Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer Review

Never defrost again with a fridge freezer that's made for life.

from AO
RRP  £409.00
Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

The best fridge freezers are quiet, frost-free and energy-efficient. The Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer is all of these things with an equally spacious fridge and freezer. It's a freestanding appliance with a fridge over freezer arrangement. The USP of this appliance is the Frost Free technology. In a no-frost appliance, there is a blower fan that constantly and evenly disperses cold air from several points in the fridge and freezer cavities. The air cools all food and shelving equally, preventing humidity which is the cause of ice building up.

A Modern Kitchen writer Natalie Knowles invites friends around for dinner and puts this fridge freezer through its paces. And doesn't quite attain her Stacey Solomon fridge organisation goals...

Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer Overview

Best mid-range frost free 50/50 fridge freezer

Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 5050 Frost Free Fridge Freezer
Price: £365 (was £409)


  • Large capacity
  • See-through freezer drawers
  • Eye-level fridge


  • Initial icy droplet build-up on freezer drawers that did not happen again after fast freeze button was switched off

Key Features

The Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 Fridge Freezer holds 13 bags of food shopping, so it's ideal for families. In terms of required room temperature or climate class, it's an N (normal). This means it's designed to operate in an ambient temperature range of 16°C–32°C.

Frost Free Technology: cool air constantly circulates in the fridge and freezer compartment to prevent moisture, therefore, ice building up.

Fast Freeze button is a cold boost to lower the temperature, to rapidly freeze items.

Anti Bacterial Protection on door seals prevents germs building up.

Testing the Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer

This appliance got a lot of use over the course of a month. Friends came to stay, there was a birthday party and housewarming. Happily, the Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer has ample capacity for extra food.

Primarily, I was testing the frost-free feature. I've spent many mornings on my hands and knees with Marigolds on, wringing out towels, defrosting my previous freezer. It's as tedious as waiting for an Xbox update to fully download. Keeping my ice cream stash from going melty in a basin of cold water is a risky business. I have sacrificed boxes of fish fingers all for the sake of defrosting the blimmin' freezer. If it's a chore that I can eliminate then that's cool by me.

The only ice I want is the type I put in my drink.

Indesit's slogan is 'Life proof'. Believe me, this appliance got put through several everyday life challenges. This included getting extra food in when guests came to stay. Also, my electricity got cut off during the sizzling heat of our very brief-but-baking UK summer.

Using a thermometer, I checked that all compartments were operating at the correct temperature for the UK's climate class.

Finally, I'm concerned with the cost of living and sustainability. I'll work out how much this fridge freezer costs to run. Also, what the sustainable plus points and minuses were about this appliance, its paperwork, and packaging.

©Natalie Knowles


I'm still getting used to having a prepayment electricity meter. As of 1 July 2023, the cost of electricity is now in line with direct debit rates. It's good to know I'll get more frittata for my dollar moving forward. My day rate is 39p/kWh, and the night rate is 14p. Let's not even go there with the daily standing charge... In order to work out how much the Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer costs to run, I'm going to use the figure that was set by the government in the Energy Price Guarantee. This is 34p/kWh.

The annual energy consumption of this appliance is 254 kWh. Multiply this by the current unit cost of electricity (1kWh = 34p). The sum is 254 multiplied by 0.34, which makes the annual energy cost £86.36. Divide this by 365, and it's about 24p a day to run. Given its F energy rating, it's a pretty economical fridge freezer in the grand scheme of things.

A freeze is coming...

There were mysterious ice droplets building up on the freezer drawers. This happened within a day of switching the appliance on when it was still empty. I wondered if the freezer was faulty. After all, the USP of this appliance is that it's frost-free.

Ice droplet build up in the freezer
©Natalie Knowles

Luckily, I had the mother of all eureka moments. Some friends had come to visit, and I showed them the freezer. We just couldn't figure out what was causing this build-up. One of my friends recommended getting a thermometer to check if the appliance was faulty. Then, I distinctly remember him turning the thermostat down and seeing a switch. "Hmm, wonder what that does?" and he flicked the switch next to the thermostat off. I wiped the freezer drawers and never had the ice build up again.

When I read the user manual, I realised the build-up was caused by the fast freeze switch. This is the button my friend switched off, completely oblivious that he'd solved the issue. If I hadn't read the manual, I wouldn't have had the foggiest clue about the fast freeze switch. This switch is meant to be used for 24 hours to ensure the freezer reaches its maximum freezing capacity. After 24 hours, switch it off.

I did buy a fridge freezer thermometer to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the appliance. The fridge section should be 4–5°C, and the freezer should be -18°C. This appliance was spot on.

