Having a high-quality, energy-efficient fridge is a necessity today. Not only to save you from a minor schock when your EB bill arrives, but also to make sure that your butter chicken remains perfectly cooled and healthy for tomorrow.
Here at Topcut, we tested 3 of the most popular fridges in India today by checking everything from their actual power consumption to the quality of cooling.
Here are a few highlights of our research:
- We tested the power consumption of each refrigerator using a wattmeter.
- We analysed the storage capacity of individual compartments.
- We ran experiments on the cooling capacity of each refrigerator
- We even went through the quality of the after-sales service
LG 190 L Single Door Refrigerator (GL-B201APOX)
LG 190L GL-B201APOX was one of the most power efficient fridge we tested. The LG is able to do this mainly due to its smart inverter technology which is the most silent and energy efficient compressor. It has seven different thermostat levels that allows you to control the cooling inside your fridge. We found the racks to be built of thick and sturdy toughened glass which can easily sustain your heavy vessels. The 4 adjustable racks makes it very convenient to many more vessels than the other models we tested.
This is a really long post! Use these links to jump around.
Why trust Us?
We spent over 15 days testing out the 3 of the most famous refrigerator brands to find the best one for you. We analysed the refrigerator on various parameters like cooling ability, power consumption, build quality, inner storage space.
How we selected?
We started with a list of 150 models available on Flipkart and Amazon. We cut that list down to 25 based on the popularity of the models. This allows for us to test only the models that in India have already bought and liked.
We made sure to remove any product that had less than 4 stars in BEE rating as this would not have been an energy efficient option. Next we removed any fridge that didn’t use toughened glass as this gives you a much sturdier platform for your vessels. We also removed any fridge that didn’t have adjustable racks or required a stabilizer. We also made sure that every fridge had at least 190 litres of capacity. After sifting through the models available we found these 3 to be the top candidates.
- Whirlpool 200 L 5 star Single Door Refrigerator 215 Vitamagic Roy 5S
- Haier 195L 4 Star Single Door Refrigerator (HRD-1954BS-R/HRD-1954BS-E).
- LG 190 L 4 star Single Door Refrigerator GL-B201APOX.
How we tested?
Our main testing included analysing the quality of cooling, power consumption and quality of storage and build quality. DUring our tests we tried to keep the testing conditions as standard as possible. However, even though the fridges were fully loaded there were variations in what was placed inside the fridge. Our results still gave us an indicator as to which fridge will perform better for you.
Quality of cooling
How well a fridge maintains and cools your food is a very important consideration when buying a fridge. To test the quality of cooling on each fridge we measured how well and long it took to make ice. We then tested how long each fridge retains cooling during power cuts. We did this by turning off the power and intermittently checking to see if the cooling lasted. Next we wanted to make sure that the cooling inside the vegetable tray was adequate as this is the furthest point from the freezer where the cold air is generated. We tested this by loading each vegetable tray with similar veggies and then letting it cool for a week. During the week, we checked to see if any of the veggies were stale. This helped us judge the quality of cooling and freshness maintained in the veggies tray. Finally, we wanted to measure how long and well each fridge cools the contents inside it. To do this we powered on each fridge and noted how long it took for each fridge to be uniformly cooled and we noted any zones in the fridge that weren’t being cooled.
Power consumption is something you can’t overlook. Doing so could cost you a lot in the long run. We wanted to make sure that the fridge you get is the most energy-efficient one. So, using a wattmeter, we fully loaded each fridge and used them at each cooling setting - from level 1 - level 6. The wattmeter gave us the exact unit consumption for each cooling setting. We found the LG to be the most energy efficient fridge of the lot we tested.
Storage and Usage
Apart from cooling and power consumption there are other important factors as well. We checked the space offered by each fridge and the quality and thickness of the glass racks. We verified the space available by measuring the inner dimensions of the fridge. Apart from that we inspected the gasket quality, the quality of the plastic lining and the build quality.
After sales service
We analyzed each brand’s warranty and service policy by calling up their customer care reps and seeing how fast and cheap their service is. We raised fake issues and had the technician to visit our place.
Flaws in BEE star ratings
BEE star ratings are provided by the government to help the public understand which machine is more energy-efficient. These star ratings are done every 2 years for single door refrigerators. As each ratings are handed out the older rated models are downgraded. The assumption being that there will be advances in technology that should make the newer machines more efficient thereby saving you power. The labels of the BEE star ratings can be seen below. However, in our testing we found the LG model to perform much better than the Whirlpool which had a higher BEE rating. You can see the chart below. At both the minimum cooling level as well as the maximum cooling levels the LG was always more energy-efficient despite being rated only a 4 star product. This was due to LG’s smart inverter technology.
