Coming in below the stratospherically luxurious Chef Collection models, Samsung’s RB5000 (RB37J5018SA) fridge freezer offers much of the tech without the frills at a slightly more affordable price. This year’s model sports Twin Cooling Plus technology from the premium range, leading to a stellar A+++ energy efficiency rating.
Technically, the RB5000 is right up there with the Chef Collection. Even, consistent cooling, superb power fail test results and low running costs mean this is as good as fridge freezers get! An awkward-to-remove salad drawer and a near four-figure price tag just stop it getting full marks, even if it takes some beating at the price.
We rather liked Samsung’s RB5000 fridge freezer last year, as it blended convenience, great looks, and superb energy efficiency in equal measure. The updated RB5000 series model is the delicately titled RB37J5018SA. The price has had a bit of a hike up to £999 (from £699), but efficiency is up to a category-leading A+++ rating. That is thanks largely to Samsung’s Twin Cooling Plus true dual-cooling-zone technology trickling down from the premium Chef Collection range.
This separates the cooling evaporators for the fridge and freezer compartments, creating more even cooling in both. It also further reduces temperature fluctuations through the compressor cycle, keeping the humidity more constant. This means a better fridge environment for your fruit and veg.
This 2m tall appliance is nothing if not imposing. The stainless steel finish is striking, and manages to shirk off fingerprints with ease. This model has the controls concealed on the inside and handles inset into the side of the doors. Only the shiny Samsung logo punctuates the sheer front surface.
On the inside, the split is close to 75/25 in favour of the fridge totalling a whopping 365 litres. That extra space up top is not to the detriment of freezer capacity though, thanks to Samsung’s Spacemax technology. This uses highly efficient, super-thin insulation to keep the fridge’s side walls very slim. The result is more fridge space within the same 60cm-wide appliance.
Those of a vertically challenged nature are going to need a stool to get to the controls on the top of the door frame. Unusually, this offers thermostat settings in odd number increments, from 1-7 degrees in the fridge and -15 to -23 in the freezer. There is also a Power Freeze function and low power holiday mode.
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The enormous upper compartment is lit by a vivid white-blue LED overhead light. It’s far enough forward to do a good job of illuminating the shelves and drawers when they are opened. There are plenty of storage options in the fridge. You get three shelves, a hanging bottle rack, two large drawers and six door pockets.
Other than the Twin Cooling makeover, little has changed down below in the freezer. It’s a fairly basic three-drawer compartment, without the down-firing LED door light of Samsung’s higher-end models. On the plus side, the plastic used for the main drawer bodies slides in and out very easily compared to the clear plastic used by a number of competitors.
Those chefs who like to cook from fresh will love the RB5000, and its 267 litres of usable fridge space. Few top-mount fridge freezers can match that. The new cooling system promises even temperatures throughout the compartment, allowing for greater storage flexibility. If you wanted to put fish at the top (where it is always warmest) you probably could, based on our test results.
If you want to get a little more organised than that, the top fridge drawer is Samsung’s Fresh Zone. This is kept cooler, and hence is ideal for preserving meat and fish. The bottom drawer is larger, extending to the front of the compartment. It’s not quite as cool, making it the place for your fruit and veggies. This drawer is deep too, giving it the capacity of a small green grocer’s store.
The upper Fresh Zone drawer glides out on proper rollers, and can be removed with ease. The same cannot be said of the salad drawer, which forgoes the rollers in favour of simple sliders and is a real pain to remove from the fridge. When fully pulled out, you then need to tilt the drawer upwards to release it from the safety clips. Unfortunately, even with the fridge door wide open, the salad drawer then catches on the door’s main bottle pocket. You can get the drawer out with some fighting and twisting, but it is far from ideal.
The door pocket roster is well up to the mark though. A large bottle pocket at the bottom and enclosed full-width pocket at the top are complemented by four half-width pockets, with six available positions for them. Handily, 2l milk bottles fit in the main bottle pocket, even with the half-pockets at their lowest setting. The only issue here is that the top pocket is somewhere up in the clouds, close to 2m from the ground. This will create some egg-based comedy moments, should you use it for traditional dairy storage.
At just under 100 litres, the freezer compartment feels compact compared to the fridge. The drawers have clear fronts and more flexible plastic bodies. They slide in and out well, despite being on sliders rather than rollers. Unlike the salad drawer, they can be easily removed for a worktop rummage.
