Our expert testers assess the latest fridge-freezers for temperature fluctuations, uniformity between the fridge and freezer, and much more.
Our overall score combines test performance (how well the appliance works) with predicted reliability (how likely models from the brand are to remain free of faults) and owner satisfaction (how likely owners of the brand are to be very satisfied).
We’ll only recommend appliances you’ll love to own, that work well and keep working well for a long time.
Our overall score is made up of the following:
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.
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 effect
A test of how well the appliance deals with changing temperatures outside. We test in a temperature-controlled room. We adjust the temperatures to simulate 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.
Heat load test (new test)
This test shows how ‘grunty’ the fridge is by measuring the time it takes and energy used for temperatures to reach an even state after room temperature food has been placed in the fridge. This is also an indication of how efficient the fridge is. This is a new test, replacing the older temperature combinations test.
Temperature combinations (old test)
This is where we measure the temperature in the fridge and freezer compartments at the same time. A high score means the temperatures 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. This is an older test and has now been replaced by the heat load test.
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.
It’s reasonable to expect a new appliance to remain fault-free for at least the first five years. Our predicted reliability won’t tell you whether the washing machine in your laundry will spring a leak tomorrow, but it does show which brands make models that are less likely to fail.
Satisfaction is important – no appliance should be a source of buyer regret. Appliances with very satisfied owners are more likely to get cleaned regularly and maintained well. Their owners are also more likely to seek repair for faults than look for a quick replacement.
Repairability (coming soon)
Older appliances are more likely to go wrong, but common faults should be repairable. Repairs should be affordable and convenient – parts need to be easy to find at a reasonable cost, instructions should be available, and repairs shouldn’t need hours of expert labour.
We haven’t been able to assess repairability yet, but it’s important, so we’re gathering data and forming a plan so we can start including it in our lifetime scores. It will be challenging. We’ll need to analyse product failure data in our reliability surveys, conduct hands-on inspections to evaluate how easy products are to take apart, and investigate which brands make spare parts available at a reasonable price.
Survey data 101
In our annual reliability and satisfaction survey, consumers tell us about faults that have left an appliance they own unusable or mean they’ve had to change how they use it. We also ask them how satisfied they are with the appliance. We use this data to produce our predicted reliability and owner satisfaction scores.
We use a statistical test to rate the relative performance of each brand. Compared to data we have for all products (of the same type) in the survey, we rate each brand with excellent, good, average, poor or terrible reliability and satisfaction. You can compare the rating of different brands for the same product type (for example, the reliability rating for Miele and Haier washing machines), but you can’t compare the results for different product types (for example, satisfaction of LG TVs and Samsung phones).
We analyse brands that get at least 30 responses in our survey. That means there are some brands we can’t analyse because we don’t have enough data. For those brands, we assume they have average predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.
Our data is based on responses for 2560 fridges, fridge-freezers and freezers in our May 2021 survey.