The low price, quality temperature control and flexible internal space, all make the Hotpoint H3X 81I W a good entry-level fridge freezer. The only thing counting against this model is running costs. Spend a little more on the H5X and you’ll recoup the costs within a couple of years and continue to make savings. For most people, then, the slightly more expensive model makes more sense.
- Great price
- Flexible interior
- Stable temperatures
- No freezer temperature control
- Relatively expensive to run
- TypeThis is a 60cm wide freestanding fridge freezer.
- CapacityThere’s a a 231-litre fridge and a 104-litre freezer.
The baby of the new Total No Frost range, the Hotpoint H3X 81I W has decent capacity, flexible shelving and it’s available at a good price.
Slightly high running costs and no control over the freezer temperature make this a more budget choice than the top-of-the-range models, though.
Design and features
- Available in stainless steel and white
- Flexible interior
- Basic controls
The Hotpoint H3X 81I W is the white version of the fridge freezer, but you can also buy this model in stainless steel (Hotpoint H3X 81I SX) if you prefer that look. Aside from the finish, the two models are the same, bar the stainless steel version costing a little more. Depending on where you plan to put the fridge freezer, it may be worth paying that little bit extra.
Although in the same range as the high-end Hotpoint H9X 94T SX, this 60cm-wide fridge freezer is a little shorter than its big brother measuring 1912 x 596 x 678mm. There’s a total fridge capacity of 231-litres, which is 32-litres less than on the H9X.
While there may be a little less space in this fridge, the upside is that as the H3X is slightly shorter, so its top shelf is a little bit easier to reach: no standing on tip-toe or requiring a stool here.
Inside, the Hotpoint H3X 81I W has a fairly standard layout. There are four shelves inside, and the top two have a choice of two positions each, depending on what you need to store in them. You may want to move them around a little. In the default configuration, the top shelf is just low enough to fit a can of coke, but taller items won’t slide in.
A single drawer is at the bottom. It’s a decent size, and slides out easily, but doesn’t have humidity control. If you want to store a bit more fresh food, then a model with two salad drawers, such as the H9X may make more sense.
Hotpoint has done a good job with the door pockets. The larger one at the bottom holds bigger items, including 2-litre milk cartons. The top door pocket has a useful amount of room: it will take a can of coke standing up. The central section of the door is taken up with two split shelves, with one of the right able to go in two height positions, depending on what you want to store.
This model has Hotpoint’s Active Fresh technology, which rapidly cools and levels out humidity to protect food.
Below, the freezer has the same capacity as in the high-end H9X fridge freezer, with 104-litres of space. Three similar-sized pull-out drawers give enough space to store a decent amount of food, although a side-by-side fridge freezer will give more space if you need more frozen goods.
As this is the entry-level model, there’s only a temperature control for the fridge section, not the freezer section, which is handled automatically. That gives slightly less control and contributes to the higher running costs: this is a F-rated appliance.
- Decent fridge temperatures
- Freezer runs quite cold
- High running costs
As a basic fridge freezer, the Hotpoint H3X 81I W is quite expensive to run. At around £107.10 a year (assuming a kWh cost of 34p), this fridge freezer costs almost double to run than the H9X. I worked out the running cost at £0.32 per litre of space in the entire unit, which is on the high side – no wonder this appliance gets an F-rating.
To test temperature control, I load the fridge freezer with ice packs, and then set automatic fridge door openers to open and close the door at set times. I then use temperature sensors placed around the inside to monitor temperatures every 15 minutes.
On average, the fridge was 3.33°C, which is just 0.66°C below the target temperature of 4°C. There’s a bit of fluctuation inside: the top of the fridge varied between 5.7°C and 1°C, while the middle was between 5.5°C and 1.7°C. Overall given the cost of this model, the temperature variation is pretty good, with most fluctuations between +/-1.05°C. Anything around 1°C is good.
In the freezer, I had no control over the temperature setting. As a result, the freezer was colder than the -18°C that I normally set. I measured average temperatures at -22.00°C, which is -4°C colder than I’d have set. Temperature fluctuations weren’t as pronounced in the freezer, and I measured a maximum temperature of -18.8°C and a minimum of -24.3°C. I measured most fluctuations at an excellent +/-0.65°C. Overall, the freezer is colder than I’d have set, but it doesn’t fluctuate much.
Clearly, Hotpoint’s Multicool Flow, which distributes cold air around the cavity, does a good job.
This is a frost-free model, and I’m pleased to say that I didn’t spot any frost throughout the two-week test phase, even with the door being opened and closed. That’s good news as, aside from not having to defrost the unit, the fridge freezer will continue to run optimally.
Should you buy it?
If you need a budget fridge freezer and don’t want to compromise on internal space or temperature stability, this is a good option.
Running costs are quite high. Spend a little more, and you can get the same flexible space with lower energy consumption.
As a more entry-level fridge-freezer, the Hotpoint H3X 81I W offers plenty of room, flexible space and no ice build up. There’s no control over the freezer section, but the Hotpoint H3X 81I W at least maintained temperatures well. If there’s one issue, it’s running costs. This model is quite expensive to run per year. Upgrade to the H5X and you’ll get the same internal layout, pay a little more for the fridge freezer, but recoup the extra outlay in only a couple of years. To me, that makes the H5X a better choice. If you’re after something else, check out my guide to the best fridge freezer.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every fridge freezer we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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We test for at least two weeks.
We use temperature sensors to monitor the internal temperature to help us accurately compare models from different manufacturers.
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There’s 231-litres of fridge space and 104-litres of freezer space: enough for a large family’s weekly requirements.
No, it has fridge temperature control only.
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