We're excited about the promise of smart technology, but we're also glad that Whirlpool debuted its 6th Sense Live smart platform on one of the best side-by-side fridges we’ve come across. The WRL767SIAM may be a tech showpiece, but it's got plenty of storage, does a good job preserving food, and has a relatively low price tag for an upscale side-by-side.
From the outside, you'd never know how much tech is hidden behind the stainless finish and slim, tapered handles. There's no color touchscreen or flashing lights—just a vast expanse of stainless.
The dark control panel, with its gray buttons and unobtrusive labels, blends in well with the stainless steel exterior. It’s completely blank when not in use, but the bright blue symbols really pop when activated. Only a small Smart Grid selector hints at what this fridge can do when it's connected to a wireless network.
On the inside, pale LED lights give off a cool, bluish glow that really highlight the gray shelf trimming and bright white walls. The shelves slide out for access to items in the rear, and there’s plenty of vertical space to keep things from getting crowded. A door-mounted icemaker means the same is true of the freezer.
Storage in both compartments is ample, but there’s a minimal amount of shelf adjustability. Three of the four shelves on the fridge door—two of which can hold two gallon-sized containers—can be moved to variety of different heights. And despite their high-end looks, the drawers could have opened more smoothly. While they didn't catch or wiggle, we found them a little too stiff.
Side by side by satisfaction.
The most compelling reason to buy the WRL767SIAM is Whirlpool’s 6th Sense Live functionality. By communicating with local utilities, the fridge can conserve energy by running defrost and freeze cycles during times of low energy demand unless absolutely necessary. Since so few areas currently offer smart electric meters, Whirlpool has collected pricing and demand data from local utilities so the fridge can have a better idea of when to run. 6th Sense Live also sends alerts to your iPhone (no Android, Windows, or Blackberry support just yet) if your door is ajar or the power cuts out, an-if you're on vacation, for instance-allows you to change the temperature remotely.
We’ll be taking a closer look at 6th Sense Live as soon as we're done testing the full suite of Whirlpool smart appliances, which includes a washer, dryer, and dishwasher. Check back in a few weeks for all the details. For now, you can take a look at our preliminary coverage of this system from the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show.
All that aside, this appliance is a flat-out great fridge. Fridge and freezer temperatures were remarkably consistent over time and space, a sign of optimal food preservation. While the freezer fluctuated a bit more than we like to see, it never got warm enough for freezer burn to be a concern.
Crispers managed to retain slightly higher-than-average amounts of moisture, which should save you from throwing out fresh produce that's gone bad prematurely. Without turning on any smart features, energy consumption was reasonable even with the icemaker running. The only other extra feature of note is the Fast Ice option. That said, you can also convert the bottom crisper from vegetable storage to a meat defrost bin.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
A smart fridge that’s a smart purchase.
Smart or not, it turns out the WRL767SIAM is one of the best side-by-side fridges on the market. With exceptional temperature performance, decent energy ratings, and more space in a side-by-side than we’re used to seeing, it’s a great alternative to pricey French door models. With most retailers offering it for as little as $1,700, it’s a quality fridge that’s got more than just fancy new tech working in its favor.
When it came to food preservation, the Whirlpool WRL767SIAM proved itself to be a high-quality product in every way. At the end of our rigorous testing procedure, this fridge was still standing tall.
Regularity that’s hard to beat.
Normally, temperatures in a side-by-side’s tall, thin compartments vary widely from top to bottom. In the case of this Whirlpool, however, things turned out to be surprisingly regular. At the top of the fridge, average temperatures clocked in at 38.79ºF, cooling down to 36ºF in the middle, and finally settling in at 37.98ºF near the bottom. With an average fluctuation over time of 0.49 degrees, these are uncannily consistent throughout the entire compartment.
The freezer, too, did exceptionally well. With an average temperature of -1.23ºF at the top and -0.19ºF at the bottom, there was no question that this freezer will thoroughly chill your food. The average shift over time of 0.76 degrees is a little high for our taste, but when combined with the low average temperatures, it means freezer burn shouldn’t be much of an issue at all.
Above-average crisper quality.
The crisper drawer in this Whirlpool fridge proved to be more than adequate at retaining moisture, even if it’s not the best we’ve seen. Over 72 hours, our test materials lost an average of 0.15 grams of moisture per hour. Definitely better than average, your produce should stay crisp for slightly longer than in many other models.
Freezing that’s on par with the competition.
Perhaps the least exciting of our test results was the freezing time. Room-temperature test materials were placed inside the Whirlpool’s freezer, and were officially frozen after one hour and 40 minutes. It’s neither better nor worse than average.
The WRL767SIAM’s insulation was more than effective at retaining cold air. After 36 hours without power, our test materials were still frozen.
A spacious freezer.
The use of vertical space enhances access in this roomier-than-average side-by-side. In the main fridge compartment, you’ve got four shelves—three of which are adjustable—set above two drawers, with a deli bin right in the middle. On the door, a dairy bin sits above four shelves: the two on the bottom are a bit shallower, while the upper two are capable of holding two gallon-sized containers at once. In total, it adds up to 12.3 cubic feet of usable space.
The freezer is where it gets really impressive. Four shelves and one drawer on the bottom are what you have to work with in the main compartment. The on-the-door icemaker means you only get three small shelves on the bottom to supplement. Despite the standard layout, it actually totals a whopping 6.44 cubic feet of usable space; that’s more than many pull-out freezers in large French door models.
To operate this machine without the use of Smart Grid technology, you’d have to pay an annual fee of $63.18 based on a fixed rate of $0.09 per kWh. It’s not bad, but it’s not cheap, either. The impressive amount of storage in this model, however, means that you’re only using 0.1 kWh per cubic foot of usable space, making this a surprisingly efficient fridge. Keep in mind, too, that our price is based on having the icemaker actively producing ice; you can always turn it off to save some money.
Meet the testers
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.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.Shoot us an email