I initially chose this model because I needed one which would fit into a rather undersized space, which would not dwarf my compact kitchen and, because of a whim, I wanted a silver model (although it also comes in white). At 625mm wide x 1860mm high x 550 depth, it could just be manoeuvred in to fit the gap. The height was more than I wished for but I compromised as I needed maximum storage space. I was replacing a model where the freezer was so small it could hardly accommodate two packs of petit pois and the fridge so large it invariably looked empty even when comparatively well stocked! Therefore I looked for equal capacity of fridge and freezer. The 60/40 fridge to freezer split of this appliance seemed to be about as good as it gets, giving it another plus point.
Size might not matter to everybody but my second criteria might be more relevant. It had to be frost free as I was fed up with struggling and rushing to hammer out icebergs before the contents defrosted. This model is frost free with automatic defrost. I thought these were the same thing but maybe somebody will enlighten me on this?
The third factor on the must have list was dictated as essential by my environmentally educated offspring. They approved the A Energy Rating (not B as stated in the product description) and the Energy Efficient Approval stamp. I am not really sure what any of this means but it made me feel green in a nice way and apparently it should save me a few pence whilst helping to save the earth
However what clinched the deal was the price. When I purchased it, in August 2006 from Boots Electrical at £285 (and I must give due praise to Boots for their faultless, efficient and friendly service), it seemed the best value around. Inflation has taken its toll since then and my researches can no longer find it at such a bargain basement price but there are still good offers around which make it very competitive.
If looks matter, this may not be the item for you as it is quite a plain design but I find it attractive in a standard sort of way! Whats inside is more important and that is adequate and well designed storage. I live alone but my family extends quite regularly and I have never felt short of refrigeration space even over the long Christmas holiday when I catered for five for a week with only a minimum of refills of short life products.
The fridge, with a 5.8 cubic feet capacity, is situated at the top and has very well designed storage with two full depth shelves and two half depth which can be used separately or together to form a full depth. I have never used the latter separately but I am sure they might be handy e.g. when storing tall items which do not take up the full depth. There are seven different shelf positions for maximum flexibility although one shelf really has to remain fixed to top the two large crisper drawers at the base. These are a delight as they are large and deep enough to take enough salad items to satisfy the most dedicated dieter for a week or longer!
Along the top of the door interior there is a full width, clear covered box with a hinged lid described as a dairy compartment (not so welcome for dieters). I just use it for cheese and it will take several large portions of cheddar. It positioned a little high for me, at a pretty average 5ft6ins, to see the contents clearly and I would prefer to see it lower but its a minor criticism. Underneath this are two (bottle/jar) racks. The lowest of these takes 5 x 1 litre smoothietype containers comfortably. The upper container has three alternative positions. In the middle and lower positions, this easily accommodates standard height sauce/salad dressing bottles.
The freezer has a respectable 3.2 cubic feet capacity with three full depth drawers and one smaller drawer at the base, (which is just the right size for ice cream tubs). All have clear fronts backed with wire baskets. They are quite sturdy and, in 8 months daily use, I have not yet managed to damage one! (These drawers have been more fortunate than their predecessors where the plastic split after a few months). I am a heavy user of frozen food but I have never yet had to manhandle packets, squashing them unmercifully in order to close the drawers, as with past freezers
I am more than satisfied with the storage capacity of both the fridge and freezer. I am one who hates food shopping. I go for the BIG one once in a blue moon (when I cant avoid it any longer) and return nutritionally prepared for a long siege should one occur. However, I have never yet had to resort to cooler bags in the garden to take the excess, even after such marathon shopping sprees!
I should mention a few more points which did not interest me in the least but may be relevant to some. The model comes with standard ice tray and egg rack , power safe storage of 12 hours. There is also antibacterial protection and a reversible door although it is delivered opening to the right and, as this suited me, I cannot judge how easy the reversal process would be.
There are a few negatives in my assessment. Firstly although it seems to have an average noise rating (44), I do find it noisy at times. The motor itself is quiet enough but the weird gurgles, grunts and crunches which emanate from time to time can be alarming. Indeed, when witnessed in the witching hours, they could well have you seeking the nearest spiritualist medium or exorcist! However, having read the instructions, it appears this is normal and all part of the frost free system. I love this labour saving attribute so its worth enduring the occasional night time terror!
Another, very minor, criticism is that, after a short time of the fridge door being open the light will self extinguish! I am sure this is an energy saving feature but it does sometimes leave you in the dark when scrabbling around for the remains of that chocolate bar you hid in the deepest recesses.
My last negative relates to the controls which seemed rather complicated when I first grappled with the manual. There are only two of these. One on the top front of the appliance controls temperature and the other, inside the fridge, is called a cool flow control. I wont attempt to ( cant!) explain the mechanics of the relationship between the two. Suffice it to say that I just leave both midway between minimum and maximum. This may not be using the system to full advantage but seems to keep things ticking over nicely. I cant get used to the lack of a fast freeze button and a temperature warning light would have been a useful addition . However the lack of these has not yet resulted in any problems.
Overall I am delighted with my purchase which I still feel offers great value for money. It performs much more efficiently than all the previous models I have owned and, so far, it has proved to be low maintenance in every respect. Lets hope it continues to do so after its one year warranty expires!
Defrost / Short name: Zanussi ZENB2925