Looking at buying a new refrigerator and confused by all the options? Relax. After nearly 150 hours of research, visiting major showrooms, speaking to experts and looking at reviews online, we think that the best refrigerator in India is the Samsung RT42M553ES8, a 415-litre fridge that’s big enough for all your daily needs and then some.
The Best Refrigerator in India
1. Samsung 415 L, 4-Star Frost-free Double Door Refrigerator (Samsung RT42M553ES8)
2. LG 420 L, 4-Star Frost-Free Double Door Refrigerator (LG GL- I472QPZX)
The LG fridge doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as our top pick but it offers uniform cooling throughout the interiors. So bottles in the door will stay at the same temperatures as the contents of the shelves. It comes with an internal stabiliser and a 10-year comprehensive warranty on the inverter compressor, as well as a one-year comprehensive warranty.
Why should you trust us?
We’ve arrived at our results after nearly 150 hours of research, visiting all major showrooms, speaking to experts and looking at reviews online and speaking to actual owners. While we don’t have a facility to test refrigerators side-by-side, we’ve arrived at our results based on comprehensive primary and secondary research.
How should you decide which one to buy?
Buying a refrigerator boils down to many factors like family size, where you stay, and personal requirements. With the erratic Indian weather and wild temperature swings, the humble refrigerator is perhaps the most important appliance in your kitchen.
And thankfully, with changing technology, the refrigerator is now an energy efficient appliance. Rising consumerism has also made it easier to own one as price is no longer a deterrent, thanks to zero percent interest schemes run by most offline and online retailers.
There are many factors that decide your buying decision. We have listed down the most relevant ones that influence most of us. These factors are listed in the order of importance – capacity vs. family size, energy ratings, features, compressor types, price and service support. This order is based on expert advice, logic and a survey conducted among refrigerator owners.
Capacity vs. family size
Your family size and the space in your house is the primary reason for choosing the fridge capacity. Most modern apartments come with a pre-allocated space in the kitchen, which may or may not accommodate big refrigerators. Make sure you check the space available before deciding.
For an individual or a couple, 250- to 350-litre capacity should normally suffice, while, for small families of 3 to 4 members, 350- to 450-litres is ideal. For larger extended families of 5 members and above, anything larger 450 litres should be good enough as the shopping and stocking of groceries usually happens once a week.
For this article, we have assumed a family of 3 to 4 members for our main pick as an appliance like a refrigerator usually lasts for about 12 to 15 years.
The energy efficiency rating (EER) is a badge on how energy efficient the fridge is. The higher the number of stars, the more energy efficient it is.
Even though you may see two refrigerators with a 5-star rating, their energy consumption may be different. With increased capacity, the energy consumed will be higher. So, a 300 litre 5-star fridge will always consume more energy than a 200 litre 5-star fridge. In fact, every feature like auto defrost, moisture control will add to the energy consumption.
Some points to be noted here – only single- and double-door fridges are rated, so you will not find one on triple, bottom freezers, side-by-side or French door fridges. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) also updates and revises the requirements for categorisations every other year. The current one is valid from January 2016 to December 2018.
Every brand has a different way of labelling a feature; for example, a very useful feature that utilises a cooling gel mat to retain the temperature for up to 10 or 12 hours even during power cuts. This helps any food kept on top of it warm up slower than usual. Samsung calls it ‘Cool Pack’; Godrej calls it ‘Stay Cool’; Whirlpool’s term is ‘Chilling Gel’.
Another feature that some brands offer is the option to convert the freezer into extra fridge space. Some brands and models even have the option of using only the freezer or fridge and various permutations and combinations of the two. This is a great feature for you are going on vacation, for example, and will not need to store as much as on a regular day.
Some features are unique to brands and seem very useful. For example, some brands have an added feature to run on solar or home inverter power, which is especially useful in smaller cities where power cuts are frequent. Other features like quick cool and freeze, double twist ice trays, and moisture control are now common and are found in most brands.
But do remember that every feature that is added will add to the energy consumption and can always malfunction.
