Best fridge 2018: enter the chill-out area, from compact under-counter fridges to double door beasts

Looking for a new fridge? We've got chillers to fit any space or budget

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If you’re looking for a top quality fridge then you’ve come to the right place. We have reached right to the back of the internet, scraped off the ice, and read a raft of professional and user reviews of the best chillers out there.

We've studied specs, taken a look at the fridges we at T3 Towers use, and settled on a classy dozen grub and beverage refrigerators.

There are no freezer compartments here, so if you're after something for more serious refrigeration, please proceed to one of the links below. Thanks.

What is the best fridge?

Not for the first time, we recommend a Miele, specifically the K 28202 D ws. This is quite a costly beast, but its quality is undeniable, as most independent engineers will vouchsafe. You should easily get a decade’s use out of it.

That said, this fridge fancier is equally impressed with the cheap-and-cheerful Bosch Serie 2, the TARDIS-like Liebherr TP 1760, the humongous and befuddlingly monikered Samsung RR39M73407F/EU and the handsome, stainless steel-clad AEG S74020KMX0. 

Some of the older fridges further down the list offer decent value for money, too.

How to buy the best fridge for you 

We would like to hope that you don’t need to be told how to buy a fridge. But okay… Make sure you measure up (although most fridges are a standard 60cm in width) and bear in mind that most freestanding fridges can’t be crammed right up against the wall because there’s a whole lot of delicate stuff at the back that needs a few centimetres of space to breathe. Many models come with reversible doors so consider that aspect if you simply must have a door that opens in a specific direction.

If you’re going for an integrated (built in) model then prepare to leave it behind if you move, since it’s a right faff to remove and the new buyer won’t be pleased about the gapping hole you’ve left behind.

For those in a need of a little tuition in the art of refrigeration, food should, as a rule, be stored as follows: dairy at the top, cooked/ready-to-eat foods in the middle, and raw fish and meat on the bottom shelf. As for the salad compartment… Well, you know what goes in there.

The best fridges, in order

1. Miele K 28202 D ws

The best fridge for (just) under a grand

Type: Freestanding
Energy rating: A++
Capacity: 380 litres
Height: 185 cm
Reasons to buy
+Miele reliability+Useful door lever+Large capacity
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap, as such

All fridges create a mild vacuum on closing the door; it’s a necessary feature that helps keep the cold in. However, this vacuum can make re-opening the fridge – especially immediately after closing the door – a bit of a chore. It’s even more difficult to open if the anti-frost drainage hole at the bottom of the fridge – usually situated dead centre above the vegetable containers – becomes blocked. When this happens, the vacuum increases, sealing the door so tightly the damn thing can’t be opened at all for several seconds. 

Miele gets round this irritating sticky-fridge-door issue by dint of a levered handle bar that pivots forwards before releasing the door seal, thereby making it effortless to open. This type of system is nothing new but Miele has made a much better fist of it than others.

The Dynamic Cooling function is another great feature. Air humidity helps keep foodstuffs fresh but too much humidity in one area is a bad thing, especially with wilty items such as lettuces. This model comes with a fan that distributes the humidity – and cold air – evenly round all areas, keeping everything in tip-top shape for longer.

Space-wise you get five height-adjustable shelves, a wine rack, two vegetable containers (with extra fixed shelf above) and another five narrow door shelves for milk, beverages, condiments, eggs, butter and cheese. As with most tall larder fridges, this one measures 1.85 metres from tip to toe so reaching the back of the top shelf can be a literal stretch.

If you have the readies and 60cm of space with no cupboards above, make this stylish high-end cooler your first port of call.

2. Bosch Serie 2 Classixx KSV29NW30G

Best fridge under £500

Type: Freestanding
Energy rating: A++
Capacity: 290 litres
Height: 161 cm
Reasons to buy
+Slide-out shelf system+Fittingly priced+Shorter stature
Reasons to avoid
-No discernible style

If you’re looking for a mid-sized larder fridge that doesn’t cost the earth, provides plenty of space and is cheap to run, consider this efficient and keenly-priced model from the Bosch assembly line.

