It’s got lots of fresh food storage, great energy efficiency, and attractive LED interior lighting that's more often found on pricier models. Sure, it’s got hit-or-miss temperature dials and a control panel that only looks like a touch screen, but it's still one of the best fridge values we've come across.
High-end looks for a mid-range price
You’d be hard pressed to find another fridge besides the WRS325FDAM with a stainless exterior, through-the-door ice and water, and bright LED lighting in the fridge and freezer at this price. Sure, there’s only one crisper and the external dispenser’s “touch screen” is just plastic placed over a series of manual switches, but that's a small price to pay for a small price to pay.
Other than a bunch of different places to put the fridge door's bucket shelving, there aren’t a whole lot of options for customization. Luckily, the natural layout of the shelves in both the fridge and freezer gives your groceries plenty of headroom: gallons of milk, jugs of iced tea, even birthday cakes will fit here.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the Whirlpool’s freezer leaves you enough room to store a family-sized frozen pizza—albeit on its side. That’s virtually unheard of, especially in this price bracket. Despite the effective layout, though, one thing to keep in mind is that the freezer can get cramped pretty quickly. Consumers buying a fridge for a large household will want to keep that in mind.
Watch the temperatures and you'll be fine
For the most part, this Whirlpool’s performance was quite strong. Despite some excess cold air at the top, the fresh food side was consistent over time and stayed right around the ideal 37ºF. The freezer, though, hovered a little over 9ºF—much warmer than we wanted.
Luckily, the fridge and freezer have separate thermostats. The dials use a scale running from cold to colder; we tested the fridge at its recommended setting, marked with a small dot. For optimal chilling, you'll want to turn down the dial for the freezer, checking the results with an external thermometer until it's just right.
The single crisper drawer did an excellent job keeping in moisture, which should keep produce from drying out or turning slimy ahead of its time. It's also quite energy efficient.
In fact, the only downside about this fridge is its lack of features. Aside from through-the-door water and ice, all you’ve got is a lock for the dispenser—useful if you’ve got curious kids. For this price, though, we aren't complaining.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Saving money with style
Just because you want a good fridge with a stainless finish doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune. That's why we're such big fans of the Whirlpool WRS325FDAM. It performs well, looks even better, and is available at true bargain prices. It's usually available for around $1,160, but we've even seen sale prices lower than $1,000.
If you’re looking to save even more money, this fridge is also available in white, black, and an off-white in the same vein as old bisque appliances—Whirlpool's calling it biscuit. These non-stainless finishes will run you about $100 less.
The Whirlpool WRS325FDAM (MSRP $1,399) may not be perfect—few products are—but it’s one of the best affordable side-by-sides on the market today. With an effective crisper, low energy consumption, and stable fresh food storage, this stainless bargain is one we have to recommend.
External calibration is recommended
Not even a quality side-by-side like this Whirlpool can give us perfectly consistent temperatures from top to bottom. What this fridge does well, however, is remain consistent over time. Over time, the fridge fluctuated just ±0.44ºF. Average temperatures were a chilly 35.41ºF at the top, an almost-perfect 37.18ºF in the middle, and a just-right-for-produce 38.91ºF at the bottom.
The freezer wasn't as great. Setting the thermostat to the recommended dot on the nebulous control dial, we measured average temps at a balmy 8.03ºF at the top and 10.46ºF at the bottom. To prevent freezer burn, we prefer temperatures below 0ºF. Fortunately, separate thermostat dials control the fridge and freezer, which means you can mitigate this excess warmth without impacting your fresh food storage. An average fluctuation of ±0.9ºF isn’t awesome, but it is better than (or at least, on par with) most other budget models.
Crispy carrots for everyone
The only disappointing thing about this Whirlpool’s crisper is that there’s only one. Over the course of 72 hours, the test materials we placed inside the lone crisper lost an average of just 0.14 grams of moisture per hour. That’s fantastic; it means your produce will be optimally preserved, staying fresh and moist long enough for you to make a delicious salad.
After being placed in the WRS325FDAM’s freezer, room temperature test materials froze after one hour and 27 minutes. That’s about average. Meat and fish should be fine when thawed, but don't expect a flash freeze.
Don't worry if the power goes out, as thawing wasn’t an issue in any way. After unplugging the Whirlpool and letting it sit with the doors shut for 36 hours to simulate a power outage, our items had only warmed to 28.83ºF—still quite cold. That indicates good insulation.
A roomy fridge with low energy use
Despite its lack of customizability, the interior layout is both effective and accessible. Four shelves serve as the primary storage units, and are bolstered by three drawers including one crisper. A dairy bin and four additional shelves are mounted on the door. Three of those shelves can hold gallon-sized jugs, and are also the most extensively adjustable components of the entire side-by-side. They're tall enough for wine bottles or vases of flowers. In total, this Whirlpool will provide you with 11.06 cubic feet of usable space.
The freezer looks incredibly roomy, but it doesn’t use its space quite as effectively. Three wire shelves will hold the bulk of your frozen goods—the top and bottom shelves can be adjusted, but the middle one is stuck where it is—with a sliding drawer at the bottom. Four small shelves—one of which is incredibly shallow—are found underneath the ice dispenser on the freezer door. All in all, you’ve got 4.6 usable cubic feet. It’s not a lot, but should be enough for many families.
All of that space is chilled very effectively, with each usable cubic foot requiring just 0.07 kWh of electricity. That’s on par with some of the more energy efficient models on the market. At a fixed rate of $0.09 per kWh—with the icemaker running, mind you—it means the average American will only have to pay $33.69 per year to run this machine.
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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