Energy labels explained Fridge and freezer energy labels

Energy label

New fridges, freezers and fridge freezers have A+, A++ or A+++ energy labels

After central heating, refrigeration appliances are the biggest energy-guzzlers in your home because they run all the time. Buying an energy-efficient fridge, freezer or fridge freezer can help you to slash your energy bills. 

Read our guide on how to buy the best fridge freezer to make sure you pick an energy-efficient appliance.

Fridge and freezer energy labels 

Under EU legislation, every new fridge, freezer and fridge freezer sold in the UK must have an energy label (pictured right) that gives its energy rating. Since 1 July 2012, all new models must have a rating of A+, A++ or A+++. Retailers can still sell stocks of older models so you may still see A or B rated fridges or freezers in the shops.

If you bought your refrigerator before July 2012 it could have an A rating, and if it was made before September 1999 it could be rated anything from A to G, with a much higher energy use than is allowed today.

The new labels also show information on storage volume (in litres), frozen storage volume (in litres) and noise level (in decibels).

How the EU energy ratings are calculated

EU energy ratings are determined using an index which compares energy consumption with the appliance’s internal volume, to show how efficient it is for its size. This means two different-sized fridges, for example, could still carry the same energy rating.

Energy consumption is measured with the outside room temperature at 25°C and when the fridge and/or freezer is partly full, to simulate how the appliance is used. Internal volume is measured with all of the drawers, shelves, trays and any water dispenser in place.

Which? reveals how much a fridge or freezer will add to your yearly energy bill

How Which? tests fridge and freezer efficiency

Energy ratings give a good indication of which fridges, freezers and fridge freezers are more efficient than others, but they won't tell you how much they will cost you to run. 

So you can see exactly how much an appliance will add to your yearly energy bill, we calculate our own running costs. This is based on the amount of energy it uses in our tests and average electricity prices.

We also measure inside volume with all of the shelves, drawers, trays and door racks in place – because we think this gives a more realistic idea of how much space each model actually offers for storing groceries. We find big differences between our measurements and manufacturers’ claimed capacities - the actual amount of storage space can be as much as 25% less.

To reveal whether an appliance is efficient or not, we rate energy use, based on the amount of energy it uses to power the useable storage space inside.

In each of our fridge, freezer and fridge freezer product reviews you'll find both the energy use rating and our calculated running costs. We've tested 100s of the latest refrigeration products on the market.

Fridge and freezer energy costs

You may expect models rated A++ to cost significantly less to run than those rated A+, but in reality the difference can amount to a few pounds. In fact, we find some some models with higher ratings can actually cost more to run, like these two similarly sized models:

Fridge freezer running costs compared
BrandModelEnergy ratingTotal volumeAnnual running costs
John LewisJLFFW1815A+265 litres£48
HotpointFFUL2023PA++262 litres£52

To help you work out the true price of an appliances, we've developed energy costs calculators for fridges, freezers and fridge freezers. You can use these tools to compare what models cost to power over their lifetime, and weigh up running costs against the purchase price to see which are best value overall. 

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