This French door fridge has two large doors on the top that open out from the center. These are set above a pull-out freezer compartment. It's a traditional French door layout; no surprises here.

Front Photo

The stainless steel finish looks high-quality finish and has a surprising (and rare) characteristic: it's resistant to fingerprints! It may have to do with the fairly prominent horizontal grain, but there's something about this finish that prevents smears and smudges from popping out, as with other stainless appliances. It's a great design trait for households with small children.

Fingerprints Photo

On one hand, the rectangular control panel fits in with the overall aesthetic of the fridge's exterior. On the other hand, it's always going to be there. True, all the temperature readouts will turn off if left alone, but all the other buttons (the dispenser selection, the control lock, etc) are always visible since they're written onto the panel. It looks busy, and it detracts from the overall elegance one expects from a high-end, French door fridge.

Controls Photo

The handles are more or less standard: slightly curved, with edges that taper off into the door for a smooth design.

Handle Photo

The dispenser is found on the exterior of the left fridge door. The cavity is fairly deep, but not incredibly tall. Many glasses may be small enough to rest inside when filling, but some taller water glasses may have to be held at an angle.

Water/Ice Dispenser Photo

The controls are simple enough: a dispenser is activated by pressing against a single paddle. Since there's only one output, you'll have to select your moisture of choice using the controls directly above the cavity.

Water/Ice Dispenser Controls Photo

The inside of the fridge is very run-of-the-mill in terms of layout, but the design elements are decidedly mid-range.

Interior Photo

The interior of the CDWT980VSS.

At the top of the fridge, you'll find the ice maker, a thin shelf directly next to it, and a half-width shelf in the upper right hand corner. Below this are two more half-width shelves; all four of these are adjustable. The two half-width shelves on the bottom are not, since they serve as the lids to the two identical crisper drawers. At the very bottom is a Cool Drawer, which sounds like a drawer with its own temperature control. Well, it's not; it's essentially a full-width deli drawer that's good for storing defrosting meat or fish, or freshly-bought items that you're going to cook later that evening.

Refrigerator Main 1 Image

The water filter is located in the upper right corner of the fridge interior. It's fairly basic: you push on it to lock a new filter into place, or you push on it to remove the old one.

Water Filter Photo

The left fridge door has some rather unusually shaped storage. There are three shelves, all of which have been contorted to make room for the ice maker.

Refrigerator Door 1-1 Image

The right fridge door is much more typical, with three shelves (two of which are adjustable) and a designated dairy bin at the top.

Refrigerator Door 2-1 Image

The door bins here are quite large, holding up to two gallons and four water bottles each.

The pull-out freezer is broken up into three section: the upper drawer is divided by a wire partition into a left and right section, while the lower bucket is just a full-sized storage bin. All the freezer shelves are made of wire, a less-than-perfect design element for this model.

Freezer Main 1 Image

The ice maker is quite large, taking up the entire upper left corner of the fridge interior. To get at bulk ice, you have to pull out a long plastic bin in which the ice is made.

Ice Maker Photo

The rear of the has several cables carrying water to and from the filter, as well as to the ice maker.

Back Photo

On the side, the product has been treated with a grey matte finish. It gives the fridge an overall uniform look, ideal for kitchens that don't have a compartment built into which a fridge can slide.

Sides Photo

Olympus SZ-31MR iHS side views

Large appliances like this are always going to cost a fair amount in terms of your electric bill. Using a standard rate of $0.09 per kW-h, we determined that this product will cost about $52.10 per year. It's definitely more than smaller products, but it's still at the low end of the scale for models in its size class.

In order to level the playing field with regards to energy efficiency, we determine just how much electricity is needed for every cubic foot of storage space inside our tested fridges. The turned out to be fantastic in this category. For every available cubic foot of space, it only requires 0.09 kW-h to cool. This is exceptionally low, and you can rest easy knowing that you won't be wasting tons of electricity if you purchase this product.

Normally there's an expected temperature shift from cooler to warmer as you move farther away from the fridge's cooling vent inside the main cavity. With the , however, we noticed a rather unusual thing: both the top and bottom were slightly warmer than the middle. The center of the fridge average out to our ideal temperature (not to mention, what was listed on the thermostat) of 37 degrees Fahrenheit, but our sensors picked up an average temperature that was about two degrees warmer on top and three degrees warmer on the bottom. It's less than ideal, certainly, but at the very least we found temperatures fluctuated less than a full degree over time. While you'll want to be careful about where you store easily perishable items, at least you'll know the temperatures are going to remain consistent.

Fridge Temperature Image
Fridge Temperature Graph

The freezer did an exceptional job keeping itself cold. At its warmest, the compartment averaged zero degrees, while the top was actually two degrees colder. We weren't thrilled when we saw that there was an average temperature shift of about a full degree over time, though; it's not terrible, but anything you store long term will run a slight risk of developing freezer burn.

Freezer Temperature Image

With an average moisture loss rate of 0.23 grams per hour, the 's crisper drawers are less than perfect. Solid drawers will retain about 0.05 to 0.10 more grams of moisture than that. As such, vegetables kept in the should be eaten sooner rather than later, otherwise you may notice them drying up and beginning to spoil slightly faster than normal.

