Last Updated on October 5th, 2021 by RefrigeratorPro Team
Are you wondering if you should buy a 5-star refrigerator or is a 3-star refrigerator? Don’t worry we have done the calculations for you.
We will help you understand how much money you can save by choosing a higher star rated refrigerator. And, by the end of this article, you will know everything about star ratings and whether you should go for a 5-star rated refrigerator or not.
BEE star rating was launched by the power ministry in the year 2006 to measure the energy efficiency of home appliances. It gives guidelines for Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) to many home appliances such as AC, refrigerators, TV, water heater and so on. This move was made to empower customers so that they know how many units the appliance will consume which will help them to make an informed decision.
BEE star rating gives a rating from 1 to 5, denoting energy efficiency ranking. Thus, 5-star refrigerators will consume less electricity as compared to 4-star refrigerators and 4-star refrigerators will consume less electricity as compared to 3-star refrigerators and so on. This means that 1-star refrigerators are the least efficient and will result in high electricity bills. Hence, 5-star refrigerators are best ones for power consumption as they consume the least amount of power.
BEE has done a tremendous job in making appliances more energy efficient over the last decade. The below chart shows how BEE labelling for refrigerators has progressed during this period.
Please note that current star ratings are applicable for refrigerators manufactured between January 01, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
As you can see, BEE has kept on making the energy efficiency rating more stringent with its every update. As a result, 1-star frost free refrigerators in 2021 are as efficient as 5-star refrigerators were back in 2013.
Table of Contents
- Key Things to Understand
- How are Star Ratings Calculated?
- Star Ratings, Energy Consumption and Capacity
- How does BEE Rating Effect the Price of a Refrigerator?
- Refrigerator Power Consumption & Electricity Bill
- Energy Saving Tips for Refrigerators
Key Things to Understand
Before we begin, there are few important things that you should understand. Firstly, you have to understand that these numbers are derived under test conditions. Therefore, there will be some difference between the rating of the refrigerator and its actual energy consumption.
This means that the refrigerator will consume more energy and the labelling should be taken as the minimum value. Energy consumption will depend on usage and age. This brings us to the second point, that is, older refrigerators will consume more energy as compared to newer refrigerators. As a refrigerator’s age increases, its energy efficiency decreases. In fact, any refrigerator over 15 to 20 years of age can consume even 2 to 3 times more energy as compared to a brand new refrigerator.
Please note that refrigerators in India come with a rating of 50 to 250 Watts.
How are Star Ratings Calculated?
BEE conducts tests of all the released models for refrigerators. It takes one random sample from the brand’s manufacturing facility or warehouse and one random sample from retail outlet for testing the appliance’s energy consumption. The formula for calculating star rating is:
Star Rating Band (SRB)nf = knf * Vadj_tot_nf + cnf
Here knf is constant multiplier and cnf is constant fixed allowance. These values are different for every star rating, and are given by BEE. The values depend on the year of manufacture/import/sale.
Vadj_tot_nf is the “Total Adjusted Storage Volume for No Frost”. It means it is the effective volume of a refrigerator when adjusted for freezer space.
Star Rating Band (SRB)nf is the number of units that will be consumed by the appliance (in kWh). Every star rating has a range of acceptable SRB (energy consumption in unit).
BEE tests the energy consumed by the appliance and certifies how much star rating should be given based on this range.
Star Ratings, Energy Consumption and Capacity
As you can see, different capacity refrigerators will consume different amount of units (1 unit of electricity = 1 kWh).
Also, rating guidelines differ for frost free vs direct cool refrigerators. Therefore, we have separate findings for both types of refrigerators.
Here is the annual energy consumption of different star rated refrigerators. Based on the BEE guidelines, we have calculated how much energy (in units) a frost-free refrigerator (double door refrigerators and above) consumes.
|5 Star||4 Star||3 Star||2 Star||1 Star|
Annual Savings from star rating of a 250-litre frost-free refrigerator
|Star Rating||Energy Consumed||Power Bill*||Savings|
|1||320 units||Rs 2051||NA|
|2||256 units||Rs 1638||Rs 413|
|3||205 units||Rs 1310||Rs 328|
|4||164 units||Rs 1046||Rs 264|
|5||131 units||Rs 837||Rs 209|
*Rs 6.4 per unit
Some conclusions on frost free refrigerators from this chart:
- Every star increase helps reduce electricity bill from refrigerators by around 20%.
- 2 star frost free refrigerators consume roughly double the energy consumed by 5 star refrigerators.
- As far as difference between 5 star an 3-star is concerned, 5-star refrigerators are roughly 55 percent more energy efficient than 3-star refrigerators. It means that they will save roughly 35% on your electricity bills.
- It means that at Rs 6.4 per unit, you can save 473 rupees annually with 5 star frost free refrigerators over 3-star refrigerators.
- Similarly, choosing 3-star refrigerator over 1 star will save you Rs 740 annually, because 3-star refrigerator is 55% more energy efficient than 1 star refrigerator.
