The inside of an energy-efficient refrigerator.

The appliances you buy can have a big impact on your energy bill, and those costs get baked into your fixed expenses for years to come.

Of the more than 300 models in Consumer Reports’ current refrigerator ratings, the annual energy costs range from $43 to $125. (Energy costs are based on a national average of 12.4 cents per kilowatt hour at the time of testing.)

That said, home appliances—refrigerators in particular—have become much more energy-efficient over the years. To take one model as an example, a 2015 Whirlpool side-by-side we tested is 17 percent more efficient than a model that came through our labs in 2009.

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“Newer refrigerators are much more efficient than their predecessors,” says CR test engineer Joseph Pacella, who runs the refrigerator test lab. “Federal standards are constantly updated to ensure that refrigerators of certain sizes use ever-lower amounts of energy, and manufacturers constantly introduce new technologies to meet the standards.”

But which are the most energy-efficient? “Top-freezers and conventional bottom-freezers tend to cost less to run compared with side-by-side and French-door fridges,” Pacella says. “Side-by-side models have a tall, thin freezer with a lot of external surface area that gets warm, and French-door bottom-freezers usually have energy-hungry add-ons, like an in-the-fridge icemaker and an anti-sweat heater.”

Of course, you may see lower annual energy costs on another style of refrigerator depending on its size. And as you might expect, the refrigerator’s manufacturer makes a difference.

All of these factors can make it tricky to find a refrigerator that will cut down on your electric bill. That’s where CR can help.

We outfit each refrigerator we test with thermocouples in a climate-controlled chamber and monitor it for a month, collecting more than 5.4 million temperature readings that identify warm and cold spots to determine which models will keep your food fresh longer.

We also factor in survey data from tens of thousands of CR members to judge brand reliability and satisfaction. All of that data—and then some—informs CR’s refrigerator ratings and each model's Overall Score.

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of the best energy-efficient refrigerators within each refrigerator type, sorted by Overall Score, along with their annual energy cost. We chose models that rate Very Good or Excellent for energy efficiency while still offering solid performance, reliability, and owner satisfaction. The models are made by Dacor, Frigidaire, Kenmore, and LG.

To see even more highly rated energy-efficient fridges, go to our full refrigerator ratings and sort by energy efficiency.

Energy-Efficient Fridges From CR's Tests

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