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Three fridges to avoid buying

These models flunked our fridge lab test. One even scored a Shonky Award.

fridges to avoid smeg Ikea HD 520FWEN Westinghouse WTB4600WARH
Last updated: 01 October 2020

Need to know

  • We've tested fridges at all budgets to determine the best performers and the ones to avoid
  • Our experts assess fridges for temperature stability and range, food freshness, running costs and more. 
  • Consider becoming a CHOICE member to access our full reviews

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 fancy French doors, or prefer a 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? 

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CHOICE's fridge experts have tested more than 370 fridges to help you avoid a dud.

But the fridge is one of the most used and conspicuous 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 fresher 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.


SMEG FAB32RRDNA1 freezer-on-bottom fridge

  • Price: $2990
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 34%
  • Keeping food fresh longer: 44%
  • 10-year running cost: $969

If you're paying just shy of $3000 for a bottom-mount fridge, you'd expect near-flawless performance, right? Well, in the case of this slick retro-styled fridge from SMEG, for your money you'll get a failed energy check, terrible temperature stability and food that won't stay fresh. Oh, and no chiller or humidity control on the crisper. Its good points? Our experts couldn't find any. For this price, you could pick up a much larger fridge that will actually keep your food fresh. 

Smeg has a reputation for being a premium brand, but their fridges are made by the same company as the cheap and cheery Beko fridges, which often perform poorly – see the third entry in our line-up for a case in point. Read the full review.


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. 


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. Read our full review.