I’m following in Joe’s footsteps this year and listing the most energy efficient refrigerators available in 2012. So, if you’re considering a new fridge, read on.
If you’re not sure whether you need a new fridge, you might need to do some energy calculations to determine whether a new efficient fridge will save you money.
If your fridge dates back prior to 1993, chances are a new model will cost you about half as much energy to run… so recycle it!
If your fridge was manufactured between 1993 and 1999, you might consider replacing it with a more efficient model if your electricity rates are higher than the national average, if it’s an inefficient side-by-side (they use 25% more energy), your fridge capacity no longer meets your needs (it’s either too big or too small), or if it’s in need of repair.
I’ve listed the fridges under different types: top freezer, bottom freezer, side-by-side and based on some feedback from last year’s list, a new category featuring those with ice-makers.
I’ve used the same criteria that Joe did last year:
- The refrigerator meets Energy Star requirements.
- It is a full sized refrigerator and freezer combination, which is defined as 16 cubic feet or greater, with two separate compartments (no fridge-only, freezer-only, single-door, or compact models).
- The refrigerators listed use the lowest number of kWh/yr for their particular type and capacity.
- The refrigerator must be commonly available at the usual retail outlets. In order to maximize the chances of that, I included only models that were made available after January 2011 AND that are listed as currently active by Energy Star. I also included only the best-known brands (GE, Kenmore, etc.) since the vast majority of people will be looking for one of these brands.
I’ve made a slight change from last year in that instead of listing the top three efficient models in each category, I’ve listed the most energy efficient popular brands and models with small, mid-, and large capacities. The smallest capacity fridges will always be the most energy efficient, but sometimes bigger households simply need a bit more capacity, so I wanted to include some choices based on your needs.
Top freezer models are the most efficient as a category by far.
Small capacity: The leaders in this group have an annual energy use of 300 kWh/year and a capacity of 16.5 cubic feet.
Mid-capacity: Leaders with slightly more capacity are about 18.1 cubic feet and have an annual energy use of 311 kWh/year.
Large capacity: Kenmore 6216*11* and 7216*11* comes in at the top of the large capacity top-freezer models at a 20.65 cu ft capacity and annual energy use of 361 kWh/year.
Bottom freezer models are generally less efficient than top freezer models.
Small capacity: The leaders in this category are the Bosch B30BB830SS and three models by Thermador T30BB810SS, T30BB820SS, and T30IBB800SP. Each of these models are 16 cubic feet in capacity with automatic defrost and an annual energy use of 388 kWh/year.
Mid-capacity: With a slightly larger capacity at around 20 cubic feet, the most energy efficient models are:
- LG LFC21776** – 20.7 cu ft, 400 kWh/year
- KitchenAid KFFS20EY** – 19.55 cu ft, 425 kWh/year
- Maytag MFF2055YE*0*, MFW2055YE*0*, and MFB2055YE*0* – 19.55-19.62 cu ft, 425 kWh/year
- Whirlpool WRF560SEY*0*, WRF560SFY*0* and WRF560SMY*0* – 19.55-19.62 cu ft, 425 kWh/year
Large-capacity: The most energy efficient bottom freezer refrigerators around 25 cubic feet are:
- LG LFC25776** – 25 cu ft, 416 kWh/year
- Samsung RF263HE** – 25.84 cu ft, 415 kWh/year
- Samsung RF267HE** – 25.79 cu ft, 422 kWh/year
Side-by-side models generally offer a lot more capacity, but at the cost of efficiency. They use about 25% more energy than top or bottom freezer styles.
Small capacity: The most efficient side-by-side fridge with the smallest capacity is a series of models by GE – GSH22JGC****, GSH22JSC****, and GSL22JGC**** all have a 22.1 cu ft capacity and an annual energy use of 438 kWh/year.
Mid-capacity: The mid-capacity category is a bit more vague with this style of fridge. However, GE comes out on top again with a series of models that have a 25.25 cu ft capacity and an annual energy use of 469 kWh/year. They are GSF25JGC****, GSH25GGC****, GSH25JGC****, GSH25JSC****, and GSL25JGC****.
Large-capacity: The Electrolux EI26SS30J* is the winner here at 25.95 cu ft and energy consumption of 509 kWh/year. However, close behind are two models with 26.4 cu ft and an annual energy use of 514 kWh/year: KitchenAid KSF26C4XY*0* and Maytag MSB26C4XY*0*.
THROUGH-THE-DOOR ICE MAKERS
If having through-the-door ice service is a make or break feature, then here are the most energy efficient refrigerators with this feature. Top freezer style fridges don`t come with this option.
Side-by-side style: Again, it’s the small capacity side-by-side series by GE that I’ve listed above: GSH22JGC****, GSH22JSC****, and GSL22JGC**** - 22.1 cu ft, 438 kWh/year.
That sums up the most energy efficient refrigerators for 2012 – happy fridge hunting!