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 are on track to assess 90 fridges this 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.
Our fridge experts are on track to assess 90 fridges this year, putting each product through rigorous testing in our labs
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. Check our fridge reviews to assess each product on how well it keeps food fresh, temperature stability, estimated 10-year running costs, and more.
"Time and again we find price isn't necessarily an indicator of performance and fridges are no exception," says CHOICE fridge 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.
"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."
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 $1100 buys an extra 65 litres of volume and a humidity control on the crisper – but that's about it. And if you opt for the more expensive Fisher & Paykel model, you'll also be up for higher running costs: our experts calculated that it will cost you $1401 over 10 years, compared to $1170 for the LG.
Both fridges rated very well overall, and were neck and neck on virtually all tests. The LG rated slightly better on temperature stability, but the Fisher & Paykel just won out on temperature evenness. LG is a little better on its default setting being suitable for the Australian climate, but the Fisher & Paykel still receives a very good score on this metric.
While you get a bit more total volume for your money with the Fisher & Paykel, they're both large fridges, so you're not exactly going to be short on space if you opt for the LG. Both fridges come with a two-year warranty.
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 $5K, 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 they deliver similarly good performance, despite their significant price difference. They received similar scores on metrics such as keeping food fresh longer, temperature evenness, noise level and temperature range.
"The Westinghouse received a borderline score for its default temperature setting – a measure of how close the fridge will be to the optimum temperature out of the box. This is important because most people don't change the default settings," says Ashley.
Most people don't change the default settingsCHOICE fridge expert, Ashley Iredale
"But forewarned is forearmed, as they say, and spending a few minutes checking the fridge and freezer with a thermometer and adjusting the controls accordingly will give you optimum temperatures for both the fridge and freezer."
Once again, you'll be up for bigger costs in the long run if you buy the more expensive fridge: The Samsung will cost around $1995 in running costs over 10 years, compared to the Westinghouse at $1320. And the Samsung is a bigger fridge that also guzzles more energy; it has a claimed Energy Star Rating of 2.5, while the Westinghouse has a 3.5 rating.
Both these fridges come with a two-year warranty.
The cheaper Westinghouse is lacking a water/ice dispenser, which the Samsung does have. But when you're saving more than $3000 by opting for the Westinghouse, you can probably deal with having to reach into the fridge for cold water, right?