“ Brand: Essentials / Type: Tall Freezer / Energy Efficiency: A+ „
Introduction and Price:-
The Currys' Essentials Freezer that I'm reviewing here was purchased out of necessity due to our old fridge freezer breaking down. We ended up buying a separate fridge and freezer due to an offer meant that we received a 10% discount when we brought both a fridge and freezer together, meaning that the freezer itself cost £180 as well as the added bonus of leaving us with far more storage room than a combined unit.
The fact that this freezer was the cheapest of its size in store at the time was a big factor in making the purchase; however I feel that it also represented great value for money given the fact that similar size basic freezers with comparable features were retailing at around £50 more elsewhere. To buy a combined unit that offered us anywhere near the same storage space would have cost £600+, however purchasing separates meant we did have to compromise as our kitchen isn't large enough for two appliances of this size so the freezer lives in our dining room.
Model Number:- CTF55W12
Dimensions:- 550 x 580 x 1430mm
Capacity:- 170 litres
Energy Rating:- A+
Energy Consumption:- 222kWh per year (0.61kWh per day)
Defrost Type:- Manual
Max Noise:- 42 dB
Installation and First Use:-
Installation wise the freezer was very easy to set up with the only real considerations that needed to be taken into account being a flat surface for it to stand upon, and leaving adequate ventilation space to avoid overworking the appliance. The feet of the freezer are adjustable and upon installation I did adjust the front feet ever so slightly to give the freezer ever such a slight backwards tilt so that the door swings shut with a gentle push and to ensure it is less likely for the door to accidentally be left open if not pushed enough. The door of the freezer is reversible although we didn't need to make use of this feature with this appliance, however the procedure described in the instruction manual seemed simple enough although it does require two people to carry it out due to needing to tilt the fridge back. The only tool required is a Philips screwdriver along with a spare few minutes as well as the pre-mentioned extra set of hands.
The freezer will need to be left to stand for at least 2 hours before turning on for the first time to allow the coolant fluid to settle which means that it's best to reverse the door before plugging in due to having to tilt the unit. Once switched on it is advised that the freezer be left for 24 hours before first use to allow the temperature to drop sufficiently throughout the unit. The advised temperature for a freezer is -18°c, although the dial that sets the freezer temperature has minimum to maximum markings rather than being marked up in degrees, meaning that we had to buy a cheap freezer thermometer at the price of £2.00 to enable us to set the temperature correctly.
Having been left for 24 hours and ensuring that the temperature was correct following a little fine tuning the morning after we plugged it in the freezer was ready to use. When filling the freezer it is well worth remembering that when stocking the freezer the more that is stored in it the more economically it will run. The instruction booklet was pretty brief but perfectly adequate with clear illustrations and was easily understandable, reading as though it had been produced for the UK market rather than being poorly written in pigeon English and being poorly translated as many instructions are nowadays.
Looks and Functionality:-
As expected this freezer is very cheap and basic looking being finished in white and is not available in any other colours, there is a smaller version of the same freezer available but doesn't seem to be any actual variations of this model available either. There is a small temperature control set at the top right hand corner of the freezer which as previously mentioned is marked up from minimum to maximum with little dots in between to allow for fine tuning. The temperature control appears to be connected directly to the thermostat that is located at the top of the freezer which is tucked up out of the way and very unlikely to get damaged by sliding the top draw full of food in and out.
Inside there are six decent sized draws which are made from quite cheap looking plastic but this I was fully expecting and so long as they are not overfilled should not break or crack with use. The drawers are fully removable with a wire shelf below each to allow for extra storage space. The total available storage space available with the drawers in place is 170 litres which is hard to put into any sort of perspective other than it will easily hold at least 3-4 weeks' worth of food for a family of three. The freezer does make some noise when getting down to temperature but once there makes very little noise whatsoever, and is pretty much unnoticeable working away in the corner of our dining room.
Looks wise this is most definitely a basic freezer with nothing in the way of extras such as ice trays or quick freeze buttons, although the temperature control can just be turned to max if anything needs freezing quickly or a large amount of produce needs storing. Both inside and out this freezer is most basic in the looks department and has obviously been designed to perform the specific task of keeping my food cold and I must say that after almost a full year of use it has not let us down yet. I am confident that this freezer will carry on performing the way it has and can see it lasting for a few years yet.
Cleaning and maintenance:-
Unfortunately being a basic model this freezer is not frost free which means that defrosting will be a task that needs performing sooner or later. After a year we do have a layer of ice building up, not enough to affect the functionality of the draws or performance of the fridge, but it is recommended that once the ice reaches a depth of 10mm that the freezer is defrosted and the inside cleaned. I can see it being somewhere around the 18 months to 2 year mark when we do eventually have to defrost it, which the instructions advise will take around 16 hours which means a bit of planning will be required to have as little as possible in our freezer at this time and relying on friends and parents to have space in their freezers for the remainder.
When cleaning inside the instructions advise using a weak bicarbonate of soda solution rather than any specific cleaning products for both the inside and outside. Whilst we haven't had the need to clean inside yet we usually just give the outside a quick wipe down with the furniture polishing cloth after it has been used; we have found this to work very well indeed with no actual product being applied directly to the freezer itself.
Regular cleaning and maintenance is pretty minimal, although I can see the less regular task of defrosting the freezer being a little bit of a pain. We were aware of this before we purchased the freezer and I guess is the joy of having an economy model freezer so cannot really mark it down for this inconvenience.
Overall after a years' worth of usage I would have to say that we have been most satisfied with this freezer with no problems presenting themselves in the time that we have owned it. The available storage space is excellent for a basic model, as is the fact that the appliance is A+ rated with regards to energy efficiency. The fact that there are 6 drawers rather than the more common five in the other slightly smaller economy model fridges we looked at is also another bonus making it easier to organise our food meaning the door is open for less time each time we use it making it even more efficient.
The only real gripe that I have with this freezer is the same as the matching fridge that we bought; this is the fact that there is no thermometer included. With freezer thermometers being available for less than £2 a piece I feel that it would not hurt Currys to include one with the sale of their fridges and freezers when people are likely to be spending anywhere from £200 to upwards of £1000 on these appliances.
In conclusion this is a great product for a base model that performs well and does everything that it is supposed to as well as can be expected, so long as a thermometer is remembered at the time of purchase. If I could knock just half a star off for the lack of thermometer I would but unfortunately it's going to have to be a very strong 4/5 star recommendation from me.