How we test fridge-freezers

Here's how we test the latest fridge-freezers.

Fully stocked fridge

Our expert testers assess the latest fridge-freezers for temperature fluctuations, uniformity between the fridge and freezer, and much more.

Here's the full list of what we consider when we test models.

Overall score

Our overall score is made up of the following:

Fluctuations (30%)

Measures how much the temperature inside the fridge fluctuates (or swings) as the compressor starts and stops. The higher the score, the less the temperature fluctuates.

Combinations (25%)

Where we measure the temperature in the fridge and freezer compartments at the same time. A high score means the temperature in both compartments are managed well, for example if the freezer is set to its coldest setting, the temperature in the fridge isn’t affected.

Uniformity (20%)

A measure of how uniform the temperature is throughout each compartment. The higher the score, the more uniform the temperature is in each compartment.

Seasonal change (20%)

A test of how well the appliance deals with changing temperatures outside. We test in a temperature-controlled room. We adjust the temperatures to simulated winter and summer conditions while monitoring the temperature inside the fridge. The higher the score, the better the fridge dealt with the changing temperatures, meaning little adjustment would be needed throughout the seasons.

Recommended settings (5%)

A test of how well the fridge performs on the manufacturer's recommended settings. Many people will only change the temperature setting once, so we test with this setting. If there isn’t a recommended setting, then we test using the factory set or mid-setting.

What about energy use?

We assess energy usage based on the manufacturer’s claimed energy usage as well as measured energy usage. A pass means the measured energy usage was no more than 7.5% higher than claimed, anything over that is a fail. Once a fridge fails, we stop measuring. In previous tests, we would have kept testing to find a maximum energy usage reading. By changing our test we can now test more fridges each year than ever before.

Claimed energy use is the amount of energy (in kW/h) the manufacturer says its fridge uses. If a fridge uses more power than claimed, it’s not necessarily bad, just not as efficient as claimed.

If you're ready to buy, see which fridge-freezers topped our test.

Member comments

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Claudia S.
05 Jan 2020
Not performing satisfactory

In September 2019 I bought the Westinghouse WHE6000SA because it did well in the Consumer test.
On the recommended/default setting (3°C) for the fridge it doesn't reach below 5.9°C as tested by Wishart Appliances with a temperature recording device over 2 days. On it's coldest setting (0°C) it reaches 3.9°C, which is just inside the 2-4°C recommended temperature for fridges.
The electronic board was replaced with no improvement.
What temperature do you test for?
Is it acceptable for a fridge to perform just under 4°C on it's coldest setting or should I insist on returning it? Thank you

Consumer staff
06 Jan 2020
Re: Not performing satisfactory

Hi Claudia,

In our test this model averaged 3.4°C on the recommended settings. During our testing we observed a fairly normal range of temperatures, including to almost 0°C. While 3.9°C is an OK temperature for a fridge compartment, it should be able to go lower, especially as the settings say it should be able to get to 0°C.

As you have already tried adjusting the settings check that it isn’t being adversely affect by high ambient temperatures and that all seals are in working order. If this doesn’t help then I suggest going back to the retailer as it sounds like this fridge is faulty.

Thanks,

Erin Bennett - Content Producer