Many consumers searching for a new refrigerator want something more than a box with a door that keeps meat cold and vegetables crisp. Technology has changed our day-to-day lives, including the appliances that call our kitchens home. Speed chilling, linear compressors and digital touchscreens are, more and more, complementing icemakers and water dispensers.
Access to this technology can cost a pretty penny, too. Unless your budget is unlimited, you may have to make concessions to get what you need and a little of what you want. Research and comparison-shopping will help you find a refrigerator that gives you the most for your dollar. One refrigerator that will likely end up on your list is Whirlpool’s WRS325FDAM model.
Consumers who purchase the WRS325FDAM will first notice the refrigerator’s ample produce and grocery space. The side-by-side refrigerator has a capacity of 25 cubic feet. Potential buyers will then enjoy learning about its Accu-Chill temperature management system, which helps keep that produce cool and crisp. SpillGuard shelves make cleanup easier, and an automatic defrost system monitors compressor activity. Defrost only occurs when absolutely necessary, helping save energy, and money, in the long run.
That’s just to start. Read on to learn more about the refrigerator’s pros and cons, as well as how it could fit into your budget.
Shoppers will find that side-by-side refrigerators, like the WRS325FDAM, range in cost from $$$ to $,$$$. The WRS325FDAM retails for about a grand, give or take a hundred dollars or more either way. This places the fridge in the lower middle-market of most refrigerator brands.
Most of the features in the WRS325FDAM can also be found in other refrigerators in the same price category. Refrigerators that cost more than a couple of grand won’t include many more features, but consumers can expect a little better quality in construction and technology, as well as a bit more consistency and interior-space flexibility. You may get features that are more aesthetic with higher-priced models, too.
How It Compares to Similar Refrigerators
When comparing the WRS325FDAM to other refrigerators in its class, it is best to look beyond features, at least at the beginning, and focus on performance. Search out professional and customer reviews about the product to see what people are saying.
Specifically, see what they say about three different performance metrics: thermostat control, temperature uniformity and energy efficiency. You want to know that the WRS325FDAM’s thermostat will reach and maintain the recommended temperature determined by the manufacturer. Make sure it does so both in the fridge and on the freezer side at the same time. You might even test to see how the refrigerator performs if your home’s interior temperature rises or lowers significantly. Does the internal temperature shift with the home’s temperature?
In terms of temperature uniformity, make sure the refrigerator keeps its cool at the same temp throughout the fridge. Are there warm spots? Cool spots? Or is everything the same? Also, make sure the refrigerator has a good energy efficiency rating. Energy efficiency will help keep the machine running smoothly while reducing the workload on your home and your wallet.
How does it stack up against the competition? Let’s take a look:
WRS325FDAM Pros & Cons
The most likely reason the WRS325FDAM will end up on your shortlist is the price. A little looking around and you might find the refrigerator at a price below a thousand dollars, placing it solidly in the mainstream of mid-range refrigerators. So, what high-end features do you get with the WRS325FDAM? Not much beyond through-the-door water and ice and a lock to defend against curious fingers.
The refrigerator is not without its plusses, however. To start, it is gorgeous. If you want the look of an expensive stainless steel fridge with long, easy to grip handles, but the price tag is a no go, the WRS325FDAM is an option. It also provides plenty of room for oversized groceries. Stick a pizza in the freezer without a problem.
Bullets on your cons list might include a single crisper versus multiple crispers in similar models. There is not a lot of customization either, which many consumers enjoy. Ample space counters that negative mark somewhat. Oh, and remember that pizza? It fits well in the freezer, but space can come at a premium relatively quickly. Anyone with a family of five might want to give this some thought before committing to purchase.
What might tip the scale is the fridge’s overall performance. Where it lacks in bells and whistles, it more than makes up in consistency. Once set, temperatures remain constant. The refrigerator and freezer work on separate thermostats, as well, which makes tuning the fridge much easier. The fridge side works well at the recommended setting, though experts suggest using external means to double check that the freezer is running at desired temps.
The lone crisper also works well, retaining moisture to help extend the lifespan of vegetables. Here are some other pros and cons:
What Customers Are Saying
Before you decide on a refrigerator, it is best to do a little research to see what those who own the fridge are saying about the appliance. On one big box retail website, out of more than 1,200 reviews, the WRS325FDAM received more than 640 five-star reviews and nearly 500 four-star reviews – nearly 90 percent of all reviews.
