8 Most Efficient Refrigerators, Reviewed. Which Is The Best Energy Star Refrigerator for You?
Have a refrigerator that is a power hog? Switch to the most energy-efficient refrigerator, and you will only have to spend $36 per year. If that isn’t a sweet deal, we even found a super versatile model that lets you swap your freezer for extra refrigerator space.
8 Most Energy-Efficient Refrigerators
Just because a refrigerator has an EnergyStar label, it doesn’t mean it’s the most energy efficient fridge option available. What we have in our review round-up are the best of the best and based on EnergyStar’s top choices.
We critiqued each Energy Star certified model based on annual energy consumption, total capacity, size, and of course, the price tag.
Still unsure which is the perfect energy-efficient fridge for your home? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about each model on our list.
This refrigerator’s simple, no-frills design may look a little out of place in a modern kitchen, but the Insignia is our top pick if you want the most energy-efficient small refrigerator.
It doesn’t have any fancy and high-tech features like an ice maker. But despite its less than stellar, standard refrigerator features, it has an energy-saving tech that will keep meat, drinks, and other perishable food items fresh and cool.
As one review states, the Insignia NS-RTM10WH2 Refrigerator is a “great little big fridge.” How great? The annual estimated cost to run this best energy efficient refrigerator is just $36 per year!
Our runner-up, the BEKO BFBF2414SS, is almost as energy-efficient as the Insignia. But it features a sleek stainless steel design and bottom-mounted freezer, making it perfect for the modern kitchen.
This energy-efficient fridge has more than modern looks, though. Winner of the Energy Star 2020 Emerging technology award, the Beko features Active Fresh Blue Light to keep your fruits and veggies fresh. It also uses NeoFrost Dual Cooling Technology to cool your food twice as fast while maintaining optimal humidity.
But all these high-tech features come at a cost. The Beko is significantly more expensive than the Insignia is.
While it may look like it’s from the 1950s, the Galanz GLR10RDEFR Refrigerator has a modern and most efficient refrigeration – its annual energy use is just nine points higher than our top pick.
Vintage chrome handles make it easy to open the separate freezer compartment. But this isn’t a 1950’s freezer- this frost-free freezer has its temperature control and a sliding glass shelf. The retro-looking fridge compartment is also modern on the inside, with adjustable shelves and space to hold gallon jugs.
The LG LRDVS2603S Refrigerator is the largest refrigerator on our list – its total capacity is more than twice our top and budget picks. But don’t worry, it isn’t a power hog – based on its Energy Guide label, you’re looking at around 562 kWh per year or roughly $67.
It has a linear compressor that quickly reacts to fluctuations in temperature. Plus, its digital sensors automatically kick in whenever you’re stocking up the fridge with a month’s worth of groceries.
The only downside to the fridge is that some people complain that it is loud.
You don’t need a large kitchen to enjoy an energy-efficient refrigerator. What you need is to get your hands on the Summit FF1084W Refrigerator.
It has a smaller footprint than LG and Insignia – you can even put it inside an RV. But don’t be fooled! You can neatly store fruits and vegetables inside its two crisper drawers. It also has adjustable shelves to make room for pots and larger food items. And yes, this refrigerator has a freezer.
You won’t be disappointed in terms of energy efficiency because it’s still under 300 kWh per year.
Versatile isn’t a word that often comes to mind when talking about refrigerators. But that’s how I would describe the Samsung RT18m6215SG. It has a unique feature that really stands out from the competition- FlexZone.
FlexZone allows you to convert your top-mounted freezer into a refrigerator for additional cold storage. This feature is perfect if you have some company over and need some extra room for drinks. Then after the party, simply convert the zone back to a freezer again.
It also features high-quality bins, a slide and reach pantry, and bright LED lights, making it crazy easy to store and access food.
If you want an energy-saving refrigerator that can store food for a family of four, the GE GTE17DTNRB Refrigerator is an excellent choice.
Storage-wise, this GE model is one Cu. ft. smaller than the Samsung model we’ve looked at. But it consumes less energy per year (GE is at 352 kWh while Samsung is 448 kWh). So, unless you really need that extra one Cu. ft., by all means, go with Samsung. But if you want more savings, get the GE.
Like other models on our list, this GE energy-efficient unit has a top-mount freezer design for meat and poultry and a bottom portion for keeping fruits, vegetables, and other food items.
The Danby DFF101B1BSLDB Refrigerator may not have the same energy efficiency as our top choice, but it’s still a solid choice if you are looking for a stainless steel top mounted freezer refrigerator.
