Whirlpool WRT318FZDB Refrigerator Review
This affordable fridge is worth every penny.
There are several variations of the Whirlpool WRT318FZDB. These include the Whirlpool WRT318FZDM and Whirlpool WRT318FZDW. They are very similar to the Whirlpool WRT318FZDB in most respects.
The Whirlpool WRT318FZDB (MSRP $749) is all new for 2015, and it shows. While this 18-cu.-ft. top freezer sets itself apart thanks to attractive storage solutions, a 65 3/8" height that will fit under cabinets, and good efficiency, we're especially impressed by its sub-$600 sale price.
Glass shelves and a Flex-slide Deli Bin are features we never expected on a fridge that's on sale for $589, where wire racks and fixed storage are standard. The smooth, glossy finish is much more stylish than the textured exteriors of equally economical options—and a stainless steel finish only adds $100 to the price.
There’s no ice maker, no freezer light, and the crispers aren't great. But if you’re in the market for an 18-cu.-ft. top freezer for the kitchen or the garage, this Whirlpool is worth a look.
Design & Usability
Fixed here, flexible there
You can buy this fridge in three finishes: The WRT318FZDW comes in white, and the WRT318FZDM sells in stainless (for an extra $100). We tested the WRT318FZDB. It has a glossy black coating, which looks textured, but has doors that are completely smooth to the touch. We think it's stylish, but this may not be to everyone’s taste, especially since the handles have a matte finish that contrasts with the glossy doors.
Inside, this Whirlpool features both fixed and adjustable storage. The main fridge compartment features full-width glass shelves that can be positioned at a number of heights. The Flex-slide Bin glides smoothly from left to right to accommodate your latest shopping trip, and a flip-forward shelf on the door can be tilted up to let you store tall items—like bottles of wine—with ease.
The rest of the door storage is fixed in place, but Whirlpool does offer a set of shelves of different heights and widths, so storage here shouldn’t be too much of an issue. There’s even one shelf that can fit two gallon jugs at once—perfect for milk and juice.
Up in the freezer, things are very basic: One glass shelf breaks up the main compartment, with two more shelves on the door serving as supplemental storage. There’s no light, and no ice maker, but this model is ready for Whirlpool’s EZ Connect ice maker kit, typically available for about $99.
Performance & Features
When it comes to food preservation, this fridge is a mixed bag. The temperatures were pretty darn stable and more or less on target... which is a good thing, because the thermostat controls only offer three settings. The recommended option kept things at a brisk 35-36°F on average. That's a hair cooler than we prefer, but sufficient for a sub-$600 fridge.
Considering how cold the fridge got, we were also impressed by the Whirlpool's excellent energy efficiency. You could see serious savings on your electric bill if you're replacing an old fridge that's in your garage.
Up in the freezer, we noticed a pretty wide temperature gap from the top to the bottom. There’s not much you can do about this, but we recommend turning the freezer’s control knob down to the coldest setting to avoid freezer burn.
On the flip side, the crispers were awful, losing enough moisture over 72 hours to dry out produce.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Style On A Budget
Efficient, attractive, and cheap
For less than $600, the Whirlpool WRT318FZDB brings a whole lot to the kitchen or the garage. From its attractive design and glass shelves, to its remarkable efficiency and stable temperatures, you’d be forgiven for expecting this fridge to cost more. Compared to a lot of the 18-cu.-ft. competition—which lack the looks and performance, yet cost the same—this Whirlpool is a definite winner.
And as we mentioned, if black appliances aren't your thing, the white WRT318FZDW is available for the same price, or there's the stainless steel WRT318FZDM for $100 more.
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