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Look into the refrigerator: Food only stays fresh if the appliances are cold enough and sealed tightly

Photo: Dennis Galante / Getty Images

That's when the electricity meter goes crazy: Because fridge-freezer combinations run around the clock every day of the year, their electricity consumption can have a huge long-term impact on the overall costs of the devices.

In their current test of 25 free-standing refrigerators, the experts at Stiftung Warentest calculate this.

Extrapolated over a period of use of 15 years, there is a difference of almost 1000 euros between the cheapest device overall, which is still rated as good, and a model that is more than three times more expensive to purchase but is only slightly more economical.

Specifically: With a purchase price of 1,950 euros, the Miele KFN 4797 AD consumes 910 euros of electricity over the specified period.

Makes a total of 2860 euros.

According to the testers' calculation model, the NRK62CAXL4 from Gorenje will require significantly more energy for cooling in 15 years, namely electricity for 1280 euros.

But since it can be had for just 600 euros, its total cost is only 1,880 euros.

That's 980 euros less than the Miele model.

Don't save money at the wrong end

The Siemens KG39NAIAT

emerged as the test winner in the Stiftung Warentest tests


His overall grade: 1.6.

It achieves the good rating with, among other things, good cooling and freezing performance as well as very good energy efficiency.

With a grade of 1.7, the


follows in second place , to which the testers attributed better handling and lighting than the test winner.

At least as important: According to Stiftung Warentest, the Bosch model costs almost 450 euros less than the Siemens.

The Gorenje NKR62CAXL4

is even cheaper


And not just in terms of purchase - the testers put its price at 600 euros - but also in terms of the overall costs.

As mentioned above, its total costs over 15 years of operation are calculated to be 1,880 euros, which is more than 300 euros less than the test winner (2,210 euros).

According to the Stiftung Warentest report, if you want to save on electricity costs, you shouldn't try to achieve this through comparatively high cooling temperatures.

Food spoiled at an early stage as a result of such settings would “cause costs and additional environmental pollution,” warn the experts.

In the test, the refrigerators ran at 4° in the refrigerator compartment and -18° in the freezer compartment.

Fear of power outage

But purchase and energy costs are just two of the many criteria the experts used to examine the devices.

The rating also includes how loud the devices are, how easy they are to use, but also how they behave in the event of malfunctions and how well the freezing works.

The Miele KD4052 E Active and the Liebherr CNsdb 5223 20 are only rated 4.4 (Sufficient) in this regard because they do not have any sensors in the freezer compartment.

This means they can't tell when you put something in to freeze and the process takes longer.

According to Stiftung Warentest, this is “less gentle on sensitive foods such as meat, vegetables and berries.”

Some other devices do not report when the door is open or the power is out.

Both functions should actually be standard today, simply because “frozen food that has thawed in the meantime should be consumed or disposed of quickly.”

You can read more tips for the economical use of refrigerators as well as the complete test results at Stiftung Warentest.