Last Updated on July 27th, 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 if you 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 power ministry in the year 2006 to measure 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 much 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 refrigerator will consume less electricity as compared to 4-star refrigerator and so on. This means that 1 star refrigerators are least efficient and will result in high electricity bills.
Star rating is usually updated every two years. However, it seems that there was no change in the rating system from 2016 to 2019. In the year 2020, new ratings were released, which is currently applicable and used in this article.
BEE has done a tremendous job in making appliances more energy efficient over the last decade. Below chart shows how BEE labelling for refrigerators have progressed during this period.
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
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 minimum value. Energy consumption will depend on usage, and age. This brings us to 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 10 to 12 years of age can consume even 2 to 3 times more energy as compared to a brand new refrigerator.
How are Star Ratings Calculated?
BEE conducts test 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. 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 from every star rating, and are given by BEE.
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 based on this range.
Star Ratings, Energy Consumption and Capacity
As you can see, different capacity refrigerators will consume different number 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 the 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 your 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 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 higher price point as well. Based on our research, usually, for every 1 star increase, the refrigerator price increases by 1000 – 3000 rupees.
Please keep in mind that this is an estimate and 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 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.
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 requirement are one of the most stringent in the world! Refrigerator manufacturers have improved on the efficiency significantly. A 5-star refrigerator in 2011 will not even qualify for 1-star rating today. Thus, if you have an old refrigerator, then switching to newer ones can be a smart move.
Higher star rating gives significant savings if maintained properly. Buying a 5-star or a 3-star refrigerators can thus help save decent amount on electricity bills. Higher rated refrigerators come at 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 in the comments section.