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Samsung refrigerator hits new high for efficiency

New innovations reduce energy costs to less than $50 a year

Published: August 01, 2013 02:30 PM

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Back in 1975, a typical refrigerator consumed about 1,750 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. The Samsung RF261BIAESR, a new French-door refrigerator with a claimed capacity of 25.5 cubic feet, uses less than a quarter that amount, making it the most efficient model we've ever tested in that category. The $2,100 refrigerator also maintains superb temperature control and has several helpful features, including a full-width pantry drawer, touchpad controls, and LED theatre lighting.

One feature the Samsung RF261BIAESR doesn't have is a through-the-door ice and water dispenser. That's relevant to the energy story, since these devices consume extra power. But the fact that Samsung claims an annual energy use of 398 kWh (the first French-door to dip below the 400 kWh threshold) is still a major accomplishment. Several innovations are at play, including a next-generation inverter compressor, high-efficiency insulation, and advanced sensors that more effectively monitor ambient temperature and humidity levels.

The Samsung RF261BIAESR received an excellent score in our temperature tests and it features dual evaporators, which should help keep food fresh by maintaining optimal humidity levels in the refrigerator section. And thanks to its exceptional energy efficiency, the RF261BIAESR will only cost $48 per year to operate on average, which over the life of the appliance could mean a few hundred extra bucks in your pocket.

See our complete refrigerator Ratings for other models that combine performance and efficiency.  

—Daniel DiClerico

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