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Whirlpool WRSA88FIHN side-by-side refrigerator (Sunset Bronze) review: Whirlpool didn't reinvent the refrigerator -- it gilded it

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Of course, performance matters, too -- and in the case of the WRSA88FIHN, the performance was good, not great.

At the default setting, the main body shelves in the refrigerator all held to within a degree or two of the target temperature of 37 degrees F. That's good, but I also found multiple hot spots in the door and in the bottom crisper bin where the average temperature over the course of my 72-hour test came back warmer than 40 F, a benchmark for food safety used by the FDA.

Hot spots like those aren't terribly unusual for side-by-side fridges, where the verticality of the design can make it more challenging for the refrigerator to hold consistent, accurate temperatures from shelf to shelf. Still, while I can forgive hot spots in the door shelves, where you'll probably keep non-perishable items like two-liter bottles of soda and preservative-heavy condiments, that warmer-than-average crisper bin would probably be enough to get me to dial the fridge down by a degree or two.

Of course, doing so would also up your energy usage slightly, which isn't ideal given that, at 747 kWh per year, the WRSA88FIHN already uses more energy than similarly sized, similarly priced competitors from GE, Samsung and LG. At that point (and at this price), I'd much prefer a fridge with a default setting that performed a little better.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The verdict

At a retail price of $1,900 and likely on sale for less, Whirlpool's gold-tinted side-by-side is a perfectly decent midrange refrigerator. The distinctive design and sturdy build help give it a premium feel, enough so to make up for the near-complete lack of unique features inside. Its cooling power isn't the strongest that I've seen, but I wouldn't call it an underperformer, either. Rather, it's a pretty typical fridge in a very effective disguise, and worthy of consideration if you want to add some rose gold glam to your kitchen.

Editors' Note, 7/10/18: This review was originally published using an incorrect model number and suggested retail price. We regret the error and have updated the text accordingly.

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