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. avatarAnthony 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. avatar says

    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. avatarGeoff 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. avatar says

    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. avatarTheMountainTroll 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. avatarPeter Munn says

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

  7. avatar says

    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 says

    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.

  9. avatarJames says

    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.

  10. avatar says

    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 ;-)

  11. avatarC.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.

  12. avatar says

    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.

  13. avatarMIKE 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.

  14. avatarFridgeguy 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.

  15. avatarM 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.

  16. avatar says

    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.

  17. avatarQSN 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.

  18. avatarAnne says

    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.

  19. avatarAnne says

    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!

  20. avatar says

    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.

  21. avatarAnne says

    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!

  22. avatarJulie says

    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.

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