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22 May 2019

Four reasons now could be the time to buy a new fridge

Energy efficiency and features to help minimise food waste are just some of the reasons why now's a great time to upgrade

Whether your fridge is on its last legs or you simply fancy an upgrade, there's never been a better time to get a fridge that fits perfectly with your lifestyle.

Go to our pick of the Best Buy fridges.

1. Energy efficiency is better

We've seen massive improvements in the energy efficiency of newer fridges, especially compared with models that are now 10-15 years old.

With a fridge being switched on around the clock, you can definitely reduce your energy consumption and save yourself a good few pounds each year by buying a newer energy-efficient model.

But although all new fridges must have an energy label rating of at least A+, we've found that models with the same energy label can cost different amounts to run each year.

Our rigorous expert testing calculates the true running costs of every fridge we review. In each of our reviews, you can see the estimated annual cost of running the fridge by clicking on the 'Tech specs' tab.

Check out our list of the top energy-saving fridges.

2. New features help reduce waste

Although a basic fridge can do a perfectly good job of keeping your food at the correct temperature, there are plenty of features that can make it easier to live with and potentially prolong the lifespan of your food.

Door alarms, super-cool settings and water dispensers have been around for a while, but now we're seeing fridges with a vacation mode that allows you to save energy when you go on holiday by reducing the amount of power your fridge is using - although, you'll need to empty it beforehand.

A child lock on the settings panel allows you to set and forget, without worrying about curious children tapping the buttons when your back is turned and sending the temperature inside soaring.

One of the more impressive developments in modern fridge design is the inclusion of separate compartments designed specifically for storing different food types.

A crisper drawer for storing fruits and vegetables has been fairly standard for some time, but many fridges now allow you to control the humidity level inside the drawer.

A lot of veg, particularly leafy greens and carrots, can maintain freshness for longer if stored in a higher humidity setting, while many fruits fare better in lower humidity.

By adjusting the level in one of these newer drawers you shouldn't find your spinach wilting after just two or three days.

You can also find fridges with compartments specifically designed for storing fish and meat. These usually sit at a temperature of 0°C and have different moisture levels to the rest of the fridge to enhance the lifespan of these items.

Find out about other features and lots more by reading our guide to buying the best fridge.

3. Some are more accurate at chilling

Older fridges were typically equipped with analogue thermostats. Often these were hard to reach dials that you'd need a tool or coin to turn, and it wasn't quite clear exactly what the numbers on them corresponded to. It all added up to a bit of a headache.

But many of the latest fridges have a digital thermostat or display, which makes them easier to program and should make them more accurate.

That said, we've found plenty of fridges where the manufacturer's recommended setting is unreliable or the temperature stability is poor. This means the contents of your fridge could be sitting at a much higher temperature than you think, causing your food to spoil that bit quicker.

We test for both these issues and publish the results in each of our fridge reviews.

4. Choose from a range of colours and designs

The growing popularity of silver, stainless-steel and black fridges means you no longer have to settle for a plain white box. For those keen to fill their kitchen with a bolder block of colour, manufacturers such as Smeg and Gorenje offer an array of options, including lime green, yellow, pastel blue and pink.

The choice extends far beyond that, though. Art fans can pick up a Mondrian-inspired fridge from Smeg (above left) or use the blackboard finish on the Miele KFN29233DBB to doodle their own pieces, while the fiercely patriotic can even pick up a Union Jack-branded model.

Money no object? You might consider hunting down one of the remaining one-of-a-kind fridges, hand-painted by Sicilian artists as part of a 2016 project between Dolce & Gabbana and Smeg, called Frigorifero d'Arte (Fridge of Art).

Check the backing before you buy

When you're buying a new fridge, do ask the retailer or double check what type of backing it has.

Older fridges are far more likely to have flammable plastic backing, meaning that in the event of a fridge fire - which are thankfully rare - flames could take hold of the appliance really quickly.

Metal or aluminum-laminate-backed fridges will keep such a fire localised for much longer, giving you time to get out safely.

The good news is that a new industry standard comes into effect in July this year and fridges built after this point will be required to have a flame-retardant backing.

Every fridge we've tested with metal or aluminium laminate backing is flame-retardant.

But it's worth noting that while manufacturers will have to stop making fridges with flammable plastic backing from July onwards, retailers could yet be given additional time to sell through existing stock (ie fridges with flammable backing).

You can use the backing checker on our fridge safety page before buying to confirm the backing of all the fridges we've reviewed.

Prices correct as of 20 May 2019.