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Climate Classes for fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers

Climate Class Fridges, freezers, and fridge-freezers are all designed to operate in specific temperature ranges (climates). If you place one in a kitchen or in a separate room inside your house it’s likely that it will operate as intended (although it’s not advisable to place a refrigeration appliance next to a heat source such as a radiator or a cooker, or even in strong direct sunlight).

If you place one in an outside building such as a shed or garage you may be putting it into temperature ranges that fall outside the designed limits and could therefore experience problems (e.g. Freezer defrosted: Can you put a fridge freezer in a garage?)

All fridges, freezers, and fridge freezers should have a climate class printed on their rating plate (or maybe in the instruction book). This class indicates the minimum and maximum temperatures that the appliance is suitable to work in. The most common climate classes sold in the UK are listed in the form below. (Where is the serial number on a fridge or freezer?)

NOTE: Your appliance may not necessarily use the phrase “climate class”, on my freezer the writing is very small and it just says “class SN”.

Climate  Class Minimum Temp Maximum Temp
N 16 Deg C 32 Deg C
SN 10 Deg C 32 Deg C
ST 18 Deg C 38 Deg C
T 18 Deg C 43 Deg C

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  1. avatar Anthony Chapman says:

    Whirpool in North America sells a garage fridge (Gladiator), which can operate at sub-zero temperatures because it has a heater as well as a cooling unit.
    Can this model, or any analogue, be purchased in Europe.



  2. I think it’s highly unlikely Tony. Not unless there are parts of Europe where such a requirement would be desired. The idea of a fridge needing to heat up its contents instead of cooling them down is quite novel for the UK :-)

  3. avatar Geoff Goodall says:

    not sure if this right forum for this question. If i buy a fridge/freezer in the uk and then ship it out to cyprus would it work ok given that temperatures in cyprus are far higher than uk

  4. Geoff, you need to ask which climate class it is and check the maximum temperatre to see if it can cope with the type of temperatures over there. Some of the refrigeration sold in the uk is designed for a maximum temperature of 32 degrees C.

  5. avatar TheMountainTroll says:


    But I think what is interesting people like Anthony and me is knowing if it is possible to buy in Europe a freezer we can put in our garage.

    And, in our temperate countries, temperature in a garage could vary from -10°C to +40°C … And, even in winter, I don’t want to cook all what I have in my freezer.

    Thanks a lot in helping us in putting this noisy thermodynamic machin in our garage

    The Mountain Troll

  6. Is it possible to insulate the siting i.e an outside shed to make it suitable for housing a fridge freezer?

  7. Hello Peter: The issue with a shed or out-building is that they can get way too hot or way too cold. If one is modified so that it maintains similar temperatures to those inside the house it should be ok – if that can be done. Insulating may help in winter, but could make it even hotter in summer – not that we have much of one in the UK these days.

  8. avatar Chetan Vadgama says:

    What does SN-T mean ; its seen on some Refrigerators

  9. SN and T are both separate classes. Could it be a fridge freezer with different classes for each unit? Not sure.

  10. Would draping a blanket over a freezer’s condenser during the winter solve the problem?

  11. The problem is to do with the outside temperature causing the thermostat inside the appliance to shut off the compressor. If the appliance is a fridge-freezer with only one thermostat in the fridge section controlling the fridge and freezer section it will cause the freezer to stop cooling too.

    The only remedy is to prevent the ambient temperature getting too cold or move the appliance to a better location. The condenser at the back gets hot and needs to dissipate heat, insulating it wouldn’t affect the thermostat inside the fridge turning off because the ambient are in the room has become cold enough to trigger it.

  12. I was told by a fridge salesman that a low-power light bulb,permanently switched on and placed in the fridge compartment will provide enough heat to periodically force the fridge to operate and thus maintain the required temperature in the freezer section. This is probably what the Whirlpool Gladiator fridge that Anthony Chapman refers to is doing.

  13. James: That sounds iffy to me to be honest. It would have to be not mains voltage, and also waterproof to run in such a damp environment.

    Also, if the bulb is capable of raising the temperature of the fridge above 5 degrees to trigger the stat then the fridge would be constantly competing with the bulb to maintain the temperature at 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 degrees depending on which setting the thermostat is set to.

