The side-by-side fridge places the freezer on the left and the fridge on the right. The two stainless steel doors are so tall they almost loom imposingly. The left door has a through-the-door ice and water dispenser, as well as the panel controlling the fridge's functions.

Front Photo

This particular stainless steel finish smudges easily and can be a pain to clean. Fingerprints show up pretty easily, as is usually the case with stainless steel.

Fingerprints Photo
Controls Photo

Compared to the overall size of the doors, the handles almost seem too small. They curve elegantly, ending flush with the fridge doors.

Handle Photo

The water and ice are dispensed out of two separate spouts on the front of the freezer door. Each spout is controlled by a single paddle that is pushed in to activate.

Water/Ice Dispenser Photo
Water/Ice Dispenser Detail Photo

Like almost all other side-by-side fridges, the freezer is located on the left and the fridge on the right. Both doors have shelf storage space.

Interior Photo

The interior of the CDWT980VSS.

The fridge's main section has five separate shelves, in addition to a deli drawer, and two crisper drawers. The shelves are all framed in metal, giving them an eye-catching appearance that matches the fridge's exterior.

Refrigerator Main 1 Image

The water filter is located in a small compartment located at the upper right corner of the fridge interior. The front flips up, allowing the actual filter to slide in and out.

Water Filter Photo

The fridge door has self-contained, adjustable shelves that sit like small buckets. The plastic shelf is placed in a metal ring, which is the part that hooks into the door. A dairy tray is found at the top of the fridge, and actually has an unusual design: instead of the traditional curved cover, the front flips up and slides under a plastic lid, offering an almost perfectly rectangular storage area.

Refrigerator Door 1-1 Image

Using a very similar layout to the fridge portion, the freezer on the has four shelves and two drawers providing ample storage opportunities.

Freezer Main 1 Image

With all the storage here placed under the ice maker, the freezer offers three separate shelves near the bottom of the door.

Freezer Door 1 Image

The ice maker takes up less space than in most other models of this type. It's located entirely on the freezer door. The small compartment is easily removable, providing simple access to larger chunks of ice.

Ice Maker Photo

The back of the unit has tubes connected to the water and ice dispensers, as well as the water filter.

Back Photo

The sides have a matching gray finish with a matte texture. Since it's a counter-depth fridge, you'll only see these if your counters don't cover the upper half of the . If that's the case, though, at least you don't have to worry about the sides not matching rest of the appliance.

Sides Photo

Olympus SZ-31MR iHS side views

The particular fridge is quite large, and so is its running cost. Over the course of a year, using an average rate of $0.09 per kW-h, the will run up a $67.82 energy bill, high even for fridges of this size.

To add to the high running cost, the is also rather inefficient in its energy use. Per cubic foot of usable space, it uses a whopping 0.15 kW-h. Bang for electric buck will not be found in this model.

The fridge was remarkably consistent, both from top to bottom and over time. Though we used manufacturer recommended settings, it ran a bit warm overall, but this is easily corrected by turning the temperature down ever so slightly. Make sure invest in a thermometer, though, to ensure your food is being cooled at the correct temperature.

Fridge Temperature Image
Fridge Temperature Graph

The freezer maintained a very cold temperature over time, but it did fluctuate a rather large amount. While nothing was even close to thawing, variations in temperature can cause small ice crystals to form. This means that, even though your food remains ice cold, freezer burn can occur if you leave items in too long.

Freezer Temperature Image

The vegetable drawer is, without question, the highlight of the . The test vegetables lost less moisture in three days than they would lose in most other models over the course of just one. Over a 36 hour testing period, these drawers only let an average of 0.05 grams per hour to escape. This means that produce will stay fresh and crisp in this fridge for far longer than almost any other model that we've tested to date.

Vegetable Drawer Photo

A "Fresh Flow" air filter reduces the presence of ethylene gases that can spoil food, and can keep apples from turning brown. KitchenAid claims it's 15 times more powerful than baking soda when it comes to reducing odors.

Vegetable Drawer Controls Photo

The freezer managed to keep things frozen for up to 36 hours after we pulled the plug on the . At the end of that time, though, the temperature got dangerously close to passing the freezing point. As long as you keep the door shut, your frozen goods should last long enough to get your power back on, but prolonged outages may cause you a lot of food loss.

