* Prices may differ from that shown
Like most of the appliances in my kitchen this fridge freezer was already in my kitchen when I moved in. Chosen by my landlady presumably when she used to live in the house and bought quite a few years ago - about 5-6 at a guess. A quick look shows this appliance is well out of circulation among all the regular retailers - you won't be able to just pick one of these up. You're more likely to come across this on Gumtree or Ebay second hand - and from what I can see people are shifting them for around £70-£100, but there are hardily any around. I presume the fact they are hard to come by is testament to the quality of this unit - its great and something I wouldn't willingly part with anytime soon.
My landlady seems to have a keen eye for quality. All of the big appliances our house was kitted out with when we moved in shared one thing in common - really impressive quality. Easy to use, reliable and do their particular job effortlessly - and this Fridge/Freezer is no exception.
The snappily named RTB40P is a fridge freezer combo - the lower 2/3 is a fridge and the upper 1/3 is the freezer. These dimensions are not exact, but roughly speaking that how the compartments are divided up. Aesthetically its a pretty dull looking unit - I know fridges usually are but this is incredibly normal looking. Its seems a few years ago fridge and freezer manufactures started making units that were a little nicer to look at - be it a trendy Smeg fridge with its chunky, minimalist look or American looking chrome clad models. This Hotpoint unit missed all that - its a simple, functional fridge. Its slightly off white in colour, the model number and make are printed on the front in very normal black print. At fridge school none of the other fridges would remember this fridge. The name would ring a bell but they wouldn't be quite able to picture him. (I think this fridge is a him. Don't ask my why, it just seems that way) The only real design feature is a curved handle on the front - its in a kind of little wave shape - where the wave dips it forms the handle. This sits between the fridge and freezer doors - grab up to get hold of the freezer door and open that, grab down to open the fridge. The doors themselves are held to the unit with the hinges clearly visible - adding to the quite dull looks of this and the doors themselves are cut very flat and straight, no curved edges or anything leading the doors into the unit. Just a very functional set of doors plonked on the front. Anyone that has read my reviews before will know I like this - I don't like too much fuss and I love things - especially household appliances to have as little unnecessary features as possible. I like things that are super easy to use, to the point you take for granted what a great job they are doing. Size wise, this is pretty big. I have a tiny kitchen and this takes up a lot of the space, and if you are opening the doors you will struggle to have more than two people in that room. Thats not the fridges fault though, so I won't blame him. A quick check tells me its about 150cm in tall, but in realistic terms its about the same size as about 6 cats stood on top of each other. However, I wouldn't recommend using cats as a measuring tool. This unit sits by my kitchen door frame (or 'roomhole' as its more commonly know) and is about a foot and half shorter than the top of the roomhole. I hope that gives a good enough picture of the size of the unit and you're not instead wondering what 6 cats stood on top of each other look like.
Anyway, back to reality.
The fridge part of the combo is the lower portion of the unit, and in our house its the bit that gets most use. If I'm to be honest, right now its only keeping cool many half used jars of condiments from last year and the scraps from the last food shops, but come payday it will be full stocked again - and it had no problem doing this, having ample room for a weekly £50-£60 food shop. Infact there is usually lots of room to spare. The fridge has 3 removable shelves and a salad unit at the bottom that forms a fourth shelf - so 4 in total. As I just mentioned, all simply slide out and can be rearranged on a choice of 7 different places. This is handy in a number of ways, you can move them about to make more room for larger items (turkeys, cow meat etc) and can be taken out when you want to give it a good clean. Getting them in out is easy, the ledges on each side are flat and have no sort of grip - compared to one fridge I had in the past which had these super awkward clip type things that the shelves had to sit on and it was a bit annoying getting them in out.
Also inside the fridge you will find a temperature control (1-5) an on/off switch and a light. All three pretty basic things you would expect to find in a fridge and all do what they were put there to do well. The light lights up the interior more than enough , the dial has a good range (if on full most things at the back will freeze) and its pretty handy to be able to turn the fridge off separately to be cleaned. Again, with an older fridge/freezer combo I owned I had no separate on/off so I had to turn the entire thing off meaning the freezer would go off it just wanted to clean the fridge.
As well as the main shelves, inside the door are some smaller shelves - 5 in total. One has a small egg holder for 8 eggs, a tray the full length of the door and four half sized trays. Again, some of these can be move around but not as much as the main shelves. For my needs, these are big enough but the trays inside the door are only big enough for a 4 pint, not 6 pint bottle of milk. I only ever get 2 pint bottles, but a bigger household would struggle if you need to store a 6 pint bottle of milk upright. The top, larger tray is fixed in place and has a transparent plastic cover the opens up - this section is designed for cheese and eggs - but i just put the smaller things I need to hand in here; chilli, ginger etc - bits that otherwise might get lost in the fridge. Incidentally, this top tray has two symbols on it, one is clearly cheese and I think the other is supposed to be butter but it looks more like an envelope. Everytime this symbol catches my eye I think; 'odd place to keep you post'.
