I decided it was time to replace my old, but faithful Top Freezer (by Whirlpool). It was showing wear and the compressor was starting to sound stressed and worn. Being the mechanical geek I am, I figured it was a good excuse.
So, i went out shopping prior to black friday and my options where very slim. There are only 6 or so models that will fit into a 32" opening and this was one... Given it had excellent reviews all around and the price was quite cheap on Black Friday, I scooped one up..
When I first got the fridge, I was thrilled. Water in the door (NO ice though), pur filtration system, a neat half shelf. A nice big deli/meat/whatever drawer.. I was stoked...
However, with in a week, I quickly knew this love was gone, and with in 6 weeks, I would have a completely different fridge
There are many things to like:
It fits into a small space nicely, it looks really sleek, its got a really powerful ice maker, a dispenser for chilled water, a nice water filter (that's easy to change), the controls are simple to use. It seems like a perfect package
But what I didn't like:
Cheap, CHEAP, CHEAP quality. The door bins are made out what I am guessing to be a polycarbonite blend of some form. They don't feel like they will hold up over long term use. In fact, i've read and seen where they have broken. I had an issue with the trim around the glass for the deli drawer (see picture). In fact the deli drawer and crisper drawers are made of the same material, and because of there larger surface area, they will bend and flex in your hand. Plus the drawers do not roll smoothly at all.. They are very rough and feel like there rolling on gravel
There are 2 full width shelves, with the middle one having a shelf that slides in. That's nice.. However, the top shelf will bow if you put to much on it. It very much flexes and again, has a cheap feel to it. The second shelf with the slider shelf is far sturdier but, with the shelf slid back, there is very little useable area. its a long L shaped thing with about 10" front to back of useable space with the part slid in and then to the side there is about 16" side to side and the full depth. Its enough, but oddly configured.
Forget putting large bottles in here with out sliding that half shelf back. They won't fit and there's no way to configure the shelves to make that happen. Since there's only full shelves and a few slides for them, its impossible to reorder the shelves in any other way. Its very annoying and even for two people, it quickly usurps all the space inside
The crisper drawers where another huge complaint.. One they where that cheap, flimsy plastic.. Two, they where of differing sizes, one being rather large, one being rectangular. It didn't quite make any sense to me what so ever. Plus there is this fresh keeper gizmo in the drawer to keep produce decent. It didn't seem to work for my stuff, but maybe that's because mine would not keep the temps steady. Also, the bigger of the two drawers didn't seal shut at all, there was 1/8"-1/2" gap in between the shelf and the top lip of the drawer. I've noticed this same gap in several display models. Overall it just felt cheap
The deli drawer is really nice and of a good size, but again, cheap plastic materials and the trim around the front edge that feels so thin and cheap, almost like plastic mini blinds that have been in the sun for 10 years. It wouldn't even stay attached.
Back to the door bins. You can forget using most of the bins for gallon jugs. Only the bottom right one will hold a gallon of milk. There is a tilt out/pull out condiment tray and its a nice idea, but the extra space used to make it tilt and come out, could have been put to use with another gallon sized door bin, thus allevating the need to always have that half shelf slid back (we always have several things of juice going so that alone would have been a huge help). The door bins won't hold really tall items either in the middle and there's no way to re order them to do so. You either need to put them in the tilt out condiment gizmo or hope there not too tall for the top bin. Steak sauce and so forth has to go in either place. And mostly on the left door. The right door can't handle too many tall bottles.
One perk is the really nice interior lighting. If you need a bright, cheerful interior for you're fridge, this is it. My replacement I noticed is very much lacking in this area. I can live with a dimly lit fridge though (You can see every corner very clearly in this whirlpool.