- Finally, 5 star refrigerator will save you Rs 1213 over 1 star refrigerator. This means that 1 star refrigerators will give you 2.5 time higher energy bills over 5 star refrigerators!
- The energy savings of 3-star refrigerators over 1 star refrigerators is more than energy savings of 5 star refrigerator over 3-star refrigerator.
Now let us look at the energy ratings in direct cool refrigerators
Chart for 190 L Direct Cool Refrigerator (Single Door Refrigerator)
|Star Rating||Energy Consumed||Power Bill*||Savings|
|5||111 units||Rs 710||Rs 177|
|4||139 units||Rs 887||Rs 221|
|3||173 units||Rs 1108||Rs 281|
|2||217 units||Rs 1389||Rs 346|
|1||271 units||Rs 1735||NA|
*Rs 6.4 per unit
Some conclusions from this chart:
- Every one star increase will help you decrease your power bills from direct cool refrigerators by 20%.
- At the rate of R 6.4 per unit, 3-star direct cool refrigerator will save you Rs 628 annually over 1 star refrigerator.
- Similarly, 5 star direct cool refrigerator will save you Rs 398 annually over 3-star refrigerator.
- Also, there is not much difference between energy consumed by similarly rated frost free and direct cool refrigerators.
How does BEE Rating Effect the Price of a Refrigerator?
Now we know that higher rated refrigerators can save significantly in terms of electricity bills. But, higher rated, refrigerators come at a higher price point as well. Based on our research, usually, for every 1 star increase, the refrigerator price increases by INR 1000 – 3000.
Please keep in mind that this is an estimate and the price of refrigerators can vary because of many factors.
Is It always a good idea to buy a 5 star refrigerator?
Based on the above findings, it’s not difficult to conclude that 5-star rated refrigerators will save significant energy over a 1-star of a 3-star refrigerator. Even though 5 star refrigerators are costlier than other ones, their cost will be recovered over a period of time. Moreover, energy-efficient refrigerators are good for the environment. Thus, it will help you decrease your carbon footprint.
However, we should not forget that as a refrigerator gets old, it becomes less energy efficient. On top of this, you should be ready to use the refrigerator for many years ( 8 to 10 years) to recover the additional cost that you paid for the refrigerators. Therefore if you are on a budget or you do not have a long term horizon in mind before buying a refrigerator, then probably buying a 3-star or lesser rated refrigerator can be a good decision for you.
Don’t forget to look at the year of rating of a refrigerator before you buy because the ratings keep on changing.
You can bookmark this page because most of the insights in this article are not there on the internet anywhere else. Also, it will be updated as and when BEE ratings are updated.
Refrigerator Power Consumption & Electricity Bill
Here is a breakdown of power consumption as per the size of the fridge. Please note that this data is for a 1-star double door refrigerator.
|Size of Refrigerator||Annual Power Consumption||Annual Electricity Bill (Rs)||Monthly Electricity Bill (Rs)|
|190 L||303 kWh||1939||162|
|250 L||320 kWh||2048||171|
|300 L||335 kWh||2144||179|
|350 L||349 kWh||2234||186|
|400 L||363 kWh||2323||194|
As you can see, as the capacity of refrigerator increases, its power consumption increases but not significantly.
Even when the capacity of the fridge is doubled, the increase in power consumption is less than 20%. This shows that more than capacity, star rating plays an important role in determining the power consumption of refrigerators. Hence, star rating should be the main criteria to choose refrigerator based on power consumption.
Energy Saving Tips for Refrigerators
- Put food in the refrigerator only after it has sufficiently cooled down. Placing a hot utensil inside it can damage the refrigerator.
- Don’t overfill the refrigerator. Loading more than recommended amount of food can will not allow proper air circulation.
- Set the temperature of the refrigerator as per requirement. If you set lower than required temperature, it can increase the energy consumption significantly.
- You should not open the refrigerator frequently. As per BEE, opening the door too often can increase energy consumption by up to 7%.
- Cleaning the refrigerator and condenser is an important aspect that is often overlooked. A properly cleaned condenser will run efficiently, thus decreasing energy consumption. As per BEE, by keeping the condenser clean, you can reduce energy consumption by as much as 5%.
BEE has done a great job in making the refrigerators energy rating stringent over the years. In fact, BEE rating requirements are one of the most stringent in the world! Refrigerator manufacturers have improved efficiency significantly. A 5-star refrigerator in 2011 will not even qualify for a 1-star rating today. Thus, if you have an old refrigerator, then switching to newer ones can be a smart move.
A higher star rating gives significant savings if maintained properly. Buying a 5-star or a 3-star refrigerators can thus help save a decent amount on electricity bills. Higher rated refrigerators come at a higher price and if you are looking to use the refrigerator for long term (which you probably should), then 3, 4 or 5-star refrigerators are your best bet.
If you have any queries, then we will be happy to help. You can share your questions by posting them in the comments section.