Many customers loved the WRS325FDAM’s size, saying it provides plenty of storage space for produce and leftovers. “Shelves pull out for extra ease,” one customer writes. “Freezer is great; you can see all your freezer items and stack them, so you know where and what you have in the freezer.”
While it gets a few dings for occasionally dropping an ice cube or two, customers also praise the fridge’s icemaker. One reviewer enjoyed its easy operation and cube style selection, including cubed and crushed.
The appliance’s interior lighting pleases many reviewers. The WRS325FDAM includes double lights on the fridge side, which customers say helps when searching throughout the shelving, including the bottom.
Those who scored the WRS325FDAM with one- or two-stars reported overall poor performance from the fridge. Loud knocking sounds bothered one reviewer, while others were perturbed by the icemaker, which would either spew ice and create a mess or only deliver one type of ice, crushed or cubed, and not the other.
Others found interior temperatures to be inconsistent or were bothered by the lighting and set up. For some, condensation covered both the freezer and the crisper. Another reviewer noted that the refrigerator did not have adjustable feet, so uneven floors would lead to an uneven or unbalanced appliance.
Three-star reviews – customers who saw both good and bad in the appliance – might hold the most information with regard to what to enjoy and what to look out for. Most three-star reviews called the fridge “great,” but added some “buts.”
One reviewer was put off by the smart controls of more expensive brands, writing that the WRS325FDAM has “elegant mechanical controls” that are “easy to read and use.” He or she also liked the fridge’s performance, as well as its LED lighting and storage capacity.
The reviewer was slightly unimpressed with the ice dispenser, which seemed to allow tiny bits of ice to spill out regardless of the cube-type, which inevitably found their way to the floor, creating a mess. The reason, he or she speculated, might be the dispenser’s opening, which is wider and more rectangular than other brands. The wider opening could allow the ice to reach the floor since cups and glasses cannot properly catch the ice.
Other Things To Consider When Choosing a Refrigerator
Price and performance are two of the most important considerations to make when buying a major appliance like a refrigerator. But they are not the only things you should consider. Here are a few more:
You may already have a favorite make and model, but have you measured to make sure it will fit in your kitchen? You want to measure more than the space where you plan to place your fridge. Measure any doorways you will use to get the fridge in your kitchen. Imagine what you would do if you found out your refrigerator won’t fit through the front door.
Measure more than height and width, too. Depth can play havoc with a kitchen’s flow, as well. A refrigerator that sticks out too far will disturb foot traffic.
Which Features are Most Important?
As discussed earlier, refrigerator price often depends as much on features as it does on brand name. If you are on a budget, determine which features you can live with and which you can live without. That way, you can narrow down your choices and likely save a bit on the final price.
Beyond icemakers and water dispensers, new features include 1) door-in-door, which allows you to open a smaller door in the main door to retrieve frequently used groceries, and 2) French door refrigerators, which include several doors that open to different fridge areas. Just remember, as you add features, you likely increase the cost of the appliance.
More and more consumers are learning about linear compressors. For those who like to ensure their appliances are as energy efficient as possible, a linear compressor is at the top of their features list.
Most refrigerators use a traditional compressor, which remains off when the refrigerator is at the established temperature. When the refrigerator begins to warm, the compressor turns on and works to reestablish the regular temperature. Turning completely on or completely off can burn a lot of energy.
Linear compressors stay on indefinitely but work at various power levels. If you are away for an extended period, not opening the fridge door, the compressor will work at a lower power level, maybe 10 percent, keeping the fridge at a steady temperature and saving energy over time. That steady temperature also works to keep food fresher longer, saving money that way, too.
The WRS325FDAM refrigerator from Whirlpool is a solid choice for consumers on a budget and searching for a fridge with consistent performance, ample size and basic features. Customers and professional reviewers love its overall look and feel, almost unheard of for a side-by-side refrigerator in its price range.
Consider whether a poorly designed ice dispenser will cause you too much consternation before you purchase. There are enough complaints about excess ice that it is worth thinking about. Some performance issues pop up from time to time but think of those as more of a bad apple in a bunch than an overall negative for the entire series.
Overall, we give the WRS325FDAM 4.3 stars based on its mid-range retail price, its consistent performance and high percentage of positive customer reviews. Customers who are not in the market for bells and whistles and need an everyday refrigerator will be happy with this purchase.