Advantages Well made, reasonably spacious, basic & does the job, perfect for students & bakers.
Disadvantages Can be pricey in 2012, can be noisy, physically big, traditional freeze= scraper time!
|Ease of use|
|Cleaning & Maintenance|
|Value for money|
Two years ago when we had an unexpected fault appearing on our Bosch fridge/freezer, we didn’t think at the time that the fault was an issue that would take Bosch the best part of a month to get the part in! In between the time of waiting for Bosch to complete the repair free of charge since our appliance was only two years old and covered by the free extended warranty, we needed to get a replacement freezer since the fridge part could still be used and opted to borrow a friend’s old Electrolux table top freezer, which turned out to be the same model my Grandmother had for over 23 years! I was mighty impressed with the old Electrolux but we had only been given it as a short term borrow and we ended up going for a visually identical Zanussi (since they are the same company) table top freezer, not just for ourselves but also to keep as a secondary standby come Christmas when the bargain offers of frozen foods start to mount up.Initially our Zanussi ZFX305W cost £120 and as soon as it was delivered, it was clear that the old Electrolux my gran had, was pretty similar - nothing much had changed bar cosmetic badging and a grippier all in white, well made plastic grab handle! Just as Electrolux have introduced their vacuums to Zanussi and producing similarly identical vacuums with Zanussi badging, so has most of the large appliances that act as refrigeration - because traditionally, Zanussi only made dishwashers and laundry machines before they merged with Electrolux in the 1990's.
Physically, the ZFX305W mirrors the same size as a box 19” television from the 1990’s well before LCD and Plasma screens came onto market, and though it can be lifted by one person, it is quite a heavy appliance and awkwardly shaped and should only be lifted by two people. The problem with its square design is that it just sits outside a standard sized compact larder or under shelf separate fridge, so it will always look like a tabletop freezer, unless you specifically save up and buy the matching fridge that is also available for it. Similar to the Electrolux freezer we borrowed, the Zanussi ZFX305W just seems to be a carbon copy with very few cosmetic differences and it wouldn’t be entirely surprising because Electrolux own several brands such as Zanussi and AEG whilst also lending some of their appliances to John Lewis to call their own.
I was pleased initially to find that the classic white painted ZFX305W can hold a fair amount of frozen food articles and at best you’re looking at 12 to 24 packs of frozen peas to get a fair idea of what this freezer can accommodate, or if you like to work in litres, 50 litres is what the cavity interior can fill to. The main design of the Zanussi is pretty basic for you pay here – you don’t even get an ice tray – which would have been good to have as a bonus accessory but rather a thickly made, steel (but rubberised, coat protected) removable grill that halves the interior into a symmetrical design allowing for equal amounts of foods to be accommodated. There is however an unexpected surprise though, although I’d have liked to have had the option of frost free rather than put up with the old fashioned method of freezing, requiring the odd session with a steam cleaner to loosen any ice, should it start to encroach – and it will do, if you set the freezer at the highest setting “super freeze,” as opposed to normal. This function lets the Zanussi accumulate ice faster but it can take up to a couple of hours before the ice actually appears. The rotary dial is located to the right hand side of the freezer's exterior, which seems a strange place to locate it, even if it is designed as a flush controller with markings.
After we defrosted the freezer completely, I removed the screwed in feet, only to find it more difficult to open the door because it snagged on the worktop saver of another appliance it was placed on. Back on with the screws then! A way around this is to buy the rubberised matting for gripping surfaces, usually Morrisons sell the round circular pads (for loosening tight jar lids), 3 in a pack for 59p/99p and by cutting one in half, you’ll get 4 pads out of them to place under the freezer’s base pads. This does stop the freezer from moving, and the base can get warm over time, so a tea-towel is not recommended, thus reducing the risk of any fire hazard.
The Zanussi ZFX305W (“W” for “White colour”) is a pretty inoffensive appliance with very few downsides. In general use, the freezer does a great job at being able to freeze foods and the centre grill is great to balance Pyrex or even storage good boxes of food prep, able to take quite a weight of boxes infact when it came to freezing several batches of home made soup or ice cream! The immediate downside to the Zanussi, despite being able to reverse the opening of the door to your desired need, is that the door needs a hefty pull to actually open it and you may find then that the freezer will move slightly. This is not because the motor at the back takes up a lot of space and is located at the bottom of the rear of the freezer. It all comes down to the 4 hard points of the plastic feet that have been wired into the base of the freezer.
Firstly, the removable shelf can only be placed or locked in one position. It would have been handy here to have the option so that ice trays could effectively be left at the top without worry of being moved, or have the option to stack bottles of water for a quick freeze, horizontally. It is possible to store a 2 litre water bottle in this fridge, so it's handy if you store your home made soups in this way rather than standard freezer boxes.Secondly, there is no freezing food guide equipped with the model - our old Electrolux displays it and there is just a white space of plastic that can be clearly seen in the door when you open it. Zanussi have since sent us a transfer sticker sheet where you'll find all the guide line information necessary but it should have been put here already!
Sadly for the Zanussi, although for most of the time, it can be generally quiet, whenever the “Super Fast” freeze selection is dialled in, the motor can be overly noisy. This happens intermittently when the motor kicks in and out. Zanussi go to great pains to point out that this appliance is “A rated” for energy and efficiency, but in reality the motor uses a lot of water just to freeze and the energy it uses isn’t quite as economical as I’d like.Lastly, because of the conventional freezing design that this freezer uses, it will need to be defrosted yearly to avoid the door freezing up completely and then not being able to open. This is the worst aspect of the Zanussi ZFX305W, because even if you use the full cavity to the best of its cavernous size, the freezer can frost up so quickly that the rubber seal around the door makes removing the frost build up, difficult. There are guide water channel lines around the seals of the door whereupon, when the freezer is left switched off for a good couple of hours, all the melted water will flood into the channels and flow out the central spout whereupon you will need to place a box or bucket under the freezer to avoid flooding. The spout is just a piece of plastic that has been engineered into the channel, it can’t be pushed upwards to stop the flow and it’s rather small and inclined to get clogged if you have allowed foods like frozen peas to escape and other food particles. Rather than follow what the user manual says, I generally find that it can take up to a day before all the frost melts away. It is far easier to just use a steam cleaner as this will fire off the water and blast it, allowing the ice to drop off to the sides and easier to shovel out the excess into a sink. To avoid frostbite, either remove the ice with a tea-towel or a pair of oven gloves.
In the two years we’ve had the Zanussi, the ZFX305W has been utterly reliable, even during short time power cuts where the fear of the machine going into automatic defrost didn’t seem to affect it very much – compared to our more expensive larger "premium brand" Bosch fridge/freezer, nothing has yet to go wrong! More importantly the Zanussi is very easy to maintain and despite its downsides on space and defrosting issues, it is very much a necessity for those who batch bake and freeze foods, even if your usual fridge/freezer isn’t inclined to break down, the Zanussi’s simplicity is worthy of considering for those frozen food offers. It is true that for the same price you could buy a standard under counter freezer on it's own, but this model in particular is far more compact, takes up less space and ultimately seems to recoup it's cost price when students are looking for such an appliance - plus if you stack it up high it's far easier to access and to clean out! Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2012
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