This is the heart of your fridge, and directly impacts other factors like durability and electricity consumption. Compressors come in two flavours – conventional or fixed speed, and inverter or variable speed. An inverter compressor is what we recommend as it is extremely efficient.
A fixed speed compressor switches off the moment it reaches the desired cooling temperature and starts again at full speed the moment the temperature is raised (either due to the seasonal conditions like summer or winter, or if the door is opened and hot air enters the fridge).
The inverter compressor runs at variable speeds, and usually never switches off during operation. This ensures high efficiency and the maintenance of consistent temperatures inside the refrigerator, and also results in significant cost savings, a reduced carbon footprint, less noise and a longer lifespan for the compressor.
The price is primarily dependent on three factors – size, style and features. We believe that these are more of cosmetic and aesthetic value than utility. Our advice? Focus on the basics, like good compressors, family size and requirements, and energy efficiency.
Most refrigerators come with a 1 year guarantee and a 10 year compressor warranty, which is the norm.
Most brands have service centres in major metros – it’s the tier 2 and tier 3 towns that most people face issues in. On paper, most brands have some sort of presence in tier 2 and 3 towns, but they are usually serviced as hub and spoke models, with parts delivered from the metros. With higher-end models, any electronic failure that requires an uncommon part will take time to be replaced. So, a delay of seven to 15 days is usual for most brands operating with this model.
The Best Refrigerator in India for a Family of Four
Samsung 415 L, 4-Star Frost-free Double Door Refrigerator (Samsung RT42M553ES8)
Boasting great features and amazing efficiency, the refrigerator in India for a family of four is the Samsung RT42M553ES8. It has an annual consumption of 224 units of electricity, giving it a 4-star BEE rating.
The size of the fridge is 675 mm (width) x 1785 mm (height) x 668 mm (depth), which makes it ideal as it will fit into the fridge space allocated in most modern kitchens and apartments. Therefore, no breaking or altering the kitchen space. And since it comes in a stainless-steel finish, it’s a good-looking addition to your kitchen.
This fridge has a gross capacity of 415 litres which should more than suffice for a family of 4 to 5 people, and it has a good-sized freezer of 112 litres (gross) in which to store your frozen foods for a week. In case you find the freezer capacity small, then the ‘twist-and-dispense’ style ice maker can be removed.
If you think you don’t need the freezer space, you can always convert the freezer to a fridge. In fact, this refrigerator can do a lot more. The 5-in-1 conversion mode is a nifty feature where you can use just the freezer or just the fridge, switching the other off.
It comes with a 1 year comprehensive warranty and 10 years warranty for the digital inverter compressor. This unit is also quieter than fridges with conventional compressors, and is energy efficient as indicated by its 4-star BEE rating.
Like most new fridges, this model too comes with a built-in stabiliser to prevent electrical damage or shorting during power cuts or voltage fluctuations, and has an operating range of 100 to 300 V.
Speaking of power cuts, it also has a cooling gel pad and a vertical cooling wall that prevents food from going bad during blackouts for up to 12 hours. This is a great feature to have, as in our research, this issue came up quite often.
A button to quick chill or freeze is also available in case you want to chill food faster or make ice quicker. While this feature uses more power, it can be useful in situations where you need to make ice fast or prevent that just-bought ice cream from melting. Additionally, there’s a door alarm that reminds you to hurry up and close the door when it’s open for too long.
The shelves are made of tempered glass that can take a fair amount of stress, with a pull-out chiller zone to access things at the back. The vegetable shelf is quite large – in fact, larger than most of the competition, but it’s at the expense of the corresponding door shelf. Depending on your vegetable buying habits, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. The other features, like humidity control and the deodorizer, are nice to have, but not very important.
Now, for the downsides:
Our main problem is the 5-in-1 conversion setting. While we think the feature is a great addition to have, the way you activate it could have been simpler. You have to press and hold the Freezer Convert button for three seconds to enter the selection mode. Then, press Freezer Convert to select a desired mode. The mode changes in this sequence: Fridge to Off to Freezer to Off to Fridge setting mode.
