In early 2022 we highlighted ZLINE’s just-announced line of freestanding refrigerators as new products that were soon to be available. We wanted to give our readers a first look to help them decide if a ZLINE refrigerator was right for them. After more than a year, we’re ready to give our detailed review of the ZLINE 36 in. 21.6 cu. ft Freestanding French Door Fingerprint Resistant Refrigerator with External Water and Ice Dispenser (RFM-W-36). In this post, we’ll evaluate the RFM-W-36 on performance, features, durability, and style.
ZLINE Refrigerator RFM-W-36 Performance
Temperature control is a refrigerator’s primary job and is where its performance will be evaluated. A good refrigerator will maintain consistent and accurate temperature levels to keep food fresh and safe.
The ZLINE RFM-W-36 features a triple cooling system that separates the temperature control for the refrigerator, freezer, and ice maker into three independent systems. By operating each zone independently, temperature and humidity levels are precisely controlled. This helps extend the freshness of perishable items and preserve their taste, texture, and nutritional value.
Additionally, we found that the triple cooling system helped reduce odor and flavor transfer between the different compartments in the refrigerator. Garlic and fish stored in the refrigerator space were not noticeable in the freezer space due to the independent systems. This also helped keep the ice maker free from any unwanted odors and “floaty things” that can ruin a glass of lemonade.
It’s also worth noting that the RFM-W-36 is ENERGY STAR Certified, which indicates it helps reduce electricity consumption and save on utility bills while minimizing its environmental impact.
ZLINE Refrigerator RFM-W-36 Features
Unlike performance, there’s no single metric we were looking for when evaluating the features of this ZLINE refrigerator. Most modern refrigerators will come loaded with features designed to enhance functionality and increase user experience, so we’ll be focusing on our five favorites on the RFM-W-36.
- Flex Drawer: The top freezer drawer on the ZLINE RFM-W-36 is called a Flex Drawer. Instead of a single temperature range, the Flex Drawer has four temperature ranges. This means you can customize (and maximize) storage based on your specific needs. This feature adds flexibility for stocking up on various types of food and beverages.
- Exterior Ice and Water Dispenser: External water and ice dispensers are nothing new on refrigerators today, but we wanted to highlight the filtration system on the RFM-W-36. The filtration system is NSF/ ANSI 42 certified, ensuring the reduction of chlorine, taste, and odor in water and ice. We’re very particular about our water and ice quality here, and we found that the advanced filtration feature enhances the quality of the water and ice dispensed by the refrigerator.
As a side note, the ‘W’ in RFM-W-36 stands for water because of the external dispenser for filtered water and ice. If you don’t think you’ll need the exterior dispenser, check out the RFM-36 or the built-in RBIV-304-36.
- Adjustable Shelving: If you’re anything like us, you’ve tried to fit a large pitcher or pot in a refrigerator and realized there’s no room because the shelving gets in the way. The shelving on the RFM-W-36 is easily adjustable to accommodate taller items and maximize storage space. We also found that this feature helped with organization and customization for some of the regular items we keep stocked in the refrigerator.
- Humidity-Controlled Crisper Drawers: Regular air flow and circulation required to maintain the temperature in refrigerators may create an environment where fruits and vegetables experience bruising and rotting. To help resolve this, the RFM-W-36 has two humidity-controlled crisper drawers, which help maintain optimal moisture levels. Produce benefits from high humidity and water vapor created by the humidity-controlled crisper drawers, keeping things more vibrant and alive.
- LED Lighting: When it comes time to dig around for a midnight snack, the LED lighting in the RFM-W-36 will help you easily navigate around and find exactly the thing to satisfy that craving. The LED lights in the RFM-W-36 are expertly placed to produce a bright, uniform array that overall, makes your food look better and more appetizing. LED lights also use less energy than standard incandescent bulbs which adds an additional reduction in total energy costs.
ZLINE Refrigerator RFM-W-36 Durability
As with any large kitchen appliance, refrigerator durability is essential when it comes to making a buying decision. Since their initial release, ZLINE’s refrigerators have proven to be durable. The overall build quality of the RFM-W-36 is evident in the use of sturdy materials, well-fitted components, and solid construction that can withstand the rigors of daily use.
