KitchenAid is owned by Whirlpool, and the superficial similarities between this and other 21.6 cu. ft. Whirlpool, Amana and Maytag fridges are many. There aren't any curves here -- just flat vertical-grain stainless and hard black plastic.

Front Photo

The fridge has dual temperature controls, one for the fridge and one for the freezer. They're located at the top of the refrigerator compartment and don't correspond to any temperature scale.

Controls Photo

Thick, brushed stainless handles open fridge and freezer.

Handle Photo

The through-the-door water/ice dispenser has separate chutes for water and ice.

Water/Ice Dispenser Photo

Inside is a typical Whirlpool design, but with some rougher edges polished. Sliding shelves in the refrigerator and hanging shelves on the fridge door are adjustable. Freezer door shelves are fixed, and wire shelves inside the main freezer cavity have a limited range of motion. The ice maker takes up a significant portion of the freezer door.

Interior Photo

The interior of the CDWT980VSS.

Ice is made at the top of the freezer compartment. It's crushed inside the top of the freezer door, and dispensed through the middle of the freezer door.

Ice Maker Photo

On the back, there's just an input for a water line. That's all.

Back Photo

The sides of this fridge are textured and black.

Sides Photo

Olympus SZ-31MR iHS side views

We tested the 's energy consumption for 72 hours and found that an average year with this fridge would cost about $47.78, assuming that electricity sells for 9.1 cents/kWh where you live.

The isn't a very large fridge, but we can compare its efficiency with other units regardless of size by dividing power consumption by usable interior space. This KitchenAid requires 0.11 kWh to cool a cubic foot, which is about average across refrigerators.

The doesn't have a very large interior. Paired with few obstructions to air circulation, that's a recipe for excellent cooling performance. The proved superior in this regard, with temperatures that stayed constant over the course

Tall side-by-sides tend to have a wide variance in temperatures across shelves, however. This KitchenAid's top shelf was 36 degrees while the bottom shelf stayed around 41 degrees. Keep that in mind when you're storing food that's temperature-sensitive.

Fridge Temperature Image
Fridge Temperature Graph

Up in the freezer, temperatures remained constant over time and throughout the freezer compartment. This fridge had some of the most stable performance we've ever tested.

Freezer Temperature Image

Circulating air dries out food, but the humidity drawer is supposed to keep veggies moist. We use a simulated vegetable with a standardized moisture content to measure how much water it loses while stored in the high-humidity vegetable drawer. The test veggie in the 's drawer only lost 0.1 gram of water per hour, which is an excellent performance.

Vegetable Drawer Photo
Vegetable Drawer Controls Photo

When the power goes out, you stand to lose all the food in your freezer. Thirty six hours after unplugging the , the food in its freezer still hadn't thawed.

Power Loss Graph

Freezing food quickly is key to preventing the formation of ice crystals, which will change the texture and flavor of food once it's thawed out. The freezes room temperature items in just under an hour. Only cryokinetic superhero Iceman can do it faster.

Freezing Graph

About half of most refrigerators' full interior space is taken up by shelves, drawers and other unusable areas. The is actually pretty good at minimizing that storage space loss, with lots of usable space.

Inside the KitchenAid's fridge compartment are two adjustable shelves and three drawers. It's a narrow compartment, so don't expect to store an entire leftover pizza without taking the slices out of the box first.

Refrigerator Storage Graph

Shelves on the 's refrigerator door are adjustable, with the exception of the dairy bin and fixed bottom shelf.

Refrigerator Door 1 Storage Graph
Refrigerator Door 2 Storage Graph

The KitchenAid's freezer is even more narrow than the fridge, and there's only one option for moving a wire shelf. The rear of the freezer is curved, so some shelves are deeper than others.

Freezer Storage Graph

Mostly consumed by a giant ice dispenser and grinder, the freezer door has just three fixed shelves and a very, very tiny compartment that may be a good place to store ice packs.

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.

