Hotpoint’s flagship fridge freezer has four-door stainless steel style, touch controls and a raft of food-preserving tech to keep your food fresher for longer. Its huge capacity is greater than most US-style, side-by-side models. Plus, the lack of a water/ice dispenser on the door means the internal furniture maximises usable space.
Despite a pretentious name ending in a postcode, we love the HQ9 E1L. It’s fast to cool, sumptuous to look at, and its stable temperatures will keep your food fresh for an extended period. We’d have liked some freezer lighting, door pocket dividers and, maybe, an ice maker… but technically and operationally, the Day 1 is a fundamentally fabulous four-door fridge freezer.
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Hotpoint has been in the refrigerator business long enough to know what looks good in the kitchen, and the Day 1 is simply gorgeous. The heavily brushed stainless-steel finish is finger-mark resistant and is complemented by a shiny silver band through the centre that houses the touch controls and subtle blue temperature displays.
These are a little fuzzier than ideal as they shine through the plastic trim, but remain easily legible (the photos exacerbate the effect). The display backlights turn off a few seconds after using any of the controls to leave a more harmonious appearance in the kitchen. There’s no ice/water dispenser to mess up the clean lines of the doors, the Day 1 coming with a small free-standing ice-maker inside instead.
The handles are inset under and above the doors and finished in easy-to-clean grey plastic. Unlike US-style models, the Day 1 doors are a more normal depth, so the total front-to-back measurement of the whole appliance is just 698mm. That will still protrude past a standard 600mm worktop, but not so much that it will dominate your kitchen.
Pop open the doors, and the first thing you’ll notice is the intriguing double seals on the freezer doors. Okay, that might just be us. Since the Day 1 boasts an A+ rating, we can assume these seals work to keep efficiency high. Users who don’t spend their days testing fridge freezers are more likely to notice the stunning full-width fridge compartment and twin freezers.
Up top, the fridge is lit by a massive overhead LED panel that wouldn’t look out of place in an office. In here, the Day 1 offers a very generous 384 litres of chilled storage. The compartment is clean-looking, with three glass shelves and two large salad crisper drawers. The drawers immediately won us over with their decent capacity and smooth rollers that allow them to glide in and out. They’re easily removed for a worktop rummage, too.
The six door pockets have the combined capacity of a small fridge in their own right – although, like the shelves, adjustability is limited to just two positions for the middle pocket. The minimal look is finished with a steel trim along the drawer fronts and bin edges.
The two freezer compartments are identically furnished. Separating the two improves efficiency as less cold air rolls out when only one door is opened. The freezer furniture lineup comprises two decent-sized bins and a pull-out, open-top shelf either side. All six have proper rollers and glide seamlessly in and out, even when loaded up to the lip. They’re easy to remove, even if you can’t get the doors open much past 90 degrees, and are similarly trimmed with a steel band for a pro look.
On the downside, there are no handy pockets for your choc-ices on the doors, or any freezer lighting. Neither detracts too much from what is otherwise a stunning-looking four-door fridge freezer.
At a massive 591-litre total capacity, the Day 1 is a proper monster when it comes to loading up with fresh and frozen food. It’s no wider than most US-style appliances at 909mm, and a little shallower front to back. The extra capacity comes from high-tech insulation allowing for thinner walls and a usefully tall 1847mm height. The split is 384 litres in the fridge and 207 litres across the two freezers.
Up top, only the central, full-width glass shelf offers any adjustability, and that is one of two positions. That said, this is more adjustment than most four-door fridge freezers offers so let’s not be too harsh here. The lower position would give some extra loftiness to the mid-shelf, but make the lower area correspondingly cramped. With only the single shelf adjustment, you’re never going to fit in tall items such as bottles without pulling a shelf out altogether though.
Thankfully, bottles are unlikely to be a storage issue. The Day 1 has six whopping door pockets that are ridiculously deep, front to back, and will happily take 4-pint milk cartons side-on and three abreast. Drop the mid-pocket to its lower position, and you could get in 48 pints of milk without encroaching on the main fridge compartment! All six door pockets pop up and off for easy cleaning.
The disadvantage of those big-capacity pockets is that they don’t hold smaller bottles very securely. Open the doors briskly and 2 litres of pop will likely tip out and end up on the floor. Some sort of retention device such as removable plastic flaps would have been welcome – but, arguably, would have looked a bit clunky against the Day 1’s sleek and minimalist style. Perhaps we’re just traditionalists, but we did miss a high flip-top pocket for dairy.
No complaints with the salad drawers, though; both are capacious and smooth operating. They pull out with ease, although you do need to open the doors a fair way back to navigate them past the lower door pocket. (You could remove the door pocket first, if necessary). Unusually, there’s no humidity control slider on either drawer – although these gadgets do have limited effect on the humidity anyway.
Down in the freezers, the drawer operation is no less slick, with full roller gliding and simple tilt-and-lift removal. We’re huge fans of the open-top upper freezer drawers as they offer instant grab-and-go appeal of a shelf with the pull-out convenience of a drawer. You can store marginally less in it than a full-height drawer bin, but the contents will be a lot easier to find and grasp.
The drawers below are nicely deep and have plenty of front-to-back capacity. The lower bin is a little truncated by the workings behind, but the overall freezer capacity of 103.5 litres each side (207 in total) is both large and largely usable.
