For about 13 years I've had an integrated fridge and freezer and they'd got to where they were really past their best. But the problem was should I buy more integrated appliances or a freestanding fridge freezer? The existing fridge was too small, with the salad boxes sunk into the bottom behind the plinth making it difficult to get things out. If I stored anything on top of them I had to move them to get in the salad boxes. Also to see what was in the back of the fridge I had to get on the floor in order to rummage right to the back. Half the time I couldn't remember what was in there, and things would just go out of date because I couldn't see them properly.
As for the freezer, it was commonly known as the 'the kingdom of the ice bear', because of the amount of ice built up. I confess I'm not keen on defrosting the freezer and it would usually get to where the drawers wouldn't close properly and half the space was taken up with ice before I'd get round to doing it. Although it would be a bit of a squeeze to get a freestanding one in the corner of my kitchen, I decided that was the way to go. I did some careful measuring to work out the largest fridge/freezer I could fit into the space and went for a look around Currys and Comet.
~CHOOSING A FRIDGE FREEZER~
The factors I was looking for in the fridge were:
See through salad boxes.
Plenty of door storage.
The factors I was looking for in the freezer were:
See through drawers
At least one drawer big enough to take a large pizza, and deep enough to take a 101b turkey at Christmas.
It also needed to be energy rating A or better.
The one that really struck me as best was the Electrolux Intuition at Currys. At 175.5 cm high and 59.5 cm wide, and 63.2 cm deep, it would just fit in the space I had, whilst giving an impressive 11.1 cubic feet of storage. It divides into 78L net freezer storage, and 223L net fridge space which suited me fine as I keep more in the fridge than the freezer. It fits all the above requirements and also looks quite stylish. It's an A rating and uses 347kwh per year. I don't know what my previous appliances were using, but I suspect this will be more economical as it compares well against separate upright side by side fridges and fridges I've looked at.
I decided to order from Currys online as it worked out the best price. The initial cost was £350, but I got 5% off with a discount voucher code, plus free delivery and free collection of old appliances. That made a huge difference to the overall cost as a lot of places charge for delivery and for taking your old appliance away. I had to wait a month for it to come into stock, which I didn't mind. The delivery men arrived within the agreed time slot, put it in the spot where I wanted it, and carted away both old appliances, which I think is a great service.
After waiting the advised four hours for it to settle I plugged it in and set the temperature dial. This has a range from 1 to 6, so I set it halfway at 3, which is advised in the manual as usually the most suitable. It's a single dial which controls both fridge and freezer. I was straightaway impressed with how quiet it runs. When reading fridge/freezer reviews I've noticed one of the things that bothers people is how noisy they can be, but this one hums away quietly to itself and is barely noticeable. It's not an intrusive noise when I'm working in the kitchen, and I can't even hear it in the next room.
~ABOUT THE FRIDGE~
Inside the fridge there are four glass shelves, including the one on top of the salad/ vegetable drawers. The other three are adjustable. The fact that they're glass is great as they are easy to clean, good for catching drips and create a clear view throughout the fridge. At the bottom of the fridge there two generous sized salad/vegetable drawers in a lovely see through blue plastic. It means I can see everything that's in there at a glance. I like to keep all my fruit, vegetables and salad in the fridge, so these two drawers are ideal. I've already noticed fruit, salad etc are staying fresh several days longer in this fridge which shows my last one wasn't working very well at all.
Another very nice feature is a wine bottle rack which holds five bottles of wine, sparkling water, fruit juice or whatever. I love it! It saves struggling for space in the fridge door if I've got drinks I want to keep cool. In the door there are four blue see-through adjustable shelf sections, giving me plenty of space for things such as pickle jars, olive oil, milk, juice boxes etc. This fridge is so capacious I haven't managed to really fill it yet, but at least I know that when I do a big shop such as at Christmas, I won't have any problems fitting things in.
The fridge defrosts itself and water trickles away down the back wall, where it can then evaporate away. It's just important to make sure the drainage hole doesn't get blocked with food or packaging which would prevent proper drainage.
~ABOUT THE FREEZER~
The freezer, which is below the fridge, has three blue see-through drawers.
The top drawer is fairly shallow at 36cm deep by 13cm high by 43cm wide. This is the fast freeze section, okay for popping in things such fresh meat that needs freezing fast before moving down to the middle section. It's okay for storing ice cream, ice cubes, frozen blueberries, and small things that might get lost in a big drawer, but overall doesn't offer much storage space. It's even less at the back of the drawer as it slopes away to half height. However it works really well as a fast freeze section, and I've found it will freeze fruit juice ice lollies in a couple of hours.
The second drawer down is a good size at 38cmx23cmx43cm. This is deep enough to take a big turkey, and wide enough in all directions to take a big pizza box. I can fit all my fish, meat and vegetables in here. Some freezers I've looked at had amazingly small drawers that you couldn't fit a pizza in, so would always be a problem if I wanted to buy anything in a big pack. It's definitely worth taking into consideration when buying a freezer.
The bottom drawer is 26cmx20cmx43cm. It's big enough to take a couple of large loaves, and a few smaller items such as hot cross buns and bread rolls.
Overall the size of the freezer is fine for my needs as I don't buy ready meals apart from the odd pizza. The most marvelous thing is that it's frost free, which means no more 'kingdom of the ice bear' and no more defrosting. An advantage of a frost free freezer is it doesn't freeze all your bread together in one big lump, so it's possible to get separate slices out without hacking them apart with a knife. I've also noticed the bread doesn't seem to get freezer burnt.
One of the things that could be a problem with this fridge is the colour. It's slightly off-white, which looks slightly odd next to my Hotpoint polar white washing machine. However, I knew that would be an issue before I bought it, and I decided that as we'll be rearranging things in the near future, they won't end up near each other and it won't really be so noticeable. It's worth bearing in mind though if you've got other white appliances. Unless they're the same brand they're unlikely to match in shade.
I wouldn't say this is one of the most high tech fridge/freezers out there. It hasn't got self-closing doors, but it doesn't really matter as they do swing shut fairly easily. It hasn't got warning lights, digital controls or antibacterial properties, but I don't mind that. Some fridge freezers have separate temperature controls, but this has just got one which controls both fridge and freezer. I find if it's turned to about the middle temperature it's fine, giving a suitable temperature for both. I've seen complaints that with some fridge/freezers, things in the salad drawer can get frozen because they're just above the freezer. This hasn't been a problem with mine at all. In fact I've got no complaints. It looks lovely, it keeps my food fresh much longer than my last appliances did, and best of all I can see everything and I'm wasting less food.
NOTE: Online images showing the inside of the fridge don't always show all the shelves or the wine rack.
Defrost / Short name: Electrolux ENB32000W