You don’t need to splash out to get a fridge freezer that lasts. In fact, spending more can actually increase your chance of running into problems, according to new Which? research.
Of the 20 brands we’ve rated for reliability*, one of the cheapest brands earned a reliability score of 77%, despite its fridge freezers costing less than £350 on average.
The two most expensive brands we’ve rated – one of which makes models with an average cost of £1,273 – earned reliability scores of 74% and 76%.
And although the average cost of a model from the most reliable brand is more than £700, that’s partly because some pricey American fridge freezers push up the average. You can buy a freestanding fridge freezer from the same brand for less than £400.
Find out which are the most reliable fridge freezer brands for 2019.
Fridge freezer reliability
More than one in three fridge freezers from the least reliable brand develop a fault within just four years, despite consumers expecting a fridge freezer to last more than three times that long before becoming faulty.
But buy from a different brand and your odds improve dramatically. Five in six of the fridge freezers made by the most reliable brand will still be fault free after at least eight years.
No matter how much you want to spend on your next fridge freezer, always think about the lifetime cost rather than the initial outlay. That means taking into account the reliability the running costs of each model, as well as the brand’s reliability record.
Find out how to buy the best fridge freezer.
Are reliable brands the best at chilling and freezing?
A fridge freezer that will run like new for years to come isn’t much use if it wasn’t up to much to begin with.
Thankfully, that’s not the case if you buy from the most reliable fridge freezer brands. There are five brands that get a five-star rating for reliability and between them have 61 Which? Best Buy fridge freezers to choose from.
You can count on a Best Buy fridge freezer to maximise the freshness and flavour of your food without driving up your energy bills or being a pain to live with.
Meanwhile, many of the less reliable brands also have low average scores in our reviews, either because their fridge freezers often provide a poor home for your fresh and frozen food, or because we’ve docked their test scores due to safety concerns.
Fridge freezer safety
There are already lots of things to consider when buying a new fridge freezer, but on top of thinking about the reliability record of the brand and the performance and efficiency of the model, you also need to consider what the material at the back of the fridge freezer is made from.
While every fridge freezer available to buy in the UK meets current safety standards and the risk of a fridge freezer fire remains low, our tests have found that plastic fridge freezer backing can be highly flammable and can accelerate the spread of flames in the event of a fire in your home.
Every product that we’ve identified as having flammable plastic backing has been made a Don’t Buy and given a score of 0%, regardless of how well it performed in our chilling and freezing tests.
Products with flammable plastic backing will fail to meet new safety standards due to be introduced this year, so why would you opt for one when fridge freezers with flame-retardant backing are readily available at every price point.
Use our free backing checker tool to check the backing of a fridge freezer before you buy.
*We surveyed 3,871 Which? members between September and October 2018 to find out when their fridge freezer experienced a fault, what problems they encountered and how happy they are with their fridge freezer.