Refrigerator Reviews

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Compare refrigerators from Kelvinator, Fisher & Paykel, Haier, Hisense, LG, Samsung, Westinghouse, Bosch and Electrolux with Canstar Blue’s fridge reviews and ratings. Brands are compared on factors including reliability, internal layout, quality of fixtures & fittings, design and value for money.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2017 award for refrigerators

Most Satisfied Customers | Kelvinator

Kelvinator has emerged victorious in our latest refrigerators review, scoring five stars for overall satisfaction and all other research areas, including reliability, design and value. Kelvinator leads the way from eight other big name brands, replacing LG and Hisense at the top of the table from last year.

Kelvinator named king of the fridges

If your refrigerator is on the fritz, or you’ve simply outgrown your old kitchen mate, it may be time for a new one. But where do you start? If you’re looking for a new fridge, chances are it’s been a while since you had to buy one, but fear not because Canstar Blue is here to guide you through everything you need to consider. With modern fridges usually costing more than $1,000, you really should do your research. That’s where our annual customer reviews and ratings can help as we give Aussie consumers a platform to express their opinions on their latest fridge purchase, giving you a good idea of what to expect if you choose one of the nine leading brands compared this year.

Once again we have sought the views of more than 1,000 consumers, asking them to rate their fridge on factors including reliability, food freshness, the quality of fixtures and fittings, internal layout and value for money. This time there is a new highest-rated brand in town – Kelvinator. Replacing Hisense and LG at the top of the table from last year, Kelvinator’s refrigerators achieved five stars for overall customer satisfaction, as well as every other research category.

  • Fisher & Paykel, Haier, Hisense, LG, Samsung and Westinghouse got four stars overall
  • Bosch and Electrolux both recorded just three stars for overall customer satisfaction

It’s the third time in eight years that Kelvinator has topped our refrigerator ratings table. However, the last time was in 2012. Since then four other brands have enjoyed a spell at the top, with LG also winning on three separate occasions.

Our fridge reviews provide a helpful guide to which brands are rated highest in Australia, but picking the best fridge for your household’s needs requires a little more research. Read on as we guide you through the factors to consider before getting out your credit card. We’ll then look more closely at what each of the nine brands in this year’s review have to offer.

What to consider when buying a fridge

Buying a new fridge is a significant investment – and before settling on the right brand for your kitchen, you first need to consider a few of the basics, such as:

  • The type of fridge you need
  • Any bonus features you want
  • The energy efficiency star ratings
  • A price point that suits your budget

Let’s begin by explaining the different types of fridges available to buy in Australia. You may have always had one particular type, but you might be convinced to switch. Keep in mind that the following all come with freezer compartments – it’s really just a case of how much priority you give this. Here are the five main types of refrigerators:

  • Top mount: Top mount fridges are the most common type in Australia. They come with a single door fridge and smaller single door freezer compartment at the top.
  • Bottom mount: Bottom mount fridges are in reverse, with the smaller freezer compartment at the bottom of the unit instead. These models are not as widely seen as top mounted fridges, but they are still very popular.
  • Side by side: These fridge freezer units give more priority to the freezer, with side by side doors and two vertical compartments. Usually, the slightly smaller freezer compartment is on the left and the main fridge area is on the right.
  • French door: These fridges are effectively bottom mount and side-by-side fridges combined as they have a two-door fridge at the top and typically a single door freezer at the bottom. Some models have two doors at the bottom.
  • Single door: Breaking from traditional fridge-freezer models, single door fridges simply dedicate all of their space to the fridge unit, with no freezer.

Other smaller types of fridges include your trusty beer or wine fridge.

Fridge Features

There’s no doubt that manufacturers are becoming more adventurous with refrigerators, driven by the consumer demand for something that does a little more than just keep your food and drinks cold or frozen. LG has been one of the brands leading innovation in the fridge space, including its imaginative ‘door-in-door’ feature (pictured). Meanwhile Samsung could be your go-to brand if you want in-built cameras that allow you to see what’s inside your fridge without having to open it up! Other notable fridge features that have become common include flexible spacing – allowing you to swap or change certain sections to suit your own food storage preferences – and multi-zone climate and humidity settings, letting you create separate cooling spaces for certain types of foods or drinks.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency largely comes down to how large your fridge is. Big fridges obviously use more power, but smaller fridges can be notoriously inefficient relative to their size. The following table is a guide to what you can expect to pay every year to run your fridge, depending on its size. Seeing as fridges need to be used 24 hours a day, there is no real way around saving energy on an energy-inefficient fridge, bar sending your food to an early grave. The best and easiest option is to purchase an energy-efficient fridge in the first place, but be wary of paying too much because it could take some time for the extra cost to pay off.

