If you haven't gone appliance shopping in the past few years, it's possible that you aren't familiar with the 4-door model of refrigerator and possibly have never even seen one. To the untrained eye, it looks like sort of a hybrid of two older styles of refrigerator: the bottom-freezer style and the side-by-side style. The 4-door refrigerator can be considered a subset of the French door refrigerator style. In a French door refrigerator design, the freezer compartment is located on the bottom and may open with either a traditional swinging door or a pull-out drawer, the latter of which is typically more desirable because you don't need to crouch down to pull items out of the freezer. The fresh food compartment is at the top behind two symmetrical doors that open out in the manner of the architectural feature from which the unit gets its name. In a 4-door model, there is an extra refrigerated drawer located in the middle of the device between the upper fresh food compartment and lower freezer compartment, which is intended for easy storage of frequently accessed food.
Once dismissed as a passing fad, French door refrigerators, including their 4-door variants, have quickly become the most fashionable refrigerator style, especially among those with modern kitchens. The Whirlpool Corporation has been one of the leading manufacturers of home appliances for more than 100 years, so it makes sense that they would follow the current trend. Currently, there are two models of Whirlpool 4-door refrigerator featured on the Whirlpool website: the WRX735SDHV and the WRX735SDBM. Unfortunately, the latter is no longer available. Nevertheless, with diligent searching and a little luck, you may still be able to find it from third-party sellers. We will compare the 4-door models to similar 3-door models, which differ from 4-door models primarily in that they lack the middle drawer.
French Door Refrigerators: Frequently Asked Questions
Since French door refrigerators are relatively new, you may have questions about them. This section will attempt to answer the questions that may be in your mind as you think about a French door refrigerator.
1. What makes a French door refrigerator appealing?
For the fashion conscious, especially those with modern kitchens and those who care about the cohesion of their interior design, the outward style of a French door refrigerator certainly plays a factor. Though the design owes something to its predecessors, it also has its own unique style and typically comes in a small array of desirable colors and finishes. However, a French door refrigerator has practical features that go beyond aesthetics.
2. What practical features does a French door refrigerator offer?
French door refrigerators are frequently praised for efficiency, primarily in terms of ergonomics, but energy usage plays a part in it as well. A 4-door French door refrigerator offers more space in the fresh food compartment than other styles, especially if you count the extra tray. A French door refrigerator does not necessarily offer more storage space in the freezer (although this is sometimes the case) but the space that it does offer is used more effectively and intuitively in the bottom freezer compartment. Items that are wide and flat, such as frozen pizzas, dinners or desserts, fit comfortably in the wider storage compartment and stack on top of one another. You do need to bend over in order to reach your frozen foods, but you do not need to crouch down.
Typically, the interior of a French door refrigerator is not as deep as the more traditional top-freezer or side-by-side models. This means that not only is fresh food stored at eye level but items are less likely to be lost in the back and forgotten. Since both French-style doors open onto the fresh food compartment, the theory is that if you remember which side of the refrigerator the item you want is on, you need only open one of the doors to find what you want, therefore wasting less energy. The middle drawer of a 4-door model is also cited as an energy saver, as you can store the foods you most frequently grab in the drawer so you can access them without having to open the main refrigerator compartment at all.
Other features that typically come standard on a French door refrigerator are ice and water dispensers and storage bins in the doors that can often accommodate gallon-sized containers.
3. Are French door refrigerators energy efficient?
The energy efficiency claims of French door refrigerators need to be carefully scrutinized. As one of the most modern styles of refrigerator, a French door fridge typically comes with a lot of extra features. The more features your refrigerator is running, the more energy it will use compared to refrigerators that do not have those extra features. Nevertheless, some models of French door refrigerators are built with energy efficiency in mind, and some are even Energy STAR certified.
In other words, the answer to this question is that the efficiency of French door refrigerators varies from model to model, and you should conduct at least cursory research on each individual unit you are considering before you make a buying decision.
4. How are French door refrigerators different from side-by-side refrigerators?
On the surface, the two different styles may appear similar due to their paired doors. On the inside, however, the similarities are fewer and farther between.