This Hotpoint is bristling with technology, including a cutting-edge inverter compressor. Its variable power motor runs slower and with greater energy efficiency when the Day 1 is simply keeping things cool. After opening the doors, or when lots of fresh produce has just been loaded into the compartments, the motor steps up the power to chill the food down to temperature as quickly as possible.
In normal running mode, the inverter motors are pretty darn quiet too. As such, the Day 1 energy label suggests a whisper-quiet 37.5dB. To put that in perspective, anything below 40dB is library-like quiet and unlikely to be heard in an average kitchen.
For the most part, the Day 1 lives up to its hushed specification and we barely measured 38dB running noise overnight. When the motor steps up the noise increases to 39dB, but that doesn’t happen very often and is still very quiet indeed.
The multi-power inverter motor isn’t this Hotpoint’s only claim to variable speed fame. The air-circulating fan also increases speed when the freezer detects a rise in air temperature, such as when the door has been open a while or a lot of room-temperature food has been placed inside.
The result, claims Hotpoint, is the ability to chill or freeze food in around half the time of a standard fridge freezer, endeavouring to keep your food as fresh as it was on Day 1 (…see what they did there?).
Moreover, this temperature-based cooling means you can put hot food – up to 70ºC, says Hotpoint – safely into the fridge or freezer without it overtly raising the temperature of food already inside. Impressive stuff, although quite what sort of food you’d need to freeze down from 70ºC is a mystery to us.
Still, all this high-tech kit has a very positive effect on the Hotpoint’s cooling, which it demonstrated with some suitably spectacular test results.
Set to 4ºC, the fridge averaged within +/- 0.3 ºC of 4ºC from the very top shelf to the salad crisper drawers below. That’s an exceptionally even average temperature for a large fridge compartment. Temperature variation through the compressor cycle was a little more bouncy towards the upper half of the chamber, at +/- 2ºC on the top shelf. Still not too shoddy, though.
The next lower shelves down reduced the bounce progressively further at +/- 1ºC and a mightily impressive +/- 0.5ºC on the shelf above the drawers. That would keep salad anf fruit fresher on the bottom shelf than many fridge freezers can manage in their salad drawers!
In the Day 1’s salad drawers the temperature virtually flat-lined at 4.1ºC, with a fantastically low +/- 0.1ºC variation. That’s among the very best we’ve ever tested, and will certainly extend the life of your groceries stored within.
Our only minor quibble in the fridge is a lack of dedicated area for meat and fish that would be a couple of degrees cooler than the average fridge temperature. It’s not a deal breaker, but we do like a near-freezing chilling area for these specific foodstuffs.
Down in the freezer, Hotpoint’s claims of very rapidly cooling were more than borne out in our test results; our 2kg room-temperature sample hit -18ºC in less than 10 hours. Thanks again to the clever fanned cooling, temperature throughout the freezers was very even at -17ºC for the top shelf and -18ºC in both drawers. That was very close to the -18ºC set on the thermostat.
Despite some very high-tech insulation in the Day 1, the three-hour fail test results were slightly disappointing at only very good. Over the three hours, the open top shelf suffered the most, rising to -8ºC. That would mean the air temperature in those areas would get above zero after 9-10 hours. Frozen food should be safe for twice that duration, agreeing with Hotpoint’s suggested 20-hour power-fail limit.
Overall, the Day 1 is a well-engineered fridge freezer, delivering rapid cooling and incredibly stable temperatures. Hotpoint says the Day 1 will chill food quicker than most fridge freezers and keep fresh food fresher for longer too. From our tests, we really can’t argue with that.
The Day 1’s A+ energy rating is near the top of what is available on big-capacity, multi-door appliances. A few models with A++ are available, but they do give away some interior space as they bump up insulation thickness. The upshot is that the energy label suggests that the Day 1 will use around 485kWh of electricity per annum. At an average of 15p/kWh, that would amount to around £72 per year.
Kept in a cooler, 18-19ºC environment – which is typical of a UK kitchen – and with the doors only opened six times per day, our Day 1 was much more efficient. Our appliance used an average of just 4.6kWh per week. At a calculated 242kWh per year, that’s almost half the running costs the energy labels states.
The reason for this is the Day 1’s variable speed motor and fans. The more you open the doors and stick in warm food, the more energy it will use – and vice versa. For our relatively static tests, rather than the real-world usage of a big family, the Hotpoint proves spectacularly efficient and would comfortably achieve an A++ rating as tested here.
The £72 per year running costs can be considered a worst-case scenario in a hot, busy kitchen with a big family. At the two-person Stevenson ranch, a fraction of those running costs is far more likely. Excellent work, Hotpoint.
Hotpoint has been working on throwing off its rather “old and traditional” image for a few years, but the Day 1 puts the company firmly in the super-league of high-tech appliance manufacturers. Variable power inverter motors, variable speed fan circulation, cutting-edge insulation, and clever temperature monitoring together deliver fast-cooling, incredibly stable temperatures and amazing energy efficiency.
This massive capacity four-door fridge freezer is spaciously appointed with well-designed storage furniture, and the adjustable shelf and door pocket options are a nice touch.
The stainless-steel finish and electronic controls look great, but at this price point one might have expected an in-door ice and water dispenser. Yet Hotpoint has eschewed the drinks station in favour of capacity, efficiency and technology that will keep your fresh food fresher for longer.