CNET First Look
Whirlpool's skinniest fridge wasn't its strongest performerThe Whirlpool URB551WNGZ is a nice-looking compact-sized fridge designed to squeeze into cramped kitchens -- but the cooling power left us, well, cold.
[MUSIC] Got a skinny fridge here for you today. Namely the compact-sized Whirlpool URB551WNGZ. At less than two feet wide, it's designed to squeeze its way into cramped kitchens, then class the place up a little bit with its minimalist aesthetic. It's an industrial look that mimics the appearance of luxury fridges from brands like Dacor and Wolf, that cost many thousands of dollars more. And to Whirlpool's credit, I think they did a really nice job. It's as cramped as you'd expect from a compact model, but you still get glass shelves, plenty of room for fruits and veggies, and even a built-in wine rack. It doesnt' feel quite as good as it looks with some flimsy bits here on the door for instance but overall, nice design. That design won't come cheap though. In fact at a retail price of about $1400 this Whirlpool is about as expensive as compact size fridges get and twice the price of comparable compact size fridge from LG. So how does Whirlpool stack up? Well it looks a lot nicer than the other compact size refrigerators that I've test, but it doesn't perform better. And I know that because we spent weeks testing each and every fridge that we review, and unlike other Whirlpool's that I've tested, this one did not get a passing grade. At the default setting, the entirety of the fridge compartment was well above 40 degrees farenheit, a food safety benchmark used by the FDA. We don't like it when fridges run any warmer than that, and this one did. Now performance was better at the colder setting but that makes the fridge less efficient. And it also makes things too cold in the freezer. In the end that all just too much of a shortcoming at this price. [UNKNOWN] fridge looks great, but I say stick with that $700 LG model. It's a better performer, it's more efficient and again it cost half as much. [BLANK_AUDIO]