The trouble with most fridge shelves is that, once full, it’s a right pain trying to locate stuff like the Marmite that has somehow worked its way to the back of the fridge along with the mouldy saucisson you completely forgot about. This model rectifies that snag by having shelves that can slide out to a small degree, allowing easier access to stuff at the rear. It’s a great hassle-saving feature that poses the question: how long before a manufacture comes up with a solid telescopic system that allows every shelf to be pulled out to its full extent?

But I digress. 

The Serie 2 has a net capacity of 290 litres which isn’t too shabby. The interior layout’s impressive – those four adjustable, slide-out shelves, a single veggie box and four narrow door containers for the usual suspects.

And that’s it. No extra bells, no extra whistles. But, then, what more do you need? 

3. Liebherr TP 1760 Premium

Best under-counter fridge

Type: Freestanding
Energy rating: A+++
Capacity: 154 litres
Height: 85 cm
Reasons to buy
+Great build quality+Excellent energy rating
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey for an under-counter

Liebherr is a family-run, German-originated company based in Switzerland that specialises in the production of some of the world’s most humongous industrial mining machinery and earth-moving equipment. It also supplies aircraft parts to Airbus. With that kind of pedigree, how could it possibly make a duff fridge?

This model is arguably the only A+++ rated under-counter model on the UK market and that means it’ll be dirt cheap to run. But that’s not the main reason you’ll like it because, despite its diminutive exterior, inside it’s like the Albert Hall. 

This chilled Tardis is equipped with two separate salad/veg drawers with integral shelf and three more adjustable shatter-proof glass shelves above. Rather ingeniously, the top shelf is narrower than the others, allowing tall items to be placed on the shelf below.

This isn’t the cheapest under-counter model on the market, but you get what you pay for: it’s extremely well built and, judging by the raft of positive reviews, likely to be very reliable. Crucially, its internal temperature remains consistent in all ambient conditions, including extreme heat. Well worth a gander.

4. Samsung RR39M73407F/EU

Top-flight Korean entry with water dispenser

Type: Freestanding
Energy rating: A+
Capacity: 375 litres
Height: 185.3 cm
Reasons to buy
+Large capacity+Split shelf+Water dispenser
Reasons to avoid
-Poorer energy rating

This imposing silver behemoth has the capacity for a stupendous 375 litres of food and drink – enough for a family of five. It comes equipped with two large vegetable containers replete with humidity control, a wine rack, a non-plumbed water dispenser, four main glass shelves and a ‘Slide-in’ shelf that splits in half to accommodate taller items below.

The inside door isn’t short on space either and comes with seven individually configurable shelves for milk, juices, cheese, butter and oft-used items like yogurts and jams. 

Like most higher-end models, the Samsung incorporates a fan to vent cold air to every shelf and a fast-cool function that rapidly drops the internal temperature after adding new shopping loads. Its digital inverter compressor, meanwhile, ensures accurate cooling in all ambient temperatures, and without making a noise in process.

Samsung is a highly regarded brand in this sphere so consider this model if you can’t quite stretch to a Miele. If you have an extra 60cm of space alongside, consider installing the matching freezer, too…

5. AEG S74020KMX0

Exceptional high-volume larder fridge at a reasonable price

Type: Freestanding
Energy rating: A++
Capacity: 379 litres
Height: 185 cm
Reasons to buy
+Excellent capacity+Great looks
Reasons to avoid
-Bog standard features

This tall, touch-controlled cooler is A++ rated for energy efficiency – that's said to be 21% more efficient than A+ class. It comes fitted with five glass shelves, two veggie/fruit drawers, three door-mounted bottle and jar shelves, and a full-width cheese and butter compartment. 

The flashy, anti-fingerprint stainless-steel-clad exterior gives this Teutonic model a suitably refined look that will give even the most underwhelming kitchen a touch of sparkle.

DynamicAir technology ensures that internal temperatures and humidity are evenly distributed to every nook and cranny while the Coolmatic function quickly chills newly added groceries until the fridge reaches the original preset temperature. 

When you go away, clear out the perishables, set it to holiday mode and the fridge will remain cool enough (15˚C) to prevent mould and nasty niffs.

6. Miele K 14820 SD edcs

More Germanic excellence with a price to match

Reasons to buy
+Miele reliability+Automatic door closing
Reasons to avoid

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Miele remains the most trusted and reliable brand in appliance land. End of. Yes, you do pay through the nose for their products – but what price reliability and efficiency?