©Natalie Knowles

A benefit of a frost-free freezer is that I can see what's in the drawers. The top compartment has a glass shelf so I can see into the drawer below. Handy for spotting rogue packets of waffles.

Inside the Indesit frost free freezer
©Natalie Knowles

Power cut!

I was extremely glad for the 13-hour power failure safe storage feature. I'm still getting used to having a prepayment meter and I came home one night to find I had no electricity. It first dawned on me when I opened the fridge door, and there was no internal light. A quick glance at my router confirmed that I'd run out of power. I had to wait until morning to hot-foot it to the nearest post office to top up my meter. I guess the silver lining in all this was an opportunity to truly test whether my fish fingers stay frozen. I had a fridge and freezer full of food, and this happened in summertime. I can cheerfully report that when I topped up and came home the next day, all my food was preserved. This is not a feature that I want to test again, but I was very glad the seals on the doors are quality and the compartments well-insulated.


Though slim, fitting into the niche that's intended for a cooker, this appliance has lots of capacity. The fridge capacity is 152 litres, and the freezer holds 93 litres. I could stack plastic containers in the fridge and keep cheese separate from the raw chicken that I was defrosting. Over the course of the month, I got organised and bought a nest of colour-coordinated containers. The containers are handy for prepared salad and washed fruit that I can grab in a hurry. The largest containers are 20cm square and 15cm high and fit perfectly side-by-side. The door shelves are spacious and can hold a lot of weight; I had pickling jars alongside juice. My wide bottle of lemon water fit the drinks shelf; it was convenient to reach for as a go-to chilled drink.

An organised Indesit 50/50 fridge freezer
©Natalie Knowles

I'm 173cm tall, and I consider this an eye-level fridge. However, I'm aware that the top shelf could be difficult for some people to access items, especially at the back. As an experiment, I positioned the egg rack at the back of the top shelf, which is 30cm deep. For me, it's no problem to access, although the shelf rubbed on my forearm. An alternative is to have a half shelf at the top of the fridge to make it easier to access. But this isn't possible with this appliance. Additionally, it's worth noting that the thermostat knob is positioned at the top centre of the fridge. It may be difficult to reach for some.

Odour control

I bought a lot of garlic bulbs that I eventually pickled in vinegar. The FreshSpace+ drawer contained the odour of garlic very well. In fact, it was a surprise to me when I opened the drawer and smelt garlic. The FreshSpace+ drawer is easy to remove and clean in order to keep it hygienic. I empty it once a week, anti-bac and wipe. The drawer simply slots in, just be mindful to fully open the fridge door.

I keep smelly foods like cheese, tuna mayo and eggs in sealed containers so the fridge cavity stays fresh.

Thermostat control

By turning the thermostat knob at the top of the fridge, it controls both the cooling and freezing compartments. You can set it to a value between one and five. By turning the knob, it increases the cooling effect. Save money in winter by operating the appliance on a lower value. Between three and four is considered normal usage. Before adjusting the thermostat consider how often the doors are opened, how much food is stored in the appliance, and the ambient temperature the fridge freezer is in.

I found it to be a very effective chiller for preserving fruit and vegetables. In fact, I actually turned the thermostat down to two as I thought it was adequate for chilling (and I'm all for saving electricity). It's recommended that you set your fridge between three and four in summer and between one and two in winter.

The user manual gives comprehensive guidance on how to best store different types of food in the fridge and freezer. This covered every conceivable protein source you could think of – from snails to wild boar.

Capacity of the Indesit 50/50 fridge freezer
©Natalie Knowles

I love having a freezer with a lot of capacity. It was especially useful for freezing my Dad's glut of gooseberries and runner beans. I'm still psyching myself up to make a crumble. I bought an ice lolly maker, ice blocks and an extra ice cube tray. I was delighted that I had the extra space for them. The ice blocks are super useful for packed lunches and picnics.

The freezer really is frost-free, and there's no odour. I love being able to see what food I've got. It means I'll be more likely to use up the remaining oven chips before buying more. On the freezer door, there is a star rating. This freezer is three star (***). This means it's -18°C, and frozen food can be stored for three months.

The capacity of the Indesit frost free freezer
©Natalie Knowles

Just a plea to future freezer designers: Can they have internal lights so I can find the ice cream when I'm having a midnight feast?


Having a read up on this appliance I learnt that it's manufactured with recyclable and reusable parts. Your local authority will be able to advise on collection, treatment, recovery and recycling.

