Home Tech Reviewer, Tech AdvisorJUN 20, 2023 4:33 pm BST
At a glance
Convertible freezer cabinet
Water and ice dispenser
No vegetable bin humidity control
Water dispenser is plumbed
Higher than average energy consumption
This is a well-built, stylish French-door fridge freezer with panoramic lighting, a flexible temperature cabinet, and programmable water and ice at the press of a paddle.
Price When Reviewed
Not available in the US
If you tend to associate Whirlpool with budget-friendly appliances, you might be surprised at the luxury of this French door fridge freezer. It’s part of Whirlpool’s premium flagship range, the W Collection, and it has everything we love in an appliance of this kind.
French doors on a fridge are gorgeous and have that lovely double-door Parisian balcony feel in which your fridge interior is laid out before your eyes in a panoply of comestibles – all helped, in this model, by lighting on three sides of the internal cabinet.
Then you have a pair of freezer cabinets, one of which is convertible from freezer to fridge temperature for those times when you need more fridge or bottle space: that’s right, the right-hand freezer cabinet can even double as a beer or wine cooler.
Plus, there is a water and ice dispenser that you can programme for specific glass volumes, and cubed and crushed ice. The appliance also has smart features.
Design and build
Taller than average
Recessed door handles
The first thing you notice about this W Collection fridge freezer is that it’s a solid, well-built appliance. Modern and gunmetal grey, the fridge doors have a bunker heaviness to them that reminds you more of a cold store door than a refrigerator.
The recessed handles are underneath the fridge door panels, and even though you have the typical French door situation where the left door needs to close before the right door to allow for the sealing mechanism to engage, they have a well weighted swing and no bounce-back.
At 187.6cm high, the fridge freezer is slightly taller than average for a fridge freezer of this kind, so it has something of a monolithic presence and shorter than average people might struggle to reach the back of the top shelf.
But, all in all, there’s something that feels very solid and dependable about this fridge freezer. And the power cord is a good 180cm long.
Whirlpool states this fridge freezer operates at about 41dB, which isn’t the quietest model we’ve ever tested, but very typical for an appliance of this type. In the real world, it hardly makes a discernible noise at all.
You do get a door alarm if the door is open for more than a minute or so, but it is not intrusive, and you can turn it off through the control panel if you want to clean the fridge.
Energy F rating
430 kWh pa
This appliance has an F energy rating, which was A+ on the old rating scale. Whirlpool says that you will be looking at 430 kWh pa to run the appliance, which is on the higher end of energy consumption for a fridge freezer of this size and storage capacity, but it’s a difference, roughly, of about 40 kWh pa from the average.
Touchscreen control panel
A host of features
You control the fridge through a black touchscreen panel, with additional touchscreen mode buttons to the side, above the water and ice dispenser.
When activated, the screen gives you the time and date, the current temperature of the fridge freezer cabinets, the selected mode for ice, and whether the appliance is Wi-Fi connected. The display is white, bright, useful and rather perky.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The four mode buttons are “Tools”, “Home”, “Favourites” and “Ice”. Home is self-explanatory, as is Ice, which toggles between cubed and crushed, but “Tools” and “Favourites” take you into a world of personalisation.
“Tools” hosts a lot of options. You can turn on fast cool or fast freeze, which increases cooling for a set amount of time when you introduce new foods into the fridge or freezer, or when you’re using the fridge or freezer a lot. There’s a holiday mode, which turns off the water and ice dispenser and lowers the temperature of the fridge. There is also a “no freezer burn” feature that sub-cools the freezer cabinet prior to defrost.
Naturally, you can set the operating temperatures of each cabinet, and this is where you can change the temperature of the right-hand freezer, essentially swapping the cabinet from freezer to fridge to cooler.
Also in the control panel, you can set the time and date, how much water to dispense, plus there’s a handy kitchen timer feature. You can turn the water dispenser light on and off here as well.
But the most intriguing control panel feature is the “special occasion” menu. Here you can choose a scenario, and the appliance will respond accordingly.
From “loading a big grocery shop” and “marinating meat” to “having a party”, “chilling beverages in the freezer” or “cleaning inside the fridge”, the fridge freezer will set timers, turn off fridge cooling and the door alarm, or turn on fast cooling by just selecting the option you want.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The appliance is smart-enabled. To set this up, download the Whirlpool Sixth Sense app, create an account and pair your fridge with the account through your phone. The Wi-Fi connection will allow you to change the temperatures of your cabinets from your smartphone, check your water filter status and enable you to automatically reorder accessories. It’ll also send you a door ajar alert if needed.
Cool down and warm up
In higher-than-normal atmospheric temperatures, this Whirlpool cooled to 5°C and -18°C in two and a half hours, which is typical for an appliance of this type without engaging the fast cool or fast freeze functions.
We found that the cabinets warmed up very slowly after switch-off. Whirlpool states you have about 15 hours of storage in the event of a power failure, and we reckon this is roughly accurate.
The lighting in this fridge freezer is exceptional and, in our view, elevates this fridge to the higher end of appliances in its class.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The fridge cabinet boast four internal LED lighting strips: two at the top of the fridge cabinet and one on either side, left and right. Each strip is 15cm by 2cm, and the visibility inside the fridge cabinet is remarkable.