The pull out freezer is very nice, the bins are full plastic and are made from a much more durable plastic imho. The ice maker is wonderful and when mine actually worked, it produced alot of ice in a short time. However, the bottom part of the freezer drawer (the bottom bin) has a 65 degree angle built into it. YOU CAN NOT fit pizza boxes down here. I had bags of frozen veggies and so forth stacked down here and it worked fine for that. i had a few boxes of other things mixed in as well and that was ok. but we tried putting just vacuum wrapped pizza down there and it got all bent. They wont fit in the top drawer either. The ice bin usurps most of the space and it just isn't big enough for a boxed pizza. A vacuum sealed one maybe. But that's an if. And then you have to stick your ice cream and such up there as the drawer wont close with ice cream in the bottom bin unless you stick it all the way on the bottom and then it may get burried under the other frozen foods. The freezer was decent overall, just hard to figure out how to best use the space
My main issue was the lack of temperature control. I dunno if my unit was just bad or what, but I could never keep an even temp in the unit. The front display and the manual recommend 3 snowflakes for both compartments. 3 snow flakes for the fridge would sometimes sour milk and spoil stuff, other times it would freeze everything. 4 snowflakes almost always froze everything and seemed to make everything rot/spoil just as fast. I've never had celery go bad in 4 days before. Ive also never had a fridge that would freeze everything in the back and spoil everything up front. It was just awful trying to keep it at an even temp. I in fact lost some very expensive medication because it froze and was ruined. That sent me over the edge. The snow flakes are "cute" and a "novel" idea, but lets go back to a bar or number system. 1-5 works for me.. The energy saver setting is hard to set on the controls and I dunno, it just seems there are too many buttons and such for the simple functions. Its easy to figure out, just seems overly complex. My unit also had an issue with the door alarm not working and about a week before its return, it started working.The light for the water dispenser looks nice, but its just a joke really. Overall, I was not impressed with the user interface for this fridge. It can't hold a temp and the controls just seem over the top.
My only other issues where the doors (or how they closed) and the finish on the sides
The left door was hard to keep closed. I've noted this on almost every in store model I've looked at and its been mentioned in a number of reviews. If you open just the left door, you need to slam it hard to get it to close all the way. and then the right one pops open. Or if you open just the right door, the left one pops open. Some times you have to slam the left one to even get it to close. It was annoying because several times the left door got left open/ajar and the darn door alarm didn't beep, so that didn't help the temp. control. A big part of what is the door latch mechanism and there is this long "pillar" in between both doors, that's hinged on to the left door. I'm not sure what purpose that pillar serves, but that pillar makes it difficult for the doors to close properly with out slamming them. Plus the latch system requires the pins to slide in a track of sorts and that track is just molded into the fridge liner.. Overall, its a very poor and odd design for a french door fridge. Its not one i've seen used much and it doesn't need to be used. There are many refrigerators with french doors that don't need a pillar.
The last part is minor. The outside parts of the cabinet look like cheap plastic.. Although a very nice finish, they just look and feel like heavily grained plastic. On the stainless steel models (as an fyi) this is gray plastic, which looks very nice. It just feels cheap
To sum everything up, this is a very nice fridge for a small kitchen and a small family. More than 3 people and I think your gonna need a second fridge (we got a second fridge because it couldn't hold all of our juice and drinks). If you can use the space and are good playing fridge tetris, you might like this. If you are gentle and easy on stuff, the flimsy feel to the plastic may not bug you.
But, the lack of temp control, the fact that my unit lasted 6 weeks before need catostrophic repairs and the fact it just feels very cheap and flimsy and doesn't feel of good quality, should turn you away. I am a former appliance repair tech and a major mechanical geek and I will tell you, this is the most sorry product I've ever bought. I am glad that the store stood behind the product as well, as the manufacturer did not. In fact, some of the issues I've noted here are known complaints with this model and there are repairs for them, but the manufacturer doesn't see fit to offer those with out much prodding.
If you can live with the above, this will be an awesome fridge. But I hope this gives you my .02 cents on what I feel was a huge mistake. I'm just glad I was able to exchange my unit at no cost for a different brand that better fits my needs