It arrived in polystyrene and plastic that the delivery men removed. I read in the user manual that the packaging is 100 per cent recyclable. They manoeuvred the appliance into a cavity that's intended for a cooker. It measures 59.5cm in width. Just to say, first I was amazed and delighted that this slim appliance fitted in this snug space. Second, it had enough room around it to allow for ventilation. This is an important safety point. If the appliance gets too hot – being positioned in the sun, for example – it will have to work harder to stay cool. It's the same if the door is opened too much, or left open, the fridge freezer has to use more electricity. You may even hear the compressor having to work harder.

Arrival of the fridge freezer
©Natalie Knowles

It arrived as a right-opening door and that's fine by me as I have the sink area to the left. It looks like it's easy to change it to be a left-opening door. There are plastic screw caps over the holes where the screws would go on the left-hand side. The instruction booklets were contained in the FreshSpace+ drawer.

A note on changing the direction of the door. It's possible to change the hanging of the door if it has a recessed handle, like this particular model. Some appliances have a protruding handle which would need to be altered by a professional.

On first inspection, the drawers and shelves are held in place with blue tape. There was a slight 'new fridge' smell. My first job was to remove the blue tape and thoroughly wash the shelves and drawers in warm soapy water. I dried these with a tea towel and kitchen paper before reinstalling and switching the appliance on.

Changing the door position on the fridge freezer
©Natalie Knowles

In the fridge, there are four main shelves and a vegetable drawer. So there are five spaces for food storage. In addition, the door has three drawer shelves. The bottom shelf is called a bottle shelf and is more substantial than the other two.

The LED light and power setting is in the top middle of the fridge. On delivery, the thermostat was set to three. Also – importantly – the fast freezing button was switched on (I just didn't know it).

All the sections are easy to remove, you just have to hold the door back. All the drawers and shelves are removable safety glass. It all fits securely. All-in-all I'm impressed with the layout, quality and especially the capacity for a slimmer fridge.

In the freezer, there are three drawers, referred to as the upper basket, middle basket and bottom basket. The top compartment has a freezer flap.

Instruction bookets and fridge freezer on arrival
©Natalie Knowles

The instruction booklet advises you to wait three hours before switching the appliance on to prevent damage to the compressor. It also states that moving this fridge freezer is strictly a two-person job. When switched on, I had to wait 24 hours to allow the fridge freezer to be completely cooled and ready for food.

In the wodge of booklets that came with the appliance, there is clear customer support via a contact phone number. I was really impressed to discover the phone lines are open seven days a week, 364 days a year. The weekday hours are 8am–6pm, which is a boon if you're working a 9–5. Online there's a live chat service at There are troubleshooting FAQs too, and you can download the manual for your appliance by inputting the model number. Also, the Indesit Customer Service UK YouTube channel is a good resource for tips. And you can reach out to Indesit via socials.

By registering the appliance, there's a 10-year guarantee on all parts.

The defrosting guidance in the manual explains how this appliance differs from previous models. It doesn't need defrosting in the traditional way. When it's switched off, any water that may be formed goes to a water collection spout. This leads to a vaporisation container below the condenser and it evaporates. This vaporisation container is as the back of the appliance and can be unscrewed for cleaning. Occasional cleaning in soapy water prevents odour.

Final Verdict: Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer

It's a great fridge freezer that runs quietly and is spacious. In the fridge my Sodastream bottle will happily sit alongside wide coffee jars that are full of homemade pickles. It's ideal for filling to the brim with batch cooking to eat healthily and cheaply. It's easy to fit in an extra pint of milk for friends without having to rejig the shelves.

The frost-free feature is the USP. Once the fast freeze button was off, the fridge and freezer settled into the normal temperatures expected for each compartment. Personally, I would like information about this feature to be more prominent in the user manual.

The RRP of the Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer is £409. If you're looking for an appliance with more capacity, opt for the BOSCH Series 2 KGN34NWEAG 50/50 Fridge Freezer (£599). Or, if you're looking for something smaller, the Candy CCT3L517FBK 50/50 Fridge Freezer is a good alternative (RRP £349).

The reasons why it's not 5/5? I wished I'd known about the fast freeze button to avoid bemusement as the freezer formed ice droplets. It was sheer fluke that my friend turned it off. Or remiss of me not to read the user manual upon delivery. However, how many of us do?

