Sub-Zero is a brand of residential major kitchen appliances including refrigeration and wine preservation products built in the USA by the Sub-Zero Freezer Company, Inc. The company also manufactures kitchen appliances under the Wolf brand name.
In 1943, Westye F. Bakke built the first freestanding freezer in the basement of his Madison, WI. home. He founded Sub-Zero Freezer Company two years later in an old two-car garage.
In the mid-1950s, the company developed the built-in refrigerator – a unit that changed the future of kitchen design by fitting within surrounding counter and cabinet space. Over time, the company has refined its early concept and has brought to market a line of built-in models, including the 200 Series of undercounter models, 500 Series, 600 Series, 700 Series, and, most recently, 400 Series of wine storage.
The company’s engineering of its dual refrigeration system relies on two separate, self-contained cooling systems.
The Sub-Zero Freezer Company was founded in 1945, by Westye F. Bakke in Madison, Wisconsin. Westye Bakke is survived by his daughter Elaine. In 2000, they acquired the domestic appliance line of the Wolf Range Corporation, a California-based manufacturer of professional-style ranges, cooktops and grills for both home and commercial use.
Wolf Appliance Inc., Sub-Zero's corporate companion, expanded the few products acquired from Wolf Range Corporation. It now sells domestic cooking appliances from kitchen stoves, cooktops, wall ovens, warming drawers and ventilation equipment. The company's products compete with those made by Viking, Dacor, Thermador, GE Monogram, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air and Miele.
According to the official company history, Bakke invented the first free-standing freezer in 1943. They also claim to have been the first to manufacture built-in refrigerators, beginning in the 1950s, and consequently many people still associate the look with Sub-Zero. Sub-Zero claims to be the only company to employ dual-refrigeration technology, which ostensibly "keep[s] fresh food fresher and preserve[s] frozen food longer".
Sub Zero also refined the wine cooler industry by adding new technology that allows the unit to be synced to the home alarm system. This modification is intended for those with substantial sums invested in their wine collections.
Sub-Zero manufactures two series of built-in refrigeration as well as wine storage and undercounter units. Each refrigerator model usually comes in two variations, namely a stainless steel exterior or a customizable exterior in an overlay version. The latter option allows the buyer to install kitchen cabinet panels on the door(s) to match with the rest of the kitchen. Its refrigerators are designed with a 24-inch (61 cm) depth and can be installed flush with kitchen cabinets of the same standard depth to provide an integrated look. This kind of built-in refrigerator is usually wider than normal to compensate for the shallower depth in order to maintain acceptable storage volume.
The Sub-Zero 424 Wine Cooler has held virtually the same design since the early 1990s. It is the only under-counter wine cooler in its class to be able to keep wine as low as 38 °F (3 °C). It has two temperature zones and can be connected to a house alarm.
A Sub-Zero refrigerator is heavier than most refrigerators offered by GE, Frigidaire, or LG. An average refrigerator weighs 250–300 pounds (110–140 kg), but a Sub-Zero can weigh as much as 800 pounds (360 kg) and can require four delivery men to move the refrigerator unit into a kitchen, while most refrigerators usually only require two delivery men. Also, a typical Sub-Zero unit is bigger than the basic home refrigerator. Some Sub-Zero full-size models are 84 inches (2.1 m) tall and 48 inches (120 cm) wide.
Along with many other major prestige appliance brands, Sub-Zero follows a practice of restricting dissemination of the prices of their refrigerators. Their dealers are strictly vetted and must closely follow advertising and pricing procedures supplied by the manufacturer in order maintain the ability to distribute their products.
Like most household brands of refrigeration, Sub-Zero refrigerators require a small amount of maintenance. The Condenser of the Sub-Zero refrigerator should be vacuumed and cleared of any obstructing dust annually. Dust can accumulate on the condenser and cause inefficiencies in the sealed system. Many Sub-Zero's refrigerators are equipped with CPU boards that notify the consumer when actions should be taken to clean the condenser.