Take this stunning, minimalistic full-height larder model for example. Behind that swathe of stainless steel is a range of state-of-the-art features designed to keep food easily stored and efficiently chilled.

Firstly, it comes with not five interior shelves but six (five of them adjustable), and that makes it easier to store products efficiently so you can more easily find that old pot of Marmite without having to rummage though all the marmalades and jams. As is the norm, it’s got another five shelves attached to the inside door for milk, eggs, cheese, what have you.

Secondly, it features Miele’s Dynamic cooling tech to ensure every inch of the refrigerator is at precisely the same temperature and at the same humidity, whether it’s lettuce in the veg drawer or the remains of last night’s roast.

Thirdly, it’s equipped with Miele’s soft-closing door system. As long as the door’s position is at around 30 degrees, it’ll close itself automatically, and ever so gently so that nothing rattles or, worse, falls off the door shelf. Top distinguished buy.

7. Beko UL483AP

Excellent slim fridge for smaller kitchens

Reasons to buy
+Just 47.5cm wide+Perfect for singles and couples
Reasons to avoid
-Bog standard features

The vast majority of large household appliances are around 60cm in width – a standard measurement adopted by every manufacturer, whether it’s a fridge, dishwasher or washing machine. Mindful that not everyone has acres of kitchen space to spare, we set off on a forage for a slim line fridge and found one in this smart and very reasonably priced Beko. It measures just 47.5cm across so there’s every chance you’ll be able to squeeze it in among your existing appliances.

The Beko comes with two fully adjustable glass shelves plus an extra fixed one above the ample vegetable compartment. Attached to the door panel are three non-adjustable drink and condiment shelves. With 88 litres of space available, this fridge is just the right size for singles and couples or those with budgetary as well as space constraints.

8. Neff KI1212F30G

Mid size model for integrated kitchens

Reasons to buy
+Well built+Decent A++ energy rating
Reasons to avoid
-Pretty basic features

Neff specialises in built-in appliances that hide behind the kitchen cabinetry. This one has a capacity of 144 litres and an energy efficiency rating of A++. As compact fridges go it’s quite basic and comes with four shelves (three adjustable) and three door trays, along with a decent-sized vegetable and fruit compartment. It also features a SuperCool function with automatic deactivation and sensor-controlled temperature.

The interior of this Neff model looks remarkably similar to that of the Bosch reviewed elsewhere in this roundup though the quality and finish of the Neff’s interior shelving is a wee bit better.

9. Siemens iQ500 KS36VBW30G

Fuss free and efficient chiller

Reasons to buy
+Excellent capacity+Good range of features
Reasons to avoid
-Brittle plastic veg container

This tall 1.86m freestanding larder fridge is energy rated A++ and has the capacity for up to 346 litres of goodies – more than enough for a family of four. It comes with five height adjustable glass shelves, a wine rack and another five condiment, milk and bottle trays attached to the inside of the reversible door. Rather cleverly, the middle door tray can be adjusted for height while fully loaded. 

As we all know, fruit and vegetables have a very short lifespan so any fridge able to extend that can be considered a bonus. This model comes with just such a device and most simple it is too. Siemens calls it a hyperFresh box but basically it’s just a (brittle) plastic container with a sliding valve that lets excess moisture escape, keeping leafy vegetables, tomatoes and the like fresh for up to twice as long. It works very well. A second box situated below is great for harder veg and fruit like potatoes and apples.

The iQ500 is a doddle to programme because it only has a single plus/minus temperature control and a Supercool button for chilling new fridge loads.

10. Bosch Serie 6 (KIR21AF30G)

Competent under-counter model for smaller kitchens

Reasons to buy
+Good 104-litre capacity+Energy efficient+VitaFresh container keeps food fresh
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for what it offers

If space is at a premium, consider having this little fella installed under the countertop where it’ll be hidden from view behind the kitchen cabinets. Fridges don’t come more basic than this A++ rated 104-litre model but being of Bosch origin, you can be sure it’ll be competent, reliable and cheap to run. 

It comes with four main shelves (three adjustable), a single large, aerated veggie drawer that keeps leafy veg and tomatoes fresh for ‘up to twice as long’, and three door trays for milk, eggs, cheese and butter. It also has a ‘super cool’ function for rapid chilling of new grocery loads. And that’s about it. No extra bells, no extra whistles. But, hey, what more do you want?