Steady temperatures in both fridge and freezer
Fridge needs to be calibrated before use
Only one crisper
The Hisense HRB171N6ASE has a stainless steel exterior with large square handles. Opening the top door reveals the fridge compartment with controls along the top edge. Three shelves delineate the interior, and there’s a single crisper drawer at the bottom. The door has one full-width bin and four half-width bins.
The freezer drawer is more or less standard, consisting of a white plastic shelf above the main drawer.
About the Hisense HRB171N6ASE refrigerator
Dimensions: 69.1” x 31.1” x 29.1” (H x W x D) Counter-depth: Yes Measured capacity: 8.75-cubic-foot fridge, 2.87-cubic-foot freezer Finishes: Stainless Steel Dispensers: None User manual: Hisense HRB171N6ASE Bottom-freezer Refrigerator manual
What we like
There are steady temperatures in both the fridge and freezer
Fridges need to operate within a very narrow band of temperatures: Anything below 32°F will freeze, but anything above 40°F allows bacteria to proliferate rapidly, so you want your refrigerator to stay within an 8°F range.
When talking about temperature, there are two elements to focus on: What average temperature the refrigerator will hit fresh out of the box (most users never calibrate their fridge), and how consistent its temperatures are.
The HRB171N6ASE has trouble with its initial calibration, but that’s an easy fix: You just have to turn it down by a degree or two. Temperature consistency, on the other hand, can’t be solved with calibration. Luckily, the HRB171N6ASE has virtually no problem keeping stable temperatures.
Over time, the temperatures we recorded remained consistent throughout the refrigerator compartment, not wandering outside a 2°F range. We did see some warmer and cooler spots throughout the fridge, though these are minor: Temperatures towards the middle stayed about 2°F colder than both the top and bottom areas.
The freezer has similarly stable temperatures, and it does come fairly well calibrated out of the box. During testing, its average temperature was -2.21°F, and it wandered by less than a degree.
Overall, while the Hisense HRB171N6ASE doesn’t have perfect temperature performance, it’s still remarkably good, especially for a fridge in this price range.
It puts an emphasis on energy efficiency
The Hisense HRB171N6ASE is about twice as energy efficient as the average refrigerator. Part of this is likely due to its smaller, counter-depth size creating less volume to keep cold, but even compared to other counter-depths it does a good job.
For context, the average fridge costs about $39.98 per year and other counter-depths typically cost $24.42 per year to run. The annual cost for the Hisense HRB171N6ASE is $16.81. These aren’t astronomical savings, but shoppers that are conscious of their carbon-footprint will likely prefer the HRB171N6ASE’s performance over its peers.
What we don’t like
The fridge is too warm out of the box
People expect the products they use to work directly out of the box, and we know that—statistically speaking—the majority of users won’t calibrate their fridges before use. They’re simply not aware it’s necessary.
Out of the box and set to the manufacturer’s settings, the Hisense HRB171N6ASE’s temperature averaged 40.5°F during our testing, ranging from 38.81°F at its coldest to 42.73°F at its warmest.
We recommend that anyone who buys the HRB171N6ASE should calibrate it first. Once it’s no longer hitting above that 40°F danger zone, you’ll really start to benefit from the shelf-life longevity its steady temperatures provide.
There is only a single crisper
The Hisense HRB171N6ASE only has one crisper drawer, which spells trouble for customers who enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. The reason most fridges have two separate crispers is because certain fruits give off ethylene gas, a plant hormone that promotes ripening, which can cause leafy greens to rot prematurely.
How big of an issue this is will depend on what you plan to store in the crisper drawer. If you’re looking for a fridge for your garage, and/or you don’t foresee yourself storing both fruits and leafy greens, then a single crisper should be just fine.
What owners are saying
This fridge is only available through Lowe’s, where it’s receiving an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars. However, since it’s exclusive to a single retailer, it has far fewer user reviews than we’d typically see—and it’s good to approach smaller data sets with some skepticism.
Users that love the Hisense HRB171N6ASE mainly cite its price and small footprint: It’s a relatively inexpensive fridge that fits where it needs to and is capable of keeping things cold. Others note how good it looks for a lower-cost option.
One of the more common complaints is that the shelf spacing is odd: Some of the notches seem too low to accommodate standard (but taller) items like wine bottles or gallon jugs. While we understand the frustration there, this type of design may be intentional—to force a large enough gap above your groceries to allow air to circulate.
Another common complaint is that temperatures in the fridge are inconsistent, leading some items towards the back to freeze. This issue may be related to the previous complaint, as low air circulation does exacerbate hot/cold spots. In our testing, we did find a roughly 2°F difference between the middle of the fridge and the top and bottom. While minor, this temperature difference could be the difference between items keeping cold and getting frozen. Again, we highly recommend that everyone calibrate their fridge as part of its initial setup.
The standard warranty for major appliances is one year. Hisense offers a two-year warranty. We like longer warranty periods, as they can help customers feel secure in their purchase. If a long warranty is important to you, you should also check out fridges by Samsung and LG, as they are two of the few companies that offer much longer warranties, covering certain parts for up to a decade.
Should you buy the Hisense HRB171N6ASE refrigerator?
The Hisense HRB171N6ASE is one of the better bottom-freezer fridges we’ve reviewed. It does have one main hurdle to overcome—the fridge is worryingly warm out of the box and needs calibration—but once you’re past that part this fridge provides a lot of value for its purchase price.
It’s rare to see an inexpensive fridge with such steady temperatures (fortunately somewhat more common over the past year). It also offers decent storage for its smaller size.
If you need a basic counter-depth fridge for your kitchen or garage (and make sure to calibrate it), this fridge is a great budget buy. We also recommend checking out the Haier HA10TG21SS, which is one of the best fridges you can buy for less than $1,000.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the testers
Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with over ten years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.
Dave Ellerby is Reviewed's Chief Scientist, and has a Ph.D. from the University of Leeds and a B.Sc. from the University of Manchester.
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