Appliances

Product overview

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Fridges

2016 fridges hero default

Make the right choice with our test results and buying advice.

Whether you’re after a tiny apartment-sized model or a huge side-by-side for a family, we have a recommendation for you. We also explain what to look for and provide tips on maintaining the right temperature.

From our test

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Efficiency

In general a bigger fridge will use more power than a smaller one – some smaller models we’ve tested cost half as much to run as some bigger models.

A fridge’s “star rating” and annual energy consumption are printed on a label so you can make comparisons in the showroom. All fridges must have the label, but watch for tricks like putting the display card over the label.

We recommend looking at these labels, the annual running costs from our test, or the Energy Rating website which has a 10-year running cost calculator.

Reliability

We received information on 2581 fridges and fridge-freezers in our 2017 appliance reliability survey.

To see which brands are trustiest, become a paying Consumer member or log in.

Freezer & fridge-freezer Top Brands

The Top Brand award recognises brands that perform consistently well across product testing, reliability and customer satisfaction.

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Buying second-hand

New fridges and freezers are more energy efficient – so if you’re buying second hand, newer is better.

  • Stick to well-known brands under 5 years old, as newer models are much more energy efficient. They’re also easier to get parts for if anything needs fixing.
  • Check the lid or door seal is intact, in good condition and the door or lid shuts properly.
  • Make sure the door is hinged on the correct side for your kitchen (or is reversible).
  • Make sure the interior is in good nick and free from funny smells. Only buy if it looks tidy and well cared for.
  • If you buy a fridge from a second-hand dealer and then discover it’s faulty, you're covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. If you buy privately, you're not.
  • Under the Electricity Act, all electrical appliances for sale must be safe – whether they're new or second-hand, bought privately or from a dealer.

Environmental issues

Fridges used to be made with and contain environmentally unfriendly CFC gases.

Now, they commonly contain "R134a" refrigerant, which does not damage the ozone layer, although it does contribute to the greenhouse effect. And they are made using ozone-friendly, low greenhouse-effect gases.

A more environmentally sound refrigerant, R600a, is used by some manufacturers. It's a hydrocarbon so it's flammable and therefore carries a small safety risk.

To make the smallest greenhouse-emissions impact over time, a fridge’s energy efficiency is more important than the type of refrigerant used. But if you want to check which refrigerant your fridge uses, all models have this information on the fridge specification plate in the cabinet.

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