Vegetable Drawer Photo
Vegetable Drawer Controls Photo

After 36 hours without power, the 's freezer had still kept our items frozen. In fact, its internal temperature hadn't even reached 28 degrees. If you live in an area with tricky weather or frequent power outages...well, you may want to consider moving. In the meantime, though, you'll know that this fridge will take good care of your frozen items.

Power Loss Graph

It took one hour and 46 minutes for the to freeze our room-temperature test materials. This is a bit longer than average by about 20 to 30 minutes, and is long enough that it may have a negative effect on the thawed texture of meats and other items. If you plan on buying an expensive cut of prime rib, we'd recommend perhaps buying only as much as you can eat within a fairly short amount of time.

Freezing Graph

Fridge storage is quite versatile, if a bit cramped. At there are three adjustable half-width shelves, as well as a tiny half-width shelf that bridges the gap left by the ice maker. At the bottom are two fixed half-width shelves that serve as the cover to two identical crisper drawers. At the very bottom is the questionably-named Cool Drawer, a full-width pull-out compartment that's designed (according to the user manual) more for fresh or defrosting meat and fish, or other items you don't necessarily want near your other food items. All told, the can fit up to 12.26 cubic feet of groceries in its fridge, a very respectable amount that should suit even larger families.

Refrigerator Storage Graph

There's not much storage space on the left fridge door due to the ice maker and its components. There's a very tiny bucket at the top, an unusually shaped shelf in the middle, and a more normal-looking shelf at the bottom. None of these are adjustable.

Refrigerator Door 1 Storage Graph

The right door has a dairy bin at the top, and three traditionally shaped shelves below it. The middle two shelves are adjustable, and all add to the fridge's storage total.

Refrigerator Door 2 Storage Graph

The freezer is quite basic: two large pull-out drawer, with the upper one divided by a removable plastic partition into a left and right section. We left the partition where it was, and as a result, we determined that the freezer could hold up to 5.26 cubic feet of groceries. The spaces in the wire shelves are pretty large, though, so anything really small, such as ice pops, should be positioned carefully.

Freezer Storage Graph
Freezer Door Storage Graph

Below are the manufacturers own figures for capacity, and our own measurements for usable capacity. The manufacturers figures do not take account of the shelves, drawers and other removable features, but our measurements do account for the space these take up.

While the shelf layout is very straightforward, the fridge itself feels rather cramped. On one hand, the shelves can all slide out about four inches, making it easier to get at items in the back. That said, the space between shelves isn't huge, and the wire bar that's built in to allow those shelves to slide can be tricky to get around. It's also worth mentioning that the light in the fridge is located at the top of the back wall. If you typically crowd food into your fridge, items at the back or the very bottom may be hard to see. Luckily, the freezer and door storage are very accessible, and shouldn't be at all difficult to get to.

Ease of Access Photo

On one hand, the rectangular control panel fits in with the overall aesthetic of the fridge's exterior. On the other hand, it's always going to be there. True, all the temperature readouts will turn off if left alone, but all the other buttons (the dispenser selection, the control lock, etc) are always visible since they're written onto the panel. It looks busy, and it detracts from the overall elegance one expects from a high-end, French door fridge.

While the controls may not look as good as what we've seen on other models, they at least do their job well. All the buttons are clearly labeled, and everything on the fridge has a very low learning curve.

Controls Photo

The ice and water dispenser has a single spout with a paddle that's easy to depress, and a cavity light that turns on when it's in use. It's a simple design that most people would be familiar with, and as such, it's very easy to use.

Water/Ice Dispenser Photo

The ice maker is quite large, taking up the entire upper left corner of the fridge interior. To get at bulk ice, you have to pull out a long plastic bin in which the ice is made.

Ice Maker Photo

While most of the fridge shelves have some spill protection, the lower shelves right above the crisper drawers have a gap between them. Normally, this part of the fridge consists of one long full-width shelf; the fact that there's a gap means that anything which drips down here will for you to remove the crisper drawers in order to clean. Also, the freezer's wire shelves have unusually large gaps in them. There's no solid bottom to the lower drawer, either, so anything that spills in the freezer (a split bag of peas, for instance) will get everywhere inside the freezer and then pour out onto your kitchen floor as soon as you open the door. As we mentioned earlier, however, the exterior finish is unusually resistant to fingerprints; while the inside may be a pain to clean, at least the exterior of the fridge won't require too much maintenance.

We never noticed any noise above the regular, expected ambient hum of a large appliance.

Energy Efficiency

Exceptional energy efficiency means a low electric bill, at least compared to other fridges in its size class.


The crisper drawer didn't do a great job, but the overall temperature consistency (especially in the freezer) was very good.

Storage Space

This is a great fridge for large families. Lots of storage in both compartments...


...but you may have some trouble getting at it, particularly in the fridge. It's a little cramped in there, even considering that most of the shelves slide out a bit to grant easier access to items in the back. Also, the wire shelves in the freezer will fail miserably in case anything spills or rips open.

Meet the testers

Matthew Zahnzinger

Matthew Zahnzinger

Logistics Manager & Staff Writer


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.

See all of Matthew Zahnzinger's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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