Best fridge freezer 2019: Make your food last longer

Alongside the vacuum cleaner and washing machine, the fridge freezer is one of those appliances that you simply can’t live without. In use every single day, getting the right fridge freezer is an incredibly important choice, so you can store the amount of food you need and make sure that it will last as long as possible. 

Making the right choice isn’t quite as easy as it may seem at the start of your journey, but we’re here to help. There are tonnes of models to choose from, with loads of different combinations and unique features (not to mention more technical terms than you can find in a rocket manual) to help confuse things. That’s where we come in with our definitive guide and roundup to the best fridge freezers.

Our guide to the best fridge freezer covers both 60cm-wide (a standard model) and side-by-side (thin, larger American-style) models. Out of all the models we’ve tested, two stand out. If you want generous capacity without in a unit that doesn’t protrude past your counter-top, go with the combination Whirlpool SW8 AM2C XARL/UW8 F2C XLSB. The Hisense RB335N4WG1 is a great budget buy and is only 55cm wide.

How we choose the best fridge freezers

We put all fridge freezers through the same meticulous tests to ensure that real-life performance actually matches the claims.

With each model we follow a 48-hour bedding in procedure, during which time we plumb in any water-cooling or ice-making features and allow temperatures to settle.

We then load up the fridge freezer with a set amount of food in both the fridge and freezer sections, and track the temperatures in multiple areas over the following two days. We even hold the doors open at regular intervals to simulate typical usage.

For every 10 litres of claimed space in the fridge compartment, we load 0.5kg of food; for each 10 litres of space in the freezer, we add 1kg of food. We also add a 2-litre open container of water to the freezer, in which we embed a temperature probe.

Along the way, we also track total power usage and noise levels. Finally, we simulate a power cut by turning the fridge freezer off for three hours and tracking the subsequent temperature rise, which indicates how well-insulated the unit is.

1. Whirlpool SW8 AM2C XARL/UW8 F2C XLSB

The perfect high-capacity combination for UK kitchens

Whirlpool UW8 F2C XLSB

 

Pros:

  • Huge chilling capacity
  • Neat, near-flush fit
  • Outstandingly even cooling

Cons:

  • Upper shelves shaded from light
  • A little noisier than claimed

Most fridge freezers are rather large beasts that stick out past your counter-tops. Whirlpool has a better option with the combination of the SW8 AM2C XARL fridge and UW8 F2C XLSB freezer. Both parts are available separately, and measure just 60cm deep.

From its stunning fit and finish to its consistent cooling throughout, Whirlpool’s SW8 range is an impressive fridge and freezer.

The end result is a spacious fridge and freezer that offers huge capacity, consistent cooling, some of the lowest running costs around – alongside a wonderfully intelligently designed interior. It may not benefit from any of the smart features currently in vogue, but for less than £700 for each unit, you’re unlikely to do better.

2. Hisense RB335N4WG1

A comparatively small and well-priced fridge freezer

Hi-Sense RB335N4WG1

Pros:

  • Lush lacquered-steel finish
  • Chilled water on tap
  • Even cooling throughout
  • Easy-access freezer shelf

Cons:

  • Fridge may need extra shelf
  • Water reservoir only 2.1 litres
  • Average fail test result

A luxury steel-effect finish and a water chiller in the door make the Hisense RB335N4WG1 appear luxurious at first sight. It should fit will into most kitchens, too, since it’s just 55cm wide. At just 2.1 litres, the water chiller won’t last long in hot weather, but it’s nice to see the option on a fridge freezer this cheap. It’s easy to refill, too, using the filler cap.

The main fridge has three shelves and a bottle rack. A decent-sized salad drawer and wide bins make storage of large items easy. There’s little in the way of clever or fancy storage options, though. The 9-litre freezer is a bit more rudimentary but provides four storage areas.

Consistent cooling across the board are good to see. The only area where the fridge freezer was slightly deficient was in our fail test, warming up faster than some of the competition. That can be forgiven given the Hisense RB335N4WG1’s excellent build quality and low price.

3. Bertazzoni REF90X

A luxurious, Italian four-door fridge freezer with great cooling, versatile storage and sumptuous style

Bertazzoni REF90X

 

Pros:

  • Stunning good-looks and build quality
  • Versatile fridge storage
  • Excellent LED fridge lighting
  • Stable temperatures

Cons:

  • A little noisy at 43dB
  • Ineffective freezer lighting

The Bertazzoni REF90X is staggeringly expensive, but don’t let that put you off quite yet – it’s also one of the best fridge freezers we’ve tested. It has an enormous 400-litre-plus fridge capacity, versatile shelving and storage, and a lush stainless-steel finish.

There’s nothing you can’t fit into the fridge, with the split-shelf design providing a huge degree of flexibility. Spacious freezer drawers provide ample room for your food items, but the position of the LED lighting makes it hard to see into the bottom drawers.

