Use our checker below to find out whether a fridge freezer, fridge or freezer is a model we’ve identified as a potential fire risk.
Our research has revealed that plastic backing present on some fridge freezers, fridges and freezers can dramatically accelerate the spread of flames in the event of a fire.
We are therefore not recommending any models with plastic backing.
Find out more about refrigerator safety.
As long as we’ve reviewed the product in recent years and have information on the backing, it will be in our database. We can’t test everything, though, so if you can’t find information on your model, we recommend contacting the manufacturer.
If for any reason you can’t see our tool above, you can check on all our Don’t Buy fridges, Don’t Buy freezers and Don’t Buy fridge freezers. All plastic-backed fridge freezers, fridges and freezers currently on sale and reviewed on our website have been made Which? Don’t Buys for safety reasons, regardless of how else they performed in our chilling and freezing tests.
If you still can’t find the model you’re looking for, we suggest that you contact the manufacturer, as it is difficult to tell just by looking whether your refrigeration appliance has a plastic back or not.
Risk of fire is low
Consumers who already own a freezer, fridge or fridge freezer with a plastic back should be reassured that the likelihood of a refrigerator fire is very low. Our March 2018 research, analysing government fire data, found that only 8% of fires caused by faulty household appliances were caused by fridge freezers, fridges or freezers. And the material used in the backing allows an existing fire to spread – it isn’t the cause of fire itself.
10 tips to minimise the fire risk
There are several other key things you can do to minimise the risk of fire in your kitchen. Make sure you take the following precautionary steps:
- Refer to your appliance manual to ensure recommended distances are kept between your refrigeration appliance and the wall, and ensure there are no other obstructions that could restrict airflow.
- Make sure vents are not blocked and the area around your appliances are kept clean to prevent the build up of dust and grease.
- Plug your refrigeration appliance directly into the wall, rather than using an extension lead, and ensure the sockets aren’t overloaded with too many plugs.
- If your white goods start making a strange noise, don’t ignore it. If you suspect there might be a problem, always unplug it and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician. Don’t be tempted to put that freezer in the hallway – if a fire does break out in your home, you need all escape routes to be clear.
- Fit smoke alarms. White goods are often left switched on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so a smoke alarm will wake you up if a fire develops while you’re sleeping. You should fit a minimum of one smoke alarm per floor and fit enough alarms to cover all areas where a fire could potentially start, making sure they are tested regularly.
- Fit a heat alarm in your kitchen. This will give you early warning of an increase in temperature caused by fire but won’t be set off by cooking fumes.
- Register your appliance. By doing so, you’ll be informed if the manufacturers identify any issues with the product you have bought.
- Refrigerant used in fridges, freezers and fridge freezers to extract the heat from the device. In modern appliances, it’s used in very small quantities, but it’s highly flammable, so needs to be treated with care. With this in mind, be careful when transporting a refrigerator and don’t plug it in if it looks damaged in any way.
- To reduce risk of refrigerant leaks, don’t defrost your refrigerator using anything sharp.
- Be careful if you’re thinking about using a big refrigerator in a small room. In a small room with a big refrigerator, the proportion of refrigerant to normal air could get too high in the unlikely event of a leak, so will make the air more flammable. Common advice is 1 cubic metre of space for every 8g of refrigerant used in the appliance. The amount of refrigerant can be found on your refrigerator’s rating plate. Your manual will tell you where to find the rating plate.
Demand action on dangerous products
Which? is now calling on manufacturers to make product safety a priority and immediately stop making and selling refrigeration products with plastic backing.
The government must also urgently set out an action plan for the Office for Product Safety and Standards to stop potentially unsafe products reaching consumers’ homes in future.
Dangerous products in Britain’s homes are putting millions of people at risk. Enough is enough. The UK’s product safety regime needs urgent reform to protect our families and friends.
Sign our petition and take a stand against unsafe products.