If you’re part of a big family then the last thing you want to be doing is playing food Tetris each time you put your shopping away, or each time you find yourself with a bake tray or crock pot that requires chilling.
When you’re catering for the masses, large freezers are your friend. They might not be flush with your counters, and they may have a real presence in your kitchen, but when they’re working well and there’s a spot for every last pickle jar, then a significant amount of stress is taken right out of your life. They’re handy for home chefs, too, who may have enough condiment and spice jars to make a deli guy nervous.
The Whirlpool WRS588FIHZ is a great choice if you want height, side-by-side doors, and substantial capacity. With no bells or whistles (beyond the very innovative water dispenser), it sits in the lower middle bracket of the price range for appliances of this kind.
We’re going to condense the key product specifications for you here, and then look at the key selling points in a little more detail.
Whirlpool WRS588FIHZ Review
Dimensions & Storage
- Height: 68.9"
- Width: 36"
- Depth: 34.7"
- Depth of door 5.1” (hence room available for gallon carton shelf)
- 28.4 cubic feet capacity: 17.1 fridge; 10.9 freezer
- Refrigerator shelves: 4 glass anti-spill
- Refrigerator drawers: 1 humidity controlled; 1 dairy compartment; 1 deli drawer (fixed)
- Freezer shelves: 4
- Freezer drawers: 2
- Fridge door shelves: 5
- Freezer door shelves 3
- External cold water dispenser with volume options programable
- Automatic Ice Maker
- Produce Preserver & Humidity-Controlled Crispers
- Accu-Chill Temperature Control
- LED Lighting
Storage and Layout
There is no disputing that the total 28 cubic feet of storage space available in the Whirlpool WRS588FIHZ makes it a hugely spacious fridge. The overall capacity is nicely divided between the slightly lesser freezer space (a little under 11 cubic feet) and a generous 17.5 cubic feet capacity for the fridge itself.
The ice and water dispensers (which so often hog space in fridge-freezer appliances) are neatly tucked into the freezer door, leaving plenty of room in the freezer’s 3 door shelves, 4 main shelves, and 2 see-through, pull-out drawers.
We’ll go into detail about the dispensers further down in this article, but let’s focus on the freezer’s interior for a moment. There are some definite design pluses. For example, because you can put a great deal of your food on open display using the shelving in the main body and the door, it is way easier to reach in, grab your item, and retreat. It’s an energy-efficient layout, and easier on your back. No more groveling around on your knees as you hunt through three or four opaque drawers which don’t want to slide on their casters. It’s also well-lit. The drawers and anti-spill shelves in both compartments are notably easy to remove and clean. These are all features of the WRS588FIHZ which have made happy customers fall in love with it.
The downsides of the freezer are in the layout, and this criticism has been made of the fridge, too. The fridge (promisingly) offers two deep crisper drawers at the base, a third, shallower drawer halfway up, and four shelves. A huge selling point is the five deep shelves built into the door. You can even store your gallon milk and juice cartons upright in there.
However, what you gain in storage space, you sacrifice in adaptability. None of the drawers, plate shelves or door shelves are adjustable. There will be no personalizing this fridge. This is going to create more frustration for some customers than others; if you have a family of five and care more about space than layout, then you’re unlikely to find this configuration frustrating. However, if you’re on the short side and need to lift your crockpot up into the skies to use the tallest top shelf, then you might need to get creative. Some customers have sacrificed the crisper drawer for hard vegetables and stored them in the door instead. There are many ways of around the problem. The question is whether you would be prepared to make those kinds of compromises from the get-go with the pay-off of a huge amount of space to play with.
If you do opt to experiment with the drawer storage, then we’d advise great care in removing them. The plastic used for the bins and drawers is not as robust as you would hope for the value of the fridge. That said, this does appear to be a prevailing trend in customer feedback across most fridge-freezer appliances in the $1500-$2000 range, and there’s no evidence that this fault afflicts this refrigerator model worse than others on the market.
This fridge seems to be a tale of two cities in terms of aesthetic design.
The interior, while inoffensive, is frankly a little uninspiring. When first opening the fridge or freezer, you’re met with a bright white cavern which is not remotely broken up by the glass or translucent plastic. A few trim details or accent notes would go a long way to giving the inside a little more personality. It doesn’t help that the LED lights, while powerful, shine from the back rather than the sides. While this can give a desirable crisp-shiny-snow-cave effect for that eternally new feel, it can also make you wince while you’re reaching for the mustard.
The exterior is far more promising. The water dispenser emits a dim night light (appearing pale blue from a distance) and the control unit is bright and neatly laid out. The side-by-side doors give the fridge nice proportions, and the generous vertical handles are a nice balancing touch to the width. It’s a sleek unit, nice to look at in its stainless steel, white or black variations.
Power and Efficiency
Although this fridge hasn’t earned itself an Energy Star, its annual estimated $100 running cost and 750kWh energy consumption is not as far outside the award-stamp territory as you would expect for a fridge of this size. Its performance is pretty much on par with similar products in the same size range. It is helpful that the fridge is fitted with an open-door alarm to prevent horrific defrosting accidents.
The feedback from long-term customers providing comments and reviews indicates that the Accu-Chill temperature management system, the crispers and the odor filters all reliably do what they’re supposed to do. The appliance is equipped with self-defrosting capacity. Your freezer will safely freeze your food and your fridge will remain at the recommended 38° mark, except for the crisper drawers which keep your fruits and vegetables dehumidified at the slightly higher temperature they require for long life.
That said, there are reports that the joining wall of fridge-freezer in the fridge compartment gets too cold. This doesn’t appear to be the majority experience, but it is something that you might want to keep an eye on.
The icemaker and water dispenser have drawn criticism and praise respectively.
The prevailing opinion appears to be that the icemaker labors over the business of producing ice cubes. The cubes are of a decent size—smaller than average but perfect for cocktails—but they’re a little slow in coming. It is not a quiet process, either. All the noises that consumers seem to report from this appliance appear to source from the icemaker. This isn’t a big deal if your bedroom is more than one room away from the kitchen, but it might be a little disconcerting if you’re preparing food for any extended period.
That said, the size and position of the icemaker really does free up a significant amount of room in the freezer, which is said to be a sufficiently big win for most customers to overlook the less-than-optimal icemaking performance itself.
By contrast, the water dispenser is pretty much universally popular. The control panel is intuitively laid out, and attractive. There is a generous space in which you can put a jug or sports bottle. In fact, you can tell the dispenser how much water you want (in ounces, cups or liters), press a button, and go do something else while it fills up. Talk about an efficient way to get going on your morning run. As an added bonus, if you’re tracking your hydration using a fitness app, the indicator of how much water you’re consuming is a nice little novelty feature.
Finally, a Note About Product Reputation
In the interests of painting a whole picture about the experience of buying this appliance, we feel it’s important to highlight the fact that this fridge-freezer model truly divides opinion.
Looking over the history of comments relating to this product across a range of kitchen/appliance review sites, it appears that a batch of fridges were released which were either dented, contained flimsy interior drawers, or which—more dangerously—presented the customers with problems from insulation overspill within the first weeks of purchase. Those who were unfortunate enough to buy an appliance affected in this way have expressed their discontent in precise and expansive terms.
Through 2019 there seems a balance of enthusiastic five-star reviews, scathing 1-stars, and a smattering of praise-with-caveats sitting somewhere between. As the saying goes, angry voices travel further, so this may have a strong affect on your purchasing choice unless you’re made aware of the dichotomy of experience among those who have bought this appliance. A significant proportion of customers remain extremely happy with it, some two years after purchase.