    I never trust salesmen ;-)

  14. avatar C.Standen says:

    Having a cold plate with a defrost heat would solve the problem but defrost heaters aren’t the most reliable of gadgets.
    The temperature in the fridge must be approx 3.4 on the cold plate for the fridge – fridge/freezer to cycle and so a defrost heater would raise the temperature to cause the unit to cycle but they can blow and occasionally blow through the cold plate. The thermostat senses the temperature of the cold plate and switches the unit off at approx -24 degrees and it switches back on at +3.4 so the aim is to raise the cold plate temperature above +3.4 and a defrost heater is by far the cheapest and easiest way of doing this.

  15. Thanks for your input C. Of course if they simply installed a separate thermostat control for the freezer compartment it would solve the problem for less cost and with less complication.

  16. avatar MIKE GILLARD says:

    some fridge freezers have an ambient switch in the fridge cavity,on a few models this switches the 10w lamp on to raise the fridge temp. FACT.

  17. avatar Fridgeguy says:

    In reply to Anthony’s comment of a garage fridge yes they are available in the UK. Although not specifically called that. They work on a small heating element just by the fridgestat phile which fools the fridge into thinking it is warmer then it actually is (not for prolonged use though as I have seen a few faults from the switch being left on. Also some of the fridges which run NTCs instead of stats run ambient temp sensors which the electronics work out the temp required. But always research the model you want not with sales staff though with the manufacturer or an engineer.

  18. avatar M Bruinvels says:

    Fantastic, useful info….i am trying to run a LEC wine cooler in a garage,and of course had i read your previous comments i would have realised the chiller has a climate rating, which is much warmer than my garage, and hence the chiller would not work properly! Many thanks.

  19. Thanks M. If it’s just a wine cooler creating temperatures similar to a fridge then if it gets cold in the garage and the fridge turns off it will still be cold inside the cooler. This issue only really affects a certain type of combined fridge-freezer.

    However, the issue of the recommended climate class still remains so I can’t guarantee there would be no issues at all. A garage may get very hot in summer for example, which may cause the cooler to have to work very hard.

  20. avatar QSN Wine Cooler says:

    This is completely true with any fridge. having it in a area that is not at room temp can throw the temp inside completely off. And the worst case seneario is destroying anything you have inside.

  21. Thank you for this very useful article – you saved me from making a very costly mistake!

    After painstaking research (there seem to be little information on the subject), I discovered that all Beko frost free fridge freezers will operate in temperature as low as -15 deg Celsius. I cannot vouch for the brand as I have never heard of them but you may find this information useful.

  22. By the way:

    N 16 Deg C 32 Deg C = NORMAL
    SN 10 Deg C 32 Deg C = SUB-NORMAL
    ST 18 Deg C 38 Deg C = SUB-TROPICAL
    T 18 Deg C 43 Deg C = TROPICAL

    I hope this helps!

  23. Thanks Anne. I’d be interested to see what climate class their refrigeration appliances are in as -15 deg Celsius is well out of any climate class range I’ve ever seen. Beko don’t have a bad reputation as far as I know, but they are a budget brand.

  24. According to the Beko website:

    “All Beko frost free combi fridge freezers and all freezers are designed to continue to work in cold ambient temperatures down to -15C, meaning the appliance can be stored in a garage or unheated/cold buildings and your frozen food will be protected.

    All Beko top mount, static fridge freezers, larders and fridges can operate in lower ambient environments down to 5C.”

    Let’s hope it works because I have just ordered one!

  25. I have a11 year old AEG Frost free freezer (sited in an unheated utility room) which I intend to replace as the compartment at the top gradually ices up. We have defrosted it several times which is a big and long job as it’s so full and I have no-where to store the food whilst defrosting it. (baskets piled onto garage floor covered with 15tog duvet and blankets for several hours)

    I have never had a problem with it defrosting when the temperature drops and have been told by John Lewis that the modern refrigerants now that CFC’s have been banned are the reason why several people have experienced their freezers defrosting completely when they have returned from holiday in cold weather.

    I am considering buying an AEG A75270GA. The info on the Appliance Warehouse website for this model states that it is ‘Climate Class SN-N-ST-T’ so which is it??

