There's a freezer on the top and a fridge underneath. The glossy white finish gives it an updated look, though it is less likely to hide fingerprints.

Front Photo

There's a single control for the fridge at the top of the fridge compartment. That control determines the temperature of both the fridge and the freezer, so you may find one compartment is at the mercy of the other.

Controls Photo

A plain white handle matches nicely with the glossy finish.

Handle Photo

Inside, Whirlpool has updated the refrigerator interior they've been using for decades, with sleeker clear plastic shelves on the doors.

Interior Photo

The interior of the CDWT980VSS.

Large glass shelves span the whole width of the fridge. Unlike fridges with half-width shelves, they don't offer many options for different interior configurations. There's a drawer underneath one shelf, and crispers at the bottom.

The refrigerator door features small, adjustable plastic shelves, a dairy drawer and a small storage space.

Refrigerator Main 1 Image

Upstairs, there's a single shelf with a vent for the freezer. There's no icemaker, and the shelves aren't adjustable.

Freezer Main 1 Image

There's nothing on the back of the fridge except for vents.

Back Photo

There's nothing on the side of the fridge. It's white, so it'll match the rest of your white appliances.

Sides Photo

Olympus SZ-31MR iHS side views

The 's compressor cycled on and off infrequently. When it came on, it used quite a bit of energy, but that was balanced by periods of almost no energy use. In total, the would cost about $32.66 to run in an average year, assuming that power sells for 9.1/kW-hr where you are. That's pretty low for a fridge.

So we can compare fridges equally, we divide out power use over a fridge's measured internal capacity. This one uses just 0.06 kWh to cool a single cubic foot. That's very efficient, regardless of how large a fridge is.

On its recommended setting, the 's fridge ran warm. That's a consequence of the single temperature control for fridge and freezer. If we'd bumped up the temperature in the fridge, the freezer would've been too cold.

Fridge Temperature Image
Fridge Temperature Graph

The fridge did prove to keep food remarkably consistent in temperature. We measured the temperature at the top, middle and bottom of the fridge and found there to be no hot or cold spots where air didn't flow. On each shelf, food stayed very close to a constant temperature, rarely moving more than a half a degree up or down.

Up top, the freezer did a great job keeping food consistently cold, barely varying more than a degree between top and bottom shelves.

Freezer Temperature Image

Temperatures also didn't vary over time. Consistency is very important in a freezer, as constant changes in temperature can cause freezer burn and ruin food.

A vegetable drawer is meant to keep its contents at a constant humidity, but that's not always the case. Over the course of four days, we measured how much water a synthetic vegetable lost inside the 's vegetable drawer, and found it to be about 0.19 grams of water per hour. That's about average for a fridge, but it means your vegetables may dry out fairly soon.

Vegetable Drawer Photo
Vegetable Drawer Controls Photo

The average American has about $800 worth of food in their fridge at any given time. When the power goes out, you don't want to lose all the food that you're storing. After 36 hours, food inside the 's freezer was still frozen, which proves this is a well-insulated appliance.

Power Loss Graph

"Flash Freezing" ensures that food goes from room temperature to frozen as quickly as possible to prevent ice crystals from forming, which may affect taste when the food is thawed. The took just an hour and fifteen minutes to freeze food from room temperature, which is pretty impressive.

Freezing Graph

While not very customizable, the interior of the fridge has wide shelves and a few drawers for storing smaller items that would otherwise get lost in such a cavernous space.

Refrigerator Storage Graph

On the door, there's room for butter and tall bottles. We recommend storing them here, since the interior shelves aren't that easy to adjust.

Refrigerator Door 1 Storage Graph
Refrigerator Door 2 Storage Graph

In the freezer, there aren't too many options. A single wire shelf bisects the interior, and it can't be adjusted.

Freezer Storage Graph

The freezer door has two fixed plastic shelves.

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 heavy, wide glass shelves are difficult to adjust. It may be difficult for those with limited mobility to reach down and get items at the rear of lower shelves.

Ease of Access Photo

There's a single control for the fridge at the top of the fridge compartment. That control determines the temperature of both the fridge and the freezer, so you may find one compartment is at the mercy of the other.

There's a single control on this fridge. It controls both the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer, and doesn't have any corresponding temperature scale. We calibrated our model at the "recommended" setting.

Controls Photo

Its easy to wipe fingerprints off the sleek surfaces, though its harder to clean the ridges on the freezer door shelves. Food that spills will invariably get stuck between the ridges and in the corners of the shelves. Liquids that spill on interior shelves can run down the back of the fridge and beneath the vegetable drawers.

You can tell when the fridge is on, but most of the time it's silent. It was hardly noticeable even in the quiet of our testing lab.

Energy Efficiency

The proved extremely efficient for a fridge of any size, with a compressor that stayed off most of the time.

Performance

In both the fridge and freezer, temperatures remained consistent over time and throughout the refrigerator. Our only complaint? It was impossible to adjust both the fridge and freezer to be at optimal temperatures with a single control for both.

Storage Space

Wide shelves provide ample storage space, but also lots of room for food to get lost. There's not a ton of flexibility when it comes to arranging shelves.

Usability

Interior shelves are heavy, and ridged walled shelves are great places for dirt and spills to collect.

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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