The REF90X tests very well, keeps temperatures stable and won’t cost a fortune to run. It isn’t the quietest four-door we’ve tested, and the door pockets are arguably too big. Yet for practicality with panache, the Bertazzoni REF90X is a great choice.

4. LG GSX961NSAZ

A stunning fridge freezer with the excellent InstaView door

LG GSX961NSAZ

Pros:

  • Enormous fridge space
  • Stunning InstaView door
  • Decent-sized water reservoir
  • Practical storage furniture

Cons:

  • Expensive

It’s not often that you find a fridge freezer brimming with the latest tech, but the LG GSX961NSAZ is one of the smartest models we’ve tested. The stand-out feature is the InstaView door. Just knock twice on this and the light goes on inside, allowing you to view the contents without opening the door. It might be a touch gimmicky, but we couldn’t resist using the feature.

And, by looking through the door it means you’re not letting cold air escape, saving energy, too. The main door opens in two parts: as normal, and just the outer section, so you can pull out items in the door pockets. The latter helps save energy, too. The LG ThinQ app allows you to check and set temperatures from your phone.

As well as all the tech, the LG GSX961NSAZ is an excellent fridge freezer. It offers generous capacity, customisable storage and incredibly low running costs. It’s a great side-by-side fridge freezer.

5. Hotpoint Day 1 Active Quattro HQ9 E1L

A huge-capacity, American-style fridge freezer at a great price

Hotpoint Day 1 Active Quattro HQ9 E1L

Pros:

  • Massive fridge and freezer capacity
  • Exceptionally fast and stable cooling
  • Easy-to-reach touch controls

Cons:

  • No water/ice dispenser
  • Door pockets a bit too large
  • No lights in freezer

Sometimes you just need a fridge freezer with a tonne of space. In which case, you need the Hotpoint Day 1 Active Quattro HQ9 E1L. Part of the reason for the huge capacity is the lack of the water/ice dispenser; something we can easily forgive. Besides, you can always use a traditional ice-cube tray.

Gorgeous to look at, the Hotpoint Day 1 Active Quattro HQ9 E1L offers hugely flexible storage space. The entire top section is 384 litres of fridge space with six massive door pockets, three shelves and two large drawers. The 207-litre freezer is split into two, with three compartments per side: a move that helps reduce wastage when you open the doors. Some freezer lighting would have been nice, though.

If you want a largely no-frills fridge-freezer combination with tonnes of storage space and incredibly stable temperatures, this is the model for you.

Samsung RB37J5018SA

Huge capacity and outstanding cooling performance more than justify the cost

Samsung RB37J5018SA

Pros:

  • Outstanding technical performance
  • Even and consistent temperatures
  • Ideal Fresh Zone drawer

Cons:

  • Salad drawer difficult to remove
  • High-up controls

It’s a touch expensive for what you get, but the Samsung RB37J5018SA is well built, offers excellent performance as well as plenty of storage space for a 60cm-wide fridge freezer.

Fridge space comprises three shelves, a bottle rack, two salad drawers and big drawer pockets. You’ll find it hard to get more space in the fridge without upgrading to a far larger side-by-side model. Annoyingly, the salad drawer catches on the fridge door, making it awkward to open. Freezer space is a little more compact, but you still get three drawers, which should be sufficient for most families.

Fridge temperatures and cooling consistency are faultless, the Fresh Zone meat and fish drawer is perfect, and its running noise so quiet you won’t hear it. It lacks a few features – such as split shelves, roller drawers, and a freezer light – from Samsung’s flagship Chef Collection models, but it’s cheaper. With such great performance and low running costs, we can live with those minor gripes.

Those were our picks of the best fridge freezers. For more information on how to choose a model keep reading.

Fridge freezer buying guide

What type of fridge freezer do you need? Fridge freezers come in multiple types. A traditional 60cm fridge freezer takes up the minimum amount of space and stacks the fridge on top of the freezer. A side-by-side model (also known as American style) have the fridge and freezer next to each other. You typically get a lot of space, but watch out for the overall size, since the latter models can be very deep.

Finally, there are multi-door models, which typically have two doors at the top for the fridge section, giving you a massive cavern for storage. The freezer section sits beneath, in the form of drawers or compartments behind doors. Again, consider the overall size, as many models are very large.

Do I need an ice or water dispenser? If you want cold filtered water then a water dispenser can be a good option. Many models have a water reservoir that you tap up, with the bigger the better. Look out for a plumbed model if you don’t want to have to top-up. If you want ice on tap, look for a model that has an ice dispenser. A plumbed model provides greater flexibility.

Be aware that both water and ice dispensers take up a fair amount of room, so question whether you’d rather have more storage space or the convenience of water or ice on tap.

What else should I look for? Clever storage can be helpful, letting you fit in what you need. Split shelves can fold back, so you can stand up taller items in the are beneath. A bottle rack helps keep your wine or soft drinks out of the way. Multiple salad drawers can help you separate your items for the best storage. Door pockets are essential, but make sure they’re big enough for the items you want to store.

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