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Three fridges to avoid buying

Looking to snap up a bargain before Christmas or in the sales? Avoid losing your cool over these badly performing fridges.

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Last updated: 16 December 2019

Need to know

  • We've reviewed 370-plus fridges at all budgets, so we can tell you which are the best, and the models to avoid
  • 17% of the fridges we've tested in the past 12 months have been dead on arrival, had a noticeable fault, or failed their energy test – do your research and view our results before you buy
  • Monitor a new fridge over a couple of days – if your food or milk is going off more quickly than it usually would, the fridge may have a fault

When it comes to buying a fridge the array of choice can be both staggering and overwhelming. Suddenly, you're inundated with a flood of options you've never before considered. 

How does the size of the fridge correspond to the size of your family? Should you choose freezer on the bottom or the top, or perhaps side-by-side? Do you go for French doors or pigeon pair? And most importantly, will it even fit? 

Then comes the question of finish. Do you opt for classic white, sleek stainless steel, sophisticated black or a bright colour? 

Who knew buying a household item could be fraught with so much hand-wringing appliance anxiety? 

But the fridge is one of the most used items in your kitchen, so it's worth doing a little research before you commit to this necessity that should last you upwards of 10 years. 

Our buying guide can help you with the above options, and our reviews of more than 370 fridges will tell you everything from which ones keep your food fresh for longer, through to which fridges will cost you the most to run. 

Of course, there are always going to be models that fail to shine, so make sure you'll be pleased with your purchase well into the next decade by avoiding the following fridges.

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Westinghouse WTB4600WARH freezer-on-top fridge

  • Price: $1389
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 41%
  • Keeping food fresh longer: 25%
  • 10-year running cost: $1155

This classic 462L freezer-on-top fridge does have a very good range of temperatures available, but that's not enough to keep it out of the bottom three. It's a somewhat surprising score for a brand that's long-enjoyed a buoyant reputation, but we all make mistakes. Sadly, this model suffers from large fluctuations in temperature, has no chiller and the freezer responds poorly to changes in ambient temperature.

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Ikea HD-520FWEN Nedkyld freezer-on-top fridge 

  • Price: $799
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 39%
  • Keeping food fresh longer: 35%
  • 10-year running cost: $1077

It may be king of flat-pack furniture, but Ikea's 400L freezer-on-top fridge is on the bottom rungs of our expert reviews. Its woeful CHOICE Expert Rating comes thanks to a failed energy check, poor temperature stability, no chiller, no humidity control in crisper, and poor score for keeping food fresh for longer. Surely there must be some good points? Well, no, our experts could find none to note. It's so bad, we even awarded it a Shonky in our 2019 Awards. It's a fail from us.

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Beko BBM450W freezer-on-bottom fridge

  • Price: $1149
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 32%
  • Keeping food fresh longer: 21%
  • 10-year running cost: $1005

Run, don't walk from this 450L freezer-on-the-bottom fridge. It performs even worse than the Ikea model, but costs a whole lot more. Again, our experts had nothing good to say, but plenty bad, with the list of shortcomings including a failed energy check, large temperature fluctuations and poor evenness of temperature in the fresh food compartment, among many other things.

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