Due to the unique way in which the kitchen in our house has been designed, we are very limited as to what we can buy with regards to a fridge or freezer. The inbuilt kitchen has only enough room for an integrated fridge/freezer unit, and further to that, the only one that I have come across thus far that will fit is the ZT 46/30SS from Zanussi.
Now I am not too disappointed by this as Zanussi are a trusted brand with a pretty good reputation, and I have now had this fridge/freezer unit for 6 years with no issues. It is still stocked by some electrical stores and I've also noticed several Internet sites also still advertising it, costing in the region of £200, which isn't too bad for an older model. It is also very easy to buy spare parts quite cheaply such as new shelves online too, which is an extra bonus.
As I said, the dimensions of this unit are a little strange, being 89.5cm wide by 85cm high by 60cm deep. The unit is split roughly equally into the fridge on the right and the freezer on the left, making each part a reasonable size for a smaller household. For the techies amongst you, the capacity of the fridge is given as 128 litres, and that of the freezer 52 litres. It was initially designed before the energy efficiency ratings became commonplace on such appliances, but would now fit into category C, making it reasonably efficient but poor compared to some of the others out there on the market today.
The design of the unit is pretty plain to be honest, being just standard white all over, with a groove on top of each section to open the door. The fridge part then has several shelves, which you can position as you fancy, as well as a salad/vegetable storage area at the bottom, and a bottle holding fixing attached to the door itself. The freezer has three equally sized shelves, which although not massive, do store a fair bit of food, and they are easy to open and close.
The fridge has the traditional dial inside for setting the temperature, and although this will vary depending on where you position the unit, I have found that setting 3 will keep things suitably cold without risking any frosting up going on at the back of it. There is also a small light in the fridge, which provides a good amount of light without emitting too much heat, so you don't have to be too careful with what you store next to it. (Obvious you might think, but I've had a fridge in the past where everything stored next to the light went bad very quickly!)
The same thermostat dial as the fridge also controls the freezer unit, meaning that one setting will do both parts of the appliance. Again I have found that setting 3 ensures everything is thoroughly frozen, but doesn't result in excess ice forming, and so defrosting is only required periodically, about once a year along with a good deep clean, just to tidy it up really and take stock of what has accumulated over the months! I will point out that unlike more upmarket or modern fridge/freezer units, there is no quick freeze button on the unit, however I have found that the unit quickly returns to temperature after being off on its own, without changing from setting 3 on the dial, so I've not found that the lack of this feature has been too much of an annoyance to be honest.
One thing I am very impressed with is the noise level of this unit. It isn't something that makes an obvious hum or buzzing noise, and even when very close to the unit I still don't really hear anything. Occasionally you catch a sound wave or two from the compressor when it fires up, but these are few and far between and do not cause any annoyance. From this point of view, this fridge/freezer is up there amongst the best that I have come across.
The instruction booklet provided with the fridge/freezer is also a very decent document and being just in English means it isn't like reading through a copy of "War and Peace". The installation instructions are very straightforward in a step-by-step form, as well as several handy hints and tips for getting the best out of the appliance. Everything is explained in clear English, with the usage of bullet points and also diagrams where appropriate. Again this is one of the clearest laid out instruction booklets I have ever seen with a kitchen appliance which is a nice little extra touch by Zanussi.
Along with the unit itself, you are provided with a couple of handy extras along with your purchase. These include a small ice cube tray, a frost scraping device and a device which inserts into the back of the fridge/freezer to drain the water discharge tray easily and without too much faffing around. Not much on their own I grant you, but in a package with the appliance itself is another nice touch really.
So to sum up the ZT 46/30SS from Zanussi I would say that it is a decent little fridge/freezer appliance, especially suited to a smaller household. It obviously doesn't have the same storage capacity as having a separate unit, so for larger families I wouldn't recommend it on those grounds. It is also a very strange shape for a unit, which will also rule it out for a good many homes. However once these issues have been discounted, I would go on to say that it is a good appliance which has given us no reliability issues over the years, apart from the bottle holder on the door falling off, although that is more than likely down to abuse from its owner rather than any issue with the door itself! It goes about its business quietly, and relatively frost free, and I've never had an issue with temperature fluctuations or food going off in mysterious circumstances. All in all it is a good if not fantastic fridge/freezer and if the dimensions do suit your household I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to anyone.
Thanks for reading this review and it may also appear on Ciao under my same username.
Short name: Zanussi ZT46/30SS