Need to know
- Our experts tested more than 40 fridges, with 15 of these being extra large (525L-plus)
- Extra-large fridges can cost more than $5000, so you'll want to make the right choice
- We reveal the top-performing fridges for large families, based on factors including temperature stability and evenness. Plus, we report on energy consumption and 10-year running costs
Is your fridge bursting at the seams trying to accommodate enough food for your large family? For families of five or more, and those who entertain regularly, you'll probably need a fridge that's at least 400L to comfortably fit in food and drinks for everyone.
If you're considering an extra-large fridge, they cost anywhere from $2000 upwards. (The most expensive fridge we've tested costs $5639.) When you're dropping that sort of coin, you'll want to make sure you're buying something that will perform well and stand the test of time.
And the most expensive fridge isn't always the best: the top three performers in the extra-large category both cost about $3000 – so you don't necessarily have to spend big bucks for the best fridge.
For CHOICE members, we've gathered a list of the top-performing extra-large (525L-plus) fridges to help you in your decision making. If you're not yet a member, joining will help you avoid making a costly mistake by choosing a poor-performing fridge.
How to choose the right fridge for your family
Not sure what size you'll need? Here's our guide to choosing fridge capacity:
|Household size||Recommended volume||Price range|
|1–2 people||250–380L (1)||$429–2399|
|5 or more people||440L+ (2)||$1079–5500+|
(1) We don't recommend smaller fridges, as they tend to be less energy efficient and cost you more in the long run. (2) Add 28.5L for each additional family member, plus freezer space. If in doubt, get the bigger fridge.
CHOICE fridge expert Ashley Iredale shares his tips for choosing a fridge for a larger family:
- Side-by-side fridges may seem like a good size for larger families, but we generally don't recommend them because they're not great for temperature evenness. Also, the shelves are often quite narrow, which can limit your options in terms of putting in larger things.
- If you get a fridge with a multi-use compartment, this improves the flexibility of the fridge – you can allocate that compartment to extra freezer space or fridge space as you need it.
- Something else to consider is a 'pigeon pair': separate but matching upright fridge and freezer. This will give you a lot more room than a French door or side-by-side fridge, and you can keep them separate by putting the freezer in the laundry or garage, freeing up extra space in your kitchen. These do cost more than buying an all-in-one fridge-freezer, but you might find it's worth the extra for a set-up that suits your lifestyle.
- If you've got a large family but not much space or money, don't get a fridge with an ice dispenser – it can take up almost 30% of your freezer capacity.
- A French-door fridge (a bottom mount freezer with a two-door fridge) is a good option as they have good storage capacity, and both the fridge and freezer are wide enough for large platters and bulk foods. Again, they cost more than a single-sized fridge, but you may be prepared to pay the price for the space and convenience.
Best fridges for big families
To help you find the best fridge for your family, we've compiled the best buys in the extra-large (525L-plus) category, based on our test results.
Consider becoming a CHOICE member to access them and our full fridge results, plus reviews from more than 200 other categories.
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