    I’m really concerned that I may have to provide some type of thermostatic heater for the utility room (what type?) as we may be away for long periods in the winter and although we have to leave minimal heating on for house insurance purposes there is no heating in the utility room.

  26. Hello Julie: I’ve not heard of climate class being displayed like that, it basically lists them all. John Lewis don’t show the freezers climate class but lists the ambient operating temperature at which the freezer will perform best, which is 10 – 43°C. SO I interpret it as covering all the range in the old climate class list (shown on my article above).

    I don’t understand the link to CFC’s in relation to this issue. Whichever refrigerants they use they cool the fridges and freezers down to the required temperature perfectly well otherwise they couldn’t use them.

    The freezers defrosting issue discussed here is caused by combined fridge-freezers being controlled by only one thermostat or sensor based in the fridge compartment. A separate freezer shouldn’t defrost in low temperatures as far as I’m aware because they are set to keep running until the temperature inside is -18 degrees C so I can’t see how the temperature in the garage dropping below 10 degrees should affect it at all.

    However, the manufacturers are only claiming it works “properly” down to 10 degrees. I can only assume if the temperature drops below 10 degrees it may affect energy efficiency and cost more to run, not defrost. I think they need a certain ambient temperature to assist in heat exchange and evaporation of the defrosted water which runs onto the tray at the top of the compressor.

    My separate freezer has been in the garage for the last 3 years and has a defrost alarm, even when the pipes on our washer in the same area froze last year the freezer didn’t defrost.

  27. I forgot to mention that it’s an upright FF freezer. I was told that the temperature falling below 10c doesn’t effect chest freezers.

    J.L. said that they have to warn all customers buying upright FF freezers about the possibility of them defrosting when the temp falls. I was told that the freezer thinks it’s down to temperature and switches itself off then doesn’t trigger itself to switch back on and so defrosts complete with food!

  28. Julie: As far as I ‘m aware if the fridge and the freezer section have separate sensors or stats then the freezer shouldn’t defrost. Any decent fridge freezer should have separate sensors for each compartment.

    If the freezer compartment has it’s own temperature sensor I can’t see how, when it’s set to freeze down to -18 degrees, it should defrost simply because the outside temperature was below +10 degrees.

    If it doesn’t have it’s own sensor, and is controlled instead by the fridges sensor which is set to cool the fridge down to +5 degrees then if the temperature outside drops to say 0 degrees it will turn off the fridge. So whilst ever the temperature remains cold enough not to need the fridge cooling down any more the freezer will no longer be running either, and will slowly start to defrost if the ambient temperature remains this low for long enough.

  29. Hi there..

    I think that you are mistaken in thinking I have a fridge freezer…. it’s just an upright Frost free Freezer… I’ve probably misled you with using the abbreviation FF for Frost Free.

    Useful information here… thank you but I have been told by two different salespeople in John Lewis that this defrosting can happen in this sort of appliance if it’s sited in an unheated room and the temp. falls below 10C

  30. Hi,
    Pardon my ignorance. Am I right to say for country like Singapore, it is advisable to use the ST class. Thinking of buying a SMEG fridge for use. Thank you.

  31. Hello benson: ST works up to 38 degrees, T works up to 43 degrees. I don’t know enough about their climate to answer but refrigeration might be tailored for the areas they are sold in.

    It would make sense for refrigeration designed to be sold in Mediterranean climates to be ST or T but refrigeration designed to be sold in cold countries may be N or SN. Therefore it’s probably best to buy from the country it’s intended to be used in which would guarantee its suitability.

    If you need to buy one elsewhere knowing it will end up in another country I would contact the manufacturer for advice. There may not be a fridge that can work in cold climates as well as really hot ones and it makes no sense to sell fridges capable of running up to 43 degrees C in the UK for example. Having said that, in these days of global marketing it’s hard to say how they deal with the problem.

  32. Julie:

    “Useful information here – thank you but I have been told by two different salespeople in John Lewis that this defrosting can happen in this sort of appliance if it’s sited in an unheated room and the temp. falls below 10C”

    No disrespect to the John Lewis sales people, they are probably the best informed sales people of the major retailers but they may be confusing issues.

