The Whirlpool WME36562 X is a tall freestanding refrigerator boasting enormous cooling capacity and luxury. Fitting neatly into a 60cm gap and with a premium stainless steel finish, the slim doors allow full access to the interior even if restricted by a side wall. The wardrobe-sized interior offers space for pretty much anything you want to chill over five shelves, two drawers and an array of door pockets.
It's A++ energy rated for low running costs, has an antibacterial filter in its air-circulation cooling system and features Whirlpool’s 6th Sense technology that adapts temperature and humidity to help keep food fresher for longer. Partnered with the matching WVE26552 NFX freezer, these models have been designed to offer more practicality and even greater cooling capacity than US-style side-by-side appliances. They deliver on that promise.
SEE ALSO: Best American-Style Fridge Freezers
At nearly 1.9m tall and 60cm wide, the WME36562 X is an imposing beast of a refrigerator but its sleek looks and luxurious stainless steel finish make it an attractive proposition. The finish is worthy of particular note as Whirlpool has managed to create a very ‘steel’ professional look without the surface being too prone to finger marks. The lustre is deep and highly metallic but try as we might finger-marks failed to mar the surface unlike some other brushed steel finishes we have tried.
The smooth front door, with controls and display concealed behind, is finished with a Whirlpool badge in contrasting metal. It is actually quite a looker and offers a level of fit and finish that would not disgrace products at twice the price. The door handles are large and side mounted but don’t have any method of releasing the very large door seal. As such the fridge door needs quite a pull to open, adding to the solid build feel. Behind the door the touch-sensitive temperature controls and display are high up on the top leading edge, neatly out of the way but potentially an extra challenge for shorter users.
The controls offer basic temperature section, a switch to stop the high temperature alarm and a fast cool feature for when you have put in lots of room temperature produce. There is also a ‘Vacation Mode’ button that reduces energy consumption if the door is not going to be opened regularly.
The interior is typically crisp and white with clear glass shelves, clear plastic drawers and grey trim that echoes the dark stainless on the outside. The fan at the top rear and 6th Sense sensor located on the right hand side about mid-way up require a little care not to totally obstruct them with produce. An anti-bacterial filter is supplied for the cooling system that keeps bacteria – which can accelerate food decomposition – at bay and should extend the useable life of fresh produce. This should be replaced annually.
The white LED lighting emanates from the top and is cleverly positioned near the front. This means that it manages to illuminate all the way down to the lower drawers even when the shelves are packed out. While the WME36562 X works as a standalone appliance, it is unashamedly designed to partner with the matching WVE26552 NFX freezer. This boasts an identically sumptuous look and feel, and a door that opens the other way – although both can be reversed – to create a true side-by-side experience.
Whirlpool even offers a joining kit that bolts the two units together and conceals the fixings. If you can find a 120cm wide space for cooling appliances in your kitchen, the Whirlpool duo will look a show-stopper centrepiece.
SEE ALSO: Best Kitchen Gadgets Round-Up
Most of Tesco’s fresh produce isle we reckon, as the WME36562 X is properly vast. Sporting as much cooling space as a large US-style side-by-side fridge freezer, this Whirlpool fridge is ideal for the larger family or keen chef. The sheer height has afforded storage over five shelves, most of which can be raised or lowered to accommodate taller items with ease. This is one of the few fridges we have tested where the full-width bottle rack doesn’t really impact on your storage space and the top-to-bottom air-circulation cooling should mean the temperature remains consistent throughout the compartment.
Should all those shelves and racks not be sufficient for your chilling needs, the five full-width door pockets add enough capacity for another small family. These have little adjustment but the larger lower door pocket is nicely tall and deep to support taller bottles and comes with a sliding divider to stop lone bottles moving if you open the door a bit too quickly.
The three mid pockets are ideal for smaller items such as jars and cans, and the top pocket has a lid so it can be used for dairy and items likely to give off a little odour. Do bear in mind, though, that the top door pocket is over 1.7m off the ground, so you might have to get adept at head-height egg juggling.
Down the lower reaches of the WME36562 X are two capacious salad crisper drawers. These are both full width, very deep and extend right to the front edge of the fridge compartment. They offer enormous capacity and potential for losing small vegetables. Even when fully loaded the top drawer moves freely on its easy glide rollers that stop to prevent the drawer coming right out.
The bottom drawer runs on plastic sliders and can be easily removed for a good rummage. The air flow cooling again promises even temperature and humidity throughout, so unlike some other fridges there is not right or wrong place for certain items.
“Is it working?” is a question often heard around the test facility where modern refrigerators are concerned, and the Whirlpool is no exception. Claiming 38dB noise on the EU energy label means we have to test in the dead of night in still weather to achieve a low enough ambient noise level to measure.
Sure enough the WME36562 X measured just 39dB – lower than the ambient noise in a library – when running and was completely free of pops or clicks at any part of the cycle. It is really very quiet.
Whirlpool has been in the refrigerator business for many years, nearly 60 in fact, and that experience shows in the technical test results as the WME36562 X is a technically ‘textbook’ machine. Using our normal loading of 0.5kg of mixed produce per 10 litres of storage capacity involved raiding some other domestic fridges, and the WME36562 X still looked quite empty!
We set the temperature to 4 degrees C and placed a data logging temperature probe on every shelf and drawer, and on the bottle rack for good measure. Opening the door 6 times per day we looked at how the machine performed over a two-day test and how much energy it used. The top two shelves held a stable average temperature of 6 degrees C, the mid shelf and wine rack 5 degrees C and the bottom shelf and top draw 4 degree C. The variation through the almost exactly 2-hour long compressor cycle was +/- 1.5 degrees at the top and just +/- 1 degree C lower down.
SEE ALSO: Top Six Spiralizers Reviewed
The bottom drawer was marginally cooler at an average of 3.5 degree C, and had a slightly greater variation that dipped down to 1 degree and up to 5 degrees throughout the cycle. That in itself is an excellent result; it’s just that the upper shelves are even better! Rarely do we see a graph of temperature over time that acts so consistently throughout the two-day test. In fact we ran the test to four days just to make sure there wasn’t something odd going on. Nope. You could set your watch by this Whirlpool’s consistent compressor cycle and freedom of any odd spikes or dips in temperature.
The cycle temperatures just kept repeating, repeating and repeating with no overall temperature creep at all, and to do this in such a large cabinet is a truly outstanding technical performance. This means you can be sure all your produce remains as fresh as possible, no matter how delicate it is.
With its A++ rating and claimed 144kWh/year energy rating the WME36562 X is not going to cost a great deal to run either. EU energy label tests are carried out in an ambient room temperature of 25 degrees C, so our 18-19 degree C typical UK kitchen allowed the Whirlpool to use even less electricity – under 100kWh or less than £15 per year.
With some head scratching and adjusting of our lab coats we decided errors might have been made – so we did the two day test again… and got exactly the same result. OK, in a really hot kitchen environment with a big family opening the door many times per day, the running costs will increase but the Whirlpool’s low electricity bill against such a huge cooling capacity is outstanding.
With fabulous looks and finish, enormous capacity and ridiculously low running costs, the Whirlpool WME36562 X is an incredibly impressive fridge. The near-perfect test results, incredibly quiet running and air circulation cooling with antibacterial filter make it a technical tour de force too. Add in an appealing price ticket well under £600 and the WME36562 X is a stainless steel clad refrigerator bargain.
SEE ALSO: Best 60cm Fridge Freezers
A truly superb fridge that’s perfect if you want top quality cooling, loads of space and a fridge that’ll keep your food fresher for longer.