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Splurge vs save: The cheaper fridges that rival expensive ones

If you're looking for a new fridge in the Black Friday sales, there are cheaper alternatives that don't cost a fortune. 

fridge splurge save lead fisher and paykel lg
Last updated: 26 October 2023

How much would you pay for the fridge of your dreams? What if we told you that you could pick up a similar product for less that'll perform just as well – or even better? 

Our fridge experts test more than 50 fridges every year, putting each product through rigorous testing in our labs, so we see past the marketing hype and judge each model on its merits.

That's why we know that a hefty price tag or big brand name doesn't always mean good performance.

We've taken a look at two different fridge types and put two models toe to toe to show you how you can spend less for the same performance. They're not necessarily the top performers in our tests, though – we save that info just for CHOICE members.

But if you want to know how these fridges scored overall, check our review to find the best fridges for your money.

"Time and again we find price isn't necessarily an indicator of performance and fridges are no exception," says CHOICE whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale.

"And unlike other appliances, a poor performing fridge can cost you more – a lot more over its life, through higher than necessary running costs and food which perishes sooner," says Ashley.

Luckily, we can show you which fridges give you champagne performance on a beer budget, and continue to save you money over the life of the appliance.

fisher paykel e442brxfdu5 vs lg gb 455uple

Splurge vs save: The stainless steel finish bottom-mount fridge

In the battle of the stainless steel bottom-mount fridges (or upside-down fridges, if you will), an extra $1300 for the Fisher & Paykel buys an ice drawer, humidity control on the crisper, dairy compartment, and a water dispenser – but not a great deal more. And it's 12L smaller than the LG.

Is a water dispenser really worth $1300? You could probably have a chilled water tap installed on your sink for less, if cold water on tap is important to you. Or you could enjoy that extra $1300 in your bank account and just put a jug of water in the fridge. Up to you. 

These fridges were neck and neck on many tests. However, the LG came out on top for everything but temperature evenness – but with its temperature stability, temperature range, response to outside temperature being superior to the Fisher & Paykel, it's definitely the pick of the two. 

fisher and paykel rf730qnuvx1 vs haier hrf700ycx

Splurge vs save: The extra-large French door fridge

If you're after an extra-large French door fridge, you are going to have to splash some cash. But when you're looking at dropping a cool $3–4K, you really need to ask whether you're getting your money's worth. 

Our fridge experts assessed these two fancy French door models and found that overall they deliver similarly good performance, despite their significant price difference. 

They received similar scores on criteria such as keeping food fresh longer and how they respond to outside temperatures, but the Haier came out well ahead for temperature stability (how well the fridge holds a consistent temperature). 

When you're looking at dropping a cool $3–4K, you really need to ask whether you're getting your money's worth

"The Fisher & Paykel received a slightly lower score for its default temperature setting – a measure of how close the fridge will be to the optimum temperature out of the box," says Ashley. 

"This is important because most people don't change the default settings.

"But even if you buy a fridge that doesn't score well for its default temperature settings, you can sort it out by spending a few minutes checking the fridge and freezer with a thermometer and adjusting the controls accordingly to get the optimum temperatures."

The Haier falls behind on its temperature evenness, which looks at whether there are any warm spots throughout. 

This can be a problem if you put your raw chicken in one of these warmer sections, but a way to overcome this is to use a fridge thermometer to see where the coolest sections are and stack your fridge accordingly, or if you become a CHOICE member, we'll tell you which sections of the fridge are coldest and warmest so you won't need a thermometer.

Both these fridges come with a two-year warranty, but of course you are covered much more thoroughly by your Australian Consumer Law rights.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.