Pros: Looks stylish. Roomy. Energy Star compliant. Water filtration.
Cons: Cheap plastic shelves. Water/ice dispenser design.
My husband Bill and I are currently renting a beautiful home just south of Atlanta. We will most likely be living here very briefly, because Bill is in the Army and the post where he works is being closed in 2011. Nevertheless, we're glad to be living where we do right now, even if it is only for a short time. Our new temporary home has a lot going for it. A refrigerator was the only thing missing when we first moved in. That wasn't such a big deal, since we do hope to buy a house when Bill is finished with the Army. Having our own fridge means there will be one less major appliance we'll need to buy when that time comes.
We went to our local Lowe's to find the right fridge for our needs. Though I was raised with a standard fridge with a freezer on top, I really wanted a side by side refrigerator because I wanted an ice and water dispenser. Our new house runs on well water and I wanted a refrigerator that would filter drinking water. Color was also an issue because the appliances in our kitchen are black. I wanted a fridge that would match the other appliances. We also needed a refrigerator that would fit in the space alloted in our kitchen. After a brief search, we ended up buying a Whirlpool 21.7 Cubic Foot Side by Side Refrigerator (ED2KHAXVB).
As I explained in the review I posted of our Whirlpool dryer, Bill used to work for Whirlpool. In fact, he used to help make side by side refrigerators in one of their factories. Though this particular model was not the one that he was involved with making, he knows a lot about the brand and trusts it. This model was also within our price range and even happened to be on sale for 10% off.
Design and features
Side by side design
Our Whirlpool refrigerator is just the right size for two people. One concern I had with the side by side design was that I wouldn't like the tall and narrow storage space on each side. I'm used to a short, wide configuration. However, after using this fridge for the past six weeks or so, I've found that the design isn't that much of an issue. Of course, the holidays are approaching, which means I might feel differently if we end up trying to cook a turkey. The tall, narrow design might be more of an issue then.
Water and ice
Our refrigerator has the external water and ice dispenser that I wanted. It uses the PuR water filtration system, which draws water from our tap and filters. The condition of the filter shows up on the panel of the water and ice dispenser, so when it's time to switch it out, I'll know. Supposedly, the filter is good for six months. We'll see how easy it is to change it when the time comes.
The ice dispenser offers cubes or crushed ice. The panel can be locked and lighted, though neither is mandatory. One thing I have noticed about the dispenser is that if we're not careful and pull a glass away from it too quickly, ice and water will escape it. This is particularly an issue with ice. It comes out of the dispenser quickly. Also, while the dispenser has a tray that is designed to catch water or ice, the tray doesn't drain. Instead, I have to remove it and dump it into the sink.
The ice maker is located on the door, which supposedly allows more space on the top freezer shelf. While I agree that there is more room, the ice maker protrudes from the door, which makes it harder to manuever items onto the top shelf because there's less space between the door and the refrigerator. This appliance is frost free.
The ice and water dispenser has paddle controls that are supposedly so easy to press that one can use a styrofoam cup to collect ice water. I haven't tried this little test myself, but I haven't noticed the paddles as being hard to operate. On the other hand, I also haven't noticed them as particularly easy to operate, either.
Inside the refrigerator and freezer
The insides of the fridge and freezer are very well lit and adjustable. The refrigerator size has plenty of compartments for meats, vegetables, fruits, and cheese. The door compartment is wide enough to handle a gallon of milk. One thing I did notice is that there's no egg shelf. There are four shelves inside the fridge and four on the door. There are four freezer shelves and one freezer shelf.
I am a little disappointed in the quality of the plastic used to make the shelves. When I was setting up this refrigerator, I noticed that the plastic seemed cheap and brittle, like it would break easily. However, I was able to set everything up without breaking anything. I do like the fact that the shelves are very easy to position, which makes it less of a chore to make room for large items.
How does it look?
I like the way this refrigerator looks in our kitchen. The doors are textured and easy to clean. I also like the fact that the fridge is black. It shows less dirt that way.
This refrigerator is EnergyStar compliant.
Dimensions and other info
This Whirlpool refrigerator is about 66 inches tall. It's a little over 33 inches wide and almost 34 inches deep, including the handles. It comes with a one year limited manufacturer's warranty for parts and labor.
I like this refrigerator, though I sort of wish I'd had more time to shop around. Including tax, I paid approximately $1100 for this refrigerator at Lowe's. I have seen it offered cheaper from other vendors online. On the other hand, Lowe's had it in stock and delivered it for free the day after I purchased it.
While I do like this refrigerator overall, it does have some design flaws that I'm less than impressed about. I wish Whirlpool had used sturdier plastic to make the shelves and I would have appreciated a shelf on the ice/water dispenser that drained liquid. I also don't like the fact that the ice has a tendency to shoot out of the dispenser onto the floor rather into my glass. Still, I guess I would consider purchasing this model again.
For more information: www.whirlpool.com