With capabilities such as quick-ice, which promises two-trays of cubes for emergency G&T’s in just 30 minutes, and front-mounted electronic controls, it includes some handy features.
However, the lack of decent-sized door pockets for big milk cartons and the so-so A+ energy efficiency means the BSNF 8451 OX isn't the hero of Whirlpool’s 6th Sense lineup.
The BSNF 8451 OX is a great-looking fridge freezer, resplendent in Whirlpool’s truly luxurious brushed stainless-steel finish. The front electronic controls surrounding the in-door water dispenser are tastefully finished and the dispenser itself is business-like and robust. The raised Whirlpool badge adds a final flourish to this classy-looking appliance.
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At just 189cm tall, this model comes in a smidge shorter than the BSNF 9152 OX we tested last month. The family design is clear, including the fairly fingerprint-resistant finish but also the rather plasticky feeling handles.
Likewise, the doors have been designed to allow for all the drawers and shelves to be pulled out, even if the doors are open less than 90 degrees. For those who need to place their fridge freezer in a tight corner, this could be an ideal solution.
The controls continue Whirlpool’s rather unique theme, offering overall fridge and freezer temperature levels. This model does at least offer five pre-set temperatures for the fridge compartment, although the freezer temperature simply remains relative to the fridge.
However, you can deploy the freezer’s fast-freeze function or quick-ice mode to drop the temperature further, perhaps when you're freezing down a bulk of room-temperature foodstuffs.
The inside of the BSNF 8451 OX’s fridge compartment looks capacious. There are three usable glass shelves with limited height adjustments, a chrome-wire bottle rack and two pull-out drawers. Much of the door is given over to the large water container and an inset for the dispenser. Sadly, the door really doesn’t offer much in the way of storage at all.
The fridge compartment is lit by a bright white LED light that's placed well forward and does a fine job of lighting up the fridge from top to bottom. This is a considerable improvement on the larger model’s side-mounted LED lighting.
The rear of the fridge compartment has the Supreme No Frost fan outlet at the top, with its removable antibacterial air-filter panel. There are fan outlets down the back panel, too, and Whirlpool’s Fresh Control Sensor sits just above the storage drawers.
The freezer compartment is has three pull-out drawers and a neat divider in the middle drawer. In the top drawer there are two pull-out trays for Whirlpool’s quick-ice feature. There’s still no freezer lighting, though.
The refrigerator compartment offers a generous 218 litres of chilling space, spread over three shelves, two very large storage drawers, and a couple of door pockets. However, the front door-mounted water dispenser takes up much of the space on the door. Its large container eliminates one shelf, and the back of the dispenser itself protrudes fairly deeply into the compartment.
This dramatically reduces door storage space, and an extremely large lower salad drawer means there's no lower door pocket at all. The end result is that you have only two door pockets, neither of which are tall enough to handle a 2-litre bottle of milk.
After some experimentation, the only way to store milk bottles upright would be to lose both the wine rack and one of the glass shelves. While I suggested this could be a slight issue for most UK households, Jackie was rather less tolerant of the design. She called this setup an "epic fail", and henceforth referred to this model as "the lactose-intolerant fridge".
The upper of the two fridge drawers promises near-zero temperatures for best storage of meats and fish, while the lower one is a truly cavernous salad drawer. This comes with a number of plastic containers that can be used in the drawer or within the fridge itself, so you can keep your fresh food filing neat and tidy.
The freezer section’s 94 litres is divided over three drawers, with the top one somewhat smaller and truncated by the airflow cooling behind. The space in this drawer is further limited by the "quick-ice" ice-cube trays, although these can be removed if required.
This year, Whirlpool is clearly on a mission to make your kitchen a quieter place. Not only is the company’s FSCR 10432 washing machine the quietest we've ever tested by far, but the BSNF8451OX measured a respectably whisper-quiet 39dB. That's exceptionally quiet, virtually inaudible in all but a totally silent kitchen – albeit a couple of decibels higher than the very best we've tested.
