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Fridge reviews

We put refrigerators of all shapes and sizes through their paces in our laboratories.
 
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01.Introduction

fridges lead november 2012

We review more than 40 fridges priced from $499 to $3699.

Through our rigorous testing we reveal which fridges perform the best. Use this report to: 

  • find the best fridge for you out of over 40 models tested
  • find out the ones we recommend
  • check the performance of fridges from big brands such as ElectroluxFisher & PaykelKelvinator, LGSamsung and Westinghouse
  • choose from a selection of the latest top, bottom, french door and side-by-side fridges
  • find the cheapest fridge using our compare price tool.

On this page:

For more information about Fridges and freezers, see our Kitchen section.

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Video: Fridges - what to look for

CHOICE explains some of the key things to keep in mind when purchasing a fridge, especially with regard to temperature settings.

Fridge brands and models tested

Less than 300L

  • Fisher and Paykel E249TR
  • Haier HRF 224FW #
  • Haier HRFZ-213
  • LG GN-253VW
  • Samsung SR254MW #
  • Westinghouse WTM2000WC

Small (300-380L)

  • Daewoo FR360
  • Fisher and Paykel E331T
  • Fisher and Paykel E381TRT2
  • Kelvinator KBM3800WB-R
  • LG GC-305PS
  • LG GC-306NP #

Medium (381-450L)

  • Beko DN143120
  • Electrolux EBM4307SC
  • Fisher and Paykel E402BRE3
  • Fisher and Paykel E442BRE3
  • Kelvinator KTM3900WB
  • Kelvinator KTM4200WB
  • LG GN-422FW
  • Midea HD-496FWS
  • Westinghouse WBE4300SB
  • Westinghouse WBM4300WB
  • Westinghouse WTM3900WB

Large (451-525L)

  • Bosch KGN53X125A
  • Electrolux EBM5100SC
  • Electrolux EBM5107SC
  • Fisher and Paykel E522BRE4 #
  • Fisher and Paykel RF522WDRX1
  • Kelvinator KTM5200WB
  • LG GN-515GS #
  • Panasonic NR-BW465VWAU
  • Westinghouse WBE5100SC
  • Westinghouse WBM5100WC

More than 525L and French door

  • Electrolux EHE5107SB #
  • Electrolux EQE6007SB-NAU
  • Fisher and Paykel RF610ADUX3
  • LG GR-L219CSL
  • LG GR-L730SL
  • Mitsubishi MR-C405C-W-A1
  • Samsung SRF527DSLS

Side-by-side

  • Daewoo FRS-U20ICW
  • Kelvinator KSM6100WF
  • LG GC-P197DPSL
  • Westinghouse WSE6100WF
  • Westinghouse WSE7000WF

Fridge-only

  • Fisher & Paykel C270R
  • Fisher & Paykel E450R
  • Westinghouse WRM3700WB-R

# Newly tested models.

Discontinued models

  • Bosch KAN56V10AU
  • Bosch KAN58A40AU
  • Bosch KAN62V00AU
  • Bosch KGN53X70AU
  • Changhong CHRF310
  • Daewoo FR-4501W
  • Daewoo FR-4501W
  • Electrolux EBM4300SC
  • Electrolux EHE5107SA
  • Electrolux ESE7007SE
  • Electrolux ETM4407SC
  • Electrolux ETM5207SC
  • Fisher and Paykel E249T
  • Fisher and Paykel E372BRE
  • Fisher and Paykel E381T
  • Fisher and Paykel E402B
  • Fisher and Paykel E406B
  • Fisher and Paykel E411T
  • Fisher and Paykel E440T
  • Fisher and Paykel E442B
  • Fisher and Paykel E521T
  • Fisher and Paykel E522B
  • Fisher and Paykel E522BRE2
  • Fisher and Paykel E522BRE3
  • Fisher and Paykel E522BRXFDU
  • Fisher and Paykel RF610A
  • Fisher and Paykel RF610ADUX2
  • Haier HSBS562IS
  • Haier HSBS582A
  • Haier HTD647AS
  • Haier HTD647ASS
  • Haier HTMR315SS
  • Kelvinator KBM4300WB
  • Kelvinator KBM5100MB
  • Kelvinator KSM6100WB
  • Kelvinator KTM3900WB
  • Kelvinator KTM4200WB
  • Kelvinator KTM4400WB
  • Kelvinator KTM5200MB
  • LG GC-L197STF
  • LG GN-R466FW
  • LG GR-L247DPSL
  • Miele KFN 12823 SD-1
  • Mitsubishi MR-260B-W-A
  • Mitsubishi MR-385B-W-A
  • Mitsubishi MR-420U-W-B
  • Mitsubishi MR-420U-W-B
  • Mitsubishi MR-BF390B-W-A
  • Mitsubishi MR-C375B-ST-A
  • Samsung SR215MW
  • Samsung SR216NME
  • Samsung SR364MW
  • Samsung SR388MW
  • Samsung SR394NW
  • Samsung SR432NW
  • Samsung SR434MNP
  • Samsung SR511ENW
  • Samsung SRF801GDLS
  • Samsung SRL322MW
  • Samsung SRS585HDIS
  • Samsung SRS600NLS
  • Samsung SRS684GDHSS
  • Samsung SRS691GDIS
  • Sharp SJ-222S-SL
  • Sharp SJ308S-SL
  • Sharp SJ-339S-SL
  • Smeg SR650XA
  • Westinghouse WBE5100SB-R
  • Westinghouse WBM3700SB-R
  • Westinghouse WBM3700WB
  • Westinghouse WBM5100WB
  • Westinghouse WSE 7000SA
  • Westinghouse WSE6100WA
  • Westinghouse WTB2300WB
  • Westinghouse WTB2500WB
  • Westinghouse WTM2800WB (2012)
  • Westinghouse WTM2800WB (2013)
  • Westinghouse WTM3000WB (2012)
  • Westinghouse WTM3000WB (2013)
  • Westinghouse WTM3300WB (2012)
  • Westinghouse WTM3300WB (2013)
  • Westinghouse WTM4200WB (2013)
  • Westinghouse WTM5200WB
  • Whirlpool 6WSC21N4XY00
  • Whirlpool WRI21UW
  • Whirlpool WRI24UN
  • Whirlpool WRI27UG
  • Whirlpool WRIBP41WC
  • Whirlpool WRID41TW