If you select Fridge, the Fridge indicator turns on. Power Freeze will be deactivated if active, and Ice On will turn off if enabled. If you select Off, the Off indicator turns on. The freezer will be turned off. If you select the Freezer setting mode, the freezer temperature indicators turn on for your selection. Your changes will be set and activated after 10 seconds. To cancel or change the mode again, press and hold Freezer Convert again for three seconds. Then, follow the instructions as mentioned above.
Confusing? We thought so too. All Samsung had to do was assign a button to each mode. Instead you have to memorise the sequences.
Another possible flaw – but not a deal breaker – is the recessed door handle. While it does save space, the lack of handle makes it difficult to open the door. On uneven flooring, the unit might feel a bit unstable when you try to open the door. But, as said earlier, this is just a small design flaw.
All in all, in our opinion and based on the reviews of Samsung’s previous refrigerator models, the Samsung RT42M553ES8 is the best two-door refrigerator you can currently purchase. It’s spacious and is loaded with features, and backed by Samsung’s service network, so you can avail of repairs across India. Its running costs are also low considering the annual energy consumption of only 224 units.
LG 420 L, 4-Star Frost-Free Double Door Refrigerator (LG GL- I472QPZX)
The LG GL-I472QPZX is a reliable fridge that you should get if our top pick is not available. While it is not as feature-rich as our Samsung option, it does its job well.
This 4-star BEE rated consumes about 230 units of electricity per annum and will fit in most modern kitchens’ pre-allocated fridge space. It stands at 680 mm (width) x 1720 mm (height) x 725 mm (depth) and is 420 litres in gross capacity. It comes in a shiny steel, high gloss finish which will look good in most kitchens.
Feature-wise, this fridge comes with linear cooling, which is LG marketing speak for uniform cooling across the interiors, helping to even out odd temperature gaps within the fridge.
You get a one-year comprehensive warranty and 10 years on the inverter compressor, which, as mentioned earlier, is quieter and more efficient than fridges with conventional ones.
An internal stabiliser does away with the need to get an external one, and can be connected to your home inverter. This means that every time the power goes off, the fridge automatically switches to inverter power to run without any manual supervision, and consumes very little power. And, if you have a solar energy set-up at home, you can connect it to the inverter and the fridge will be able to run off the clean energy.
While the LG fridge does not have a Freezer to Fridge conversion feature, it does have something called ‘Door Cooling’ that evens the temperature on the door so you can store milk and other perishable items in the door storage space. The shelves are made of toughened glass and are more durable than plastic ones. There is a pull-out chiller zone to store perishables and help access things at the back of the shelf and a deodoriser that helps contain any odours in the fridge.
The fridge has a twin array of LED lights that provide uniform lighting, as well as other good-to-have bells and whistles like an anti-bacteria gasket and a humidity controller that keeps veggies crisper and fresher. It also has a proper handle that is sturdy and not recessed like our Samsung pick.
On the downside, the control panel is inside the freezer and fridge, which isn’t a deal-breaker, but can be quite annoying. Another annoying thing is the twist-and-turn ice maker, which just doesn’t work as advertised. You have to remove the tray and give it the old twist and crack by hand, and only then does it empty out.
If you can live with these factors, the LG GL-I472QPZX does its job of keeping things cool. The build quality is quite sturdy and reliable and will serve you well for years to come. While the features are less than our Samsung pick, it’s made up for by the slightly larger capacity and the proper handle, which makes it feel like a sturdy, stable unit. The company has a good service network and the repairs, if any, should be addressed quickly.
What about other options?
If the family sizes do not apply to you, here are our other picks:
Great for larger families
Samsung 478 L, 4-Star Frost-free Double Door Refrigerator (Samsung RT49M625ES8)
If you have a larger family (five to six members), or if our top pick is not big enough for you, then consider the Samsung RT49M625ES8.
This 478-litre fridge is the elder sibling of our top pick, the Samsung RT42M553ES8. It’s big and spacious and has some class-leading features like using only the freezer or the fridge.
