Sure, it isn't perfect. The icemaker is intrusive, and the lack of a dedicated crisper drawer is a glaring omission. But for half the price of some of its competitors, this fridge is an exceptional bargain.
The Whirlpool WRX735SDBM (MSRP $2,299) may look like a high-end French door fridge, but its performance reveals its more budget-oriented qualities. Some of its flaws are correctable using the controls, but not all.

Make your friends jealous

This Whirlpool looks much more expensive than it actually is. Normally you wouldn’t find a stand-alone middle drawer on a sub-$2,000 fridge, for instance.

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LED lighting inside the fresh food compartment brightens all the white plastic shelving effectively, and the see-through bottom shelf that lets you look into that middle drawer is a nice touch—like a glass-bottomed boat that lets you gaze at your perishables.

Unfortunately, it’s downhill from there. The interior icemaker is huge, and as a result, the shelves on the left-hand fridge door are almost impractically small. Also, there’s no dedicated crisper drawer anywhere in this fridge, although the middle drawer does have a “Produce” setting.

The freezer looks more like what you’d expect for a fridge in this price bracket, too. Wire shelves are dimly lit by an incandescent bulb set so far back that I pity anyone who has to try and change it. Overall, the freezer is also very cramped, despite the fridge’s impressive external dimensions.

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At least the external controls are attractive and easy to read, with bright blue LED lights that glow when active. The two separate paddles for ice and water are a nice touch, as well—you’ll always know what you’re about to dispense, which should minimize the risk of spills.

Consistently balmy

Both main compartments in this Whirlpool ran just a touch too warm. The fresh food compartment displayed average temperatures of 40.26ºF at the top, 37.79ºF in the middle, and 38.93ºF at the bottom. Fortunately, an average fluctuation of just ±0.33ºF throughout the entire compartment means those warm temperatures are very consistent.

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This was also the case with the freezer: Temperatures averaged 1.25ºF at the top and 1.27ºF at the bottom, but only fluctuated about ±0.84ºF. With such a consistent temperature output, the warmth issue can be corrected by turning down the external thermostat; two degrees or so should suffice. Otherwise, you might be dealing with freezer burn.

A bit too warm

The biggest surprise about this fridge’s performance was that both the fresh and frozen storage compartments ran a bit warm when we set them to the manufacturer's recommended settings—roughly one to two degrees in each section. Fortunately, both sections also turned out to be impressively consistent. Just turn down the temperature a little and you'll be fine.

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As we mentioned, the wide middle drawer has a “Produce” setting at one end of its control dial. It didn’t seem to do much good, however, as our test materials lost lots of moisture each hour. While the extra space—and the adjustable and removable plastic dividers that are included—is quite nice, the drawer itself proved to be ineffective as a crisper.

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For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.

My kingdom for a crisper!

While the large pull-out drawer in the middle of the Whirlpool may look like a high-tech food storage unit, it’s not that great as a crisper. Despite setting it to the “Produce” setting via the drawers sliding controls, our test materials lost an average of 0.3 grams of moisture each hour over the course of three days. That’s roughly twice as worse as some of the superior crispers we’ve tested, and could mean an increased rate of spoilage for fresh vegetables.

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Not bad, for the right price

Compared to some of the more expensive French door fridges, the Whirlpool WRX735SDBM lags behind. That said, at about $1,780 in most stores, it’s also roughly half the cost of those high-end, extremely expensive machines.

If you’re looking for an attractive, relatively high-capacity French door fridge but don’t want to spend a fortune on it, give this Whirlpool a whirl.

If you want something with more features, roomier storage spaces, or superior performance… look elsewhere. Just be prepared to spend a lot more.

Fairly fast freezing

Despite the ever-so-slightly warm freezer temperatures, our test materials managed to cool down from room temperature to 32ºF in just one hour and 15 minutes—slightly faster than average.

After 36 hours without power, those same items had only thawed to 26.66ºF. That means this could be a good fridge for folks living in areas prone to power outages.

Tight quarters

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While the wide drawer in the middle of the fridge may make things look larger, the overall storage capacity of this Whirlpool felt just a touch cramped. The main fridge section holds three half shelves—two of which are equipped with deli drawers—as well as a thin shelf up by the icemaker and a large glass panel at the bottom. It also houses the icemaker, which is quite large.

Three bucket shelves are found on each door, though the ones on the left are designed to fit around the ice dispenser. For the purposes of our calculations, we counted the middle drawer as fresh food storage, bringing the total amount of usable fridge space to 11.15 cubic feet.

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The freezer was even more cramped: Upper and lower drawers—made of wire and plastic, respectively—provide the only usable spaces for frozen food, both of which are bisected by a plastic divider. The upper drawer is further constricted by the visually-hidden by spatially-obstructive light fixture in the middle. You’ve only got 3.98 usable cubic feet in the freezer, much less than average for a fridge this size.

Energy efficiency was only so-so with this model. At a rate of $0.09 per kWh, we calculated that—with the icemaker running—you would have to pay about $39.11 per year to operate the Whirlpool. That translates to about 0.08 kWh to power each usable cubic foot; it’s not bad, but it’s definitely not the best.

Meet the testers

Matthew Zahnzinger

Matthew Zahnzinger

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
Matthew Zahnzinger

Matthew Zahnzinger

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.

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