More modern fridges may offer hidden conveniences, like shelves that swing out of the way on recessed hinges. There's no such creature comfort on this KitchenAid, though lightweight shelves are easy enough to move around. The fridge itself isn't very tall, so those who find it difficult to reach up to a top shelf may find this fridge a good fit.

Ease of Access Photo

The fridge has dual temperature controls, one for the fridge and one for the freezer. They're located at the top of the refrigerator compartment and don't correspond to any temperature scale.

There are just two controls -- one for the fridge, one for the freezer. Neither corresponds to an actual temperature scale.

Controls Photo

The water dispenser works very well, and its controls are extremely simple. Just put a glass on the lever and water will come out.

Water/Ice Dispenser Photo

Ice is made at the top of the freezer compartment. It's crushed inside the top of the freezer door, and dispensed through the middle of the freezer door.

Ice Maker Photo

For a fridge with a stainless steel finish, fingerprints are relatively easy to lift off the , but it's certainly not as low-maintenance as a textured white appliance. The interior shelves do a good job at holding in spills, though any liquid that breaches the shelf walls may end up pooling behind the drawers and very difficult to clean.

We never noticed the making any untoward noises in the lab, aside from when it was crushing ice. The compressor was relatively quiet, though it did have a more metallic rattle than fridges that simply hum.

From the same corporate parent, the Maytag MSD2576VEM is larger than the and can be found online for close to $1100 -- about $300 less than the lowest price we could find for the KitchenAid.

Based on the same general design, the Maytag has an updated exterior with some of the most solid-feeling handles we've ever opened.

Both fridges had the same great showing on the freezer tests, but the KitchenAid's vegetable drawer proved superior. The Maytag's larger freezer compartment took twice as long to get foods frozen, and the fridge showed slightly more variance in temperatures.

The Maytag has more space, since it's wider and taller. In the KitchenAid, more freezer door storage space is taken up by a very large ice maker.

Inside the Maytag were more places to store food, including a beverage bottle holder that some may find intrusive. Both fridges had very similar shelves that were equally easy to clean.

The larger GE GSL25JGCLS can be found for under $1000.

Both fridges look somewhat dated with large swaths of chunky black plastic.

Both fridges had very similar freezer performance, though the KitchenAid took less time to freeze food. Over in the fridge, the GE had more trouble keeping every shelf the same temperature, though it did a better job with humidity control.

The larger, wider GE has more storage space all around.

GE calls their stainless finish "CleanSteel," and they're right -- it's really easy to keep it from getting covered in fingerprints. Inside, the GE's sliding shelves makes it easy to reach the jar of about-to-expire mayonnaise hiding in the back.

The larger Bosch Linea B22CS30SNS sells for about $300 more than the .

The Bosch is one of the most attractive refrigerators on the market today. It's sleek, crisp lines look much more refined than the KitchenAid's warmed-over Whirlpool exterior.

Like the KitchenAid, the Bosch had trouble circulating cold air throughout the fridge compartment. The Bosch just had more trouble, however, and food temperatures varied depending on where in the fridge the food was stored. The Bosch also took more than twice as long to freeze food, and its vegetable drawer let contents dry out twice as quickly.

The Bosch may be wider and taller, but its door shelves are far shallower than the 's.

The Bosch's fit and finish is superior to most fridges on the market, and easily outpaces the dated KitchenAid interior.

Energy Efficiency

The is of average energy efficiency for a fridge of its size. It'll cost you about $47.78 a year to run.

Performance

Though temperatures fluctuated throughout shelves in the fridge's interior, the did a good job keeping food at even temperatures over time in both the fridge and freezer.

Storage Space

For a fridge that's neither tall nor wide, the has a lot of usable storage space. Its compartments are extremely narrow, however.

Usability

There's no special feature that distinguishes the . However, it does have some easily adjustable shelves and it's not too tall.

Meet the testers

Keith Barry

Keith Barry

Former Editor in Chief, Reviewed Home

@itskeithbarry

Keith was the Editor in Chief of Reviewed's appliance and automotive sites. His work has appeared in publications such as Wired, Car & Driver, and CityLab.

See all of Keith Barry'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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