There are shonky fridges, and then there’s the latest Smeg model.
The cult brand, known for its retro-style appliances, has produced the worst fridge ever according to the consumer advocacy group Choice.
Its latest FAB38RCRAU model earned the lowest testing result in Choice history.
“We’ve seen some epic fridge fails in the past, but nothing like this,” the watchdog said in its review.
The 510 litre fridge scored a rating of just 22 per cent, amid “serious” concerns regarding fluctuating temperatures.
Choice fridge expert Ashley Iredale said this particular model is the worst the company has ever seen across decades of testing.
“It’s even more appalling when you consider that it costs a whopping $3990. You get a 1950s-style aesthetic from this fridge, but you’ll also get ‘50s performance to match.”
Mr Iredale said the fridge is expensive to run and has “terrible” cooling performance.
The experts gave the model a rating of zero after experiencing shocking fluctuations in temperature which could influence the longevity of food.
While forking out for the fridge, consumers would also be spending a fortune on perishables which “are likely to go off far more quickly than they should”, Mr Iredale explained.
Lab testing carried out by Choice found temperatures varied by more than 5C inside and 10C in the freezer.
This means if the fridge is set at 3C, temperatures could rise to 8C and items like a tray of oysters could give the user food poisoning.
In terms of outside influence, it would require a lot of maintenance to keep the temperatures steady.
“If you buy this fridge, you’ll need to constantly adjust the settings as the seasons change, or even if there are significant day-to-day changes in the area you live in,” Mr Iredale said.
“If you don’t, cold weather will make the fridge and freezer even colder, and hot weather will make it even warmer, which could leave you with melted ice cream and much worse.”
It is also expensive to run.
Choice experts estimate the Smeg will cost $1707 to run over 10 years. Similar-sized models from other brands are likely to set customers back between $1074 and $1431 over the same length of time.
Mr Iredale said it’s also large, given its actual capacity.
“We’ve seen plenty of larger capacity fridges that take up less space in the cramped confines of the modern Australian kitchen,” he said.
Smeg has been contacted for comment.