If you have a large family or like to freeze lots of your home-grown produce, Whirlpool’s tallest upright freezer with a freezing capacity of over a quarter of a cubic meter may well fit the bill. This premium stainless steel finished appliance is a standard 60cm wide with slim doors allowing placement close to a side wall, and is the ideal partner to the matching Whirlpool WME36562 X fridge.
With an A++ energy rating and frost-free operation, this capacious freezer offers air-circulation cooling for an even temperature throughout and Whirlpool’s 6th Sense sensor technology. This is claimed to freeze food up to 30% quicker than standard non-sensor freezers. You get an assortment of shelves and drawers, low noise and the option of a linking kit for this and its partner fridge to make one of the largest capacity side-by-side fridge freezers on the market. It’s a great option if you need lots of freezer space and a little style in one.
This is an appliance designed to be something of a centrepiece for your kitchen, and the WVE26552 NFX’s fit and finish is more than up to the task. Whirlpool’s stainless steel on the door has a deep ‘steely’ lustre and is remarkably resistant to fingerprints too. This gives the freezer a very professional and businesslike look with a central badge in contrasting metallic finish. The controls are all concealed behind the door leaving a smooth and uncluttered style that prompted a passing neighbour to exclaim "oooh that’s a bit lush."
The WVE2662 NFX (left) paired with its fridge counterpart the WVE36562 X
The WVE26552 NFX has a large stainless steel handle fitted to the side and the door can be reversed for left- or right-hand opening. It requires a bit of a tug to open as there is no device to release the big door seal, but the feeling is more purposeful than difficult.
If you have a whopping 120cm gap in your kitchen, Whirlpool offers an optional linking kit that ties the fridge and freezer together and conceals the fixings to create a truly mammoth and stunning looking side-by-side fridge freezer. Moreover as both units are only slightly deeper than a standard worktop, the combination won’t stick out into the room like a US-style side by side model, either.
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On the inside you are presented with a complete wall of drawer fronts neatly lit by bright top-mounted lighting. This shines straight down the front of the drawers to illuminate the contents when each is opened. Genius. The control panel is situated on the top-edge behind the door so is going to prove rather high up for some to reach. A combination of touch buttons, warning lights and LED segment display control temperature plus Fast Freeze, Party and an Eco Night modes.
How many times have you stuck a bottle in the freezer to chill down quickly only to forget about it and discover it frozen and/or exploded some time later? The Whirlpool’s rather handy Party mode is a countdown timer of 30 minutes that you set when you put a bottle in the freezer and remove when the alarm sounds.
The Eco Night mode is not something we haven't seen on any test appliance before and is designed to make the most of cheaper nighttime electricity. Without an on-board clock to tell the time of day, this uses the 6th Sense technology to monitor door opening temperature fluctuations and switches to night mode during extended periods of inactivity. We couldn’t accurately test this feature, but the reasoning is sound.
Nothing short of a large chest freezer will freeze more food than the WVE26552 NFX. To put that into context, its 260-litre net capacity is over 25% more than the very biggest US-style side-by-side models we have tested and well over twice the freezer capacity of most standard width fridge freezers. It is vast. The space is divided into no less than seven compartments. From the top down; the top two are drop down door fronts with glass shelves. The top-most shelf area is reduced a little by the air circulation fan.
The next two compartments are standard-sized clear plastic drawers running on plastic sliders. Below these are two deep, large capacity drawers which glide out on runners to accommodate the potential extra weight when fully loaded. The bottom draw is deep but typically truncated to accommodate the compressor behind. All of the drawers can be removed easily for a good rummage on a worktop but putting the roller drawers back accurately on their runners is a bit of a faff.
The WVE26552 NFX comes supplied with a large freezer block to keep a cool bag chilled when you are out and about, but if you want trendy freezer gadgets like a fully automatic ice maker you will have to look elsewhere.
