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I live in a small flat with my 3 other family members who all require fridge space for their various scavanges at the late night Tesco metro. The space in the kitchen is very limited so we needed a tall fridge freezer even though it would have been my dream to have one of those gorgeous american double doored affairs...
The Zanussi is compact and mighty. Standing at 2metres tall and just over half a metre widthways and in depth, it can hold a familys worth of food.
At the time of buying from 5 years ago, it was roughly £400.
The design is simple, the doors do not have ice makers or water dispensers in them nor does it have handles, it has a finger ridge to open the doors. The fridge unit is bigger than the freezer unit antd has glass shelves which can be slid out for cleaning. The shelves are adjustible to where you want them. And you can do as you please from a choice of 9 positions. The door has fixed compartments and the door also has a covered dairy compartment at the top so they do not clash with the vegetable drawers at the bottom which are handy as they are clear glass so you can see the vegetables on display.
The freezer unit is quite disappointing in the space department as the deep freeze section is half sized compared to the other 2 larger drawers. But it is frost free which is very handy so you don't have the drawers being stuck to the back of the freezer and you do not need to chissel the ice off (I had to do this with my last freezer, felt like excavating the North pole)
The energy rating is good and efficient at energy rating A which costs under £40 a year on average to run and the freezer is very very very cold that you even get that waft of cold air on your bare feet when you open it.
For a reasonably cheap freezer it suits my families needs, we don't really pay attention to the extras that some fridge freezers have like a temperature gauge and we have never had to defrost the freezer. For a fridge that does not need maintanence, this fridge is for you!
I had purchased this fridge nearly two years ago and it is a good design with plenty of space for a family of 3. It has plenty of space in the door for any bottles of milk /drink /jars etc that you may have. The shelves are of a nice quality and the drawers are of a nice size though quite flimsy when in use both of mine have cracked when pulled out and i dont keep a lot in there. There a 3 freezer drawers and they like the fridge drawers are also flimsy and have cracked (2 of them)
Twice since i have had it it has broken down the first time the indicator light would not work the freezer was not on and neither was the fridge, i switched it off and after a day of fiddling with it it decided to work again, the second time the fridge and light were on but the freezer would not freeze so i unplugged it and it decided to work again a day later. So am saving up because it may not decide to work again the next time.
The zanussi comes at a good price but beware of the quality the door seals tend to come unstuck which opens the freezer especially, for the next fridge/freezer i get i would be prepared to spend a bit more to get better quality.
Please for your own sanity DO NOT BUY ONE OF THESE! I am on my fourth fridge in 2 years. The only good point is that Zanussi/Electrolux have swapped them all for free - but what a head ache.
1. Door liner fails after a few months meaning the door doesn't close properly
2. Holes in back not sealed properly meaning over time key components fail and temperature rises. Result is ruined food in freezer.
My theory is that these fridges are manufactured in a very poorly managed factory where quality control is not a main consideration. Apparently, according to the engineer, in Poland. For a "reputable" manufacturer the quality has been shocking. I am a regular with the local service centre whose phone operators are always less than helpful. The engineers are good though.
I am so fed up with this fridge - I desperately want a completely new model but having spend £400 two years ago I can't bring myself to change it. So, every year it will fail and Zanussi will send a new one and maybe one day I will get one that actually goes the distance... here's hoping.
I am a big fan of Nectar points, and exert supreme will power to save up all of my points for years so that I can buy something really special. On this occasion I decided to spend my points on a bigger fridge freezer to replace one that just wasn't big enough to take enough food for two constantly ravenous teenagers.
I usually spend my Nectar points directly with Argos, but on this occasion Argos did not have the model I wanted, so I used up my points to buy food, leaving me with a healthy credit card balance to spend on my fridge freezer.
~~what I was looking for~~
I needed BIG! In fact, I was restricted to a 60cm wide space - so what I needed was TALL.
I wanted a model that had an A+ rating, as my old fridge freezer was well over 5 years old and not very energy efficient.
I wanted the fridge part to be larger than the freezer part, and I wanted the fridge part on top.
I actually wanted a model with limited functionality! I did not want fancy ice makers or water dispensers, as I know that these use up more energy.
I wanted a good design - one that was easy to clean, that had handles to open the door rather than a finger ridge at the bottom (to avoid black fingermarks along the side of the door), that utilised all the shelf space and had flexibility in the internal arrangement.
Initially I was attracted by offers to take my old fridge freezer away free of charge, but I quickly realised that, as a fully working item, my old model was a very desired item on the Freecycle website, and I preferred to recycle it rather than have a company take it to the dump.
After researching the internet, I decided to buy a Zanussi 638. This has a height of 201cm, a width of 59.5 and a depth of 63.2cm. It seemed to serve all my needs very well. All silver models were sold out, so I opted for the white model. I bought my fridge freezer from Currys, which was cheaper than John Lewis at the time. I also found a discount voucher code. This took the price to £384, which included free delivery.
