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Appliance meltdown: can your fridge freezer cope with the summer heatwave?

Our tests reveal fridge freezers that could be putting your food at risk in warm conditions

Appliance meltdown: can your fridge freezer cope with the summer heatwave?

Chances are you’ll be counting on your fridge freezer in this warm weather to keep beer and wine nicely chilled, and make sure that tempting tub of ice cream is perfectly icy. 

But if the beers are a tad more tepid than you’d hoped and the ice cream a little soft, it might be time for a new fridge freezer.

We’ve just published new reviews of 15 of the latest popular fridge freezers and found that some are better than others at maintaining a stable temperature when the temperature in your kitchen rises to 30°C – as it did this weekend.

Among all the fridge freezers we’ve reviewed, we’ve found more than 100 that struggle to keep food safely chilled when the room heats up.

The warmer the temperature in the fridge gets, the more likely it is that heat-loving bacteria will thrive. So, if you own one of these, you need to be extra careful with any meat for the barbecue and you should consider buying a fridge thermometer to be safe.


See our full list of Best Buy fridge freezers


Fridge freezers to beat the heat

Man standing at an open fridge freezer

Better yet, you should buy a fridge freezer that can stick to a safe and steady temperature in these conditions. A good spread of models in our recent tests excelled when we simulated the effects of a heatwave – and four of them were also good enough in our other tests to be Best Buys.

The three models we’ve picked below all earn top marks when it comes to keeping a steady temperature in warm rooms.

But you’ll need to read our full reviews to find out how well they performed in the rest of our tests, including our crucial chilling and freezing speed tests.

Candy CSC1365BEN fridge freezer, £249

Candy CSC1365BEN fridge freezer

The cheapest fridge freezer from our recent tests, this Candy is light on additional features, but if it can chill and freeze quickly without driving up your energy bills it could be a genuine summer bargain.

Read our full review of the Candy CSC1365BEN fridge freezer to see how it performed in the rest of our tests.

Samsung RF23R62E3SR fridge freezer, £1,607

Samsung RF23R62E3SR fridge freezer

This large, multidoor fridge freezer has room for plenty of shopping, and you can rest assured that all that food will stay cool even during the hottest points of summer. It’s pricey, but you do get a frost-free freezer, super-cool and fast-freeze functions, open-door warning alarms, and an ice and water dispenser in the door.

Read our Samsung RF23R62E3SR fridge freezer review to see if it’s as good an appliance as it seems.

Zanussi ZNLN14FS fridge freezer, £539

Zanussi ZNLN14FS fridge freezer

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced integrated fridge freezer, this model from Zanussi could be a good bet. It’s low-frost rather than frost-free, but it does have a fridge door alarm and a fast-freeze setting. You can count on it to keep your food safely chilled and frozen during a heatwave, but is it as good when the temperature in your kitchen plummets on a cold night?

Read our full Zanussi ZNLN14FS fridge freezer review to find out.

Fridge freezer temperature graphic

The worst offenders

In the past year, we’ve seen several fridge freezers that are among the worst when it comes to coping with warm weather conditions.

When we simulated a warm room, we measured temperatures of more than 10°C in one appliance’s fridge’s door racks, while in another, we measured temperatures that were higher than the maximum recommended 5°C in every part of the fridge.

One fridge we tested got twice as warm as the maximum safe temperature recommended by the Food Standards Agency.

These fridge freezers might have been perfectly decent fridge freezers in other respects, but since temperature stability is extremely important in hot weather, appliances that don’t perform well in these crucial tests are marked down in our ratings.

See our Don’t Buy fridge freezers for the models to avoid.

Which? fridge freezer reviews

Follow the links below to find out how the other 12 fridge freezers fared in our recent tests.

American-style fridge freezers

Hotpoint HQ9 U1BL UK – £1,200
Hotpoint HQ9I MO1L UK – £1,840

Freestanding fridge freezers

Bosch KGV36VWEAG – £479
Haier HDR5719FWMP – £550
Ikea UPPKALLA (104.948.50) – £399
Samsung RB38T655DS9 – £699
Siemens KG36VVIEA – £749
Zanussi ZTAN24FW0 – £369

Integrated fridge freezers

John Lewis JLBIFF73191 – £679
Neff KI5872SF0G – £700
Siemens KI86VVFF0G – £779
Fridgemaster MBC54260F – £339

Our fridge freezer tests

All fridge freezers have a climate class indicating what room temperatures it’s suitable for. Every model in the UK has been designed to work in room temperatures of at least 32°C.

So, as part of our extensive chilling and freezing tests, we bump up the temperature in our test chamber to a toasty 32°C.

To really impress us, the temperature in both fridge and freezer needs to fluctuate by less than half a degree in these conditions, but many don’t come close.

Compare the temperature stability for top brands in our fridge freezer reviews.

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