Fridges are used to cool perishable foods and keep them fresh. But they should also be as low-maintenance as possible, flexible and energy-efficient. Price also plays a role. Test winners and recommendations from the editors – GIGA presents the best refrigerators 2020 in different sizes with and without a freezer compartment.
The best refrigerators 2020 in the test: content
The best refrigerators: overview
|Price-performance winner, without a cooling compartment||Exquisite KS 325-4||approx. 250 euros||Alternate|
|Test winner Stiftung Warentest||Bosch KSV36AI4P||approx. 830 euros||Amazon|
|The best refrigerator for drinks||Klarstein Beersafe L||approx. 220 euros||Amazon|
|The best large fridge freezer||Gorenje ORB 153||approx. 775 euros||Amazon|
|The best little fridge freezer||Liebherr TP 1434-21||approx. 330 euros||Alternate|
Note: In this overview we cover refrigerators with and without a freezer compartment in the interior. If your looking for one Fridge with separate freezer compartment read our overview article “The best fridge-freezers 2020 put to the test”.
Price-performance winner, without freezer compartment: Exquisit KS 325-4
Of the Exquisite KS 325-4 is an inexpensive refrigerator without a freezer compartment. Despite its comparably low price of less than 250 euros, it has the energy efficiency class A ++, which will have a positive effect on the electricity bill. The floor-standing device from Exquisit is perfect for singles and two-person households who do not require any additional functions. It is also ideally suited as a second refrigerator or as a supplement to a freezer.
The capacity of 240 liters is more than sufficient and very good for the price. Only the height adjustment is cumbersome and hardly manageable alone, since the refrigerator has to be lifted for it.
- Lots of space for a small price
- Quiet operation
- Energy efficiency class A ++
- Flexible set-up thanks to changeable door hinges
- No freezer
- Height adjustment difficult to adjust
Test winner Stiftung Warentest: Bosch KSV36AI4P
The test winner in the refrigerator test by Stiftung Warentest and at the same time the most expensive device in our recommendations is the Bosch KSV36AI4P. It has earned its place at the top with its excellent cooling performance, stable cooling temperature, high energy efficiency and low operating volume. It has a lot of interior space in which large families and shared apartments can store their groceries cool and without space problems.
The shelves in the door, which are only supported by smaller plastic brackets and can withstand little stress, attracted negative attention. If one of the upper shelves breaks, a domino effect can occur, in which the upper shelf also takes away and damages the lower ones. Bosch can have the spare parts paid for up to 30 euros per compartment. Nevertheless, the Bosch refrigerator passed the Stiftung Warentest test with a dream score of 1.3 “very good”.
- Temperature control via LC display on the outside of the device
- Multi-zone division
- Automatic defrost
- Elegant design with fingerprint protection on the front
- Energy efficiency class: A +++
- Door shelves can only withstand low loads
- Partly loud with irregular noises
The best fridge for drinks: Klarstein Beersafe L
There are drinks refrigerators with different specializations – from special devices for wine to hotel minibars to kiosk devices in the design of well-known beverage brands. We limit ourselves to the most common use case: an inexpensive, compact refrigerator that can be used in summer as an additional space for drinks, for example in a holiday apartment, or as a minibar for party rooms.
Here we were won over by the Klarstein Beersafe L, which of course, despite its name, is not suitable for “cold barley dishes”. The beverage cooler cools in five stages from 0 to 15 ° C target temperature and with 47 liters of interior space offers enough space for the bottles of an entire beer crate – but there are also other device variants with more or less space available.
The Klarstein Beersafe L has an energy efficiency class of “only” A +, which is standard in this device category. The sliding metal inserts are practical. The look is pleasing thanks to the transparent glass door with stainless steel frame and switchable LED lighting, but the cooling process is quite loud. With a weight of just under 20 kg, it weighs about as much as a full beer crate and can be easily transported from A to B.
- partly loud
- Energy efficiency class only A +
The best large refrigerator with freezer: Gorenje ORB 153
Thanks to its large volume of 254 liters and a height of 1.54 m, the Gorenje ORB 153 is only suitable as a main refrigerator if you don’t need more than a small freezer compartment – otherwise a fridge-freezer combination is better.
Opinions may differ on the retro design, but the free-standing refrigerator in its 50s look is definitely an eye-catcher. Singles, couples and small families should have a lot of fun with the Gorenje ORB 153 and above all enough cooling space. Another plus point is the very low power consumption. By the way: Any letter combinations in the type designation indicated the color and direction of opening of the door, the ORB 153 C-L, for example, is the champagne / beige model with a left-opening door.
The relatively high operating volume and the multi-zone cooling compartment that cannot be set separately are shortcomings that slightly tarnish the overall picture. The refrigerator compartment has no fixed temperature and is always around 3 ° C below the general internal temperature. Vegetables still benefit from the low humidity and stay fresher than without a separate compartment. In view of the high price, there are no comfort functions such as NoFrost and a door alarm.
- Multi-zone refrigerator compartment
- Storage for large bottles
- good value for money
- Energy efficiency class A +++
- Retro design in different colors
- Relatively loud
- The curved surface at the top is not suitable as a shelf
- No NoFrost
- No door alarm
The best small refrigerator with freezer: Liebherr TP 1434-21
If you live in a single or two-person household and value good energy efficiency, you can do so with the 85 cm high Liebherr TP 1434-21 nothing wrong with EEK A +++. With a maximum volume of 39 db, the refrigerator is audible, but not too loud. The safety glass inside can also handle minor mishaps without breaking.
The Liebherr can be set up flexibly thanks to the interchangeable door hinge. In quick freeze mode, food can be cooled down more quickly. The function is particularly useful for people who rarely use the freezer compartment.