There’s also a 6cm x 3cm light at the top of each freezer cabinet, which is a feature we love but that you don’t automatically get in a luxury appliance of this type.
355 litres of storage
Stainless steel back cooling panel
Three shelves and three drawers
You get a total of 355 litres of storage in the fridge, which you can set between 2°C and 8°C. 355 litres is roughly 18 to 19 supermarket shopping bags.
Inside the fridge, the cabinet feels sturdy and well-built. The internal casing is silver, with a stainless-steel back cooling panel, and there are two 77cm x 30cm glass shelves with a chrome trim and a lower pull-out glass platter that sits above the “fresh box” vegetable drawers.
The “fresh box” drawers feel robust too and have a nice chrome trim on the handles. There are two side-by-side below the pull-out platter: each one 32cm x 30cm x 15.5cm, so roughly 14.8 litres of capacity or three quarters of a supermarket bag of shopping.
Below these, you have an access panel for the water filter and a “delicates” drawer that holds about 14 litres of shopping. This is a wide, shallow drawer for foods that you can’t stack on a shelf, either because they will be crushed or just squashed: charcuterie, dairy, desserts – that kind of thing.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The only downside to the vegetable drawers is that you don’t get a humidity control, either digital or mechanical. We would have expected, at this price point, for the appliance to have this feature as the ability to alter the humidity of a bin can make a big difference when it comes to the longevity of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Seven internal door balconies
Programmable water and ice dispenser
Water and ice dispenser requires plumbing in
Due to the presence of the water and ice dispenser on the left-hand fridge door, the four internal door balconies are half as deep as those on the right-hand side, so you’ll need to use these balconies for thinner jars and bottles. You do get four, however, and they span 30cm across the door. On the right, you get three balconies at 14.5cm deep, so you can use this side for wider supermarket milk and soda bottles.
The water and ice dispenser requires plumbing into the water supply, so that is a consideration when you think about positioning, the design of your kitchen, and the fact you are probably going to need a professional to plumb the appliance in for you – a service that your stockist may offer as part of your purchase agreement.
That said, the water dispenser has a few nice bells and whistles. You can programme the dispenser to dispense specific amounts through the “favourites” screen, and you can switch between cubed or crushed ice easily. The dispensing paddle also has a nice resistance to it, and there’s also an under-light that illuminates when you press the paddle for those late-night glasses of water.
237 litre of storage
A pull out shelf and two bins per cabinet
The overall freezer capacity is a good 237 litres, or twelve to thirteen bags of shopping. Both lower cabinets have the same internal fixtures: a top pull-out, glass-bottomed shelf of 31cm by 29cm, so roughly square, and a deep middle drawer that holds about 19 litres, or one supermarket shopping bag, and a bottom drawer that holds about 10.5 litres.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
There are three narrow internal balconies, 33cm by 8cm, in each cabinet door. Whirlpool suggests you use these for ice creams, frozen sachets, boxed frozen goods, or, if you convert the right-hand freezer compartment into a drinks cooler, you can fit bottles of wine into the lower balcony.
It’s this convertibility and flexibility that really marks this fridge freezer out. The left-hand cabinet is a typical freezer; the temperature range is from -22°C to -15°C. Your right-hand cabinet, however, ranges from -22°C to 10°C, so not only can you use it as a freezer or a fridge, you can also use it as a cooler within the range of 5°C to 10°C.
This ability to convert a freezer space from sub-zero temperatures right up to 10°C is something we haven’t seen before in a convertible cabinet appliance. Normally, convertible cabinets stop at 5°C, which is too cool for most white wines and rosés, which are optimally stored between 9°C and 13°C. Champagne, again, should be roughly about 8°C to 10°C, with lagers coming in around 6°C to 8°C.
So the suggestion that this cabinet functions as a drinks cooler, with a note below the 10°C temperature selection in the control panel that it is the best choice for storing wine, makes a lot of sense.
In many respects, you can adapt this fridge freezer to suit a range of household types: from busy families who need more freezer space to professional couples who like to relax with a wine after work to retirees who want a separate space for storing home-grown produce – the W Collection fridge freezer works for everyone.
Price and availability
The WQ9I FO1BXW is the only French-door fridge freezer the brand currently offers. It’s a feature-packed, luxury appliance and its price certainly reflects that. However, we think that you’ll get your money’s worth if you buy it.
But you might want to consider where you buy it from, as prices vary considerably. At the time of writing, the best price we found was from Donaghy Bros, but Beacon Electrical also has a good offer.
Don’t forget that to enjoy its full functionality, you’ll need to get it plumbed in, so you may want to find out if that can be done as part of the delivery service.
We really like the W Collection’s four-door fridge freezer. As well as its convertible cabinet and clever control panel that provides so many customisation options, it’s sturdy inside and out.
Okay, it doesn’t have humidity control for the vegetable drawers and it’ll take a little bit more energy to run, but it feels high quality: the drawers don’t rattle when you pull them in and out, the lighting is great, it feels child- and teenager-proof, and it has those extra pull-out drawers and door balconies that just make life a bit easier and more enjoyable.