador  |  Sub-Zero  |  Refrigerators  |  Refrigerator Columns

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Refrigerator columns are extremely popular in today’s high-end kitchen renovations.  You will definitely consider a column versus a pro built-in refrigerator for your renovation. Sub-Zero and Thermador dominate this niche. 

Sub-Zero had better features, but Thermador was less expensive with better promotions like a free dishwasher and hood.

BSH Live Kitchen.jpg

Now, Thermador has introduced a new series at similar prices as Sub-Zero's with new features, making them a worthy competitor. We will compare their new features versus Sub-Zero, but first, we will look at columns.

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

Counter Depth, Professional, and Integrated Refrigerators

 
 
 
 
 
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Wistia video thumbnail - Counter-Depth, Professional + Integrated Refrigerators
 

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Column advantages

There are some major advantages to considering columns. Columns sit flush with your cabinetry and hidden hinges so your refrigerator and freezer can be completely indistinguishable from your cabinets. Even if you want to go with a stainless door, columns offer a very sleek high-end look.

Houzz, Photo by LEICHT New York - Columns sit flush with your cabinets

The second advantage to refrigerator and freezer columns is customization of capacity. Refrigerator and freezer columns are bought as two separate appliances and are typically merged together.  You can customize how much space you want to allocate toward a refrigerator and a freezer.

Houzz Kitchen, Photo by CWB Architects - Refrigerator and Freezer Columns
 
If you value refrigerator space and you don’t need much freezer room, you can order columns to suit your personal needs.

The third advantage is customization of location. Since refrigerator and freezer columns are sold as separate appliances, there is no rule saying that you need to put your refrigerator and freezer side-by-side.

Houzz Kitchen, Photo by APD Interiors - Column, Side-by-Side Configuration
 
Although the side-by-side configuration is still common, columns give you the freedom to put your refrigerator on one side of the room, and your freezer on the other.

Sub-Zero

Sub-Zero and Wolf Kitchen- SubZero Model IC-24CI, IW-18.jpg

Sub-Zero was the original industry pioneer for built-in refrigeration about fifty years ago. Today, they are a leader in manufacturing high-quality refrigeration and wine preservation. Sub-Zero specializes in refrigeration and owns the cooking company, Wolf.

Over the past several years, Sub-Zero and Wolf released many products in various sizes and aesthetics. There is some promotional packaging when combining Sub-Zero refrigeration with Wolf cooking products.

Sub-Zero Refrigerator Column Offerings:

 

Price (panel-ready)

Capacity (cubic ft.)

36’’ refrigerator

$7,340 (no water)/ $7550 (internal water)

21.4

30’’ refrigerator

$6,930 (no water)/ $7080 (internal water)

17.3

24’’ refrigerator

$6,540 (no water)

12.9

36’’ freezer

$7,630

20

30’’ freezer

$7,040

15.3

24’’ freezer

$6,700

12.3

18’’ freezer

$6,300

8.4

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 internal filtered water dispenser in refrigerator
  • Automatically filtered ice maker in freezer with max-ice feature
Sub-Zero Refrigerator Features

 
 
 
 
 
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Thermador

thermador-kitchen.jpg

Thermador is a premium appliance brand owned by the BSH Corporation. Thermador is primarily known for manufacturing professional-style ranges. Their refrigeration is made in Turkey along with Gaggenau, Bosch Benchmark, and Miele models.

Thermador was one of the first companies to introduce column refrigeration in the US and since then, it has been a major trend. Thermador was also one of the first brands to have a “Freedom Hinge” so that their refrigeration could integrate completely flush with your cabinetry.

A few years ago, Sub-Zero introduced flush refrigeration with a different type of hidden hinge. Thermador just launched a new and improved refrigeration lineup. Below are the details:

Thermador Refrigerator Column Offerings:

 

Price (panel-ready)

Capacity (cubic ft.)

36’’ refrigerator

$7,249

19.7

30’’ refrigerator

$6,249

17.2

24’’ refrigerator

$5,649

13.2

23.5’’ refrigerator

$5,499

13.2

36’’ freezer

$7,049 (internal ice)

19.7

30’’ freezer

$6,249 (internal ice)

15.8

24’’ freezer

$5,649 (internal ice), $6249 (external ice)

12.2 (internal ice), 11.3 (external ice)

18’’ freezer

$5,199 (internal ice), $5649 (external ice)

8.6 (internal ice), 7.8 (external ice)

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 door for more flexibility
  • Open door assist, door can open with a light push to the panel, great for full integration with handless kitchen cabinets
  • Humidity controlled crisper drawers
  • Super cool feature in refrigerator allows you to temporarily reduce temp to cool foods quickly
  • 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
  • Automatically filtered diamond ice maker in freezer

Which is better?

It may be too soon to tell as most of the Thermador series will be out in 2018.  We do have a display model in Dorchester and Framingham, so here's my synopsis broken down by key factors.

The Door:

Thermador has a new type of door. You can now push to open without a handle assist. Although you will place a handle on the refrigerator to match the cabinets, it could be a benefit with your hands full.

thermador-bins.jpg

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

Controls:

They are both pretty robust, but Thermador has updated many user guide functions 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. Sub-Zero has the nanotechnology film so spills do not spread. They congeal.

Air Cleaning:

I am surprised Thermador did not duplicate. Sub-Zero has an air scrubber, so it scrubs ethylene gases of foods reducing spoilage and cross-contamination.

Sub-Zero Air Scrubber.jpg

Sub-Zero is still built better with magnetic crispers and a design to keep air out of the refrigerator.  Thermador is very cool, and I like the bins and more flexible storage.

However, Sub-Zero is still the choice, but the new Thermador, especially with the heavy promotion, has closed the gap and is worth considering.

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 235,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our counter depth refrigerator buying guide

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Jessica Petrino

Jessica Petrino is an Appliance Sales Consultant at Yale Appliance + Lighting. Jessica is a graduate of Brandeis University where she studied Economics and Philosophy. In her spare time she enjoys skiing, golfing, and traveling.

Read more about Jessica here.

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