The Most Energy Efficient Refrigerators for 2013

by mbryce2012 on May 27, 2013

If you are in the market to replace your old ice box, you may want to choose from the most energy efficient refrigerators for 2013.  Why?  Because next to your air conditioning unit, your refrigerator uses the most energy in the house.

For the purposes of this list, we will separate out the three refrigerator types:  Top Freezer, Bottom Freezer, and Side-by-Side.  Before you start thinking about which fridge you want in terms of style, remember that the top freezer types are generally the most energy efficient, followed by the bottom freezer, trailed by the least efficient side-by-side.

Here are the guidelines for this year’s most energy efficient refrigerator choices:

  • The refrigerator meets Energy Star requirements
  • The refrigerator is a CEE (Consortium for Energy Efficiency) Tier III ranked appliance.  This ranking is the highest possible (I, II, III) and takes both energy and water usage into account, also encompassing the data used in the Energy Star rating.
  • The refrigerator is widely available through various retail locations and/or via online ordering.  This is the most distinctive characteristic of this top nine list, as there are refrigerators fitting most of the other criteria that use up to 20 kWh less energy per year, but are nearly impossible to find.  Our goal is to make this easier for you, not give you a headache trying to track down something that will evade you.
  • The refrigerator is the most commonly used sized, 18 cubic feet or larger.  If you are a single person, or a couple that keeps very little food on hand, you would benefit from a smaller and even more efficient variety.


Whirlpool WRT359SFYW:   345 kWh, 18.9 cubic feet      With specs like these, this Whirlpool refrigerator does not compromise space for efficiency.  Available at Home Depot and various other smaller dealers, as well as online at for less than $900.00, this top freezer refrigerator is an excellent green appliance purchase.  Comparable refrigerators:

  • Frigidaire FPUI1888L  335 kWh, 18.2 cubic feet
  • Maytag M9BXXGMY 345 kWh, 18.9 cubic feet
  • Whirlpool WRT779RWY 345 kWh, 19.0 cubic feet
most energy efficient refrigerators for 2013

This Whirlpool 21 cubic feet with a PUR filtrated ice maker.

Frigidaire FGUI2149  or FPUI2188:    356 kWh, 20.7 cubic feet  These Frigidaire models exceed all qualifications and can be found at many small appliance dealers and online at Appliances Connection for right around $1,000.  Prices can be compared on Nextag. Comparable models:

  • Frigidaire  FPUI2188L 356 kWh, 20.6 cubic feet

Whirlpool WRT571SMYW364 kWh, 21 cubic feet with factory installed ice maker    This larger model Whirlpool top-freezer model comes with the convenience of an ice maker that runs on a PUR water filtration system (six months).  Priced at under $900 from Home Depot and Amazon.  Comparable models:



Maytag MBF1958XEW392 kWh, 18.5 cubic feet  Through the use of EcoConserve technology, this smaller bottom freezer unit is the most energy efficient of all the bottom freezer styles.  Available at for $1135.

LG  LFC21776:  400 kWh, 20.7 cubic feet     The double-doors on the refrigeration portion of this bottom-freezer unit make finding and storing food incredibly convenient.  Available at Sears and other locations for a price tag upwards of $2,000.  Available at Home Depot.

Maytag (various models)
MBF2258XE*, MBL2258XE*,   MBR2258XE*, GB2FHDXW*:  403 kWh, 21.9 cubic feet, factory installed icemaker    These Maytag models are larger than some of the other some of the other listed, making it a good choice for big families (or big-time foodies).  Available at Sears, AJ Madison, Home Depot and more.



Whirlpool GSS26C5XX   *GSS26C4XX:  499 kWh, 26.5 cubic feet  While this side-by-side will give you a lot more space, remember that the narrower compartments might make it trickier to fit in larger containers and could increase open-door time while searching for items.   Available at AJ Madison.

All other side-by-side models are over 500 kWh, and should probably not be your first choice when looking for efficient refrigerators.  The benefit of the door-front ice and water, while convenient, causes the energy use to skyrocket.  If you’re looking for green appliances, you might want to reconsider the side-by-side.

Make sure you check the updated EnergyStar ratings before you start to shop!  Also remember that there are ways to reduce your refrigerator’s energy use every day.  Check out these quick refrigerator energy saving tips from Mike Goff at SanteeCooper.





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