The Haier C2FE736CFJ is the brand’s flagship two-door fridge freezer. It boasts an A++ energy rating, massive fridge space and a rather sumptuous stainless steel finish on the doors. You get full electronic digital controls with a bright LED display in the middle of the upper door, concealed handles, brilliant white LED interior lighting and a great selection of fridge furniture. The lower of the two salad drawers sports Haier’s innovative My Zone independent temperature control.
Split approximately 70/30 in favour of refrigerator space, you get plenty of chilled food capacity but the 104-litre three-drawer frost-free freezer compartment might leave bigger families wanting. Up top, you get four glass shelves, a veggie drawer with sliding humidity control, the full-depth My Zone compartment and three door pockets with minor height adjustment. This model is only offered in this trendy steel look in the UK, but at under £600 for an A++ machine in this finish we are not complaining.
Haier’s appliances continue to impress us with their quality build, great looks and funky features. The brushed stainless steel finish on the doors emerged from the packaging with some light greasy marks from the polythene bag, but buffed up to a luxurious finish with ease.
The handles are concealed at the sides of the doors. These are reversible so if this arrangement would mean potential finger pinch against a side wall, you can swap which way the doors open. The side panel and top of the machine are painted silver-grey rather than being finished in stainless steel to keep the cost down.
The upper door is subtly embossed with a Haier logo with the control panel beneath. This gloss black panel remains dark unless the doors are opened or the panel is touched, whereupon it lights up for a few seconds with vivid bluey-white segment LED and icon display. This offers complete control of the fridge and freezer in one degree increments, features such as holiday mode and fast freeze, and mode adjustment of the My Zone compartment. This defaults to zero degrees as standard, making it ideal for meat, fish and cheeses.
The freezer zone is fairly standard with three clear plastic baskets and a deep yet truncated lower container that makes way for the compressor assembly behind. And while we are on the subject of the compressor, the Haier invertor compressor motor on this model is guaranteed for 10 years and promises to run quieter than a library, at just 40dB.
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Inside, the main shelves are spill-resistant safety glass with a limited range of adjustment on one shelf, and the door is fitted with three full width door pockets. The lowest of these is actually well above the bottom of the door to make way for the full depth My Zone compartment. This may make it a little high for very young members of the family to access the milk or juices – which may be no bad thing.
The fridge is lit by an over-head LED light. We would have liked Haier’s fabulous column lighting found on its A2FE635CRJ and maybe a wine rack, but we guess you can’t have everything and stainless steel doors for under £600.
The 70/30 split in favour of the refrigerator compartment aims this fridge freezer firmly at those who prefer to cook with lots of fresh ingredients. At nearly a quarter of a cubic meter of capacity, only a side-by-side US or French style appliance is going to offer you more fridge space. By way of comparison, this Haier offers nearly 20 litres more fridge space than the Miele KFN12924 SD – despite that model being 10cm taller overall.
Key to the C2FE736CFJ’s chilling capacity are the two drawers. The upper of these is a traditional salad crisper drawer, but boasts its own direct cooling vents and humidity control slider. Turning the humidity control to the right delivers a higher humidity, ideal for fleshy fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, grapes and peppers. Moving the control to the left keeps the compartment at a lower humidity, which is best for crispy lettuce, soft fruits and tomatoes.
Below this, the My Zone compartment is a capacious plastic drawer that extends out to the door. From the front panel controls this can be adjusted to give a 60-minute ‘quick cool’ setting for speedily bringing down the temperature of fresh foods or drinks in the summer, a D-Frost function that defrosts frozen food within a humidity controlled environment, or the standard 0 degree C mode. This is ideal for cooked and fresh meats, fish and, as we found during an extended test, premium lager.
By comparison the freezer compartment has little to write home about. You get just over 100 litres of frozen food storage over three clear plastic drawers and, quite possibly, the world’s smallest ice cube tray.
