refrigerators

Hotpoint HTR16ABSRWW Review

From GE’s entry-level subsidiary Hotpoint comes the HTR16ABSRWW, which is, at best, just acceptable.

$499.00
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Introduction

From GE’s entry-level subsidiary Hotpoint comes the HTR16ABSRWW, a rather small budget fridge that provides a level of performance that is, at best, just acceptable. If you’re not already familiar with the Hotpoint line, this model may not give you the best first impression, but for folks who are on a very strict budget, its low cost may make it exponentially more attractive. You have to be careful when shopping for this appliance, however, as many online retailers actually advertise a price that’s higher than what GE lists on its website. The posted MSRP is just $499, though we found deals that went as low as $375 before tax and shipping. Depending on your location, this could be the perfect choice for consumers looking for their first fridge but aren’t necessarily looking to make a long-term investment.

Design & Usability

The overall design is not one for consumers that value style.

The exterior may remind you of simple, dormitory living. Despite the barren front, we nevertheless found an indicator of the model’s cheaper design: The brand logo is attached at a crooked angle.

This Hotpoint is simply a box with no shelves, no light, and no features of any kind.

The Hotpoint plays off of open space rather than storage flexibility. Minimal shelves all around mean there isn’t a whole lot of customization available in either compartment, with slits on the side that the shelves rest on. Looking for a low-tech freezer? Well, look no further. This Hotpoint is simply a box with no shelves, no light, and no features of any kind.

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Features

With almost no spill containment, this fridge is a juicer’s worst nightmare.

The only time the unadorned design becomes a hassle is when you overwhelm the appliance by shopping in bulk. The more items you have, the sooner you have to start stacking things. If you have so much that things start to pile up, then getting to items in the back or on the bottom can become problematic. This is especially true in the freezer, since its complete lack of shelves means you’ll wind up with a leaning tower of groceries sooner than you will in the fridge.

The Hotpoint is controlled with a simple little dial inside the fridge interior. This controls both sections, meaning the fridge is at the mercy of the freezer (or the other way around). There isn’t any actual degree correlation or manufacturer’s recommended setting, so if you want to know what temperature your actually storing your food at, you’ll need to purchase an external thermometer.

The top two shelves are made of wire and won’t prevent any spill, drop, or dribble from falling onto the items below.

If anything spills in this fridge, you’re in for a big mess, both literally and metaphorically. You may not want to store liquids high up in the fridge, since the top two shelves are made of wire and won’t prevent any spill, drop, or dribble from falling onto the items below. The bottom shelf is a bit better, with a raised edge keeping things from leaking behind the drawer. The door shelves are also quite poor at keeping things contained, since the bottom isn’t attached to the front. A gap about an inch and a half wide will only keep larger items from falling out, and won’t help in the least if your favorite condiment wasn’t shut properly when you put it back.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Hotpoint HTR16ABSRWW, take a look at these other refrigerators.

Performance

This budget fridge actually did quite well... except in the freezer.

The ambiguous controls meant the top was already a bit warmer than our target 37 degrees, and it only gets warmer as you near the bottom. The overall shift wasn't too big, though, and the excess warmth is easily fixed by turning down the thermostat just a bit. Luckily, there was almost no shift in temperature over time—an unusual trait for such a budget machine.

There was almost no shift in temperature over time—an unusual trait for such a budget machine.

The fact that the Hotpoint only has a single temperature control means one compartment is always at the mercy of the other; we calibrated the appliance to a good fridge temperature, and as a result, the freezer never quite got as cold as it should have. The top came close to zero degrees Fahrenheit, but the bottom was definitely warmer, and not by a small amount. As in the fridge, though, temperatures here were very consistent.

Despite not having a proper crisper—the drawer in this fridge lacks any sort of humidity control—the moisture retention wasn't terrible. Displaying very average performance, any fresh produce stored here should last about as long as you might expect. Keep things in here for more than a couple of days, though, and you'll start to notice some spoiling. One downside worth mentioning is that the drawer itself is opaque; there's no way to check the status of your produce without pulling it open, thereby letting more moisture out.

Conclusion

With a sub-$500 price tag, consumers could do a lot worse than this Hotpoint.

You may not be that familiar with the Hotpoint brand, and after encountering the Hotpoint HTR16ABSRWW, it’s quite possible that you'll never want to hear anything about it ever again. With some temperature issues, almost non-existent spill containment, and an interior design that’s rather unattractive, it doesn’t make the best first impression. This machine isn’t trading on looks, though; its strengths lie in its size, power consumption, and price tag. It’s a smaller fridge that's ideal for tiny kitchens. It’s also very cheap to operate and consumes energy quite efficiently. The best part of all? Its MSRP is just $499. Oddly enough, many retailers actually sell it for more than the MSRP, but we still found some that got as low as $375 before tax and shipping, making it the cheapest full-sized fridge we've tested to date. Even if you can’t find it on sale, though, it's just as good as some other budget fridges that cost as much as $200 more.

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