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This fridge-freezer is the only appliance in our kitchen which isn't from the Bosch brand. I can't remember the reasons for us choosing this, but I expect it probably had something to do with price, and the fact it was to be integrated into our units meant the fact it was Zanussi didn't really make any difference. Zanussi are still a trusted brand, so we went with this model, which cost us £448 at the time. The average price I can find online for this is around £460, which seems about right for an integrated fridge-freezer of this size.
Our only requirement with the fridge-freezer was that it had a 50/50 split between fridge and freezer, so it offered the same amount of fridge space as freezer space. This is because we use the two in roughly equal measures, whereas if we lived off convenience frozen foods it would have made more sense to opt for a fridge-freezer with a larger freezer compartment, sacrificing some fridge space.
The first thing I would say about this fridge-freezer, is that it is designed to be built into your kitchen units. This means it doesn't look the most stylish as a standalone appliance, with the front being white and the doors being flatter than usual. The doors also have panels which allow them to be attached to your unit door, and the doors are reversible so they can be either left or right hand opening.
The dimensions of the fridge-freezer are 177cm high, 54cm wide, and 54cm deep. I presume this is a standard size for an integrated appliance to fit behind your units, as this sits perfectly behind our cabinets. In terms of energy performance, it is A-rated, which is something we do look for if it falls within our budget.
The fridge-freezer doesn't really have any features as such, but here are some useful bits of information you may need regarding the product specification:
The fridge section has an auto defrost function, so that you shouldn't need to defrost the fridge. This is useful for us because our previous fridge-freezer used to start to freeze in the fridge section occasionally, due to the air vent at the back getting blocked. The freezer does still need defrosting, however.
I'm not sure this can be considered a "feature" as most fridges offer this facility, but the shelves can be adjusted to suit your personal shopping and grocery needs. The appliance can house up to 4 shelves in the fridge, and 4 drawers in the freezer. The fridge also has little side storage in the door for bottles such as milk, two deep salad drawers, and a dairy tray at the top of the fridge.
The freezer has transparent drawers rather than being tinted like some freezers. This allows you to view the contents of each drawer easily.
Although it's billed as a 50/50 split, the fridge capacity is greater than the freezer capacity, due to the doors in the freezer taking up some space. The fridge capacity is 131 litres, and the freezer holds 77 litres.
There have been very few problems to note when using this fridge-freezer, which is personally all I need from a fridge-freezer. I don't really need LCD flashing lights or low-temperature alarms, but all I ask is that it keeps my food cold, or frozen if in the freezer, and doesn't cause me problems with faulty doors causing my food to be spoiled or taking hours of my time in terms of defrosting.
We actually found that four shelves were too many for us to utilise the fridge to the best of its potential capacity, so we ended up removing one and storing it in the utility cupboard in case we ever break one of the others. With the four shelves, we couldn't store anything that had any height to it, as the gaps between the shelves were too small. The shelves are glass which I find easy to clean as they wipe clean very easily with a dampened cloth. The positioning for the shelves is sensible, so you should be able to arrange the shelves in a way which will you suit you best, rather than in the positions the manufacturer dictates. The shelf positioning is built into the door, so you can just slide the shelves in as and where you require.
The fridge has two deep salad drawers at the bottom which I usually find a waste of time because we don't eat a lot of salad in our house. The storage option doesn't go to waste, however. I was in two minds whether to admit this or not, but I can confirm they are the perfect size for cooling down your average sized can of cider or lager in a standing-up position, so if we know we're having people round for a drink we'll keep the drawers free to chill the ale. This is useful because I hate having to store cans lying down as you're never quite sure if you're going to redecorate the walls when opening them. On the rare occasion we have no alcohol in the house, we use the drawers to store random food. But never salad.
The inside of the door has some useful shelving, with a deeper shelf at the bottom for milk and larger bottles, and then a couple of shorter shelves for things like jam and condiments. Then, at the top of the fridge, is what I like to call the solution to a non-existant problem: the dairy compartment. I say this because in my experience, the dairy compartment only usually has enough slots for six eggs, and as a keen baker I tend to buy eggs in either 12's or 15's, so for me, it ends up redundant in every fridge. There is little to be gained by housing six eggs, if the other eggs have to sit in the box they came in, thus taking up the same shelf space as they were before!
The only irritating thing about the fridge is that the bottom shelf in the door where we store our milk, isn't quite big enough to hold a big bottle of fizzy pop. It isn't quite wide enough for a litre bottle of pop, but it can just about fit a four-pint bottle of milk without any issues.
The fridge gives off a good light when you open it, and I can honestly say I have never noticed any noise coming from this appliance.
The freezer has four drawers, including the top drawer which is a "Quick Freeze" one. We use this for ice cubes if we're entertaining, so that we can keep topping them up, and we also use it for anything that's started to defrost on the way home from the supermarket. It's probably a bit of a gimmick, but I like to think we're getting some use out of it!
The drawers are easy to open, with a groove in the plastic making them easy to pull out. I can usually see what's in each drawer quite easily, without having to move too many things around, but the drawers are quite deep and not very wide so this can make it difficult squeezing things in and out. For example, the last time we bought bread I managed to squeeze it into a drawer, but didn't think about the fact it would be frozen solid on the way out, so it was a bit tricky trying to yank it out of the drawer in one piece! That said, the freezer is a bit deceptive, and holds plenty of food for our needs.
I haven't needed to defrost the freezer yet as we've only had it a few months, and it's not showing any signs of needing defrosting except for a little bit of ice gathering at the very top of the freezer by the top drawer. I think this is due to the fact the door wasn't closing properly when we first had it fitted (because of the cabinet units not being aligned properly, nothing to do with the appliance), and so in normal use I would imagine this freezer would only need defrosting a couple of times a year.
Apart from a few niggles, I have had no real issues with this fridge-freezer, and I would recommend it for families as it is capable of holding a lot of food. I think the quality of the product and the reassurance of the brand make it worth paying a little extra for this appliance. Ours came with a two year warranty which gives peace of mind that we're covered if anything does go wrong with it. If you're looking for an all-singing, all-dancing fridge-freezer with Sex in the City style wine holders and flashing LCD lights, you're best looking elsewhere. If you're looking for a study model which does the trick in terms of keeping your food at the right temperature, this comes highly recommended.
(Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
Zanussi 50-50 Frost Free Integrated Fridge Freezer / Manufacturer ZanussiKey FeaturesSimple display / Easy to understand eLectronics with LCD displayTransparent freezer drawers / Always find what you are looking for with removable transparent freezer bas / Short name: Zanussi ZBB5284