Modern Refrigerator Brands

Have you ever wondered where refrigerators come from? Do brand names really mean anything? You’d be surprised! Refrigerator manufacturers of today have their own unique histories and relationships. Here are just a few you may be familiar with...

Maytag Corporate Headquarters Maytag Corporate Headquarters, located in Newton, IA.

The Top Brands

Chances are pretty good that the refrigerator in your home was made by Whirlpool. Refrigerators made by Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, and Amana are all under Whirlpool’s family of brand names. Since acquiring Maytag in 2006, Whirlpool has been the largest appliance manufacturer in the world.

Whirlpool is not all about business; they care about people too. They’re a principal supporter for Habitat for Humanity, as well as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Whirlpool also received a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign for the excellent ethnic diversity of their employees.

Whirlpool’s closest competitor is Electrolux, a Swedish appliance manufacturer who is also the parent company for the Frigidaire brand. Aside from refrigerators, Electrolux specializes in vacuum cleaners, releasing the robotic Electrolux Trilobite vacuum cleaner in 2002. Through the 1960s, the company drew attention to itself through a popular ad campaign in Britain which included the slogan "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux". To this day, it’s debated on whether or not the double-entendre was intentional, especially when the campaign was ported over to North America.

Another popular slogan from the 1960s came from Culligan, with their "Hey, Culligan man!" catchphrase. Culligan is a leading manufacturer of many types of water filters. Some older GE refrigerators still use Culligan water filter cartridges.

The Big Boys

Samsung Booth In Barcelona The Samsung 2008 GSMA Mobile World Congress booth in Barcelona, Spain.

GE is one of the industry’s "big boys", not just for refrigerators…or even appliances for that matter. General Electric was originally established by Thomas Edison, the man behind the invention of the light bulb. In the company’s 125+ year history, it’s grown to be the third largest company in the world. GE owns and operates several technology and finance companies, as well as the NBC Universal entertainment company.

Two other conglomerates, Samsung and LG, both originate from South Korea. The LG Group owns dozens of subsidiary companies, most of which are dedicated toward electronics or petrochemical products. LG’s philosophy has always been to find industries that they can become part of, and then become the best of that industry.

Meanwhile, Samsung has found similar success, becoming the world’s largest conglomerate by revenue. They are also the largest manufacturer of televisions, computer memory, and various other consumer electronics. Samsung also takes an active role in the world of sports, sponsoring dozens of teams and events, such as the NASCAR Nextel Cup and the annual World Cyber Games competition.

While not yet popular in America, Bosch is one of Europe’s major refrigerator manufacturers. Bosch has become a familiar brand name in Europe for appliances, power tools, and home security systems. However, one thing that they’re known for the world over is their role in automobiles. Bosch is currently the world’s largest supplier of automobile components and has forged relationships with nearly every automobile company in the world.

The New Guys

Kenmore 78546 Refrigerator The Kenmore model 78546 refrigerator.

Some refrigerator parts for the companies above are made by Cuno, a water filter company recently acquired by 3M. The 3M Company has a worldwide presence in their lines of products, from post-it notes to Filtrete air furnace filters.

Like Cuno and 3M, there are several companies that make products for your refrigerator, though it’s merely a part of their expertise. Both Brita and PUR are best known for their water pitchers and faucet mount water filters, though they’ve recently begun producing refrigerator water filter cartridges. OmniFilter manufactures mostly inline and whole house water filtration systems, though their R200 refrigerator water filter will fit any refrigerator with 1/4in tubing.

The Pretenders

Do you have a Kenmore or Admiral refrigerator? Did you know that neither of those companies actually makes their refrigerators? Kenmore and Admiral are exclusive brand names used by Sears and Home Depot, respectively. However, in the case of refrigerators, most of their products are manufactured by one of Whirlpool’s subsidiaries, then re-branded and given new model numbers under the Kenmore or Admiral names.

If you have a Kenmore or Admiral refrigerator, it’s possible for them to use genuine Whirlpool, Frigidaire, or GE parts. Feel free to explore our fridge filter store to see if anything looks familiar!