Fridge Size Typical Annual Energy Consumption (kWh) Estimated Cost Per Year
100-199 litres 358 $118.14
200-299 litres 410 $135.30
300-399 litres 490 $161.70
400-499 litres 495 $163.35
500-599 litres 738 $243.54
600-699 litres 1356 $447.48

Cost calculations based on electricity usage rate of 33 cents per kWh. Details sourced from SA.GOV.AU.

Check the energy star ratings sticker on your fridge to see how efficient it is. If your fridge doesn’t have one of these ratings, it’s probably time for an upgrade! The maximum star rating a standard fridge can have is six stars. Super-efficient fridges, however, can have between 7-10 stars, as shown by the ‘crown’ of stars on top of the label (pictured).

Of course, it takes a lot for a fridge to earn a maximum energy rating. Most fridges struggle to earn any more than five stars. One such fridge to earn five stars is the Electrolux 540L top-mount fridge. It comes with an annual energy usage of 282kWh, and based on an electricity usage rate of 33c/kWh, you could expect to pay around $93 to power this fridge over the year! Of course, energy costs are also dependent on how your electricity provider sets its electricity rates. Be aware that a flexible pricing tariff will mean your fridge costs more to run at peak times of day, but less to run at off-peak times.

Should I buy a cheap fridge?

Everyone wants their money to go the farthest, so a cheap fridge can be an alluring prospect. Our survey found that Aussie households spend an average of just over $1,100 on new fridges.  This is pretty much smack bang in the middle of the fridge price range. Fridges can range anywhere from about $400, all the way up to and over $3,000 for the latest and greatest. However, cheap fridges can be the silent killer in your kitchen as far as your electricity bill is concerned.

A fridge’s cheap sticker price can be just the tip of the iceberg. Often, what you save in the initial outlay, you’ll pay for in energy inefficiency over time. Take the Midea 207L top-mount fridge for example. This fridge costs around $500 to buy, and you may think its fairly small capacity means lower electricity bills. Unfortunately you’d be mistaken because it consumes 380kWh annually and has a 2 star energy rating.

  • The annual power bill would equate to around $125, which is more than $30 more per year than the Electrolux model featured above
  • To break it down further, that equates to about 61c per litre of capacity for the Midea, versus a hint over 17c per litre for the Electrolux
  • This doesn’t count for any increases in electricity prices, and over time an increase in electricity prices could increase the consumption gulf between cheap and energy-efficient fridges

These are extreme examples, but it could help illustrate how you might be better off spending more on a greater capacity fridge that’s also energy-efficient. Not to mention, you can also expect pricier fridges to come with superior quality fittings and fixtures. As is the case with most other household appliances, you often get what you pay for. The trick is to find a quality product at a reasonable price.

Top Fridge Brands

In our customer ratings, Kelvinator was rated highest overall, but other brands also earned strong scores in specific areas. Let’s dive in and see what each brand in these ratings can offer you around the average Aussie consumer spend of $1,156.

Kelvinator

Kelvinator covers the most straightforward traditional top mount and bottom mount refrigerators. The range targets the most important parts of keeping your food and drinks cool through Aussie weather – this isn’t the brand to go to for expensive features such as automatic ice cube makers. This means that Kelvinator fridges stay well within a generally affordable price range. For example, the Kelvinator 453L bottom mount fridge has one of the brand’s highest fridge retail prices yet is still very close to average consumer spend on a new refrigerator, at $1,349. This model has glass shelves, LED lighting, FlexStor adjustable door bin storage, two full-width wire freezer baskets and one full-width crisper. Kelvinator has defeated several high-end brands to top this year’s ratings. Its fridges received an outstanding five stars for overall satisfaction and five stars across every ratings category.