Power Loss Graph

The 's freezer got items from room temperature down to freezing in only 1 hour and 29 minutes. This is quite good for larger fridges where the cold air can take longer to circulate.

Freezing Graph

Perhaps as a result of the Fresh Flow air vent, which runs the full height of the fridge and and behind the crisper drawers, the actually has surprisingly little storage space, even compared to smaller models. The fridge has only 8.87 cubic feet of usable space, a figure that encompasses five shelves, a deli drawer, and the two crisper trays.

Refrigerator Storage Graph

Our totals reflect only space that is available for storing food. Unlike manufacturer specs, we subtract space taken up by shelves, light fixtures, water filters, and any other spacial obstructions. The 8.87 cubic feet also includes space on the fridge door, spread out over four shelves and a dairy tray.

Refrigerator Door 1 Storage Graph
Refrigerator Door 2 Storage Graph

The freezer is actually somewhat larger than many side by side models, totaling 5.34 cubic feet. Four shelves and two drawers offer deep and wide areas to store all your frozen good.

Freezer Storage Graph

Freezer storage also includes the three small drawers found at the bottom of the freezer door.

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.

The shelves are very easy to get to, with open areas allowing easy access to any part of the fridge. Drawers slide out very smoothly on both sides, but can catch going back in. The ice maker pulls down on a hinge, making bulk ice more accessible than many other models that require you to completely remove it, and the high level of shelf customization mean you can arrange things to suit both your height and your tastes.

Ease of Access Photo

The controls may take some getting used to, simply because there are so many things you can adjust. Touch-sensitive icons allow you to control temperature, lights, locks, even cup size and unit of measurement for automatically filling glasses with water. If you think this might mean having your kitchen bathed in a pale blue glow at night, don't worry. The lights turn off after about a minute or so of not being touched.

Controls Photo

The water dispenser is operated by depressing a paddle set into the exterior of the freezer door. It's a single-use paddle, with the ice dispensed by a second paddle immediately next to it. They're set far enough apart, so accidentally pushing them both in shouldn't be an issue. There's also an option on the control pad set above the paddles for a small light to illuminate the area, making night use that much easier.

Water/Ice Dispenser Photo

The ice maker takes up less space than in most other models of this type. It's located entirely on the freezer door. The small compartment is easily removable, providing simple access to larger chunks of ice.

Ice Maker Photo

The shelves are smooth glass with metal trim, meaning they wipe clean with little effort. The lip where the metal meets the glass, though, isn't perfectly flush, so you'll want to make sure nothing gets stuck in there. The fridge's door shelves are even easier to clean. The storage portion of the shelf is detached from its metal border (the part that actually hooks into the fridge door), so you don't have to worry about taking the whole thing out. Just take out the bucket, wipe clean, and then place it back in its frame. The front of the fridge is a bit more dodgy. Special stainless steel cleaner should be used, and even then, we found that some streaks were rather persistent and needed to be attacked a second time.

The runs almost silently, performing as efficiently with respect to noise as a high-end fridge should.

The Fresh Flow filter, the equipment which keeps all your produce fresh in the crisper drawer, is actually in the drawer itself. It's attached to the right side of the drawer, and is easily accessible as long as the drawer isn't too overstuffed.

Energy Efficiency

Even for larger fridges like the , the energy cost is rather high, and the energy use throughout the machine is rather inefficient. This fridge is going to cost you a fair amount upfront, but will keep costing in your electric bill down the road.


On the other hand, you're going to find yourself throwing out far less spoiled fruits and vegetables as a result of the Fresh Flow crisper drawer. Moisture retention is second to none in the , at least in comparison to the other fridges we've tested, and is easily the highest selling point. If you really, really like salads, this fridge will not disappoint. Fridge temperatures are also very consistent, but the freezer's lack thereof may lead to some freezer burn over time.

Storage Space

The fridge is actually rather small compared to other large high-end models like this one. The freezer, however, is somewhat larger, meaning you'll have ample room for frozen goods but perhaps less room for goods stored in the fridge like juice and dairy products.


The is as accessible as a high-end fridge should be. With easy-to-clean shelves, an instructive and extensive control pad, and an unusually accessible ice maker, most consumers shouldn't have any trouble reaching any and every corner of this fridge.

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

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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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