The C2FE736CFJ certainly benefits from an inverter motor where noise is concerned as it all but purrs into life. For the technically minded the power and speed of an inverter motor can be accurately controlled, allowing it to work harder when chilling demand is high and more efficiently when the compartment temperatures have stabilised.
There are no pops, clicks or creaking noises and the C2FE736CFJ gets very close to living up to its billing as a 40dB appliance. Measuring just 41dB maximum in our tests freestanding in an open environment, chances are that 40dB is more likely when the appliance is in a kitchen environment surrounded by cupboards or other appliances. Pretty quiet, then.
We loaded up the Haier’s refrigerator compartment with 0.5kg of mixed foods per 10 litres of capacity, including placing several items in the My Zone compartment. We set the main refrigerator to 4 degrees C and the My Zone on its 0 degree C mode. Down below we loaded the freezer with 1kg of frozen food per 10 litres of freezer space, including 2 litres of room temperature water that, with a temperature probe in the middle, acts as a challenging fresh-to-frozen time test. We set the freezer at -18 degrees C and tested internal temperatures over several days, opening the doors six times per day.
We have come to expect solid technical results from Haier and the C2FE736CFJ did not disappoint. The top shelf in the refrigerator compartment maintained a consistent 6 degrees C, +/- just 1 degree throughout the approximately one hour 20-minute compressor cycle. The mid shelf and salad drawer averaged exactly 4 degrees C throughout the test with, once again, only a 1 degree variation at any time.
The My Zone drawer proved a little more convoluted, averaging 2 degrees throughout the test but showing short term peaks of 5 degrees at the warm end and just below freezing at the lower. With the speed of the cycle and the very brief peaks and troughs, food stored in this area will be maintained at 2 degrees C or slightly cooler.
In the freezer compartment, the Haier proved equally consistent but the thermostat was out by several degrees, keeping the frozen food compartment a bit on the nippy side. Air temperature in all three drawers averaged -21 degrees C with our frozen food sample reaching a very solidly frozen -22 degrees C. While this will do your food no harm and keep it safer for longer in the event of a power failure, it is simply not as energy efficient to keep your freezer this cold.
On the plus side, the Haier chilled our fresh-to-frozen food test to -18 degrees C in a very swift 12 hours and the good insulation, required for an A++ rating, meant exceptional power fail tests. During a three-hour power outage the air temperature and the frozen food sample raised 7 degrees to -14 and -15 degrees C respectively. Even allowing for a slightly hotter kitchen that our 17 degree test facility, this would comfortably give the C2FE736CFJ a 12 hours plus frozen food safety limit.
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Running a freezer just a few degrees colder than required will have an impact on running costs. So it was something of a surprise that, with the freezer averaging -21 degrees, we calculate that the C2FE736CFJ would use just 262kWh of electricity a year.
That is just under £40 (@15p/kWh) per annum. These figures are close to Haier’s published figures on its energy efficiency label, indicating an exceptionally well designed and efficient machine. In the depths of winter, our 17 degree C test cubicle is probably a bit cooler than a typical kitchen, lowering the actual energy used a little, and this is likely being off-set by the additional energy used by the rather cold freezer compartment. The net result is still rather impressive.
The sumptuous stainless steel finish and exceptionally low running costs alone should certainly put the Haier C2FE736CFJ on you short list when looking for new fridge freezer. The huge fridge space and My Zone flexibility is a great asset for those who have a lot of fresh food.
This benefit offset somewhat by a relatively small freezer compartment, which ran several degrees colder than the thermostat indicated in our tests. The 70/30 split might polarise opinion but in terms of features, looks and exceptionally low running costs, the CF2FE736CFJ is another strong model from Haier.
The main difference between this and Haier A2FE635CFJ we’ve also reviewed is that this model is more efficient – it’ll use approximately 50kWh less electricity over a year. That, said we prefer some design choices on the A2FE635, such as the strip LED lighting and easy pullout freezer drawers. You can’t go wrong with either, though.
A stylish, efficient and good value fridge freezer that won’t disappoint.