Amana ABB1921WEW Refrigerator Review
Nearly high-end performance for an entry-level price tag.
Amana has definitely been bringing the heat lately, offering up some exceptionally high quality products not only among bottom freezers, but top freezers, as well. True, the Amana ABB1921WEW (MSRP $949) isn't quite as good as its stainless big brother, the recently tested ABB2224WES, but it's not far off at all. It's $500 cheaper, too, making this white bottom freezer a truly excellent purchase for consumers who want an exceptionally effective product without breaking the bank.
Design & Usability
Top of the line feel and function, as far as budget fridges go.
This fridge and the more expensive ABB2224WES are made on the same platform, which means they're essentially the same product with some — in this case, substantial — aesthetic differences. Some of those differences help lower the ABB1921WEW's price tag, such as its white finish. The textured matte finish on the front and sides is great for hiding smudges and fingerprints. If anything colorful splashes on the doors, though, you're going to have to do some scrubbing to get those tiny plastic rivulets clean.
The fridge interior is very basic: no deli drawer, no half-width shelves, no fancy controls. You've got three full-width shelves, two of which can be moved around, and two crispers. It's wide, well lit, and fairly accessible compartment, though the clunky shelves can make the space look and feel more cramped than it actually is.
The wide control panel has two numbers, one representing the fridge temperature and the other representing the freezer. This Amana uses an arbitrary scale from one to seven, with four listed as the recommended setting. It's easy to use, but the seven point scale restricts the ability to calibrate the temperature levels.
The fridge door is also quite wide, with plenty of movable shelves. The bottom one is the only shelf, though, deep enough to fit a gallon-sized container. In fact, it can fit up to three in a row at one time. A large dairy bin is bolstered by three smaller adjustable buckets that offer both added customization and excellent spill containment.
The Amana's bottom freezer compartment is a little odd. Typically, whether in a regular bottom freezer model or a fancier French door, you get a pull-out compartment. Not so here: this freezer opens on a hinge, just like the top section. Instead of using a typically bulky handle, Amana's designers included a small handle that makes it look like the fridge is sticking its tongue out. Despite the unusual appearance, it's easy to grip and doesn't require you to stoop to open the door.
The interior is composed of pull-out shelves and drawers. On the whole, it's a layout that I generally prefer. Sure, you still have to stoop to get at your frozen food, but with the door off to the side, you don't have to worry about smacking your elbow or head. All of the shelves are made of wire, which means a split bag of peas could turn into hours of fun for the family cat when you next open the door. There's no ice maker, either, nor does the manufacturer include an extra ice cube tray.
Performance & Features
Room for improvement, but great for a budget model.
Despite the fact that the ABB1921WEW uses the same control panel as the ABB2224WES, its temperature performance wasn't quite as accurate. Even though we had the controls set to the recommended level, both the fridge and freezer compartments were just a hair too warm. That said, temperature output from top to bottom was still quite close: just over a degree in the freezer, and just half a degree in the fridge. As such, you could try lowering the temperature setting by one level to try and make up for the slight warmth, though you'd need a thermometer of your own to check the results.
A small bit of extra warmth shouldn't harm your food all that much, and it's supplemented in this Amana by exceptional accuracy. Temperature fluctuation over time in both compartments was quite minimal, more so than usual. Consistent temperatures over time is one of, if not the, most important element of food preservation, and steadiness here means even delicate foods should be well taken care of.
Crisper drawers lost an acceptable amount of moisture over time. They were neither impressive or unimpressive, just fine. Conversely, the energy efficiency for this model was quite strong, something which should help keep your utility costs from getting too high.
A great fridge for folks who want something cheap(er) and consistent.
While this fridge isn't quite the best we've seen, it gets a special nod for being one of the best in its price bracket. Most online retailers are advertising the Amana ABB1921WEW for just $849, a great bargain for a fridge this good. It had no major flaws that would discourage us from recommending it, and its few imperfections are quite minimal compared to other models that are so cheap. True, there are better fridges available that could be found pretty easily, but it'd be a substantially harder task to find one this good and still spend so little money.
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