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Three fridges to avoid buying

Beware these subpar shockers that rated lowest in our lab tests. 

fridges to avoid smeg beko
Last updated: 23 February 2021

Need to know

  • We've tested fridges at all budgets to find the best performers and the ones to avoid
  • Our experts assess fridges for temperature stability and evenness, 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. 

There's the question of which brand to choose, the size you need, the features, the finish and whether it will even fit into your kitchen. Then there's the vital issue of price versus performance – which model will do the job best within your budget? 

To find out, we've been methodically testing fridges in our certified labs for years. Rating key criteria like food freshness, temperature stability and evenness and 10-year running costs, we've reviewed over 60 popular models to cut through the advertising spin and help you decide. 

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CHOICE has been testing fridges for decades.

Along the way, our experts have uncovered some impressive fridges alongside some seriously poor performers that scored far below 50%. Not only do some of them cost thousands of dollars, they'll also struggle to keep your food fresh, adding to the expense over the years. 

To help you can avoid an expensive and frustrating fridge fail, here are the models to approach with caution – before turning a cold shoulder.


smeg fab38rcrau
  • Price: $3990
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 22%
  • Keeping food fresh longer: 26%
  • 10-year running cost: $1707

Brace yourself because this is the worst performing fridge we've ever seen in the CHOICE labs in decades of testing. Sure the 510-litre model might ooze retro charm, but that's its only saving grace – it scored a damning 22% overall and a shocking 0% for temperature stability in our tests. Oh, and it costs a jaw-dropping four thousand dollars!

This fridge scored so badly, we dedicated a full feature to it, so check that out to see our expert's deep dive into this dud. 

2. Beko BBM450W

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

Run, don't walk from this 450-litre Beko which also fell very flat in our fridge tests. Again, our experts discovered little good, but plenty bad, with the list of identified shortcomings including a failed energy check, large temperature fluctuations and poor temperature evenness in the fresh food compartment, among many other things. 

The good news is our tests revealed similarly-sized and priced fridges from other brands that performed far better, so do shop around and check out our full reviews to compare models.

3. Smeg FAB32RRDNA1

  • Price: $3490
  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 34%
  • Keeping food fresh longer: 44%
  • 10-year running cost: $969

Sure it's not as bad as its big brother above, but the smaller Smeg isn't much better. For its $3000+ price tag, this big red flag will give you a failed energy check, terrible temperature stability (it also scored 0%) and your food won't stay as fresh compared to other models. 

Its good points? Our experts looked and couldn't find any. For this price, you could pick up a much larger fridge that does everything better. Beware its beguiling retro style and steer clear.