Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hisense 520L Frost Free Stainless Steel Bottom Mount Refrigerator-HR6BMFF520S

Our trusty old fridge died a little while back after 12 years of hard labour. All I knew going into the hunt was that this time, we wanted a bottom mount.

Research taught me that the technical capacity of a fridge isn't necessarily what you get. Some of the larger fridges had less shelves, therefore reducing the actual amount of space to place items. Others had odd features like shelves that fold in half, also reducing the actual shelf space of that shelf, due to the big plastic edging that encases the centre of the shelf.

Having 3 children who trash haphazardly look after our belongings meant I did not want to be spending a fortune only to have it looking ordinary just a few months later. We were also limited by a "cubby hole" within which the fridge had to fit, ruling out any that had decent capacity and the motor on the top.

The HiSense HR6BMFF520s mostly fits the bill.
 
The freezer is great. Separated into 2 drawers instead of the common bucket style drawer was high on my list of wants. These drawers are both large and there is an ice cube maker in the freezer, with a storage container that can be removed for extra space if preferred. There is one small drawer at the top I thought would be useless but has actually proved handy for turkish bread, meat and frozen pastry.

The fridge inside is not roomy even though it appears that way. Admittedly we are a family of 5, however I shop daily for groceries. If I did a weekly shop there is no way we would fit it all in here. Despite the fact it is technically the same size as our old top mount fridge, it is not as big.

It did feel a little more plasticky than some of the other brand name one's, however this was something we were willing to compromise on. One or two of the big names didn't really feel much better.

The sides are standard metal and the doors are stainless steel. I wish it were more brushed than it is, fingerprints and marks show up easily but there is a large display that tells you the current temperature of both the fridge and the freezer that lights up for a short while after the fridge has been opened.

There is a door alarm installed and it beeps just loudly enough to hear without being so loud as to be too annoying. My only gripe here is that if the door is only open a fraction, it sometimes doesn't register that the fridge is open and doesn't activate.

The L.E.D lighting is pretty and the glass shelves are sturdy. I have dropped a glass water bottle a few times and so far no smashing although it makes a lot of noise when you do.

My only real gripes with this fridge is common to all bottom mounts. You lose door space. We keep a lot of drinks in the fridge (at any given time we have orange juice, 2 bottles of milk, 2-3 bottles of water and 2 bottles of iced tea). You can't adjust the shelves in a way that allows you stand bottles upright, unlike a regular fridge. You lose too much space on the shelves below.

There is not as much storage space as a top mount in general. The sauce rack fills up very quickly and the clear bucket shelves, while movable, aren't really when it comes to practicality.

Bottom mounts are definitely smaller than their same size standard counterparts.

The bottom veggie drawers are nice and large and you can choose to have the centre panel in or out. The vent is a little too easily knocked and I frequently find someone has knocked it closed and killed all my vegetables. Veggies also don't seem to last very long. Having 2 separate drawers in this space would have been more practical:
My final note on the drawer is that it is one piece so when you want to open it you are required to open the fridge door as wide as it will go in order to open the vegetable drawer. It took my kids 6 months to crack it:

All in all, we've had this fridge for about a year and are very happy with it's peformance. It hasn't missed a beat and while I would in the future purchase a standard top mount freezer design, I wouldn't rule out HiSense for anyone on a budget or after a fridge to tide them over for a few years and will definitely consider their top mount variety next time.

Final Verdict:

Pros: Great price
         Relatively good sturdy build
         Attractive design
         Fantastic freezer
         Internal ice maker
         Visible Temperature
         Door Alarm

Cons: Marks easily
          Shelves could have more space between them at some level to allow for easier drink/bottle    storage
          Vegetable Crisper could be easier to open
          Crisper vents should be harder to flick open and closed
          Metal rack surrounding milk shelf too flimsy

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