Overall Satisfaction

Refrigerators

11 products available through Appliances Online

*^See important notes

Fisher & Paykel

Fisher & Paykel often stands out for its practical designs – notably its drawer appliances. As well as integrated fridges with pull-out drawers, the company also offers single fridge drawers to install into integrated cabinetry. The fridge range covers these as well as the full traditional range, from bar fridges up through to 614L French door fridges. An example of a mid-priced fridge from Fisher & Paykel is the 380L ActiveSmart top mount fridge, with a RRP of $1,149. This white-finish fridge has 97L of freezer space and 283L of fridge space, with LED internal lighting and electronic temperature controls. The Fisher & Paykel ActiveSmart system uses interior temperature sensors, independently-controlled fans, and air ducts controlled by a microprocessor to optimize cooling power. This involves adjusting the fan speed and compressor to compensate for changes such as frequent door opening or storing uncooled food. In this year’s ratings, Fisher & Paykel received a solid four stars for overall satisfaction as well as across most ratings categories, with the exception of an excellent five stars for fixture & fitting quality.


Overall Satisfaction

Refrigerators

59 products available through Appliances Online

*^See important notes

Haier

Haier covers every type of refrigerator on the market, with some of the more affordable options and a few venturing over the $2,000 price mark. Founded in China, the brand focuses on every day, affordable kitchen, laundry and home cooling necessities. The Haier 629L Side by Side Refrigerator is one of the more affordable side-by-side fridges available on the market. Both sides include five glass shelves, two drawers, four door bins, and a temperature setting indicator with automatic display. While it only has a 2 star energy rating, it does well for convenience especially for those who like a well-organized freezer as much as a well-organized fridge. In our ratings, Haier received a solid four stars for overall satisfaction and across most ratings categories, with a stand-out five star performance for fixture & fitting quality.


Overall Satisfaction

Refrigerators

29 products available through Appliances Online

*^See important notes

Hisense

Hisense is a relatively new brand on the consumer appliance market, but it covers every type of fridge, including bar fridges, pigeon paired standalone fridges and freezers, and French door types. The brand focuses mostly on the low to mid-price range but does venture into fridges priced over $2,000. Hisense also offers some unusual colours – apart from the trendy black finish, there are also red and orange bar fridges. An example of Hisense’s mid-range offerings is the 526L Top Mount Fridge SS, with a stainless steel exterior and handles. There’s also a handy display and controls on the front, to control the inside temperature and functions such as super freeze and super cool. Inside, the freezer has two door bins and a twist ice maker, while the fridge has two crisper bins, an egg tray and a wine rack. Both the fridge and freezer have adjustable safe glass shelves. The Hisense 526L Top Mount Fridge SS is available from a RRP of $1,199. Hisense was last year’s joint winner, but this year drops down from five to four stars for overall satisfaction, internal layout and food freshness. However, Hisense has retained its five stars for fixture & fitting quality and value for money, while improving from four to five stars for reliability.


Overall Satisfaction

Refrigerators

20 products available through Appliances Online

*^See important notes

LG

LG seems to prioritise energy efficiency across its broad range of refrigerators. Models range from small fridges suitable for one or two people, up to giant 730L units for those who love food and want to store a lot of it. The price range is equally broad, offering affordable sub-$800 models up through to big fancy units with big price tags. Looking at a more mid-range example, the LG 450L Bottom Mount Fridge has an impressive 4.5 star energy efficiency rating, as well as Smart Diagnosis which communicates with a smartphone app to troubleshoot and diagnose any problems. Inside, the fridge boasts tempered glass shelves with a retractable shelf to fit taller items. The freezer contains three plastic drawers and a twist ice maker. The RRP of this model is $1,449. This year, LG has been ousted from top spot in the rankings, after being a joint winner last year and standalone winner in 2015 for overall customer satisfaction. LG refrigerators received a solid four stars across the board.