    Only fridge freezers where the freezer compartment is controlled by one sensor in the fridge compartment (a stupid idea if I ever heard one) should be affected. A separate freezer will have its own sensor set to cool down to minus 18 degrees centigrade, I can’t see how ambient temperatures of below 10 degrees could stop a freezer working. They already said that chest freezers aren’t affected (for the same reason) and as far as I know neither should any separate freezer.

    It’s like saying a thermostatically controlled heater set to heat a room up to 25 degrees would stop working if the room temperature got to 20 degrees. It’s set to keep heating until the thing it is sensing reaches the temperature it is set to.

    The separate freezer is set to cool down to -18 and will keep freezing until the temperature inside is -18. I can’t see how just because the temperature of the room drops to 0 degrees it could stop working thinking it’s cold enough when its job is to bring the temperature down another 18 degrees lower than 0 degrees.

    I’m just trying to further clarify this point, which is looked at in more detail here – Freezer defrosted: Can you put a fridge freezer in a garage?

  33. Don’t manufacturers and shops just like to confuse us just to make sales! We fell into the trap of buying a single thermostat fridge freezer for the garage which with all the recent cold weather has been defrosting.
    BEKO seem to be the only manufacturer claiming you can use their freezers in the garage (down to -15C), but the freezers are still only rated SN (10-32C). So do they work or don’t they? Would I have a claim against BEKO if the freezer defrosted in the garage?
    With the weather at the moment perhaps we should be considering importing a fridge from Scandinavia!

  34. @ StevieG

    I bought a Beko fridge freezer for the garage and it has been the best fridge freezer I have ever had! The temp went down to -10 in Northern Ireland 2 weeks ago and it worked perfectly!

    At the same time as I bought the Beko, I also bought an integrated Hotpoint fridge for the kitchen. The Beko is far superior to the Hotpoint – the food stays fresher in the Beko and the Beko does not frost up like the Hotpoint does. In summary, I am VERY pleased with the Beko and less than pleased with the Hotpoint!

    One final note: only the Beko models with the frost free are designed to function at the lower temperatures!

    Hope this helps!


  35. Anne – Thanks, that’s very useful.
    We were looking to get a small, undercounter freezer which is manual defrost. What difference does the frost free make to operation in a garage (apart from the obivious).
    Don’t know what model you have but the undercounter model has drop down doors to the shelves rather than pull out drawers – if you have them how do you get on with them eg the need to get everything out to have a rummage for what you’re looking for?

  36. Well Anne I live in Northern Ireland and the spare 2yr old Beko fridge in the garage hasn’t worked one day since the cold snap at the start of December. Bought and replaced the thermostat a couple of days ago, worked for the best part of 20 mins and low and behold, it’s stopped working once again. I’m not engineer, but I put it down to the cold weather once again. Hoping fridge will boot back into life when temperatures rise. As for Beko – avoid like the plague if putting in an outhouse/garage. I can vouch for that.


  37. Very unlucky Neil.

    Is your Beko a Frost free model? According to the Beko website only the frost-free models are designed to operate in garages and outbuildings.

    I had no problems at all throughout the winter and am very, very pleased with the Beko!

  38. avatar Neil Blair says:

    Hi Anne

    It is indeed frost free. Like I mentioned in my previous post, wouldn’t recommend Beko to anyone because of the hassle I had. Now maybe it’s just pot luck I managed to pick the runt of the Beko litter, but I doubt it. I’m still toying with the idea of taking fridge to the council recycling point, or holding out until the weather picks up to see if new thermostat will spring back to life. While I don’t know if there’s any truth to the rumour, but there is still that slim chance it’s not working because the temperature is colder outside fridge than inside – if that makes any sense. The Samsung integrated fridge inside the house is 10yrs old and still going like a trooper.


  39. avatar Stuart Andrews says:

    I have a Scandinova upright freezer, about 10 yrs old with a climate class of N. During the cold weather in the UK in January the outside temp. went down to -15C one night & was regularly down to about -4C. I suppose the temp. in my garage where I keep the freezer was approx. zero most of the time. Instead of a temp of -18C the temp rose to -11C & stayed there until I adjusted the thermostat when it then struggled to keep at -16C. Now that the temp. outside is back to positive figures, I’ve had to readjust the thermostat so that -18C is maintained.
    I had never heard of climate class until researching this issue.

