American fridge freezers can cost 50% more to run, says Which?


The experts at Which? have calculated that the average American-style fridge freezer uses 50% more energy and can cost significantly more to run than a regular fridge freezer. So before splurging an American fridge freezer this Black Friday, consider whether you really need one.

Your fridge freezer is plugged in and running 24/7 and with energy prices rising, it makes sense to buy one that’s energy efficient.

Our extensive expert testing has revealed that on average, a freestanding fridge freezer will add around £48 per year to your energy bill, while a large American-style fridge freezer will add around £72 per year on average – that’s around 50% more.

Read on to find out more about how much American fridge freezers cost to run, plus three more questions to ask yourself before you buy one…

Still tempted? Find out all you need to know in how to buy the best American fridge freezer.

1. How much do American fridge freezers cost to run?

American-style fridge freezer

American-style fridge freezers are hugely popular, perhaps because we see them inside celebrities’ homes on TV. Or maybe it’s the impressive look they’ll give your kitchen, or the extra space you’ll have to store groceries. But if you’re considering buying one, you should decide whether the extra running costs are worth it.

Overall, fridge freezer running costs vary from less than £30 a year to over £100, depending on the type and size you choose, but large American fridge freezers can cost from as little as £65 a year to run, to over £150, so choosing the right one is vital.

Bigger isn’t always better

Usually, American fridge freezers are wider and larger, which is sometimes the appeal, but don’t be swayed by marketing blurb on cavernous capacities.

When we test fridge freezers, we leave everything inside and measure the space you can actually store food in. The difference between our measurements and manufacturer’s can be huge – for American-style fridge freezers, we’ve calculated the worst offenders can differ by over 30%. So even those with the same external dimensions can hold different quantities of food inside.

If you have a large household, an American-style fridge freezer is ideal, but if you have a small one, you may not use all the space effectively, which can mean you could be paying more to run an fridge freezer you won’t fully be using.

Find out how much your fridge freezer costs to run in How to buy the best fridge freezer.

2. Will an American fridge freezer fit through your doors and in your kitchen?

A woman looking into a fridge freezer

You need to carefully measure the space in your kitchen before buying a new fridge freezer, and this is especially true when you splash out on a larger model. The standard width of an American fridge freezer is 90cm, but some can be over 100cm wide.

Slimmer models are available, but even these are usually around 70cm wide – which is 10cm more than the width of a standard freestanding model, so check before you click that BUY button – or even better, head to the shops to get a feel for its overall size.

Some can be too big for front and internal doorways, and getting one delivered to a top-floor flat could be problematic. Some we’ve tested are 200cm in height.

Measure your kitchen gap carefully, and remember you’ll need to leave space around the sides for ventilation.

Your right to return – what’s a ‘cooling off’ period?

3. Do you have a nearby water supply to plug it into?

Water dispenser on fridge freezer

One of the benefits of this style of fridge freezer, is that plenty come with water and ice dispensers, meaning you have both on demand – great if you’ve got a thirsty family, or regularly host gatherings.

If you opt for a plumbed-in water dispenser, you won’t need to refill it by hand, but it will need a water source nearby. This can limit where it needs to be placed in your kitchen. It will also need to be plumbed in by a plumber.

There are non-plumbed options, which give you more freedom, but they need to be topped up with water manually.

Need a decent plumber for the job? Head to Which? Trusted Traders.

4. Can you afford an American fridge freezer?

American-style fridge freezers cost from around £500, but plenty are more expensive, up to £900. Top-of-the-range American fridge freezers start from £1,000, and can cost more than £1,300.

In short, it’s not usually a cheap purchase. But if you’re in need of a new cold appliance this Black Friday and want to jump on the American fridge freezer bandwagon, then we have spotted some cheap Black Friday fridge freezer deals already – including some decent models for less than £1,000.

Cheap American-style fridge freezers generally do very poorly in our tests. Our tests also reveal a few good, cheap models though, so check our fridge freezer reviews to discover the good ones and the ones to avoid before you head to the sales.

Need a fridge freezer in a hurry, but are strapped for cash? Head to our Top five cheap fridge freezers.

Our fridge freezer expert says:

“A deal is only a deal if you find a good price on something you actually need. Buying a large fridge freezer on sale and then later finding that you don’t use all the space it offers is a false economy. You’ll be paying to power a fridge freezer that you’re not using”.


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