Need to know
- Kmart's new whitegoods range includes a 203L top-mount fridge-freezer at the cheap price of $429 (available in white and silver)
- The fridge is currently being tested in our labs, but our experts have highlighted a few aspects of the model you should take note of if you're considering buying it
- CHOICE members can read our full reviews and find out which fridges we recommend buying
Having gained many a fervent fan across Australia for its cheap appliances and budget homewares, Kmart is now selling whitegoods.
The new range is available to buy online with home delivery in selected states (Victoria, NSW, Queensland, WA and South Australia) and includes fridges, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers at cheap prices under the Kmart Anko brand.
Perhaps designed to tap into some of the popularity of rival bargain retailer Aldi's whitegoods Special Buys or online offerings from the likes of Kogan, Kmart Anko appliances available include a 4.5kg vented dryer for $249, a 60cm free-standing dishwasher for $399 and – what we're focusing on here – a 203L fridge for $429.
Full test on the way
At such cheap prices, are these products worth buying? Our CHOICE experts bought the new Kmart Anko fridge to put it to test in our labs, with full test results to be published soon and available to CHOICE members.
Here they share their first impressions and some things to consider before you buy.
How big is the new Kmart Anko fridge and what features does it have?
"This is a very small, basic and extremely cheap fridge," says CHOICE whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale.
"It is what you would expect for a fridge with this price tag – a very simple 203L top-mount fridge with few features as compared to more expensive models. It has limited shelving and storage options, no humidity control on the crisper and no dairy compartment.
"Usually for a household of one or two people, I'd advise buying a fridge ranging in size from 250L to 380L, which could cost anywhere from around $429 up to $2500.
"This fridge might therefore be suited for a small studio apartment or office if you don't need to keep much in it at any one time, or as a small second fridge in the garage or granny flat.
"The product description also lists the fridge as having standard features such as reversible door, recessed handle, internal LED lighting, crisper drawer and digital temperature controls.
What is its energy star rating and how much will it cost to run?
The Kmart fridge's energy rating label is three stars, indicating it uses 240 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year.
"This energy rating is not the greatest we have seen, but it is far from the worst, and you would expect that a small fridge would use far less energy than a bigger fridge," says Ashley.
"Keep in mind that the energy star rating only lets you compare relative efficiency of like-sized fridges. So, you can have a 300L fridge and a 700L fridge that are both three stars, but the 700L fridge will use up a lot more energy."
Assessing energy consumption
As part of our detailed fridge reviews, our experts assess the energy consumption of fridges to see if they meet their claims on the label (spoiler: sometimes they don't). We also calculate running costs over 10 years based on the claimed usage.
We calculate this Kmart fridge will cost you around $72 per year to run, which adds up to $720 over 10 years, providing it lasts that longAshley Iredale, CHOICE whitegoods expert
"Depending on how you use it, we calculate this Kmart fridge will cost you around $72 per year to run, which adds up to $720 over 10 years, providing it lasts that long," says Ashley.
We're currently putting this fridge through its paces in the lab, but our testing is thorough and comprehensive. This means it takes several weeks to give you an accurate assessment of how a fridge performs (it's the most expensive in-laboratory test we do) and the Anko fridge is so new we just haven't had time to assess it properly yet.
But we'll publish the results as soon as our testing is complete and verified, so watch this space.
The Kmart Anko fridge is currently being tested in our labs, so we can give it a full review.
Other things to consider before buying
Cost and ease of delivery/installation
Other online appliance retailers may offer free delivery (perhaps even next-day delivery to metro areas or selected regional centres), but you won't get this perk with your Kmart buy. Delivery costs detailed on the Kmart website for this fridge are about $50 for metro addresses and $100 for regional (almost a quarter of the cost of the fridge itself!), so you need to factor that into the price.
Other retailers may also offer services such as unpacking your new appliance and moving it into position, as well as removing your old appliance if you have one and recycling it. But if you buy a fridge from Kmart – yes, you guessed it – none of this is included or available.
The Kmart Anko fridge weighs 43kg and the website advises a "team lift or a mechanical aid". Although our CHOICE lab experts didn't struggle to unpack the fridge when it was delivered, they noted that it would be a difficult job if you had physical or mobility issues. Our CHOICE labs are equipped with everything they could possibly need to move a fridge, but it's unlikely you'd have that equipment at home.
Cool head: CHOICE whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale is currently putting the Kmart fridge through extensive testing in our kitchen labs.
Ease of setting the temperature
Our experts also flagged an issue with the temperature controls on this fridge. The way they're designed means that it could be difficult to get the temperature correct across your fridge and freezer compartments, which could result in random frozen things in your fresh-food compartment or accidentally defrosted meats in the freezer.
"Most modern fridges will have separate temperature controls for the fresh food and freezer compartments, allowing you to fine tune the temperature in each one separately, but this fridge is a little different," says Ashley.
Our experts also flagged an issue with the temperature controls on this fridge
"It only has one temperature control, which sets the amount of cooling going to the freezer. We have seen fridges with this type of temperature control before, and even with our precision laboratory instruments, we found setting the correct temperatures in fridge and freezer to be very difficult indeed, and involving a lot of trial and error."
Appliance lifetime and potential for repairs
The Kmart website says the Anko fridge has a 24-month warranty, which is fairly standard. To organise in-home repair or replacement, you'd need to contact Kmart customer care.
"One of the risks here is that you're buying a fridge from a brand that has no history of selling or organising the repair of fridges," says Ashley. "The Anko fridge may be cheap, but unlike fridge brands like Fisher & Paykel and Electrolux, you're going with a new, hereto unknown manufacturer.
One of the risks here is that you're buying a fridge from a brand that has no history of selling or organising the repair of fridgesAshley Iredale, CHOICE
"If something goes wrong with your fridge, you'll be charting unknown territory in terms of the repair or replacement process. And unlike, say, your clothes dryer, you really can't be without a fridge for any length of time, not to mention the cost of replacing all the spoiled food within."
How long should this Kmart Anko fridge last?
CHOICE experts say that a fridge at this price should last at least 10 years (with more expensive fridges lasting a lot longer than that). But you can probably expect a little less from this one, given the super-low price and the compromises it could call for.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.