While the WVE26552 NFX is not as quiet as its near-silent fridge counterpart, it is still very, very quiet. We measured 41dB running, which agrees precisely with the figure quoted on the EU energy label. Generally, when there are two noises at the same time you only hear the loudest (they don’t ‘add-up’) so with both this freezer and the matching fridge running the noise is still going to be around 41dB. As that is close to the ambient noise in a library, it is safe to say this is a very quiet machine.
We loaded up the WVE26552 NFX with 1kg of food per 10 litres of storage space, which necessitated a major supermarket internet shop before we could begin. We distributed food evenly throughout the appliance, including 2 litres of room temperature water that serves to show how quickly fresh food can be frozen. We set the temperature to -18 degrees C and placed a data logging temperature probe on every shelf and one in the water. We log the temperatures over two days, opening the door half a dozen times per day.
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While looking for specific items in the freezer we quickly realised a strategic and well-planned stocking policy was required… or you will be rummaging around in shelves and drawers all day. The WVE26552 NFX runs a two-hour compressor cycle and delivers almost perfect results for an A-rated freezer. We say ‘almost’ because it runs a little colder than the thermostat indicates – all of the lower shelves averaged between -20 degrees C (lowest drawer) and -19 degrees C (second shelf from top) throughout the test, with only the top shelf averaging the programmed -18 degrees. While this will not adversely affect your food storage, it will use slightly more electricity than strictly necessary.
Other than that, the WVE26552 NFX is rather boringly (for a freezer reviewer anyway) good. Our test water sample went from room temperature to – 18 degrees C in a very speedy 12 hours, which justifies Whirpool’s claim that its 6th Sense technology freezes fresh food very quickly indeed. The water maintained around -20 degrees C consistently throughout the test. Thanks to the very effective air circulation cooling the temperature range and consistency of the all but the top compartment is identical.
The WVE2662 NFX (left) paired with its fridge counterpart the WVE36562 X
Their swing is +/- 2 degrees throughout the compressor cycle. This did not change at all throughout the two-day test and the cycle is identical every time. The top shelf averages -18 degrees, but has a considerably wider swing of temperature through the cycle, ranging from -21 degrees C at its coolest and peaking briefly at -14 degrees C just before the compressor kicks back in.
The three-hour fail test was just what we would expect from a tall A machine with the air temperature rising by just 5 degrees across all five drawers. The two top shelves fared marginally less well, rising by approximately 7 and 8 degrees respectively, peaking at -12 and -9 degrees. The frozen food sample in the upper roller drawer nudged up to -14 degrees – still well and truly frozen.
Calculating on worst case scenario of food on the very top shelf, the WVE26552 NFX would be food safe for a little over 12 hours in the event of a power failure, although food in the other drawers would survive longer.
With its A rating the WVE26552NFX claims to use just 246Wh of electricity per year. Kept at a constant room temperature of 19 degrees C and with the door opened six times per day for a good 30-seconds each time, we calculate the annual energy consumption will be a little higher than that at 274kWh. Given the extreme capacity that result is still a good one and compares favourably with similarly rated fridge-freezers of the same size.
If you were to run this and the matching fridge together you would use around 372kWh per year, which equates to approximately £56. Give or take the price of a small beer, that is almost exactly the same running costs as the larger US-style side by-side models we have tested.
The Whirlpool WVE26552 NFX offers huge freezer capacity, solid technical test results and stunning fit and finish to make it something of a centrepiece in the kitchen – particularly when partnered with the matching fridge. It lacks the features of a US-style freezer and its runs marginally colder than ideal, but for those looking for a big freezer that is equally big on style without breaking the bank, it takes some beating.
It certainly gives you more freezer space than any of the best American-style fridge freezers we’ve tested, and the fridge and freezer combines cost the same or less than the pricier models out there. If space is more important to you than features such as ice makers and water dispensers, you can’t go wrong here.
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An excellent freezer, particularly when paired with its sibling as a side-by-side fridge freezer combo.