Side-by-side refrigerators are unique in that they are the only refrigerators that have the freezer compartment and fresh food compartment vertically aligned right next to each other; in all other refrigerator styles, one is stacked on top of the other. A side-by-side refrigerator offers more freezer space than a French door model, but the space is not used as efficiently. Typically, the freezer compartment in a side-by-side refrigerator is slightly narrower than the fresh food compartment. Even though the overall volume of the side-by-side freezer is greater than that of a French door unit, the compartment is so narrow that it can be difficult to fit wider objects, such as frozen pizzas or exceptionally large frozen turkeys, inside of it. The freezer compartment of a side-by-side unit also typically contains the ice and water dispenser, which cuts down on usable storage space.
While both styles have two doors that open out from each other, in a side-by-side model, one door closes the fresh food compartment and the other closes the freezer. Because these two sections are not the same size, the doors are typically asymmetrical as well. In a French door unit, both doors enclose the fresh food compartment, so they are split evenly down the middle of the unit.
5. Does a French door refrigerator make effective use of space?
When it comes to interior storage, the general consensus is yes, although some may argue the point. However, those with existing kitchens, especially those that run on the small side, may find that a new French door refrigerator is too wide to fit in the existing allotted fridge space. However, there are some narrower French door models available that may fit.
6. How much can you expect to pay for a French door refrigerator?
Generally speaking, French door refrigerators are the most expensive refrigerators that you can buy. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 for a 4-door unit, more than twice as much as the most traditional top-freezer model.
7. Is there anyone for whom French door refrigerators are not a good option?
As with any product, no matter how useful or popular, French door refrigerators have their downsides. As noted above, they tend to be among the most expensive refrigerators, so the budget conscious may which to consider another, less expensive style. Furthermore, due to the top-positioned fresh food compartment and pull-out drawers, French door refrigerators are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
8. How does capacity relate to energy usage?
The bigger your refrigerator, the more energy it uses; this is true regardless of the style of refrigerator. Therefore, it is wasteful to buy a refrigerator that is larger in capacity than your household size requires. A general rule is that the total capacity of your refrigerator, including both freezer and fresh food chambers, should amount to roughly 4 to 6 cubic feet per member of your household.
Whirlpool Refrigerator Rating Criteria
In evaluating Whirlpool French door refrigerators, we looked at four important criteria:
We looked at not only the average rating, but the number of reviews, as a higher number of reviews may indicate a more accurate average.
Looking specifically at estimated annual electricity usage, estimated annual cost of operation and whether or not the unit is Energy STAR certified.
Based on the above criteria, we judged capacity based on the optimal size for a household of four, which would fall between approximately 16 and 24 cubic feet.
For more pricing details, see below.
Whirlpool French Door Refrigerators: Pricing
The retail price of the WRX735SDHZ model varies depending on the color option you choose. There are four such options to choose from, and the prices are as follows:
The Whirlpool website doesn't specify if the black stainless is also resistant to fingerprints.
A retail price for the WRX735SDBM model is not available, and with good reason: it turns out that they are no longer being sold. This is not clearly stated on the Whirlpool website; it was only when we started looking for it on websites for other retailers that we discovered it. We will include it in our review anyway because you may still be able to find it on eBay, Craigslist or from other third-party sellers. We will also include some similar 3-door French door models for purposes of comparison.
Top Five 3-Door And 4-Door Refrigerators From Whirlpool
The following five refrigerator models from Whirlpool are all 36 inches wide. Two have four doors and three have three doors. They all have ice and water dispensers, although one has it interiorly. Four of these models are still available for sale. Let's see how they compare otherwise.
Whirlpool WRF954CIHZ 24 Cu. Ft. Stainless Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator
Frigidaire FFHB2750TS 36 Inch French Door Refrigerator with 26.8 cu. ft. Total Capacity, in Stainless Steel
Whirlpool WRFA35SWHN 25 Cu. Ft. Sunset Bronze French Door Refrigerator
'Whirlpool 36" Print Resist Black Stainless French Door Counter Depth Refrigerator'
Whirlpool WRF954CIHM 24 Cu. Ft. Stainless Steel French Door Refrigerator WRF954CIHM
Even if the WRX735SDHB were not the only Whirlpool 4-door refrigerator currently available, it would still beat out its counterpart due to its energy efficiency. The best 3-door model is the WRF954CIHM, especially if you require more than 25 cubic feet of storage, as it offers more capacity for less money.