How we test

Overall score
  • Temperature performance (broken down below): 80%
  • Energy efficiency: 20%

A good temperature for a fridge is 3°C, and for a freezer it's -18°C. The temperature performance score is a measure of the fridge’s ability to manage basic cooling temperatures in all compartments, and is based on the following factors:

  • Temperature fluctuations Do temperatures fluctuate too much due to the compressor running and stopping? (30%)
  • Temperature range Is there an adequate range of temperature combinations to satisfy the needs of most users? (25%)
  • Ambient change Can the fridge and freezer cope with changes in the outside temperature? (20%)
  • Temperature uniformity Are compartment temperatures generally uniform, without warmer or colder areas? (20%)
  • Recommended settings Is the temperature for both the fridge and freezer appropriate when the controls are set to the manufacturer's recommended or 'mid' setting? (5%)
Energy consumption / energy efficiency score

This test assesses the comparative energy consumption, and gives an indication of the amount of electricity used over one year of normal operation. The energy efficiency score is based on the measured energy consumption and is adjusted depending on the volume of the fresh-food and freezer compartments. For side-by-side fridges, the energy used is measured with any icemaker off, as the standard requires. Icemaking will use a little extra energy, and if you make a lot of ice you can expect a slight increase in energy consumption and running costs.

Quietness / noise

New fridges, particularly frost-free ones, make a combination of noises that some people may find annoying. More noise is produced when the compressor starts up and also during the defrost cycle. Some models have an external fan system to help keep the compressor cool, which can add to the noise level. Also, plastics inside the fridge can make loud noises as they expand and contract with temperature changes. The design of your kitchen and the fridge’s location will affect what you’ll hear. Our test tells you which models are noisier during normal running, but some of these more unusual noises can be more noticeable with models that are quieter during normal running.

Claimed total volume

The gross volume quoted by the manufacturer tells you approximately how much air space the fridge has to cool, which includes spaces you can’t put food into. Taking this into account, use the volumes to get an idea of how big the freezer is compared with the fresh-food compartment so you can choose a fridge that meets your storage needs. For side-by-side fridges with an icemaker, the usable freezer volume is approximately 30% less than claimed, due to space taken by the icemaker, so the claimed total volume is overstated too.

Running costs over 10 years

The running cost is calculated from the energy used over 10 years, using a rate of 26 cents per kilowatt hour. A 10-year period provides a useful indication of the long-term differences between high and low energy usage.

Price

This is a recommended retail price unless otherwise specified. You can probably get a better price by shopping around.

Defrost system

All the listed fridges are frost-free (unless otherwise noted). This means the refrigerator/freezer automatically defrosts around every 12 hours or so, but it depends on the model and how hard it's been working.

Dimensions

These are claimed dimensions for the smallest box that will fit around the fridge, that is, it includes hinges, door handles and any protrusions at the back, such as the compressor.

The installation space is the minimum total space recommended to allow air to circulate around the fridge for optimum energy use and performance. If there is no gap at the rear of overhead cabinets, then the recommended space above may increase by about 40mm. Many fridges are designed to sit proud of the cabinetry, so you will often find that the required depth is less than the depth of the fridge.

Door hinge position

This is the side of the fridge on which the door hinge is positioned, as well as the direction that the door opens. With many models you'll have to pre-order it on either the left or right, and it isn't reversible after purchase. Some are reversible: while you can do this yourself with some models, manufacturers recommend getting a service call. Reversible doors are useful if you move house and/or need to position the fridge differently.

Save money on your new fridge

Our report will save you money for years to come and goes beyond the sales hype to reveal:

  • Which of the smaller fridges perform best.
  • How to save hundreds of dollars on running costs every year.
  • Which brands need the least repairs.

Choose the right fridge for you

No need to rely on a salesperson. Use this report to decide:

  • What type of fridge will suit your needs: top freezer, bottom freezer, side-by-side?
  • What optional features you need and what you can do without.
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