Whirlpool claims 42dB noise output for this appliance, but our measurements averaged 2-3dB less than this across the five days of the main test. Moreover, the machine has a very long compressor cycle time, running for about 1.5 hours before switching off for two or three more, depending on the ambient temperature of your room. That means for two or three hours at a time, it will make no noise at all. A very good result all round.
We loaded the BSNF 8451 OX’s fridge with 0.5kg of mixed fresh food per 10 litres of fridge capacity and the freezer at 1kg per 10 litres of space, including 2 litres of room temperature water.
We set the fridge to 4oC and let the freezer sort itself out, based on the fridge temperature and the 6th Sense technology. We measure the temperature every minute on every shelf for a week’s worth of use, opening the door six times per day to simulate average use – although not for getting your milk out in this case, obviously.
In test results, the BSNF 8451 OX proved slightly warmer than the controls would have you believe.
In our first test, the average temperature of the BSNF 8415 OX’s fridge was 6oC – about 2 degrees higher than we'd have liked. So we ran the test again, this time setting the fridge controls to 2oC. As anticipated, the fridge’s average temperature was showing as 4oC, so we continued the test in that setting.
This model produced some very consistent fridge test results, with a fairly narrow spread of temperatures from top to bottom. The top shelf averaged 5oC, the lowest shelf 4oC, and both drawers exactly 3oC. In an ideal world, however, we'd have liked to have seen the upper meat and fish drawer a degree or two colder than this.
Due ostensibly to the very long compressor cycle temperature stability was good, if not exceptional, throughout the fridge. The main compartment bounced 2oC either side of the recorded average temperatures, while both drawers gave a variation of plus or minus 1.5oC. The air temperature never dipped below freezing or above 7oC – so all good there too.
Unfortunately, setting the fridge to 2oC had a rather chilly effect on the freezer compartment. While it chilled our fresh food sample to -18oC in a very swift 12 hours, it carried on cooling until the food stabilised at -21oC. The air temperature in the top drawer did average -18oC, although bounced 5 degrees either side of this during a complete compressor cycle. The lower two drawers settled to an average of -20oC, with just +/- 3 degrees of variation.
As we’ve said before, while the lower temperatures in the freezer will not adversely affect your frozen food, keeping the compartment at this temperature will use a little more energy than is strictly necessary.
The rather low temperature did make for impressive fail-test results, however. Our frozen food sample rose just 7 degrees to reach -14oC after three hours without power. Only the very top shelf struggled a little with the power outage, rising to -8oC during the power failure; it spiked to above zero briefly, too, when the power returned.
With the low starting temperature and slow thawing rate, you can be sure that your food would be safe in the event of a power cut for well over 12 hours.
If you're wondering why the BSNF 8451 OX receives only an A+ rating against its near-identical bigger brother's A++, it’s all down to the water dispenser. Well, mostly.
The water dispenser takes up valuable storage space – so the energy per litre of usable space ratio declines – and in-door dispensers are difficult to insulate. They require tubes going to the outside, plus the dispenser itself has less insulation than the door, or the rear of the dispenser would stick out even further into the fridge.
In our test, the BSNF 8451 OX used almost 5kWh for the week of our testing, in a constant 19oC ambient room temperature. That would equate to around 260kWh for the year.
With total cooling space down to just over 300 litres, and the Energy Label claiming 307kWh for the year (measured in Europe’s higher average room temperatures), that nudges this model’s rated efficiency down to A+. Its larger sibling, with almost identical compressor but higher volume of space and no water dispenser, achieves A++.
The BSNF 8451 OX offers plenty of cooling capacity, plenty of storage features and great style.
The non-plumbed water dispenser will be handy for cool water on the go, but it comes at a price: door storage is hugely diminished, with there being nowhere to house a 2-litre bottle of milk.
In addition, you'll need to set the fridge temperature at its lowest setting to hit ideal fridge temperatures, which makes the freezer a little chilly – but otherwise, this Whirlpool delivers a good set of technical test results.
The Whirlpool BSNF 8451 OX is well worth considering – if you don’t use 2-litre milk bottles.
A nicely appointed and stylish fridge freezer, but the water dispenser plays havoc with fridge storage space and energy efficiency.