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Products to consider

Best Overall 50/50 Fridge Freezer

An ideal family-sized fridge, the BOSCH Series 2 KGN34NWEAG 50/50 Fridge Freezer can be placed snuggly next to walls, which is a great plus point if you have a small kitchen or hallway. As you'd expect from Bosch, it has a powerful and effective freezing system as well as a Multi Airflow that evenly circulates air around the fridge. LED lights the interior so you can see every inch of the fridge, and it uses less electricity than conventional fridge lights. FreshSense sensors constantly monitor the climate of your fridge and freezer so that food stays just right; ice cream, for example, will be neither too hard nor too soft. It's frost-free free too, so you'll never have to defrost again. This Bosch is a superb and energy-efficient appliance. Yes, it comes at a higher price, but it is a quality fridge freezer.

Customer review: "The thing we love most is the amount of space it has. The drawers in the freezer are really deep so we can get plenty of food in there. The shelves in the fridge are great too. Everything fits perfectly. We can fit an entire week’s shopping for a family of four in and still have space left."


  • NoFrost technology
  • Preserves food at its best
  • Energy efficient


  • None

Best Budget 50/50 Fridge Freezer

Candy CCT3L517FBK 50/50 Fridge Freezer
Price: £349

At just 33dB, this Candy CCT3L517FBK 50/50 Fridge Freezer is whisper-quiet. It features a fresh zone that is the ideal environment for storing meat and fish. Additionally, this compact fridge freezer has a multi-air flow system and super cooling in the freezer. It can hold the equivalent of 14 bags of grocery shopping, making it a great option for a small household. A great plus-point is the freezer has five drawers, and the fridge has a large salad crisper. This Candy model does need to be manually defrosted, and while it doesn't go large on the bells and whistles, it is a very reasonable price.

Customer review: "The fridge, well, it’s so spacious. The chiller drawer at the bottom is huge, plenty of space for all my vegetables and again, you can see exactly what’s in there. Plenty of space on the shelves as well and good in-door storage. The only tricky thing is you can’t put anything on the front of the bottom shelf if you have the bottle sections in the door, but this isn’t too much of a problem. For the price, it’s great and highly recommended."


  • Value for money
  • A great number of drawers and shelves
  • Good airflow


  • Manual defrost

FAQs: Indesit IBNF55181WUK1 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer

How do I organise my fridge?

When it comes to fridge organisation you may have Stacey Solomon goals. Colour-coded and labelled containers are very grammable. It's also practical, as a little bit of food prep can save a lot of faff at meal times.

But first, it's important to know where food and drink should be positioned in a fridge. This will preserve it for the longest possible time. Also, knowing where things should go prevents cross-contamination between raw meat and cooked foods.

In a fridge, there is a variable temperature distribution. The upper shelf and door rack are slightly warmer. Use for canned drinks, eggs, sauces, jam, pickles, and butter. The middle shelf is a cool zone for cheese, milk, yoghurt, and deli food. The lowest shelf is the coldest zone. It's for sealed meat and fish, and chilled food in general, such as cheesecake, ready meals, puddings, and cold cuts. The drawer at the bottom is for vegetables and fruits. It's important to keep salad and veg in this crisper drawer because the humidity is lower in there. Greens will stay fresher for longer. If you have an additional chiller drawer, this is solely for raw meat and fish. Always store cooked meat on a higher shelf, away from fresh meat.

What does the star rating on freezer drawers mean?

The star rating of freezer compartments looks like *** and ****. You'll see it on ready-meal packaging too. It indicates how long an item can be stored in the freezer. A four star (****) compartment is below -18°C. In addition to storing frozen food this zone can freeze down foods from ambient temperature. A three star (***) compartment is -18°C, in which frozen food can be stored for three months. As a guide, ice cream, cheese, shellfish, cooked meat, milk, and frozen liquid can be kept for 1–3 months. Beef, lamb and pork, in the form of steak or chops, for example, can be kept for four months. Poultry and butter can be kept frozen for six months. Fruit (except citrus), roast meat and vegetables can be kept frozen for 8–12 months.

A two star frozen food compartment is -12°C. It can be used for storing pre-frozen foods and making ice cubes. A one star compartment (-6°C) can make ice cubes too. It keeps pre-frozen food for up to 20 days.

What is Climate Class and how does it apply to my fridge?

Climate class is a standard used to classify refrigerators based on the ambient temperature range they're designed to operate in. Common classes include SN (Subnormal), N (Normal), ST (Subtropical), and T (Tropical). Choosing the appropriate climate class ensures optimal fridge performance and efficiency in specific environmental conditions.

Tropical: 16°C–43°C

Subtropical: 16°C–38°C

Normal: 16°C–32°C

Subnormal: 10°C–32°C

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in kitchen appliances. When she's not testing coffee machines, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.

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