~~what the Zanussi has to offer~~
These days most fridge freezers seem to have an A or A+ ratings. The Zanussi 638 has an energy consumption of 374kWh/year and an average energy cost of £37.40 a year. This compared very well to the similar sized , but more expensive, Bosch A+ rated fridge freezer, which has an energy consumption of 376kWh/year and an average energy cost of £37.60. I was reassured that I would not lose money in energy consumption by selecting the A rated model.
The outside of the fridge freezer has a very simple design, with the door panels uninterrupted by gauges, ice dispensers or handles. The fridge unit is on top and measures 130cm high, the freezer is below and measures 71cm high.
It has no external door handles - instead you must open the door using the finger ridge on the underside of the frige door and the top of the freezer door. This was not what I had wanted as it allows dirt to collect as well as encouraging the user to open the door by gripping the sides, but it was only a minor disadvantage and it gives the whole unit a smoother look.
Zanussi advertise that the fridge is designed for extra capacity. It has a capacity of 285L, which is more than similar sized fridges and provides A LOT of storage space! The fridge has a flexible shelf system with three glass shelves that can be adjusted to a choice of 9 heights. I have them set so that the bottom shelf can hold an upright 2 litre bottle, the second can hold an upright pint of milk, and the third a jar of jam. As you can see, this is plently of storage space.
The door has a covered dairy compartment at the top, plus 3 shelves, one of which is a bottle shelf. These shelves are set high in the door to accommodate the two very large salad drawers. These salad drawers are larger than any that I have seen on a fridge before, and they have transparent fronts as well as a clear glass shelf above them. This is particularly useful, as it means that you can see very easily what is in the salad drawer, both from above and from the side. In the past I have had vegetables rot inside the salad drawers because nobody in the family knew they were in there. The bonus is that we eat more fruit and veg, now that it is temptingly on display!
Everything in the fridge is at a very high level, including the bottle shelf in the door. It is too high for a child to easily access - something that you may think is an advantage, but may encourage a child to climb up to get a drink. I would recommend a child lock for a fridge this high up.
I was disappointed to find that the bottle rack that appears in all of the internet photos is not a standard part of the fridge. You can order this separately if desired.
The freezer has three drawers, and a capacity of 78L. Although the freezer appeared to be the same size as my previous freezer, I was disappointed to find out that it holds less food. This is mainly because the top (fast freeze) drawer is only half sized - the drawer looks large, but it narrows towards the back of the unit to accommodate a motor unit which sits underneath the fridge. Although this is not confirmed, I suspect that this is how Zanussi have achieved extra capacity in the fridge - by losing space from the freezer. All three drawers have clear plastic fronts. This looks very good on the website, as it would appear that you can see through them to see what food is inside. In actuality they may as well be solid plastic, as the freezing process makes them opaque. No ice tray, despite promises
~~what the fridge freezer doesn't have~~
Many modern fridge freezers offer various extras. I would have found a temperature display a useful feature in this fridge so that I could check that the food was being stored at the correct temperature, but it was not on offer.
Anti bacterial protection. This fridge has no anti-bacterial coating. This did not concern me greatly, as I rarely buy or store meat in my fridge and I am not worried about cross-contamination.
An open door alert is not often found - and it is not offered on this model. An alarm to warn me if one of the family has left the door open (which often is the case) would have been a big plus for me.
Although the fridge is frost free, there is no auto defrost on the freezer. I have not had the freezer long enough to need to defrost it yet, so I cannot comment on the ease of defrosting, but I generally do not find defrosting the feezer an onerous task - in fact it is often a good opportunity to give is a sort out and a clean!
~~what I don't like~~
The 638 is slightly noisier than my old fridge - something that I did not expect. While it is not excessively noisy, I often get up if I am alone in a quiet kitchen, and look around for the source of the noise.
The only major problem so far that I have had with the fridge freezer is the door changing. Like all Zanussi fridges, the 638 advertises that the door can be hinged from right or left, and that changing the orientation is a simple task. This was not the case for me! The first part of the instructions for changing the door is to remove the two white plastic plugs (the unused screw holes for the hinge).
This is where my attempt began - and stopped. I tried to gently prise the plugs out with my fingernails, I tried to edge them out with a screwdriver, I tried to pull them out with pliers. Nothing worked. It is important not to damage the plugs, as they need to be re-inserted into the other side, to fill in the holes where the hinge screws have come out.
There were no instructions or tips for getting the plugs out - in the end I broke the head of one of the plugs, leaving the body blocking up the screw hole. I also managed to scratch the paintwork. I have now given up - the door will remain opening on the wrong side. If this is a difficult or specialist task, then it should be indicated as such in the manual and not presented as an easy DIY operation.
I am very happy with my fridge feezer. The capacity of the fridge is greatly improved and ideal for my needs. Although I am slightly disappointed with the capacity of the freezer, it is not very much less than my old one.
Although perhaps slightly under-designed for the price, I generally feel that the whole thing is good value for money. It was a middle of the range purchase, and as such I am satisfied.
Defrost / Short name: Zanussi ZRB638FW