The $3.3 billion Indian refrigerator industry is dominated by MNC’s like LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool. Because the key components like compressors & refrigerants are still being imported and LG, Samsung & Whirlpool have their own technology.
People prefer the above refrigerator brands (LG, Samsung & Whirlpool) because they find value refrigerators available as per needs across price segments.
In India, you have direct-cool and frost-free refrigerators types with key differences as under –
|Capacity – 50 liters to 250 liters
|240 liters to 650 liters
|Less electricity consumed
|Higher electricity consumption
Between, direct-cool and frost-free, a majority (72%) of people prefer to go with direct-cool refrigerators. That is because the direct-cool refrigerators are low power consumers and pocket friendly.
Meaning of a Basic Model Refrigerator
The basic model refrigerator in India means –
- A single door, direct cool refrigerator
- Having an integrated small freezer which is 20%-30% of the overall capacity.
- Capacity in a range of 150 to 230 liters
- The available price range of Rs.10,999 to Rs.17,000
- Suitable for 2-3 people
- Non- commercial usage
- Devoid of any additional features like water/ice dispenser, convertible mechanism, or adjustable shelves
- From brands like – Godrej, Whirlpool, Haier, LG, Samsung,
For analysis, I studied 73 refrigerators from various brands that qualified the requirements of the above basic model refrigerator.
Of the 73 basic models, 61 models were priced below Rs. 17,000. A good majority i.e 83.5% of the basic models are priced below Rs. 17,000. That shows that the consumers favor sub 17,000 basic model refrigerators.
Of the 61 refrigerators understudy, only one refrigerator- Godrej 190L was priced below Rs. 11,000.
12 models were over Rs. 17,000 out of which only 2 refrigerators from Whirlpool were priced at Rs. 30,751, the rest of the refrigerators in this category were costing less than Rs. 19,500.
So What Makes The Price Difference
I tried to compare the features between the two extreme refrigerators in the basic model category, to try to find out what makes the companies charge more.
Below is the comparison table – that will reveal the difference and throw light on the crucial things to consider while buying a basic refrigerator.
The comparison is not watertight as you can see that the Whirlpool refrigerator is higher by 10 liters. For a more meaningful comparison, I have included one more LG 190L refrigerator priced at Rs.16,490 because the high-priced Whirlpool refrigerator was exceptional.
Here our objective is to find out the things that make one refrigerator costlier than the other.
So that eventually, we would know what all things to consider (parameters) while getting down to final product selection (here basic refrigerator) as per your requirements.
|Fresh food Fridge capacity
|Product – 1year
Compressor -10 year
|Product – 1year
Compressor -10 year
|Product – 1year
Compressor -10 year
|1. Anti-B technology- Antimicrobial resistance in the door gasket
|1. Anti-bacterial gasket
2. Anti rat bite
3. Works without stabilizer: 90v ~ 310v
4. Base stand with drawer
5. Solar Smart
|a. 12 hours of cooling retention during power cuts
b. Faster ice making
c. Masala bin
d. Medicine and utility box rack
e. Stabilizer free operation
f. Removable anti-bacterial gasket
Below are the results of the quick mini analysis that I did –
- The core construction and the structure of all the basic models stand the same- they are single door, direct cool refrigerators and work without stabilizers.
- The internal shelf material is of toughened glass that prevents breakage.
- All of them come with a 1-year product and a 10-year compressor warranty.
But the difference lies in the following points. And those will be the parameters for you to find your best refrigerator in the basic model category.
Parameters to Choose a Basic Model Refrigerator
#1. Energy Efficiency Star Ratings
Energy Efficiency ratings (EER) norms in India states that higher rated appliances are more energy-efficient.
That means for the same amount of work, they will be consuming a lesser amount of electricity, which directly translates into savings on your monthly power bills.
Indicative energy and cost-saving with different star ratings show –
Note- The cost savings table above from BEE is for a frost-free refrigerator just to show the indicative energy savings from a star-rated refrigerator as compared to a non-star-rated refrigerator.
Takeaway– Look for a higher EER star rated refrigerator
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#2. Compressor Type
Basic model refrigerators have either reciprocatory or an inverter compressor.
By construction inverter compressors are superior as they allow consistent uniform cooling while consuming less energy.
They do this by adjusting speed while not abruptly starting and stopping. That is why you will not hear the “tick” sound in inverter compressors. This also reduced the wear and tear of internal compressor parts.
Takeaway – Go for a refrigerator with an inverter compressor for uniform cooling with a long compressor life.
#3. Freezer Capacity
Nobody is really worried much about the freezer capacity unless you have kids at home who want to make or store icecreams, milk products like butter, cheese, kulfi during summers.
What I have noticed, from the above table – The higher-priced refrigerators have more freezer capacity as compared to the low-priced models.
I could not find any ideal data on the freezer capacity.
But what I have experienced, the kids love to have at least 1.5 to 2 liters of combined ice cream/cubes/ milk products at a time. So if you are not partying hard or have special needs then around 17-20 liters of freezer capacity is pretty ok.
Takeaway – A freezer with 17 to 20 liters capacity should be decent for day-to-day use.
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#4. Other Features
My observation – the higher-priced refrigerators have few additional features provided by the company which may or may not be useful for all consumers.
The companies in the name of additional features are charging more.
For example, the high-priced Whirlpool refrigerator states “12 hours of cooling retention in case of power cut” as its USP. For which they are charging approximately Rs. 5000 – 10,000 more as compared to the LG refrigerator.
Now, this may be useful for people that face long hours of power interruption. But for people who have an hour or two of power cut may not be benefitted.
Similarly, they have given a different name for a shelf to call a “Masala bin”, which is a normal bin in any other refrigerator.
Companies have also made a small dedicated shelve that can be used for any purpose but positioning it as a “Medicine rack” the company is trying to show the additional features, thereby charging more.
Takeaway – Now this is a subjective parameter and will depend on your local, personal needs.
That was all about the parameters and research.
Basic Model Refrigerators for You
Let’s say if your refrigerator requirements are for a small family, office, or farm with 2-3 people.
Then breaking requirements-
1. You want to buy a refrigerator for your small family, farm or maybe for office people.
Clearly, you are not looking for your personal family use. Here you want a long life, value for money refrigerator for 2-3 people. That would help you provide cool water, food for people around and also would keep some food preserved & fresh in summers.
2. Basic models (180L) are priced between 11K and 15K but you could not see any major difference apart from the brand name. Then what should be the parameters to select the best refrigerator?
Here, you should base your purchase decision on the above parameters like – energy efficiency ratings, compressor type, freezer capacity and other features.
So suppose you go with the following refrigerator needs –
- Basic model
- 4-star energy efficiency ratings
- 17-20 liters of freezer capacity
- One or two additional features may be like base stand drawer
Then, below is the list of the best available basic model refrigerators for you on Amazon.
There is hardly any difference between the above 4 refrigerators, but if I would have to pick only one of them, then I would have gone with the Godrej 190L refrigerator.
It’s not that the Godrej refrigerator has a small additional feature more or less when compared to the other three refrigerators.
But in my opinion, Godrej is a dedicated, closely associated brand focused on the kitchen and home product segment. They are more trusted kitchen partners than the peers.
Whereas, the Haier and LG are general electronic products ranging from mobiles to computers, to TV and kitchen appliances.