This attractive refrigerator features plenty of shelves and door storage despite the small size. It even has two crisper drawers for fruits and veggies.
Buying Energy-Efficient Fridges: What You Need To Know
Having an energy-efficient home is about more than just using green building materials. It is about appliances as well. And your refrigerator gets used every day- by every member in your home. So, you want to make sure you are getting an energy-efficient refrigerator that works in your home for your family. There is more to an energy-efficient fridge than how much power it consumes.
It is crucial to take into account how your family will use it. Take time to think about the placement of the freezer and the size and capacity. In the end, all these factors affect the bottom line of how efficient your fridge is.
Top-Mount Vs Bottom Freezer
In the last few years, bottom mount freezers have become all the rage. They replaced the awkward french doors that were too narrow to fit a full-size frozen pizza. But what’s the real story with them?
A top-mounted freezer refrigerator makes the most sense for the average small family.
However, if you cook lots of fresh produce or store a lot of frozen food, the convenience of a bottom mount freezer could be worth it. While they use more energy, bottom freezers like the LG LRDC2603S Refrigerator also offer more room.
You will also find fridges with bottom-mount freezers tend to have more high-tech features.
Many factors affect how much energy your fridge uses. A big factor is how old it is. Over the years, refrigerators have become much more energy-efficient, so you will find older fridges use more energy than a new fridge will.
An easy way to know how much energy a new refrigerator will use is to refer to the EnergyGuide. You can do the same thing if you are looking for the most energy-efficient air conditioner.
The EnergyGuide label will provide you the average energy usage for the model you are considering.
The EnergyGuide label will also let you know the appliance’s estimated energy costs. (2). If you look at the EnergyGuide for the Insignia, you can spend an estimated $36 per year.
Watch this video to learn how to read the EnergyGuide Label:
Now that you know how much energy the new refrigerator will use, you can compare that to your current fridge to see your energy (and dollar) savings.
As we mentioned, we only choose from the most energy-efficient EnergyStar-rated fridges, like the Insignia NS-RTM10WH2 Refrigerator. When you see this certification, you can be confident you are saving energy and money (3).
“ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerators use at least 15% less energy than non-qualified models, 20% less energy than required by current federal standards, and 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001.”
A refrigerator must use 10% less power than the federal minimum to be Energy Star certified. Keep in mind that the federal minimum varies depending on the refrigerator freezer style (1).
Capacity and Size
While you may think size and capacity are the same, they aren’t.
The size of your fridge tells you how much room it will take up in your kitchen (or den or garage). On the other hand, the capacity lets you know how much space you have on the inside to fit all your food.
Both of these numbers are important for your fridge to work well in your home.
Don’t be overwhelmed trying to figure out how much capacity you need. For a family of four, you can figure on needing 16- 24 cubic feet (4).
“As a rule of thumb, you want about 4-6 cubic feet of storage per person in your household.”
While you don’t want your fridge to be too small, don’t be too tempted to go larger. More capacity means higher energy costs.
The other thing you will need to consider is how it will fit in your space. The Insignia is suitable for small to medium households. But, if you want the most efficient RV refrigerator, you can get the Summit Refrigerator.
Yes, energy-efficient refrigerators are worth it because they consume less electricity compared to non-EnergyStar certified refrigerator models. For instance, an old refrigerator may consume 1,000kWh per year, while a similarly sized EnergyStar refrigerator is just around 500kWh.
kWh stands for kilowatt hour. It’s the unit of measurement to determine how much an appliance draws energy per 60 minutes. When you look at your energy bill, you will see that you are billed for how many kWh you consume each month.
Yes, EnergyStar Refrigerators save money, especially if you switch from an older, less efficient refrigerator. EnergyStar refrigerators use at least 10% less energy than a non-EnergyStar model, which will translate directly to savings on your monthly energy bill.
- Refrigerators & Freezers Key Product Criteria. Retrieved from:https://www.energystar.gov/products/appliances/refrigerators/key_product_criteria
- How To Use The EnergyGuide Label To Shop for Home Appliances. Retrieved from: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-use-energyguide-label-shop-home-appliances
- Kitchen Appliances. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/kitchen-appliances
- Guide to Refrigerator Sizes (Plus How to Measure For One). Retrieved from: https://www.moving.com/tips/guide-to-refrigerator-sizes-plus-how-to-measure-for-one/
Rachael and her husband arrived on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua in 2011. There they founded El Jardin de la Vida, a tropical micro food forest, focusing on Sustainable Living Education. She teaches others to build with natural materials, live off-grid, and appreciate slow food.