Good storage options
Good value for its performance
Light on features
Recommended temperatures run warm
The Whirlpool WRT518SZFM offers what we’d expect from an inexpensive fridge, albeit with a few more storage options. There are a few more height options available for its repositionable shelves and bins than the average fridge. It also has a shelf-mounted drawer than can be slid to either side, to help fit taller items.
About the Whirlpool WRT518SZFM top-freezer fridge
Dimensions: 68.25” x 28” x 31.63” (H x W x D)
Finishes: Black, white, fingerprint-resistant metallic steel ($150 extra), stainless steel
Measured capacity: 10.05-cubic-foot fridge capacity, 3.05-cubic-foot freezer capacity
User manual: Whirlpool WRT518SZFM top-freezer fridge use and care guide
What we like
It maintains consistent temperatures
One of the most important performance tests for a refrigerator is how well it maintains even temperatures. Between defrost cycles and opening the door during regular use, the fridge has to constantly compensate to keep food within a fairly narrow temperature range. If your fridge gets below 32°F, groceries will start to freeze. Above 40°F and bacteria will have a field day.
Keeping this in mind, the WRT518SZFM is consistent, a notable quality for such an inexpensive fridge.
We found the temperatures in both its refrigerator and freezer compartments only wavered by about 3°F, which is steady enough to maximize the life span of your perishables.
Storage options are more flexible than you'd expect at this price point
Nobody likes discovering a leftover meal in the back of their fridge that’s long-since developed its own ecosystem. One way to ensure you won't grow mold and bacteria is by customizing your fridge’s storage space to keep packages and plastic containers more visible and organized so that you know what you have and what you need to toss.
Not only does the WRT518SZFM offer a decent array of flexible storage options, including adjustable shelves, bins, and drawers, it does so at a price point that typically doesn't include many fridges with similar accommodations. The WRT518SZFM also boasts a flexible drawer that can be repositioned horizontally to make room for taller items.
What we don’t like
Recommended temperatures are a bit warm
When it comes to fridges, manufacturers specify temperature settings for each model that we adhere to when we calibrate fridges. We do so because the average user doesn’t fully calibrate their fridge with a thermometer, so we want our testing baseline to be the same as the consumer's.
For the WRT518SZFM model, we discovered that it runs a bit warm on the manufacturer's settings; we measured the refrigerator compartment at an average of 39°F (ideal is 37°F) and the freezer at 2.82°F (ideal is 0°F). This is concerning, because its 3°F variance means the refrigerator's environment ended up spending some amount of time above 40°F, the temperature at which bacteria starts to thrive.
Fortunately, the fix is easy: Simply calibrate your fridge a notch cooler than the recommended settings, and you're good to go.
What owners are saying
Whirlpool's WRT518SZFM has earned mostly positive reviews, averaging 4.5 stars out of 5 across major retailers.
Praise for this fridge tends to be vague, and most five-star reviews boil down to “Works great; no complaints!” The only specific point of praise we saw mentioned is its great storage options.
Though far less frequent, negative reviews are consistent and specific. Many one-star reviews report that the WRT518SZFM's freezer stopped working within a few years of purchase. Several reviews indicate that repair technicians attributed the issue to a dying compressor.
While any product has its fair share of lemons, the number and specificity of these complaints indicates a larger manufacturing issue is at work here.
And even though this is concerning, these complaints only make up a sliver of this fridge’s overall user base. We are not disqualifying the model, just encouraging any potential buyers of the WRT518SZFM to keep in mind that a larger-than-average number of users seem only to get a couple of years out of this model.
The Whirlpool WRT518SZFM comes with a one-year guarantee for parts and service. This is the standard warranty in this product space.
Potential buyers should consider the compressor failure, which seems to happen shortly after Whirlpool's one-year warranty expires. This means you could be out of luck for replacing the defective unit at no cost. If the Whirlpool WRT518SZFM could a longer warranty that protects consumers from this issue, we’d be a lot more enthusiastic about it.
Should you buy the Whirlpool WRT518SZFM?
Yes, with a tiny asterisk.
Overall, we really like this fridge, especially at its price point. It does the basics well and features great storage options. The WRT518SZFM is perfect for the consumer looking for a cheap fridge for a garage or basement.
That being said, we are a bit concerned about how many user reviews mention the same part fail a few years after purchase. While these testimonials still made up a small percentage of the total number of user reviews, it does give us pause. Do we think this issue is a deal-breaker? No.
If you need a cheap fridge with good performance, the WRT518SZFM is a solid pick. And if you're not OK with the risk factor, we recommend checking similar fridges on our list of the best affordable fridges—specifically the Insignia NS-RTM18WH7 and GE GTS22KGNRBB, both of which are around the same price and had the same great performance.
Meet the testers
Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with seven years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.
Kyle Hamilton is a product tester at Reviewed, specializing in home appliances and technology.
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