refrigerators
  • Best of Year 2012

Blomberg BRFB1040SL Review

The Blomberg BRFB1040SL may be a compact fridge, but don’t let that fool you—this appliance is small, but it delivers in a big way.

May 07, 2012

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Introduction

The Blomberg BRFB1040SL may be a compact fridge, but don’t let that fool you—this small appliance delivers in a big way. If you’re scratching your head as to why you haven’t heard of this name before, don’t be surprised. Blomberg is made by Arçelik in Turkey, and they have a large name in the European appliance market. While they have been distributing products in the United States since 2007, their marketing campaign has remained rather small. It’s disappointing, really, since the fridge we tested was absolutely fantastic.

With an MSRP of $1,250—quite low for a specialized appliance of this kind and quality—it’s absolutely worth it if you need a robust compact fridge for a nice apartment with a small kitchen. This machine offers solid temperature consistency in the fridge and freezer, vegetable drawers with moisture retention that put the major brand names to shame, and a finish that would add more than a touch of class to any room. Since the market for fridges of this size is much smaller than it is for larger models, really high-end options—usually products made by Liebherr—can sell for almost three times as much. If you can find it online at a sale price—we tracked one down without much effort for just $900—jump at the opportunity.

Design & Usability

This compact looks very modern on the outside, but the inside has a spartan quality that can come off as a bit low-end.

You may have a hard time finding appliances that match the smoky, silver exterior finish on the Blomberg. It’s lighter than traditional stainless steel, and the slight grain prevents it from being too reflective. The textured silver finish is very resistant to fingerprints, but grease and oil will build up over time. What you really need to watch out for is dust: This fridge attracts dust almost as readily as a pair of black dress pants.

The inside of the fridge compartment is actually quite sparse. Tweet It

Disappointingly, the inside of the fridge compartment is actually quite sparse. Two full-width adjustable shelves that can be placed on any of the five shelf slots break up the monotony. There’s a third fixed shelf on the bottom, set above two drawers. These matching pull-out drawers are positioned where you would normally find crispers, but they lack any sort of humidity control. A single light bulb at the top emanates a pale, salmon-like glow that looks almost sickly compared to the whiter light found in many other models.

The freezer on the Blomberg has three compartments and a pull-out ice tray, which is located at the very top. It can also be removed completely, allowing for a little more vertical storage space in the top portion of the freezer. Like many smaller fridges, the freezer door has no shelf storage. It simply exists as a wall to keep cold air inside the freezer.

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Features

Despite a high-end external appearance, the inside feels surprisingly cheap.

The narrow nature of this compact fridge means that even though the shelves are full-width, they’re light enough that adjusting or removing them is easy to do. The drawers in both compartments, though, can be difficult to open and feel loose to the touch. That said, there are a few extra perks to stymie any feelings of disappointment caused by cheap design. Included with this fridge is a special ice tray, a removable egg rack that sits in one of the door shelves, and an optional bottle rack that slides into any one of the main shelf slots.

There are a few extra perks to stymie any feelings of disappointment caused by cheap design. Tweet It

Even though this appliance may look fancier compared to many other fridges on the market today, the controls are still about as basic as they come. Fridge and freezer temperatures are controlled using a single knob located at the top and front of the fridge compartment. It uses a basic numerical scale from 0 to 5, with no actual temperature indicator or thermometer. There’s no recommended temperature setting, either; if you really want to know what degree your food is being stored at, you’ll just have to buy an external thermometer.

Performance

Fantastic moisture retention and high-quality temperature performance make this a rock solid appliance.

Compact fridges aren’t exactly known for reliable temperature performance. Nevertheless, the Blomberg shows that even smaller fridges, if made well, can deliver outstanding temperature control in a tiny package. The interior of the fridge remained very consistent over time, despite a slight increase in warmth near the top. It was minimal, though, and shouldn't have any effect on your food.

Produce should keep longer than average here, allowing you to buy fresh fruit and vegetables in larger quantities. Tweet It

Many fridges that have a single temperature control end up affecting one section at the expense of the other. Not so with the Blomberg—this appliance actually goes in the other direction. When the fridge was working at an optimal temperature, the freezer actually went sub-zero. Not only that, it remained consistent over time, keeping shifts to a minimum and reducing the risk of freezer burn.

The moisture retention, though, was the real star of our tests. Lacking any humidity controls, we were skeptical about how well this fridge would do. Our fears were unfounded, though: The Blomberg displayed some of the best moisture retention we've ever seen, and that includes the results we've gotten from some high-end large models. Produce should keep longer than average here, allowing you to buy fresh fruit and vegetables in larger quantities without worrying so much about spoilage.

Conclusion

As compacts go, the Blomberg is a top performer.

The Blomberg BRFB1040SL isn’t just an excellent compact refrigerator—it’s a fantastic refrigerator, period. This lesser-known appliance, designed and built in Turkey, should be making a bigger splash here, as it was one of the superior fridges we’ve tested. For an MSRP of $1,250, and sale prices available that will take a sizable chunk from that, consumers get a fridge that should fit in any kitchen, interior performance that puts some full-sized models to shame, and a visually striking exterior that makes this appliance about as uniquely stylish as a fridge can get.

That said, it’s not perfect. It won’t save you tons of money, and unless you’ve got a small household it might not fit a week’s worth of groceries. Mediocre energy savings and the cramped nature of being a compact fridge are the two biggest issues that anyone should have with an otherwise remarkable, yet small, appliance. If you're a single adult or a couple living in a small apartment, the Blomberg is an excellent purchase.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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