Sure, it costs a little more than the 13-cubic-foot competition, but the extra cost means more room for frozen vegetables, chicken, and anything else you plan to eat several weeks (or months) down the line. Our tests showed that it will have no problem keeping them cold, either. This Whirlpool is a worthy addition to your garage, mudroom, or basement.
A bit more than just the basics
Even though this Whirlpool has a 16-cubic-foot interior, the outside looks like many other run-of-the-mill 13-cubic-foot models. A white textured finish and reversible door is par for the course on most models in this price range.
Feature-wise, you get an interior light and—more importantly—a frost-free design. A freezer with an auto defrost function is always great, especially at this price level.
Something that's conspicuously absent, however? There's no door lock, something to keep in mind if you're putting this freezer around small children.
Controls use a six-point scale running from “smaller snowflake” to “larger snowflake," while the extreme igloo icon activates the Fast Freeze feature. That's useful if you just bought a bunch of room-temperature groceries and want to make sure they cool off quickly.
An even keel
Thermostats can be adjusted, but there’s no way to fix uneven temperatures over time. Fortunately, with this Whirlpool, you won’t have to. Over the course of 72 hours, we measured an average shift in degrees of just ±0.8ºF. That’s very consistent, and should go a long way in helping prevent freezer burn.
Going back to the thermostat for a moment, we’d recommend turning it down somewhere between 4 and 5. We had it set to 4, and temperatures exhibited a general average of 0.8ºF. A freezer that chilly isn’t bad, but it could be better. You want the internal temperature of your food to go below zero, not just above it.
Fortunately, where you put your food won’t have much of an impact on its freezing quality. There was only an average variation of 1.5ºF from any given point in the freezer to another.
Some extra height for easier storage
Because it's an upright, this Whirlpool makes it easier to access food compared to a chest freezer. Compared to smaller 13-cubic-foot models, it's also easier to freeze taller, bulky items.
That said, the extra vertical inches could make storing lots of smaller things a bit tricky. The large bin at the bottom is ideal for storing oddly shaped items—packs of hamburger, for instance, or whole turkey—but if you want to stock up at Costco, there might be some spill over onto the flat shelves.
Primary food storage comes in the form of three fixed wire shelves, with a large bin at the bottom. It's not customizable in any way, but that's pretty standard for lower- to mid-range products like this one. Five shelves are on the door, with only marginal differences in height between them.
Thin insulation isn’t always bad
This Whirlpool may not look like it has a very thick frame, but that’s okay. Modern insulation technology doesn’t require walls wider than your arm, as is evidenced in our freezing and thawing tests.
Room temperature test materials hit 32ºF in two hours and 46 minutes, and 0ºF in about 29 hours—admittedly, not all that fast. After sitting for 36 hours without power, though, everything was still very cold; internal temperatures had warmed up to just 29.7ºF.
Nice space if you can get it
As we’ve said, it’s the extra internal cubic footage that makes this Whirlpool impressive. The number of shelves may be a bit underwhelming—three in the main compartment, plus a bin on the bottom. Five fairly shallow shelves are found on the door to supplement. In total, we found that you could store 12.48 cubic feet worth of food in here.
When you consider all the space taken up by shelves, lights, and other obstructions—and keep in mind that most uprights advertised at 13 cubic feet have nearly identical shelves taking up the same amount of room—that’s pretty impressive.
The best way to combat freezer burn is to make sure the internal temperature doesn’t cross 0ºF on a regular basis. This Whirlpool has the potential to do that, but you'll have to play by your own rules.
We set the controls to 4, the manufacturer's recommend setting, and tracked internal food temperatures that proved very consistent over time, regardless of shelf position. Unfortunately, those temperatures occasionally went above 0ºF. If you turn the controls one more notch towards "big snowflake," however, this machine should keep your frozen food relatively safe from freezer burn.
More room on the cheap
Without question, the biggest draw for the Whirlpool EV160NZTQ is its extra space. We were also fans of the Fast Freeze option, adjustable shelving, interior lighting, and especially the low-maintenance frost-free design. Vague controls are never great, but unless you want to spend a lot more, you're pretty much stuck with it.
We found it on sale for $550, which makes it competitively priced compared to many similar and smaller models. If you’ve only got the floorspace for a typical 13 cubic foot upright but have more food than a machine that size can handle, this Whirlpool is definitely for you.
Meet the tester
Logistics Manager & Staff Writer@ReviewedHome
Matthew is a native of Brockton, MA and a graduate of Northeastern, where he earned a degree in English and Theatre. He has also studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and spends most of his free time pursuing a performance career in the greater Boston area.
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