Overall Satisfaction

Refrigerators

26 products available through Appliances Online

*^See important notes

Samsung

Perhaps best known for its mobile phones, Samsung also has a strong presence in the home appliances market. The brand covers a very wide range of price points, from truly entry-level options up to some very expensive, very high end appliances. This means that shoppers with any budget could reasonably consider buying a Samsung fridge. Around the middle of Samsung’s extensive range is this 458L Bottom Mount Refrigerator, with a 4 star energy efficiency ratings and RRP of $1,599.The stainless steel exterior features bar handles, while inside there are four tempered glass shelves, twist ice maker, wine rack and flip up shelf for fitting extra tall items. Samsung earned four stars for overall customer satisfaction and across all ratings categories except one – fixture & fitting quality, for which it achieved an outstanding five stars.


Overall Satisfaction

Refrigerators

28 products available through Appliances Online

*^See important notes

Westinghouse

Part of the Electrolux Group, Westinghouse is a long-standing Australian brand covering more of the family-focused part of the home appliances market, while also foraying into some $2,000+ fridges with extra features such as automatic ice makers. An example of a mid-range refrigerator from Westinghouse is the 460L Stainless Steel Top Mount, which features a twist ice maker, humidity controlled crisper with divider, egg tray, adjustable Spillsafe glass shelves, full width freezer door bin with divider and quick chill function. This fridge is available with a RRP of $1,399. In this year’s review, Westinghouse refrigerators received four stars for overall satisfaction as well as fixture & fitting quality, value for money, internal layout and style/external design. Outstanding results were had in terms of reliability and food freshness, achieving five stars in both.


Overall Satisfaction

Refrigerators

51 products available through Appliances Online

*^See important notes

Bosch

Bosch is a brand well-known for high-end household appliances, but it still offers a good range of more affordable refrigerators. One of the cheapest Bosch fridges around, the Bosch Serie 4 Frostfree, is priced close to the average spend on a new fridge. The 454L top-mount fridge has a 3.5 star energy rating, with a chill box, retractable glass shelf and two egg trays in the 330L fridge space and a twist ice maker in the 124L freezer section. A few special functions add extra control over your fridge’s performance, with the SuperFreezing function for making sure nothing defrosts when you bring the groceries home, plus the VitaFresh section in the fridge with a dry (meats and cheeses) and a moist (fruit and veg) crisper drawer, stacked vertically. The Serie 4 Frostfree 454L has a RRP $1,199. In this year’s review, Bosch rated three stars for overall customer satisfaction and across all other ratings categories.


Overall Satisfaction

Refrigerators

8 products available through Appliances Online

*^See important notes

Electrolux

Electrolux doesn’t really foray into the budget end of the refrigerators segment – you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything retailing for under a grand. Instead, Electrolux goes deep into the high-end market with its biggest and most expensive model a whopping 700L side-by-side fridge priced at over $5,000. One of the cheapest fridges still costs more than the average new fridge spend. The Electrolux 460L Top Mount Fridge, available in either left or right hand opening, has a RRP of $1,749. It has a mark resistant stainless steel exterior with bar handles. The 119L freezer includes a door bin and twist ice maker, while the 341L fridge compartment includes a deodorizer, full-width dairy compartment on top of the vegetable crisper and deodorizer. Eco mode and holiday mode can help manage energy usage, while the drinks chill alarm tells you when your beverages are cold. This fridge also stands out with its excellent 5 star energy rating, a relative rarity for fridges around this price range. Electrolux received three stars for overall satisfaction and most other categories in this year’s review, except for style/external design where it earned a solid four stars.


Overall Satisfaction

Refrigerators

13 products available through Appliances Online

*^See important notes

Keep your cool

There are many things to consider when buying a new fridge, with energy-efficiency high on the agenda for most. Not only is choosing an energy-efficient model cost-effective in the long run, it’s also kinder to the environment. Given that fridges need to be run 24 hours a day, it makes sense to choose the most energy-efficient model with your size and price requirements. You’ll also need to consider:

  • The features and what type of fridge works best for you and your home. If you have a bad back, do you really want a bottom-mount fridge?
  • Whether you need that second fridge or bar fridge – their costs can quickly add up. Also be wary of the energy running costs of cheap fridge.

Using these three methods can hopefully send you on the right track to buying the best fridge for you and your family. We hope you find our review helpful in your decision-making process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a new refrigerator in the last 3 years – in this case, 1,019 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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