Small as the bottom freezer pack might be, the Amana ABB2224WES (MSRP $1,449) is right at the head of it. A cramped freezer may turn off fans of frozen lasagna, but every other aspect of this fridge is absolutely stellar.
Basic, with an industrial flair.
The Amana that we tested came with a stainless steel finish, but it’s also available in black or white for folks who don’t like the shiny stuff. Its impressive size and thick handles give it a rather industrial vibe.
The interior has a definitively mid-range feel. Lots of white plastic shelves are bathed in the pinkish glow of incandescent bulbs, but the deli drawer and the two crispers slide with surprising smoothness for a plastic-on-plastic set up. Door shelves look clunky, and most of them aren’t that big; the full-width bottom shelf is the only one deep enough to hold a gallon-sized container, but at least it’s wide enough to put three in a row with room to spare.
The cramped freezer is the only really disappointing aspect of this fridge's design. The pullout drawer doesn’t open all that far, usually a problem we only come across with counter-depth models. Wide-spaced wire shelves won’t do you any favors when a bag of frozen peas splits open, and the plastic dividers on the upper rack look adjustable but are pretty firmly attached. Overall, the freezer is usable, but there’s definitely room for improvement.
A pinnacle of food preservation for all tastes.
While its design may be basic, this Amana's performance is as good as it gets. This fridge is almost perfect, and that's not a claim we make lightly. Fridge and freezer temperature variation—the most important aspect of food preservation—was virtually nonexistent. With temperature output that reliable, you can virtually kiss freezer burn goodbye. Even delicate foods like a soft Brie or a pricey cut of steak should be safe in here.
Despite their inelegant appearance, the crisper drawers were fantastic at keeping fresh food fresh, so have no fear stocking up at the local farmer's market. You may also save money on your electric bill, as this fridge proved to be a power miser.
Don't expect fancy features or controls, as this is one simple fridge. There's no icemaker or water dispenser, and it uses an arbitrary temperature scale ranging from zero to seven. We followed Amana's instructions and kept it set to "four." Temperatures ran just one degree warmer than the ideal 37ºF in the fridge and 0ºF in the freezer, respectively, which is pretty impressive for controls with such limited flexibility. For once, the owner's manual didn't lead us astray.
This bottom freezer is the tops!
Though Amana may be Whirlpool's most basic brand, this bottom freezer proves that a simple fridge can have great performance. With a capacious refrigerator compartment, a simple and accessible layout, and some of the best performance we’ve ever seen, it’s a real winner. Sure, the freezer is cramped, and there’s no ice or water, but if you’re looking for an energy efficient fridge that can hold (and preserve) lots of fresh food, this is the way to go.
It's $1,449 MSRP is pricier than a comparable top freezer, but less expensive than a trendier French door. If you can find it on sale, you may be able to snag it for $1,200—and even less in a different finish. If you want no-nonsense performance with lots of room for fresh food, the ABB2224WES is the fridge for you.
There’s almost nothing this fridge doesn’t do well. We know that because we gave it a thorough evaluation in our test labs, and it aced all our tests.
Temperature variation? What’s that?
Even in the best fridges, there’s going to be some level of temperature fluctuation over time. Too much variation risks spoiling delicate foods like soft cheeses. Luckily, the Amana was a superstar here: our temperature sensors showed an average shift of only 0.14 degrees over time. It also had very little variation in temperature throughout the fridge compartment: the three sensors we placed at the top, middle, and bottom portions of the fridge section averaged 37.87, 38.22, and 38.95 degrees respectively, which is very close to the ideal 37ºF.
The freezer had a similar issue—just a hair too warm—but average temperatures were nearly identical at the top and bottom. We recorded an average of 1.31 degrees at the top and 1.2 at the bottom. We almost never get such a small shift, even in freezers half as tall. With an average deviation of 0.14 degrees yet again, this is an exceptionally stable compartment. Freezer burn should hardly be an issue here, if at all.
Green going in, still green coming out.
The results of our moisture retention test add yet another positive layer to this Amana. The crisper drawers may not feel as smooth or look as sleek as those found on other, pricier models, but they certainly perform like the top of the line. Over the course of three days, our test materials lost an average of 0.11 grams of moisture per hour. That’s hardly anything at all! We may sound like a broken record, but it’s still true: we hardly ever see results this good.
A spark of normalcy.
Despite the small size of the Amana’s freezer compartment, freezing times were decidedly average. Our room temperature test items officially froze after one hour and 43 minutes. It’s not as fast as we’d like to have seen, but it's nothing to kvetch about. Power loss testing was also fine. After running 36 hours without power, our test materials were still thoroughly frozen. In fact, their internal temperature had only just reached 27.13 degrees.
Not a model for the cold hearted.
Fresh food storage turned out to be surprisingly spacious. With one fixed shelf, two split shelves, a deli drawer, and two crispers in the main compartment, you’ve got plenty of room for even sizable groceries. The lack of any retractable shelves means you'll have to rehang one half of a split shelf to fit wine bottles and flower vases, but the door will also do in a pinch: a dairy bin at the top and a full-width shelf at the bottom are backed up by three adjustable buckets. On the whole, you’ve got 10.9 cubic feet of usable space, not shabby by any means.
Even without an icemaker, the freezer is definitely tight. The upper shelf is divided by two pieces of plastic that are theoretically movable but aren’t conducive to adjustments. The bottom shelf is made of two identical bins bisected by yet another plastic divider. Those all combine together to offer up a meager 3.67 cubic feet, not exactly great for frozen pizza fans.
Ending on a high note, the Amana yet again proves to be a formidable fridge when it comes to energy efficiency. We calculated this particular model should cost you about $35.44 per year if your electricity costs are near a standard rate of $0.09 per kWh. Even if you pay more for power, you should find that this is a very wallet-friendly fridge. Taking all of that energy and spreading it out, we determined that this fridge requires a miniscule 0.07 kWh per cubic foot of usable space. That’s not quite the most energy efficient result ever, but it’s only off by a small margin.
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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