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Electrolux EW28BS85KS review: This premium Electrolux fridge fails at the basics

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That bright green line at the top is the worst offender, spending much of the test above 50 degrees. That's the top shelf inside the right door, and it runs hot by design, because it's where most people keep their butter. That's pretty standard across all fridges we test -- butter bins are designed to run a little warm in order to keep your butter soft.

This butter shelf is the hottest spot in the fridge, but it isn't clear that it's meant for butter. That might make it tempting to put other things there, like this carton of eggs. That'd be a mistake. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Here's the problem, though -- the Electrolux butter bin isn't a butter bin at all. It's just another shelf -- no lid, no labeling. It looks more like a perfectly sized nesting spot for a carton of eggs than a dedicated shelf for butter. Give in to the temptation and store your eggs there, and the results might spoil your day, so to speak.

Of course, you could always dial the fridge temperature down lower than 37 degrees. Most refrigerators will go as low as 33 -- just north of freezing. As such, we make sure to repeat our 72-hour test at that lowest setting to see how our fridges fare (and to make sure they don't get cold enough to freeze your milk.)

Dialing down to the 33 degree setting helped, but temperatures still ran warm. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

With the Electrolux Wave-Touch French door fridge, you won't have to worry about frozen milk. At the 33 setting, temperatures dropped as expected, but still sat at least a couple of degrees warmer than the target. The top right in-door shelf was still the warmest spot in the fridge, but managed to cool down below 50 at least. As for the Perfect Temp Drawer, we cranked it up to 37 to see if it could if it could hold a warmer temperature than the rest of the fridge, which it did, albeit a degree or two hotter than the target.

It's clearly a better result (and one that isn't nearly so orange), but it's not a terribly impressive one. The similarly priced GE Profile Series French door fridge managed to keep the entire body of the fridge below 36 degrees during this test, with the doors coming in below 39 and the butter bin punching in at 41. It also outperformed Electrolux in the 37-degree test, and offers a more compelling slate of features.

The freezer did a much better job, holding steady temperatures and keeping defrosts down to five degrees or less. Ry Crist/CNET

Down in the Electrolux freezer, temperatures stayed steady below 5 degrees for the duration of the tests, with expected spikes during our scheduled door openings. Those spikes never brought the temperature up by much more than five degrees, if that, and the freezer was always able to bring things back down in quick fashion. It's a much better result than the fridge on all counts -- though again, it sat at least a few degrees above the target temperature (0 F) throughout the entire test.

There's also a "Soft Serve Drawer" in the top right corner of the freezer compartment -- kind of a butter bin for the freezer. Its job is to hold a temperature roughly 10 degrees above the rest of the freezer, making it an ideal spot for things like ice cream that you want kept frozen, but not too frozen. It did a nice job as well, rising and falling in sync with the rest of the freezer, and maintaining an overall temperature that was just as steady.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

How much will it fit?

The Electrolux EW28BS85KS claims a total capacity of 27.8 cubic feet, 19 of which is allocated to the fridge. That puts it right on par with comparable French door models in the GE Profile Series and the Frigidaire Gallery lineup, and just slightly behind the king-sized LG LMXS30776S .

All told, it's plenty of room for most families, but to help put things into perspective, we filled it up with our standardized load of test groceries. Everything fit just fine, especially once I rearranged the shelves to make room in the body of the fridge for milk jugs and other tall items. Taking things further, I tried loading six additional large-sized stress test items (a pitcher, a roasting pan, a party platter, a cake tray, a casserole dish and an extra-large pizza box). With the shelves rearranged, I was able to fit all of them at once -- see if you can spot them all in the picture above.

The ice maker eats up a good deal of space in the top corner of the fridge. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Still, things were a bit more cramped than I would have liked in this price range, and that's largely because of the ice maker, which sits in the top left corner of the main body of the fridge. The last Electrolux French door model we reviewed was slightly smaller, but it didn't have an in-door ice maker at all, and as a result, things didn't feel quite so squished.

The comparison is a little clearer in our standard load test, where we aren't allowed to rearrange the shelves from their default positions. Both fridges fit all of the test groceries, but when we tried to add in the stress test items, the Wave-Touch model could only fit the casserole dish, the roasting pan, and the pizza box simultaneously. The smaller IQ-Touch model was able to fit those three along with the party platter, too.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Down in the freezer, you've got 8.8 cubic feet to play with, along with a squeeze-and-slide divider to help you section things off. There's also a second icemaker, which will come in handy if you're throwing a cocktail party, but will eat up precious space when you aren't using it. I think I'd probably just turn the thing off and store the bin in the basement to make room for more frozen pizzas.

All in all, it's an appropriately roomy fridge for the price, but not a clear storage standout like the $1,800 LG LDC24370ST bottom freezer . Along with plenty of cubic feet, that fridge offers a wide variety of user-friendly features aimed at helping you make better use of its storage space, including sliding shelf dividers and an in-door shelf that folds neatly out of the way to make room for tall items. I would have appreciated a few more of those kinds of touches with this Electrolux model.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The verdict

High-end appliances deserve a high degree of scrutiny before you buy in -- especially when they start throwing the "luxury" label around left and right. This Electrolux model is such an appliance, and it doesn't hold up to that scrutiny. Its cooling performance is glaringly bad -- the majority of the fridge sat above 40 degrees F for more than 99 percent of our 37-degree test. There isn't much redemption with the features, either. The Wave-Touch controls are hardly worth mentioning, and the Luxury-Close Drawers actually made it more frustrating to use the crispers.

At this price range, I'd much rather have the GE Profile Series French door model . It's simply a better performer, and one that boasts a much better set of features, too. In fact, each and every other French door fridge we've tested has performed better than the Electrolux EW28BS85KS -- with the exception of the equally bad Electrolux EI28BS80KS4A . Put frankly, this fridge doesn't deserve your consideration.

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