The Four Most Energy Efficient Refrigerators On The Planet

by Owner on August 27, 2009

Energy efficient refrigerators are some of the most eco friendly appliances you can have in the house, since refrigerators account for a large portion of the energy our homes consume.

(Click here for the 2012 list of the most efficient refrigerators.)

I went to the Energy Star website to pull a list of the four most energy efficient refrigerators money can buy. Here were my criteria:

–They had to be full-sized refrigerators with freezer compartments.
–They had to be a model currently available at stores as of this writing.

These four refrigerator models save an astounding 30% of Kilowatt hours per year (KwH) compared to non energy efficient models. This is the highest energy efficiency available for refrigerators at this time. The closest any other model came, using the same criteria, was 26%.

(Asterisks represent minor model number variations.)

1) General Electric GS* model. There are several variants of this side-by-side model ranging from 22 to 25 cubic feet. They spend 473-504 KwH/year. A fuller list:


2) KitchenAid KSRT25FW**0* model. This side-by-side refrigerator is 25.5 cubic feet and spends 509 KwH/year.

3) Maytag MSD2530WE*0* model. This is also a side-by-side refrigerator with 25.6 cubic feet and spends 509 KwH/year.

4) Whirlpool ES5 model (ES5PVA*W*0* and ES5DVA*W*0*). This variant is 25.6 cubic feet, side-by-side, and spends 509 KwH/year.

It struck me how remarkably consistent these refrigerators are, even across brands. They’re all side-by-side types, just about the same size, and spend almost exactly the same amount of energy. I’m not sure why side-by-sides are the most energy efficient, but the data speaks for itself.

So if you want to have one of the most energy efficient refrigerators available anywhere, you’ve got the list!

(Update: Don’t miss our updated 2011 list of the most energy efficient refrigerators available!)

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

andrew perchlik November 30, 2009 at 11:13 pm

These are not the most efficient models, but just the most efficient models for their class, which is the biggest and most inefficient models. The 30% savings was reached ’cause the standard they were measured against was low ’cause large side-by-side units use the most energy. Just look at the Kwhr/yr. on these.

If you really wanted to find the best four units out there you would take their Kwhr/yr usage divided by their cubic storage. The smaller ones will do better on this measure so you may want to have a min. size – like 17 cubit feet.


James Cross December 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm

These aren’t even the most efficient for their class. There are lots of available models of bottom freezer variety of the same size, from GE and others, that are 20% more efficient than these.


Joe Barrios December 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm

The models and data are taken directly from the Energy Star website, so please take up your concerns with them!


Carl February 9, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Taking a look at the CEE site:

It shows this exact selection as being the most efficient when narrowing it down to Tier 3 refrigerators with an ice-maker. A new one on the list is the KitchenAid KSRT25CW**0*.


Joe Barrios February 9, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Thanks for the update Carl!


Peggy August 21, 2010 at 2:11 am

Joe, the Energy Star website says that side-by-side refrigerators are 10 to 25 percent less energy efficient than refrigerators with the freezer on top.

Consider buying a refrigerator with a top-mounted freezer.
Models with top-mounted freezers use 10–25% less energy than bottom-mount or side-by-side models.


Me January 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Comparing these to similar in class is like asking if Hummer, Suburban or Expedition is the most efficient. Sure, among this group you will find more efficient options, but when compared to all options, efficientcy is sorely lacking.


Robin S. November 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I know the criteria was “available at the store,” but I think consumers should know about the Sun Frost refrigerators. If everyone knew (I just learned of them myself), perhaps the consumer would demand that other companies step it up a bit.


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