Do Energy-Efficient Appliances Save You Money?

Are you better off spending more on energy-efficient appliances? Or are you better off sticking with the cheaper models? Either way, let's find out.

A series of appliances with an energy efficiency scale next to them with a tick next to the top level
(Image credit: getty)

With energy prices at uncomfortably high levels and further astronomical prices constantly in the news, we’re all looking for savings. When you’re shopping for new appliances you’re probably wondering whether it’s better to spend more on more energy-efficient appliances. Will they help you save in the long run or are you financially better off with the cheaper upfront cost?

Energy-Efficiency Ratings Changed in 2021

When looking at new appliances, you may notice a rating on each one to show energy efficiency. If you last purchased an appliance a few years ago then you’re possibly unaware these ratings changed in recent years.

In 2020 the UK government announced a new label to reflect an increase in efficiency over the years. New devices were scoring highly against older standards and the labels were no longer as useful. The changes came into effect in March 2021. The new scale has removed the A+, A++, and A+++ ratings and gone back to a good old A-G rating. Higher standards mean appliances classed as an A in the old ratings may now be something a lot lower.

Is buying more energy-efficient appliances worth it?

With the ever-increasing cost of energy bills, you may be questioning what works out cheaper. In the long run, is a more expensive fridge with cheaper running costs better for your finances?

So let’s start by looking at the more budget-friendly options. We’ve looked at some of the most popular choices from ao.com, one of the country’s leading appliance retailers.

The Average Lifetime Cost of a Fridge Freezer

We’ve worked out the average lifetime cost of a fridge freezer by looking at how much energy they’ll use. So by taking their annual energy usage and multiplying that by the average price of electricity. We can use this as a rough estimate of how much a product costs over its lifespan. As explained by Ofgem, the average price for electricity under the government’s Energy Price Guarantee is £0.34 per kWh. There’s some debate over the average lifespan of a fridge freezer. Magnet estimates the average lifespan to be a nice and round 10 years. Whilst The Sun found the lifespan of a fridge freezer to be a more precise 7 years and 11 months. For this, we’ll go with the more cynical 7 years and 11 months. But we’ll round it up to 8 years to make it easier to work out.

Energy costs will probably continue to increase for the foreseeable future, but we’ll stick with the current price for convenience. So let’s take a look at some of the options.

The Cost of Running a Beko 50/50 Fridge Freezer

First up we have the Beko CRFG3552W 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer. Rated as F but an A+ on the old scale, the difference that the new scale makes is clear. The Beko CRFG3552W 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer is available for £329 and consumes 255 kWh annually. This leads to an annual running cost of £86.70. So costing £693.60 over 8 years, this brings the overall cost to £1022.60 for the life of the fridge freezer.

The Cost of Running a Fridgemaster 60/40 Fridge Freezer

Next up is the Fridgemaster MC50165BF 60/40 Fridge Freezer, which again is rated as F for energy efficiency. You can get the Fridgemaster for £259 and it uses 204 kWh a year, making the annual running costs £69.36. Spread over 8 years you’ll be paying 554.88 to keep it running, meaning a total cost for its life of roughly £813.88. 

The Cost of Running a Different Beko 50/50 Fridge Freezer

The final lower-budget fridge freezer we’ll be looking at is Beko CRFG3582W 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer and like the other cheaper options, is rated as F for energy efficiency. This Beko model is available for £339 and has an average annual running cost of £101.32 using 298 kWh a year. This makes its running costs £810.56 throughout its life leading to a total of £1,149.56.

So in summary, the costs of the lower price range fridge freezers over their lifespan are:

  • Beko CRFG3552W 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer – £1022.60
  • Fridgemaster MC50165BF 60/40 Fridge Freezer – £813.88
  • Beko CRFG3582W 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer – £1,149.56

As you can see, even at the lower end of the price ranges, the cost of the appliance’s energy consumption can make a huge difference to the overall cost of the appliance. 

Are More Expensive and Efficient Fridge Freezers Better For Your Energy Bills?

Now we’ve looked at the cheaper options, let’s look at more expensive options to see whether it works out cheaper to spend more upfront.

The Cost of Running a Samsung 70/30 Fridge Freezer

The Samsung Series 5 RB38T602CS9 70/30 Total No Frost Fridge Freezer is available for £849 and comes in at a C for energy efficiency. It uses an average of 180 kWh a year costing you £61.20 or £489.60 throughout its life. This comes to a total of £1,338.60.

The Cost of Running a Liebherr 50/50 Fridge Freezer

The Liebherr CNd5704 50/50 Frost Free Fridge Freezer is usually priced at £669 and carries an energy rating of D. It uses an average of 210.2 kWh, meaning an annual running cost of £71.47 and a lifetime running cost of £571.74. This means that altogether the Liebherr will cost you a grand total of £1,240.74.

The Cost of Running a Bosch 70/30 Fridge Freezer

The Bosch Series 6 KGE49AICAG 70/30 Fridge Freezer with VitaFresh can be yours for £799. The Bosch is rated C for energy efficiency and uses an average of 190 kWh a year. This means an annual running cost of £64.60 and a running cost over 8 years of £516.80. With an upfront cost of £799 and a running cost over 8 years of £516.80, this means that the overall cost over the lifetime of the appliance will be £1,1315.80.

So which is cheaper?

So now we’ve worked out the lifetime costs of the fridge freezer, does the increased efficiency that comes with more expensive models outweigh the initial savings? 

A graph of lifetime running costs vs upfront costs showing that costs decrease over time when you pay more upfront.

(Image credit: Future)

And the answer is no, but in some cases, the differences aren’t as stark as you’d expect. Yes, the lifetime cost of the Fridgemaster model worked out at around £400-500 less than the expensive models but the other cheaper models were only £200-300 off. 

It’s also worth remembering that although some of the cheaper models may have a very enticing upfront cost, the energy inefficiency quickly starts racking up the numbers on your energy bill with some of the cheaper models having an annual running cost of nearly double. 

Cheaper models may also have fewer features than the more expensive models, so they may not be suitable for everyone or may leave you wanting more from your new appliance leading to another purchase further down the line.

You should also consider that a cheaper model may not be manufactured to the same standards or designed to last as long, so you may end up buying 2 cheaper fridge freezers when one breaks down over the lifespan of a single more expensive model. It’s quoted more and more but Terry Pratchett’s Boots theory does continue to prove itself, after all the easiest way to have more money is not having a reason to spend money.

It’s down to you how much money you’re comfortable and capable of spending, and it’s no guarantee that the more expensive models will last longer or that the more accessibly priced models won’t give you many years of chilled and frozen goods. But it is worth knowing that even with the increasing costs of energy, cheaper appliances still offer an overall saving.

Jordan Alexander
Food & Drink Editor

I’m Jordan and I’ve been working at MyVoucherCodes since the summer of 2021. Outside of money-saving, I’m a keen musician and guitar player and can regularly be found in a dingy venue somewhere in Bristol or perched in front of my laptop recording. When I’m not doing this you’ll find me exploring the city, watching cult B movies, reading a Stephen King or Murakami novel, or guiding the mighty Bath City to Champions League glory on Football Manager. All the cliches, I know.