The RB5000 series fridges have always used high-tech digital inverter motors. These are speed-variable, depending on requirements, and run very quietly. The RB37J5018SA’s energy label suggests a near inaudible 37dB, which is another 1dB quieter than last year’s RB5000.
Dead of the night measuring is the only way we can record sounds that low. We measured a spectacularly low 36-37dB when the cycle was running, which was around 20 minutes in every 50. The rest of the time, it was silent.
Over the course of two weeks’ testing, we did notice a few irregular noises from the RB37J5018SA, including the odd click, pop and whirr as fans started up. Yet these were infrequent and you wouldn’t actually notice them had the machine itself not been so quiet. For the bulk of our overnight measurements, we recorded distant traffic, wind noise, and what sounded like the squirrel equivalent of a gang fight on the roof. Rest assured, this Samsung is properly modern and quiet.
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There wasn’t a duffer in Samsung’s 2016 fridge freezer line up, and only the RB5000 dipped below a near-perfect score. It scored a 4-star review, largely because other models in the range were even better at creating super-stable temperatures. Now the RB5000 has Twin Cooling Plus as well, can the RB37J5018SA up its game even further?
Well, yes, as it happens. Loaded up with our usual 0.5kg of produce per 10 litres of fridge space, and 1kg of frozen food per 10 litres of freezer space, this fridge freezer demonstrated super-consistent and super-stable temperatures throughout.
The fridge was the star of the show. With the thermostat set to 3 degrees C, every square inch of the fridge, from top shelf to the lowest drawer, averaged within half a degree of that temperature! That is impressive for such a tall compartment. The temperature remained super-stable throughout the compressor cycle too.
The salad drawer near flat-lined, staying within just +/- 0.4 of a degree of its 3.1 degree average temperature. With controlled humidity, that is going to keep soft fruit and leafy veggies fresher for longer than fridges that bounce by whole degrees either side of the average. The cooler Fresh Zone drawer averaged 2.5 degrees, rising to 3 degrees and dipping to 1 degree. There was no chance of frosting making this ideal for storing meat and fish.
The mid shelf averaged 3.0 degrees, stable to within just +/- 0.5 degrees. The very top shelf was only fractionally warmer at an average 3.2 degrees but it does get more fluctional being close to the upper vents. It ranges between 1 degree and 4.5 degrees C through the compressor cycle.
That is about as close to ‘perfect’ fridge performance we have tested.
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With the freezer set to -19 degrees, all three drawers were within a whisker of set temperature. They recorded -18.5, -19 and -20 degrees from the top drawer down. There was a little more bounce in the temperature throughout the compressor cycle than we have seen in Samsung’s flagship models, but nothing to be concerned about.
The middle and lowest drawer were the most stable at just +/- 2 degrees. The upper drawer were nearer +/- 4 degrees. That made very little difference to the core of our frozen food sample which flat-lined at -18.8 degrees. Perfect – and further improvement on last year’s already very good RB5000.
The three-hour fail tests were excellent. During the outage, our frozen food sample crept up just 5.5 degrees. Air temperature in the top freezer drawer only rose 9 degrees during that period and a good few degrees less in the lower drawers. This model has a food safety limit of well over 12 hours, and considerably longer in the lower sections of the freezer.
Recovery was excellent. Air temperatures in all drawers took less than 20minutes to get back down to their average running temperature with the power back on. The RB37J5018SA delivers pretty stunning technical test results all round.
The RB37J5018SA’s A+++ rating should certainly lower running, compared to its predecessor’s £41 per annum. Kept in our 18-19 degree environment chamber with both doors opened half-a-dozen times a day, this fridge freezer used a little over 3kWh of electricity per week.
We calculate then that it will use around 165kWh per year, or less than £25 at an average 15p/kWh. That is very frugal indeed, and slightly less than even the energy label’s claim of 173kWh per year. Of course, place the RB37J5018SA in a very hot kitchen, or if you have a big family that go to it more regularly, costs will rise. Thankfully, they are starting from a very efficient, very frugal base.
With huge fridge capacity, reasonable space in the freezer, and outstanding technical test results, Samsung’s new RB5000 (RB37J5018SA) is a real winner. Fridge temperatures and cooling consistency are faultless, the Fresh Zone meat and fish draw perfect, and its running noise so quiet you won’t hear it. It lacks a few features – such as split shelves, roller drawers, and a freezer light – from Samsung’s flagship Chef Collection models, but it’s also cheaper. Our only gripe is the difficulty in removing the salad drawer and the not-inexpensive asking price. Yet with such great performance and low running costs, we can live with those.