Haier RRTW18VABW 18.2 Cu. Ft. Top Freezer White Review$704.74
After figuring out what setting we needed for our Haier to deliver optimum performance, we were gifted with pleasantly consistent temperatures in the fridge compartment. Over time, the actual degree fluctuation was just over half of a degree, very good for any fridge, let along an entry-level one. While temperatures stayed just under the ideal 37 degrees Fahrenheit at the top and middle, the bottom portion of the fridge was noticeably warmer. This isn't the worst thing in the world - produce typically doesn't need to be as cold as other refrigerated items - but an average temperature that's about three and a half degrees warmer than the rest of the fridge is a little concerning.
Despite it's box-like appearance, we actually got some rather troubling results from the Haier's freezer. Temperatures fluctuated over time by between one and two degrees on average, with a high and low temperature that was about ten degrees apart. To top that off, the highest point in the freezer average about two degrees below zero, but the bottom was four degrees above it. Items in this freezer are going to be very susceptible to freezer burn, and things like meats that can easily spoil may not keep as well as they would in other models.
The Haier's vegetable drawers performed superbly, offering some of the better moisture retention that we've seen. Our floral foam test material lost an average of 0.14 grams of moisture per hour over the course of three days. That is excellent, meaning produce stored here will keep for longer than average. The crisper drawers may not be huge, but you can stock them full of leafy greens without having to choose between gorging yourself on them quickly or having to throw them out at the end of the week.
To simulate a power outage, we simply unplug the fridge and see just how well the freezer can retain cold air. Despite the other concerns that were raised by the freezer's performance, it managed to keep items frozen until well after our 36 hour test period.
The Haier managed to bring our room-temperature test materials down to a frozen degree in one hour and 32 minutes. This is about average for a fridge of this style - it's not so long that the texture of your food may be damaged when thawed, and not so fast as to be worth raving about.