To give you an idea of how much this fridge can store, I'll give you it in realistic terms. Well, first in unrealistic terms. A quick check has reveled the fridge holds 195 liters - but if your anything like me that makes little sense. The door can easily hold 8 x 2 pint bottles of milk in the lower shelves and the top, fixed shelf will hold about 18 eggs. So, just in the door its ample. We keep items here that need to be stood upright, like milk and juice and it holds them in place well as the trays are quite deep. So far I have zero days ruined with a toppled over bottle of milk after opening the door too furiously. The main section of the fridge is a fair size - enough room for 12 medium sized chicken in the top section and one in the salad section. Why you would need 13 chickens is beyond me, but if you wanted to store 13 chickens you could do that. The fridge is quite deep - about 50cm in fact, and this gives a decent amount of room on each shelf as well as height. Last Christmas I had no trouble getting a turkey on to the bottom shelf - I just had to nudge the shelf above up once. The salad section is an average size, but not that much to shout about - but I don't tend to keep salad in that section anyway. In fact its usually empty. The food hygiene astute among you will know fresh salad and veg shouldn't be stored at the bottom, that's the place for raw meat. Statistically, you are more likely to get food poisoning at home, and I imagine its things like this that are partly to blame - encouraging people to store fresh items below raw items. So, personally I keep raw meat down low and other stuff above this - usually not making use of the salad box.
Cleaning wise, the fridge section is pretty good. I work in an professional kitchen and keeping fridges clean is essential, and some are easier to keep clean than others. I've mentioned how easy the shelves come out - but as well as the the trays in the door clip out easy (apart from the top one) and the salad box and glass tray above it also just slide out. With the exception of the one tray in the door, this can be stripped out easily and quickly. The parts once out are all small and easy enough to clean in the sink and the inside of the unit has almost no nasty nooks and crannys for dirt and bacteria to build so wiping out is simple. Sometimes you will get a fridge that has small holes and indentations that are tough to get into and you really need to fiddle about getting it clean, but not this. The surfaces are flat and flush inside and a quick wipe will get it clean. Right at the back is a small hole in the middle of a gully that collects the water from inside the fridge and lets it flow into a tray at the back of the unit. Most of this water is reused, but it can be drained out if its excessive (if you turn it on and off a lot this will fill quicker) These trays, as they often store water for quite long periods of time can start to smell stale so getting it off to be cleaned might be something you sometimes need to do. This one is held on with two screws, so not too tightly held in place and getting it off to clean its not too hard. Back inside the fridge to the hold that fills the rear tray, and these often get blocked. If you have lots of water in the bottom of your fridge check this hole, its likely to be blocked. This fridge did get blocked last year, but it was super easy to unblock it - with it just the size of a wooden squewer so I just pushed that through until it drained.
When it comes to keeping this cool, this does exactly what it should. Set at 3 on the dial this is about 1-3 degrees depending on how full it is and how much you open and close the door. This temp is exactly what you need to keep food at a safe temperature, so no worries here. The temp stays nice and consistent too. I have a small thermometer in mine that goes blue when the temp is right and this very rarely changes, only usually when we have it open to fill it after a shopping trip.
The smaller top section is dedicated to the freezer and its quite small. Luckily, I don't store a lot but if your the kind of house that needs a big chest freezer this will simply not do. It has one shelf that can be removed but the position is fixed and it sits right in the middle. All in, this section will hold 4/4.5 chickens. Or about 20 garlic bread. Its 50 litres so much smaller than the 195 litre fridge - and a lot of this is taken up with the extra insulation. This is not a frost free, let alone self defrosting freezer but the small build of ice inside this is remarkable. I so far have not had to defrost it in a year and half of using it and the build up as I type is minimal - almost nothing save for a little at the back. In the past I have owned freezers that have been terrible for build up and that I had to defrost often, but this freezers is a welcome break from all that. There isn't too much to say about the freezer - its spacious enough for a household of 2 -3, 4 at a push and keeps itself clean. If you were to clean it, its a similar story to the fridge in that its nice and flush inside. Printed on the inside of the door are some quite terrible symbols for different foods that are something of a guide as to how longs things can be frozen for, which can come in handy but to be safe I just go by the freezing instructions on the packaging.
A few other little boons for this unit. Its almost silent - you have to listen hard to hear anything and it seems to move easy. Its not on wheels but pulling it from one side to another is really easy so I guess rather than rubber feet its something smoother that doesn't give as much purchase against the floor. This is good for cleaning - as well as getting to the drain part at the back it can also be shifted to clean behind. If your kitchen is anything like mine, the back of the fridge is some kind of vortex for fluff and dirt and disturbingly large quantities of cat hair - so I like to clean behind it once in a while.
A quick not on energy effeciancy, this is a B rating meanings its not too bad, but these days most newer things seem to be an A. If its any consolation, I pay less electricity bill wise in this house than I have in any other - so its having no impact what-so-ever.
I briefly mentioned a price - but thats not a set price. This will only be able to be purchased second hand and its seems to be about £70-£100, and as someone who has used this for quite a while its a bargain. New models by Hotpoint start at around £250-£300, but if you spot this model whilst looking for a second hand fridge - my advice is snap it up.
Fresh Food Volume / Short name: Hotpoint RTB40P