Standing at 700 mm (width) x 1825 mm (height) x 726 mm (depth), the Samsung RT49M625ES8 is a 4-star BEE rated refrigerator with an annual electricity consumption of 239 units. The fridge is big, with a freezer capacity of 132 litres (gross) and a fridge capacity of 346 litres (gross).
A stand-out feature of this fridge is its flexibility. In the ‘Normal’ mode, you get the standard freezer plus fridge combination. With the ‘Extra Fridge’ mode, you can convert the freezer to a fridge, which is great when you need additional space. If you are going on holiday and need to store food in the freezer, simply switch on ‘Vacation Mode’ and keep only the freezer on and turn off the fridge section. With the ‘Seasonal’ mode, you can keep only the fridge on and switch off the freezer. And when you’re alone at home and don’t have a lot to store, switch to ‘Home Alone’ mode that switches off the fridge and converts the freezer section into a fridge.
Apart from this, it has all the regular features of our top picks like quick chill and quick freeze, an easy slide tray for accessing items from the back of a shelf, anti-bacterial filter, cooling gel pack and the like. The shelves are made of tempered glass, and there are two separate storage options for fruits and vegetables, a display for temperature and a door alarm.
It also shares the same issues that we have with our top pick, including the lack of handle and the convoluted way of changing the modes of fridge-freezer conversion.
If you can overlook these annoyances and small flaws, the Samsung RT49M625ES8 will be a great addition to your kitchen.
Ideal for individuals or couples
Samsung 275 L, 5-Star Frost Free Refrigerator (Samsung RT30M3425S8)
For an individual or a couple, our pick is the Samsung RT30M3425S8, a 275 litre, double-door fridge with a large, 69-litre (gross) freezer.
Measuring 555 mm (width) x 1653 mm (height) x 688 mm (depth), the Samsung RT30M3425S8 is a 5-star BEE rated refrigerator with an annual electricity consumption of 159 units, making it probably the most energy efficient double door fridge at this capacity.
It has a digital invertor which comes with a 10-year warranty and a one-year comprehensive warranty by Samsung and, like all new fridges, it can work without a stabiliser for a range of 100 to 300 V. Because of its large freezer, it’s the perfect addition to a bachelor/ bachelorette kitchen. However, if you don’t need the freezer space, you can convert the freezer to a fridge. A cooling get tray is also available to retain temperatures during power cuts, along with a quick cool and quick freeze option to make ice faster.
The top shelf can slide making it convenient for storing everyday items. It also cools the inside of the fridge evenly to maintain an optimum temperature along with a door alarm when it hasn’t been closed properly.
In the process of writing this review, we looked at the bestsellers on Amazon and Flipkart. While some seem like good choices on paper, we think that most were either too small or the buying decision was based only on the price. For example, the Samsung RT28M3022S8 is a decent 253-litre fridge which is great for an individual or couple, but has a 2-Star energy rating and will soon be insufficient in storage space if you move to your next stage in life. A total deal-breaker in our minds.
Similarly, the Whirlpool IF 355 ELT 2S, which is 340 litres, has a normal compressor and consumes 318 units of power. Almost 80 units more than our top pick for large families, the Samsung RT49M625ES8. Again, a deal breaker for us.
The others we have eliminated on the basis of similar issues and dodgy after-sales service.
The last word
Buying a fridge today may seem more complicated than ever, with most brands adopting new technologies and introducing new models every year. But if you can see past the marketing campaigns and keep in mind what you want from your fridge, decision-making will be easier.
We have listed the factors which apply to most of us and have recommended the best in the categories. There are also big side-by-side or French door fridges, but we will keep them aside for another time.
Another point we strongly advocate is buying online. Right now, when the Amazon’s and Flipkart’s of the world are duking it out for market share, it’s a win for us, the consumers. Buying online is safe and usually cheaper, and most brands will honour their service commitments. Do remember to check the vendor from whom you buy the appliance from and read all the terms and conditions carefully. We recommend buying the products if there is an ‘Amazon Fulfilled’ or ‘Flipkart Assured’ tag. But do shop around for the best price by visiting offline stores as well.