Haier’s latest cooling appliance is a freezer that can be quickly and simply converted into a fridge. The InstaSwitch uses Haier Switch Zone tech that can change compartments from freezer (-26°C) to fridge (0°- 4°C) temperature.
When we’ve seen it before, the Switch Zone has been limited to a compartment inside the appliance that can be converted from fridge to freezer and back, depending on what food you want to store.
Several of Haier’s Cube fridge freezers, including the Cube HTF-508DGS7 which we reviewed, feature this My Zone compartment in the freezer section of the appliance. You can adjust its temperature, manually, from 5°C to -20°C in 1°C increments, which gives you much more flexibility in terms of food storage.
If you’re having a big get-together (and fingers crossed, that’s what this summer will be all about), you can swap the zone to a fridge setting and have plenty of space to store your fresh, prepped food. Swap it back and you can get in a load of frozen food to tide you over a busy couple of weeks when you won’t have much time to cook. It gives people the option of a bit more versatility when planning their meals and spotting bargains when shopping.
The difference with the InstaSwitch is that it’s an all or nothing option. You can convert the entire appliance from freezer to fridge – but not part of it. Weirdly, that makes a product that’s all about versatility much less versatile than some of Haier’s other appliances.
The InstaSwitch is also a connected appliance that you can control via the hOn app – the Haier app that’s also used for Candy and Hoover connected products. This means that you can control the temperature via your phone, so if you’re on your way out to shop, you can instantly change the InstaSwitch’s temperature in readiness for your haul.
It has a display on the front and the door is reversible, so it can fit in anywhere. That would also come in handy if you want to buy a pair (we’ll come back to this later).
It also features Haier’s Instant Cool Zone compartments, which can be used to rapidly cool drinks or freeze food.
It’s an F Class fridge freezer which, under the new energy rating system that kicked off in March, means that it’s energy efficient. Although F doesn’t sound very reassuring, under new energy ratings, appliances that were previously categorised as A++ and A+ are now E and F rated. An appliance like this should cost approximately £41 per year to run (depending on your energy supplier and tariff).
The InstaSwitch is frost-free, so you’ll have no cause to defrost it ever. And it’ll warn you, via an alarm sound and an alert to your phone, should the internal temperature of your freezer rise significantly. So you’ll know if the freezer door has been left open.
On the surface, a fully convertible appliance seems like a brilliant idea. One click and it’s a fridge! Another click and it’s a freezer! But the drawback with the InstaSwitch is that when you convert it to a fridge, you’ll lose all of your freezer space and have to move any stored frozen food. So, the InstaSwitch isn’t really a contender to replace your main kitchen fridge freezer.
Really, to get the most from this appliance, you’d buy a pair (!) and place them in your garage or pantry as backup appliances. You’d use one as your long-term freezer storage and the other could be converted from a freezer to fridge if you had a lot of fresh food in, say for a barbecue or dinner party.
That does seem to be the way Haier conceives of it being used (as the first picture above shows).
So, the InstaSwitch is made for very large households or people who often host big events. If that sounds like you, the good news is that it’s competitively priced. However, if you want to buy two, it’ll set you back over £1,000.
Buy the InstaSwitch
There are two models, which differ in volume. They’re available from a number of retailers but the pricing varies and in some cases, the larger capacity appliance is cheaper. At the moment, AO.com has them in stock for the best prices.
The H3F-280WSAAU1 has a capacity of approximately 285 litres and is available from retailers including AO.com for £599.
The H3F-320WSAAU1 has a 330 litre capacity and is also available from AO.com, but for £579.
To see what we thought of other Haier cooling appliances, have a look at our reviews of the Haier Cube HTF-508DGS7 (which features switch tech), the four-door Haier Cube HTF-456DM6 and the connected Haier Wine Bank 50 Series 7.