The RFM-W-36 is constructed with fingerprint-resistant 430-grade stainless steel designed to withstand everyday use and resist smudges. 430-grade stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, rust, and staining, which helps maintain the integrity and aesthetic appeal of the refrigerator over time.
The door hinges and seals have so far been able to withstand frequent opening and closing and ours have not become loose or damaged after daily use over a year and a half.
ZLINE pays close attention to the quality of their handles because they are the main aesthetic selling point in their Autograph Edition refrigerators. The handles on the RFM-W-36 are very sturdy. While we don’t recommend hanging on them (in fact we advise against it) it’s clear that the handles are solidly built and designed to withstand regular use.
Additionally, the RFM-W-36 comes with a one-year warranty and a five-year parts warranty on the sealed cooling system, offering peace of mind and protection against potential defects.
ZLINE Refrigerator RFM-W-36 Style
Style is subjective and ultimately the aesthetic appeal of any appliance is going to come down to how it is positioned and personal preference. However, refrigerators are notoriously unstylish; they are giant metal boxes after all, which is why many people prefer the built-in look over freestanding.
ZLINE designed the RFM-W-36 to be a counter-depth refrigerator to hide some of the boxiness that is characteristic of most freestanding refrigerators. The counter-depth size paired with the modern flat doors can replicate the precise, built-in look while streamlining the rest of the kitchen.
While 430-grade stainless steel is a fingerprint-resistant finish, it is not entirely fingerprint-proof. You will get some smudges here and there — especially if your kitchen is a high-traffic area and your refrigerator gets a lot of use. The RFM-W-36’s exterior is, however, very easy to clean, allowing the sleek, polished look of 430-grade stainless steel to add a touch of sophistication and elegance that seems to never go out of style.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention now that the RFM-W-36 is also available in black stainless steel (RFM-W-36-BS) which will dramatically cut down on the appearance and frequency of smudges and fingerprints. Many people also prefer the distinct black stainless finish because it stands out from traditional stainless steel appliances.
If style is high on your priority list we also recommend ZLINE’s Autograph Edition refrigerators. The Autograph Edition adds accented handles that can make a bold statement when contrasted with stainless steel or black stainless steel. Additionally, ZLINE just introduced new square handles in champagne bronze in response to customer demand for even more customization options.
You can pair your refrigerator with matching appliances to ensure that all your kitchen appliances have a consistent design, finish, and style. This coordination can create a visually cohesive and aesthetically pleasing look in your kitchen, enhancing the overall design and resale value of your home. Plus, you’ll save money by bundling which you can then use to stock your new refrigerator.
Notable Customer Reviews
We like to feature customer reviews we’ve been receiving from time to time to highlight the real-world experience people are having with our products. Here are three 5-star reviews for the ZLINE RFM-W-36.
We are enjoying our new refrigerator so much! We have always gone with a side by side and I was hesitant to move back to this style but I am so pleased we did. Well packed for shipping, no dings, dents or scratches. Runs quietly and looks great in the kitchen. I like that I have the option to use the middle drawer as a freezer space, beverage space or additional refrigerator space at anytime!
Bigger than it looks
I was [hesitant] to buy this refrigerator. The pictures don't make it look very big but I've noticed it has [plenty] of room. Glad I went with this.
This fridge is huge. It has plenty of storage space and the interior is well lit. But the best part is the adjustable shelving. I can move things around so easily. I can even take out some of the racks to allow bigger stuff to fit. I think the quality is excellent.
At Rustic Kitchen and Bath, we take pride in the brands and products we offer our customers. We trust our brands to be the best for your home and we love to showcase products we think will change your life for the better. When it comes to refrigeration, your options nowadays can be overwhelming because there are so many options and looks that you can choose from. We want shopping for kitchen appliances to be a seamless experience for our customers, where they can be confident in their purchases.
We recommend the ZLINE 36 in. 21.6 cu. ft Freestanding French Door Fingerprint Resistant Refrigerator with External Water and Ice Dispenser. It passed our tests in performance, features, durability, and style. The ZLINE RFM-W-36 offers a range of premium features and energy-efficient cooling capabilities. Its versatility makes it suitable for families at any stage of life and is durable enough to last many more stages.
If you would like help finding the perfect appliance for your home, call us at 1 (866) 212-9706 or book a consultation with one of our appliance experts!
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