French-door fridge freezers tend to be solely for people with larger kitchens. You need space to house one, and let’s be honest, we don’t all have two square metres going free in the busiest room in our home.
If you like the double-door look and need substantial fridge and freezer storage but only have a slim space available, the Hotpoint FFU3DW1 could be for you.
Design and appearance
The bods at Hotpoint have managed to condense what looks like an American-style fridge freezer, with its chunky handles, bevelled doors, and monolithic presence, into a cabinet that is only 70cm wide and 78cm deep.
Of course, this means they’ve gone upwards to 195.5cm, which makes the top shelf and the upper door racks somewhat tricky to reach if you are below average height.
Unlike an American-style appliance, the fridge and freezer are one above the other, instead of side-by-side.
The appliance looks striking and is available in glacial white or black. It has a pair of long (83cm), silver fridge handles, so the grip isn’t awkward for either the tall or short, and a nigh-on full width bar for the freezer door. It’s an easy-to-access appliance.
On top of that, the fridge has sturdy French doors. We love French doors on a fridge because they just make viewing and retrieving your groceries so much more convenient, and they have a real Parisian feel.
But they do mean that the left door has an inbuilt click-in sealing mechanism, so you can’t bump or nudge it closed. The right-hand door seals well though, and the same goes for the freezer door.
The power cord is also a decent 140cm long and sited at the bottom of the back, so you do have some plug reach leeway.
Hotpoint says that operational sound is 41dB, which is roughly the sound of a whisper, but we couldn’t really discern any noise at all.
Interestingly, the appliance’s door alarm, which sounds if you leave the door open for more than two minutes, is a non-intrusive continual beep and the internal fridge lights flash too, which is an unusual and clever feature.
This fridge freezer has an F rating on the new 2021 energy rating scale, and Hotpoint states that the total annual energy consumption is 360 kWh/pa. This level of consumption is consistent with other appliances that offer this kind of chill and freezer storage capacity, although those appliances may be typical side-by-side fridge freezers that are far wider.
Due to recent changes in power pricing in the UK, it’s trickier to give an estimate at average running cost per year, but we would suggest, going by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s estimates for 2022 prices per kWh, that you will be looking at about £100 a year to run this appliance.
You control the appliance through a black panel at the top of the fridge cabinet. Of course, it is quite a reach at 192cm high and not so easy to see if you are on the shorter side.
The functions are relatively simple. You can set the fridge temperature to 2°C, 4°C, 6°C or 8°C, and there’s a super cool button for when you need to rapidly cool new grocery items. Again, the freezer has four temperature options of -18°C, -20°C, -22°C and -26°C, and it has a super freeze button which freezes new food items quickly and shuts off after 24 hours.
Cool down and warm up
We found that the fridge cooled from 15°C to 4°C across all zones in two hours. The freezer went from 8°C to -16°C in the same timeframe, although it was set for -18°C.
We couldn’t locate figures for chill retention, but our tests indicated that the fridge loses approximately one degree every two hours and slightly less for the freezer. However, we were testing in an atmospheric temperature of about 15°C, so if your fridge is in a very toasty kitchen, this process may speed up a little.
Two sets of three round LED lights illuminate the inside of the fridge cabinet. One set sits above the uppermost shelf on the right, and the other above the fresh drawer on the right.
Visibility is good across the shelves and the bins. There is no light in the freezer cabinet, but it isn’t a significant issue with a cabinet of this size: there are no dark, shadowy corners.
There are 302 litres of storage in the fridge cabinet, which has Active Fresh Technology to keep the temperature constant. For a one metre square footprint, including a freezer cabinet that is roughly 45% of the appliance, this level of storage capacity is excellent.
There are three glass shelves, each with a white plastic edge. The two uppermost shelves can adjust 5.5cm upwards, whereas the bottom shelf forms the top of the vegetable drawers. Again, shorter people may struggle to reach the top shelf without a step. However, the shelves are spacious, and have a good height clearance, so you can get a lot of groceries on them.
There are also three three storage drawers: two half-width drawers for fruit and vegetables, each with a manual humidity slider, and a full width drawer for meat and fish underneath, with a handy ribbed floor to prevent roll.
The capacity of these drawers is good, although they can be a bit rattly when you pull them out. The left vegetable drawer holds roughly 12 litres, and the right holds 15 litres. Altogether, that’s about 27 litres, or 1.25 bags of shopping.
The full-width meat and fish drawer, which Hotpoint refers to as the Food Care Zone, holds roughly 28 litres, or 1.5 bags of shopping. We stored 1kg of chicken pieces, 300g of lamb, 400g of gammon, 600g of sausages and 210g of fish, and there was over half of the space still spare.
One thing to note is that the French doors of the fridge don’t swing very wide, so there isn’t much elbow room after you have pulled out the fridge drawers, but this is a somewhat picky point.
There are three door racks on the inside of each fridge door. The left-hand racks are thinner than the right as the left-hand door is slimmer. The two upper racks can adjust upwards by 6cm, although the bottom one is static, and each rack has a couple of vents in the bottom to allow for drainage and easier cleaning, which is a nice touch.
In terms of real-world capacity, the French door design does mean door storage is at a premium. You can fit a typical supermarket six-pinter of milk in the bottom right rack, and a four-pinter in the bottom left, but this isn’t a set of doors that allows for four six-pinters, or 24 pints of supermarket milk, across four door racks – the height and width simply isn’t there.
The top two set of racks hold four to five 400g jars, though be aware that the top racks will be tricky to reach if you are shorter.
The fridge freezer does not come with an egg tray.
Hotpoint states that there are 150 litres of No Frost freezer storage, which is excellent for this appliance’s footprint. There are three deep and spacious drawers: the top one, by our rough reckoning, holding 38 litres; the middle one 33 litres, as the ice cube trays truncate the space; and the bottom drawer holds 26.5 litres.
In real world terms, we took the middle drawer, placed 20 frozen parathas, 3kg of veg, and 1kg of fries inside, and the drawers weren’t even 50% full.
The ice cube tray is deep and hooks over the handle of a freezer drawer. It holds two lift-off-lid single row trays for 16 ice cubes, so a total of 32 cubes in total. It keeps the ice in a convenient place so it doesn’t get shuffled underneath an avalanche of frozen peas, the ice freezes well and cube release is easy.
Price and availability
Prices for this model vary depending on the retailer, so it’s a good idea to shop around before you buy.
We tested the French door fridge-freezer model in white, but Hotpoint also makes a model in black and stainless steel. It’s currently available from AO.com for £629.
If you prefer separate pull-out freezer drawers, rather than a door cabinet with freezer drawers inside, Hotpoint also makes a fridge freezer with the same footprint and freezer drawers.
This Hotpoint fridge freezer combines a touch of style with excellent storage capacity for a household that doesn’t have the space for a large side-by side, American-style fridge freezer.
Add to that the reasonable price point, and the internal storage organisation for fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, and altogether, we think this appliance is worth serious consideration.
For more fridge and fridge freezer options, have a look at our round-up of the best we’ve reviewed. All of the appliances have gone through hands-on testing.
Hotpoint fridge freezer FFU3DW1: Specs
60/40 fridge freezer
Capacity: 436 litres
Dimensions: H195.5 x W70 x D78cm
Energy rating: F