  40. Well we got a Beko frost free freezer and it’s been in the garage for around a month without a problem. It’s been cold but as we’re in Surrey not nearly so cold as NI

  41. Re: CHEST FREEZERS in garage
    sorry to tell you that they do have resricted operating temperatures as I’ve recently tried to find a small chest freezer and can only find one. My old one, made in denmark, was fine but now the only small one easily available , Norfrost made in scotland, hasn’t been climate class rated. John Lewis do their own brand but this has an “ambient operating temperature of 10-32c ” which isn’t any good in a garage !
    So its just the same as trying to find a fridge-freezer except there’s more of those so it’s actually harder to find one. Of course the sales people say not to worry as hundreds of people put their freezer in the garage……..and then lose all their frozen food !!
    Thanks for all this freezer info on here, but shame it’s so hard to find.

  42. With regard to freezers able to work in an unheated out building. I have researched a number of major manufacturers.for my own needs. Frost free uprights……only Beko minus15c-plus 32c meets my needs Chest freezers …..Bosch have mailed to say minus 6c degrees is the lowest ambient temp. All others to my knowledge both uprights & chests are plus 10 degrees. Unless you know more? Comet salesman

  43. These are brilliantly helpful comments and I’m now plumping for a Beko FF freezer as a result, so thanks!

    I also want to get a separate fridge for the garage (so we can turn it on and off separately when we’re not using it) but can’t work out what the recommended brands are for fridges. Given the temperature issues discussed, can anyone advise how UK weather affects fridges and recommend what the best brands/models are for a garage? (Our garage is dry but not at all insulated.) Thanks.

  44. @Katy C

    I believe the issue only arises when operating fridge freezers in garages. Basically, when the ambient temperature falls below a certain temperature, the thermostat (on single thermostat models) believes that it is cold enough to store the food in the fridge and turns off the compressor for both the fridge and the freezer and thus the contents of the freezer can defrost. If the appliance has 2 thermostats – one in the fridge and one in the freezer section – this will not occur.

    As I mentioned in previous posts, I bought a Beko CDA565FW and it operated perfectly when the temperatures reached -10 last winter. I travel a lot because I am an English teacher and have lived in probably more than 30 different places over the past 30 years and I can honestly say it is the best fridge I have ever had.

    Having said that, I must warn you that some models of Beko fridge freezer had a design fault which has caused fires including the one in the London block of flats recently. Here is a link for more information:

    Good luck Kathy

  45. Thanks Anne: I changed “have” to “had” because the safety issue you mention only affects fridge freezers made between 2000 and 2006.

  46. Thanks Anne. I was also advised by someone at Comet that Beko were perceived as a more reliable brand than Hotpoint for fridges and freezers so may look into that Beko fridge model you have.

  47. @Katy C

    When the man delivered my Beko, he told me that he had far fewer call-outs to collect/repair Bekos than the other top-name brands. He shared the Comet salesperson’s opinion that they were more reliable than other big-name brands.

    The model I have has a lovely, sleek design (taller and narrower than most). It does not frost up – big thumbs up! The drawers are quite roomy. It is about 50:50 (freezer/fridge). The only negative comment I read in the reviews was that shorter people find it difficult to reach the top shelf but I am 5ft 6 and I have had no problems.

    Hope this helps

    A x

  48. In the USA (and you can probably get them over here) it is possible to buy “crankcase heaters”. These are a belt or strap tailor made to fit the compressor (the motor or “pot”) of the appliance. The strap contains a heating element that consumes about fifty watts. If one has a crankcase heater it is possible to run a freezer in a garage or unheated outbuilding. It is possible to fit a thermostat so that the heater only powers up in cold weather. Not rocket science is it?

  49. Hi,
    I just spent hours searching the net and reading forums and am still unsure!
    So, can you put a chest freezer in a unheaded garage or not?
    I am getting brain freeze, trying to find out.
    Please help

  50. Tut: I’ve added a paragraph “what about chest freezers?” on my article – can you put a fridge freezer in a garage?

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