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When my tall freezer eventually stopped working properly I decided to re-arrange the layout of my kitchen to allow me to have a larger fridge. I needed to keep some freezer space but I was able to put a small freezer where my old fridge had been and I decided to opt for a fridge freezer in the larger gap.
As always seems to be the case for me once I start looking seriously for an appliance I find that my list of criteria cuts down on my choices dramatically.
I started looking at several appliances before I realised that at only 5'2" tall I was struggling to reach the top shelves in a lot of them and I then decided that I couldn't have an appliance any higher than about 1.8m. The fridge-freezer also couldn't be any wider than 60cm due to the location of a light switch and a door frame. I also wanted one that was white to fit in with my kitchen. The last criteria was that the fridge space had to be substantially larger than my previous fridge but I didn't want a really tiny freezer compartment either. I also wanted the fridge on top for easy access as I open my fridge a lot more often than my freezer.
After much hunting around I picked the Bosch KGV36VW30G and opted to buy it online from John Lewis as they were offering the best price and free delivery. I think I paid about £325 last year. The model now appears to be discontinued but is still available from plenty of online retailers at prices ranging from £275 to £395.
When the fridge-freezer arrived and it was put in the kitchen it suddenly looked enormous. It was much larger than my old freezer but I have got used to it now and it no longer looks so imposing. The fridge capacity is 215L and the freezer is 94L and the energy rating is A++ which seemed good.
Like the majority of fridge-freezer this is not very exciting to look at. It is plain white with a bevelled front and vertical handles which stick out from the side and a neat Bosch in silver coloured letters near the top. Due to the location of this appliance the handles sticking out do not bother me but if it was in a different place it would be more inconvenient and I would be more likely to walk into them. There are no warning lights visible from the outside which I think is a disadvantage as it is always good to be able to glance at a fridge or freezer to see that it is on and running at the correct temperature. The lead was an adequate length and reached the nearby plug easily. We left it to settle overnight and turned it on in the morning after using the twisting feet to make sure that we had got it level.
I had selected this model as it stated that the door was reversible and due to the position it was going in I knew that it would be much more convenient if I swung the door the other way. However when we unpacked it there was an instruction saying that requests for the door to be hung the other way should have been dealt with before delivery. This wasn't terrible useful, a note on the website would have been more help. I contacted John Lewis who wouldn't deal with it and said we had to speak to Bosch who wanted to charge to send someone out. We did look at doing it ourselves as we have done it before on other models but once we had removed all of the protective caps we were greeted with a screw-head that we had never seen before so couldn't undo. I must add though that at Christmas this year my husband received a Bosch tool kit and in there we spotted the right gadget to remove these screws but since you have to empty the appliance and lay it on its side to change it I can't see us ever getting around to doing it now.
The fridge and the freezer are both controlled with the same thermostat which seemed a bit strange to me but never having had a combination appliance before I do not know if this is normal or not. The light showing what setting the appliance is on is located inside the door at the top. It is useful there as it cannot be adjusted by accident, in my old fridge I always seemed to be knocking the thermostat and then the milk would be so cold in the morning that it would set my teeth on edge. The light is also set at the top of the fridge which is great as it is not obscured by object in the way which can happen when the light is at the side.
Upon opening the fridge the door has three transparent shelves. All of these shelves are removable but only the middle one is adjustable. The top one is covered and is the ideal size for keeping things like butter. The next shelf is open but has quite a high side so I find it ideal for margarine tubs and small jars. The bottom shelf has an even taller font so it is ideal for storing milk and juice cartons. It is quite generous in depth and at a push you can store 4pt containers across the depth but I prefer to keep them side on as I would be worried that the pressure may cause the container to split and clearing up milk must be one of the worst jobs in a fridge.
The inside of the fridge seemed positively cavernous to me after the small under-counter one I had been used to. The base of the fridge houses the salad drawer. The milk shelf of the door is cleverly positioned so that it slots above this drawer which means that this drawer is enormous. It has a humidity control switch on the bottom which you are supposed to adjust if you change the temperature or fill the drawer very full. I must admit that I never remember to do this and I have not noticed any problem with the keeping quality of the foods I keep in here. The drawer has a deeply ridged base which helps air-circulation and I believe that my vegetables keep much better than in my last fridge. The drawer measures 45cm x47cm x17cm internally and I find that it is always adequate for what I need. The depth is great as it can even swallow those huge bags of salad or spinach or big spears of broccoli that seemed to take up my whole fridge before. The drawer pulls out easily for cleaning but due to the large shelf above it does not come out accidentally.
The shelves inside the fridge are all made from safety glass and are very easy to keep clean with a quick wipe. There is a large shelf that covers the salad drawer and then three shelves which are slightly less deep. There is also a metal wine rack which slots below one of the top two shelves. I have found this arrangement of shelves gives me lots of storage space and can accommodate anything I need to store. I am not a great wine drinker so I may only have one bottle of wine on the wine rack but it will also accommodate 2L bottles of Coke. I also use it to store bottles of Ketchup and Aerosol cream so they are easy to find. The shelves do not go all the way to the back of the fridge which is good as it keeps a good airflow throughout the appliance and prevents anything from getting frozen to the back.
I have been really pleased with the amount that the fridge can store and even over Christmas, when I am used to struggling, I found that I could always find enough room to store everything.
The freezer compartment consists of three drawers with transparent fronts. I like being able to see through the front as it helps me guess where I have hidden what I am looking for!
The top drawer takes the full depth of the freezer but it is not very tall and I tend to use it for storing ice-cream and ice-lollies, things that are not too bulky really.
The central drawer is what the manufacturers refer to as the "Big Box". This is a full depth drawer that is also very high and can easily accommodate large chickens or bags of frozen chips. This is a really useful space.
The bottom drawer is not very tall and it also does not reach to the back of the appliance as I presume the motor is behind it. This limits its usefulness as it cannot accommodate large packets of meat for example so I tend to use it for freezing 2pt milk cartons or small loaves of bread.
The freezer has to be manually defrosted and there is an outlet at the bottom to enable this to be done easily without mess. Although I know that you should defrost freezers regularly I am dreadful at remembering and I have been using this for about 9 or 10 months now and have still not gone around to it and there is no sign of any ice build-up at all.
Overall I would have to say that I am pretty happy with this appliance. I purchased Bosch as I have had several Bosch appliances before and they have all worked and lasted well. I was disappointed that it wasn't a simple matter to reverse the door but I have got used to it now. It runs quietly and I never notice any strange rumblings or noises from it. My food seems to stay very fresh and I love the size of the fridge.
This is really a family sized fridge so I think the freezer is only suitable if you have a separate freezer somewhere else as it is not terribly large. This is ideal for us but it if there is no separate freezer it would probably be better to go for a 50/50 split instead.
Bosch Avantixx Energy Efficient 1.86m Freestanding Fridge Freezer / Manufacturer BoschColour WhitePerformanceEnergy efficiency class A++ (227 kWh per year) / Actual energy consumption will depend on how the appliance is used and where it is located.Tota / Short name: Bosch KGV36VW30G