- BEE star label
- Minimum cooling
- maximum cooling
- Exterior view
- interior view
- Consumes the least electricity of the models we tested
- No stabilizer is required that can save you upto Rs.1,000 to Rs. 1,500. plus this refrigerator can withstand voltages from 100-290V.
- It has an anti-removable gasket that prevents bacteria formation.
- It comes with door lock so we can avoid children’s mishandling the refrigerators.
- It takes very less space and is small and compact.
- You can even have 2L bottles on the door tray.
- The most major fault in this direct cooling is defrosting should be done manually, this should be done for every 3-4 days.
- Smaller than the other models we tested by 5 litres
- Not the best warranty and after sales service if you’re located in rural parts of the country.
Storage & Usage: A lot of adjustable racks and easy to use
LG 190L APOX model had the thickest toughened glass among the other refrigerators that we tested which can sustain upto 175 kgs. These racks are also given plastic lining throughout the corners for protecting them from breakage. It comes with 2 racks that can be shifted and adjusted based on the spacing you require. If you generally tend to stock up on a lot of your left-over food then this get this fridge.
- racks adjustment
- toughened glasses
On the door it comes with 5 racks. Two of them can handle any 2 litre bottles easily and can easily hold your ketchup or other jars. The build quality was really sturdy with much thicker plastic than the other models we tested.
We found that the freezer compartment is quite small compared to the whirlpool but all other compartments was nearly equal to the other refrigerators that we tested. The anti- removable gasket which lines the fridge door was very thick and was not easy to peel at all. The build quality of the thermostat knob was good and easy to rotate. It had 7 cooling levels with a defrost button inside it. The Haier and Whirlpool have only 6 cooling levels and plus, we found that the Haier had a lot of complaints regarding the quality of the thermostat knob.
Even at higher cooling levels the fridge was not heating up nor was there any noise heard during operation.
Cooling: Both minimum and extreme cooling abilities
In our ice making test, this model took an hour and a half to form perfect ice crystals which was on par with Whirlpool. It was able to retain the cooling inside the fridge for nearly 8 hours before hitting room temperature. If you live in a place where power cuts are the norm then get this.
In our tests, we found that the machine takes around an hour to cool and it preserved the veggies for more than a week keeping them fresh in the box.
Power: Very energy-efficient refrigerator even at higher cooling level
The fridge only consumes 131 units per year when the cooling level is on 2 and around 198 units when the cooling level is at the maximum of 7. This was far better than the other models we tested.
After sales service
This is one area where LG can improve on. We found that the after sales service of LG was not on par with whirlpool, but it was good enough. They do send a technician to your house in 24 hours if you stay in a metro or a city but take around 72 hours for the rural parts of India. Whirlpool does the same thing but offers 24 hours service anywhere in India. However, the LG technician works only for LG and won’t service any other brands.
Moreover, you get 1 warranty on the product and 10 years on the compressor. They charge around Rs.1,000 per year for their AMC which is quite expensive in comparison to Haier.
For the price of around Rs.16,000, you can expect a power-efficient refrigerator that doesn’t snatch money from your pocket every month. It has 7 different cooling levels with good racks quality and adjustability.
A note on Installation and After-sales service
As far as installation goes, we found that only whirlpool sends someone over to install the fridge for you. This is a service that is nice to have but ultimately not necessary. Setting up a fridge is not as complicated as setting up a microwave or LED TV.
For after-sales service we analysed two things. How fast is the service provided by each brand and how cheap is it. We found Haier to be the cheapest model for service thank to their low AMC costs and cheap spare parts. LG and whirlpool were almost equally expensive. Check out the graph below that shows how expensive it is to solve the most common problems for each brand.
- Rates for the problems
- AMC costs
To find the brand that has the fastest and most widespread service,we spoke to the customer care reps of each brand and pretended to be located in a remote part of India to get details on their service policy. We found that Whirlpool, will send someone to fix the problem within 24 hours regardless of where you stay. So even if you are in rural India, whirlpool has you covered., The other companies do the same thing too, However they take longer than whirlpool to do it. So you might be stuck for a two to three days without a fridge. On the whole we feel that whirlpool’s service is excellent and LG and Haier follow behind with sufficient but unremarkable after-sales service.
Why others were not selected?
Whirlpool Single door:
Though Whirlpool had some extra features like extra racks for storing vegetables at the bottom and humidity controller feature at vegetable box we didn’t pick it. The main reason being, despite a 5 star rating in power consumption, it consumed more units than our best Pick LG.
Haier Single door:
Again here, the power consumption was more that the LG. Another problem was the bad complaints it received for its thermostat which was sub-par in quality. Even though it had 4 racks there wasn’t enough spacing between racks. It also tends to heat up and produce a lot of noise during operation.