Choice has named a prestige-branded refrigerator, costing almost $4000, as the “worst fridge ever” tested in the consumer group’s product laboratory.
Choice fridge expert Ashley Iredale said the glossy cream Smeg FAB38RCRAU frefrigeratorridge was “the biggest shocker we’ve ever seen in our labs”.
The popular Italian company’s appliance scored a “staggeringly low” overall score of 22 per cent.
“You might get a 1950s style aesthetic from this fridge, but you’ll also get the 1950s levels of performance,” Mr Iredale said, adding that test results were “even more appalling when you consider that it costs a whopping $3990”.
Mr Iredale said the 510-litre fridge, which is two metres tall, scored zero out of 100 for temperature stability.
“One of its biggest problems with it was its appalling temperature fluctuations. We saw a variation of more than 5 degrees in the fresh food compartment and a staggering 11 degrees in the freezer,” he said.
“What this means is the temperature is going to go up and down, and up and down, and it’s really not going to provide a very safe place for you to keep your food – certainly for long-term storage.”
Mr Iredale said that deficiency meant fresh food would likely perish much sooner than in an appliance with stable temperatures.
“We also found the fridge responds really badly in terms of response to changes in the outside temperature. As the mercury drops overnight, you’ll find that the temperature in the freezer in particular will change drastically.
“This is a problem because if it gets much colder you’re going to be using a lot more energy than you need to use, and if it gets much warmer, then it’s not going to be safe for long-term food storage.”
Mr Iredale said the fridge’s temperature controller “didn’t respond very well to changes in settings” and the fridge had “a terrible range of temperatures, we couldn’t achieve the full range of temperatures we’d like to see”.
Choice also found the fridge was expensive to run, estimating costs of around $1700 in electricity over a 10-year lifetime.
That compated with costs of between $1074 and $1431 similar-sized fridges from other brands.