- energy efficient
- Safety glass inside
- Quick freeze mode
- good value for money
- no zoning
- no NoFrost
The best refrigerators: this is how we chose
We obtained the data for our test from refrigerator tests by Stiftung Warentest. We have also researched ourselves and incorporated user experience from the Internet into our consultant.
Do I need a fridge-freezer, a fridge-freezer or a separate chest?
A single or two-person household can get along well with a refrigerator with an integrated freezer compartment if not too many supplies are to be stored frozen. A family or small flat share should rather use a fridge-freezer combination. Although these consume a little more electricity than refrigerators with freezer compartments, they also offer considerably more storage space.
On the other hand, a freezer used in addition to the refrigerator generates particularly high electricity costs – using two large electrical appliances in parallel is neither energy nor cost-efficient. In addition, the requirements for the parking space are significantly higher, which not every kitchen can cope with. If you have a lot of space and need a refrigerator, you should consider buying a side-by-side refrigerator, which we also cover in our advisor “The best refrigerator-freezer combinations in the test”.
Fridges with freezer and fridge-freezer combinations are also available in the built-in version, which can be easily integrated into the kitchen unit.
How important is energy efficiency and which classes are there?
As a rule, refrigerators are not “temporary companions”, but have an average service life of 15 years. This means that a higher investment in the purchase of an energy-efficient and durable device will pay off in the medium term. In addition, because they are constantly active and work according to the heat exchange principle, refrigerators are generally one of the largest power guzzlers in the household. Compared to modern devices, ancient devices with low energy efficiency cost hundreds or even thousands of euros more in electricity costs during their lifetime. This is where the 7 common energy efficiency classes (EEK) come into play.
In the following list we show you what classes there are and what they mean.
- A +++ is the highest current energy efficiency class and distinguishes the most energy-saving and energy-efficient devices currently on the market. With every plus after the A, you save 25 to 30 percent of energy consumption compared to devices in the next lower class. These devices are often more expensive to buy and cheaper to maintain. They are also more environmentally friendly than all devices in the lower energy efficiency classes.
- A ++ is the second highest energy efficiency class. It has become the standard and distinguishes most refrigerators. There is a wide range of devices on the market that are marked with A ++.
- A + Although they also have a 25 percent lower power consumption than devices of class A. In the long term, devices of the two higher classes are more worthwhile – for devices that do not become all year round, such as beverage refrigerators, this may be negligible.
- A was introduced as an energy efficiency class back in 1998 and are already considered to be power guzzlers. They are no longer up-to-date and are rarely available.
- Energy efficiency class refrigerators B, C or D cause high annual electricity costs. In terms of sustainability, but also cost considerations, such devices are generally not recommended.
Schnellfrost, NoFrost, Supercool: Which functions do I really need?
Rule of thumb: The more money you invest in a refrigerator, the more functions you can expect. But which ones do you really need? In the following we explain to you which functions are useful for whom and what they do:
Fast freeze, super freeze or fast freeze mode
Three names, one process: In practice, the quick freeze mode is often activated by pressing a button on the device and quickly ensures icy temperatures of up to minus 32 degrees in the freezer. Rapid freeze enables food to be frozen faster by deactivating the integrated thermostat and maximizing the use of the compressor and cooling system. If the freezer is already filled with frozen food, the super freeze function is practically meaningless, as the temperature in the refrigerator is very low anyway. So if you have frozen food in the freezer a lot and only add a small amount by shopping, you don’t need the super freeze mode.
LowFrost, NoFrost, automatic defrost function
Every time the freezer door is opened, warm room air penetrates. It condenses and turns to ice. This in turn increases the power requirement enormously and in some cases even hinders the operation of drawers. Fridges without LowFrost or NoFrost function have to be defrosted up to twice a year. The contents should be put in a cooler bag or on a balcony in case of frost and should remain there until the device is back to operating temperature.
NoFrost and LowFrost technologies eliminate the condensing liquid on its own, at least to some extent. The automatic defrost function is a separate technology, but it is often installed in combination with NoFrost / LowFrost. Here, the resulting ice is melted by regular partial heating and collected externally. This does not make defrosting completely unnecessary, but you have to do this much less frequently.
With NoFrost / LowFrost and automatic defrosting, the energy requirement increases somewhat in day-to-day operation, but this can be neglected with today’s devices, because the energy loss due to the efficiency gain in cooling is offset by less ice formation. Our recommendation: If the budget allows it, you should rely on a refrigerator with NoFrost / LowFrost and automatic defrosting.
With an acoustic signal, an alarm function helps to detect open refrigerator and freezer compartment doors at an early stage. Open doors allow cold to escape, which the refrigerator has to produce again with significantly higher electricity requirements. Children in particular often tend to unintentionally not close refrigerator doors completely. This function is particularly suitable for families with small children, but it is also generally recommended.
Tip: If you have a refrigerator without an alarm, you can retrofit it with a small device for around 10 euros.
Multi-zone division / cold storage compartments
Nowadays, modern refrigerators are often equipped with several zones that have different temperatures and humidity levels. Foodstuffs that have different needs in terms of their storage are kept fresh longer by such cooling compartments. Cheese, sausage, meat and fish, as well as some dairy products, for example, need to be stored at temperatures slightly above freezing point and at low humidity, while fruit and vegetables need high humidity and a slightly higher temperature to stay fresh and crisp. Ideally, food stays fresh and fresh for up to three times longer.
Changeable door hinge
A changeable door hinge only makes sense if you are still undecided about the position of your future refrigerator. Even if you move often, a removable door hinge makes sense, as the location in the kitchen can change from time to time. Thanks to the changeable door hinge, you can determine on which side the door should open and you are accordingly more flexible when choosing a location.