How We Test Refrigerators

how we test refrigerators

At FarmFoodFamily, we understand finding the right refrigerator is crucial for farm families who rely on them for food preservation, medicinal storage, and harvest overflow capacity.

Our rigorous refrigerator testing provides unbiased insight into cooling performance, storage space, energy efficiency, and durability.

Testing Categories

When evaluating farm refrigerators in our Appliances Lab, we focus assessment on five key categories:

Temperature Consistency

State-of-the-art thermometers placed throughout the unit ensure compressor cycles maintain interior temperatures within 1°F of the set point. Track over 2 week testing period.

Cooling Power

Time how quickly items like casseroles, farmstand produce, etc. are chilled to food-safe levels during typical loading quantities and scenarios.

Energy Efficiency

Calculate energy consumption for standard usage and when filled to storage capacity. Includes efficiency ratings when full vs. half empty.

Storage Layout

Critique shelf, drawer, and bin configurations for farm-specific items like raw ingredients, preserved harvests, medicinal bottles, etc. based on reader survey data.


Test doors, lights, shelves, etc. through repeated openings/closings, power cycles, and overload. Inspect for loose hinges, cracks, and denting after 1 month of lab use.

What we didn’t consider in the test

To provide full transparency into our testing process, here are some additional details on what we did not evaluate or consider in our refrigerator reviews:

  • Long-term ownership – While we conduct extensive lab testing over 2 months and inspect build integrity, we cannot replicate the 5+ years of real-world use most customers experience. We focus reviews on performance metrics buyers should evaluate when making purchasing decisions.
  • Specialized storage needs – While our testing criteria aim to accommodate common storage requirements for dairy, produce, preserved foods, etc., we recognize every farm has unique considerations. We try to provide modular customization and expansion capabilities for those with niche needs.
  • Off-grid compatibility – Our testing currently focuses on standard refrigerator models designed for grid-powered homes. We have not yet evaluated DC or propane fridge options optimized for off-grid solar/battery farms. However, this is an area of interest for future testing.
  • Cost – While we provide general commentary on the value each fridge presents relative to performance and build quality, we do not conduct formal cost-benefit analyses or lifecycle cost comparisons. Our goal is to highlight units best suited for rugged farm use regardless of price point.

We hope this additional context on areas not covered by our current testing protocols provides helpful clarity.

How we chose and ranked the best refrigerators

To ensure our refrigerator recommendations truly reflect the best options for farm families, we developed a rigorous review and ranking methodology based on weighted scoring across our key testing categories:

  1. Establish category weighting – Using reader survey feedback, we assign higher importance values to categories like temperature consistency, cooling power, and durability compared to metrics like style and shelf configurations.
  2. Score individual units – Each refrigerator evaluated in our lab is graded on a 1-100 scale for each category based on measured performance benchmarks and usage testing observations.
  3. Calculate overall score – Applying the pre-determined category weights, we calculate an overall numeric score for each appliance. This allows side-by-side comparisons.
  4. Factor in qualitative feedback – Beyond lab scores, we incorporate candid feedback from our testers on ease of use, conveniences that simplify preservation tasks, and real-world advantages they noticed from a farmer’s perspective.
  5. Compile rankingRefrigerators are finally ordered based on their aggregate scores, weighted categories, test notes, and reader testimony on which truly stand out for rural kitchen needs.

We invest heavily in this review process because we know cost-effective, hardworking fridges are vital for farm meal management and harvest storage success.

By evaluating both performance data and real-world use over 60+ point criteria, our refrigerator reviews offer reliable guidance for farms shopping for energy-efficient, spacious, and durable units that meet their unique storage needs. Please reach out with any questions!