Not maintaining temperatures, blocked drains and outlets, and a build-up of ice in the fridge or freezer are some of the most common fridge freezer faults, according to our annual survey of owners.
We also found some of these faults you told us about, such as a broken compressor or a faulty control panel, can be more common in some fridge freezer brands than others.
Knowing which brands develop the most faults, and how quickly, is vital when you're buying a new fridge freezer. So we asked more than 12,000 Which? members and 5,000 members of the public to tell us whether they're happy with their fridge freezer and if they've experienced any problems.
Our survey data takes into account which fridge freezers had faults reported, and whether they needed to be repaired or replaced as a result.
We've crunched the numbers for the biggest fridge freezer manufacturers – including Beko, Hotpoint, Indesit, John Lewis, LG and Samsung – and have calculated a customer score and estimated lifespan for each, so you know which brands are recommended by owners.
The table below summarises this year's results, based on fridge freezers bought in the past seven years. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which reflects customers' level of satisfaction and whether they would recommend each brand.
The 'proportion faulty' is the percentage that experienced a fault, and the 'proportion repaired or replaced' is the percentage of fridge freezers that were fixed or thrown away due to a fault.
|Brand||Customer score||Proportion faulty in the first seven years||Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault|
As the table below shows, there's a sizeable difference of 23% between those brands with the best (85%) and worst (62%) customer score. While there's not much different for the proportion repaired, the proportion faulty in the first seven years is double for the worst brand when compared with the best. So it pays to shop wisely, to help avoid dealing with problems.
|Proportion faulty in first seven years||5%||20%|
|Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault||0%||16%|
Despite the fact a fridge freezer is plugged in 24-hours a day, seven days a week, you should still expect it to last way beyond seven years. But we've found that for some brands as many as around one in six need to be repaired or replaced in that time.
There is also a big difference between how reliable the best and the worst brands are, as you can see below. The brand with the most faults had 16% of its appliances repaired or replaced due to a fault, where as one brand had none.
In 2021 we introduced Eco Buys to the fridge freezer category. To become an Eco Buy, a fridge freezer must be both energy efficient and do well at cooling and freezing. If a brand has more than 10% of its appliances repaired or replaced in the first seven years, then none are eligible to be awarded an Eco Buy.
|Brand||Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault|
|Average for all fridge freezers||7%|
We've pulled together our reliability data, customer insight and their average performance in our independent fridge freezer tests to give you an in-depth look at each brand.
Already know which fridge freezer brand you want? Use these links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model for each brand:
Taking good care of your fridge freezer – cleaning it regularly for example – could help you to avoid the three most common fridge freezer faults.
Ice build-up was a big issue for both the fridge sections (12%) and freezer sections (7%) of the fridge freezers included in our survey. This issue can sometimes be caused by a torn or warped door seal, which lets warm air into the fridge or freezer. This creates condensation and then frost builds up. Replacement seals are widely available and it's a relatively simple problem to fix yourself.
Another simple check is to see if your thermostat isn't set too low. This can sometimes cause ice inside your fridge to build up.
Ice build-up can also be caused by a more complex issue, such as a problem with the thermostat. If this is the case, you'll need the help of a professional to fix it.
This can be a real pain to fix as there are several reasons why a fridge or freezer may not be maintaining the correct temperature, with some issues more easily fixed than others.
If your fridge or freezer isn't staying cold, first check the thermostat hasn't been accidentally moved to a warmer setting (this can easily happen when you load food into it). Check for any obstructions or damage around the hinges and seals which could be letting in warm air.
Another place to check is the condenser coils at the back of the appliance. A build-up of dust on these can prevent a fridge or freezer from cooling properly. A good clean might help them to work more efficiently.
Always check your instructions for any other troubleshooting tips, but if these simple checks don't solve the problem then it might be something more complex. Issues with the compressor, thermostat or refrigerant gas are potential areas that could be the cause, so it's probably time to call in an expert appliance repairer.
While frustrating and annoying, this is one issue that's really simple to fix. Check the drain hole at the back of your fridge isn't blocked. There's usually a little plastic rod to poke through any debris or mould which can grow over the drain hole. This issue can also be prevented by regular cleaning.
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Which? has a wealth of information on Britain's favourite appliance brands. Every year we ask Which? members to tell us about the home appliances they own – from how likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once they get them home. This year more than 12,000 Which? Connect Panel members and more than 5,000 members of the public told us about more than 75,000 individual products. We calculate a brand's customer score, fault rate and proportion replaced or repaired based on the results of our annual survey.
Our surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best fridge freezers you should buy.