What Is the Best Temperature for a Refrigerator?

Fleet Appliance
September 7, 2023
Refrigerator Repair

Keeping your refrigerator at the correct temperature prevents the growth of bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses and spoilage if left to fester in your appliance. For this reason, it’s essential to monitor your fridge’s temperature. Most modern refrigerators have an automatic sensor system that will tell you when action is required, but older models might require you to monitor it manually.

There are a range of important reasons you must keep the temperature set correctly, which we will outline below. But first, let’s answer the primary question of this article.

What Is the Best Temperature for a Fridge?

Major refrigerator manufacturers recommend a refrigerator be set between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 4.4 degrees Celsius). This temperature range helps ensure that perishable foods remain fresh and safe to consume for as long as possible. 

Freezers, on the other hand, should be kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) or lower. To check the temperature of your fridge, locate the temperature setting on your display panel. If set too high or low, adjust the temperature.

What Causes a Fridge to Overheat?

If your fridge is set correctly but isn’t cool, you will need to investigate the cause of the problem further or get a technician to do it for you. The main causes of a refrigerator not cooling down include a defective door gasket (seal), frozen or dirty condenser coils, faulty fans, and a broken compressor. If any of these causes apply to your fridge, it must be repaired.

Why Your Fridge Must Be Set to the Correct Temperature

You must ensure your fridge is set to the correct temperature for a few fundamental reasons. These include:

  • Food safety. Keeping your refrigerator at the correct temperature helps slow down the growth of bacteria, which, if left to grow, can cause foodborne illnesses. The right temperature stops the spread of harmful microorganisms on perishable foods, ensuring that your food stays safe to eat.
  • Food quality. Most food and drink products retain quality, taste, and texture better when stored at the correct temperature. This helps to preserve the freshness and flavor of your food and drinks, preventing them from spoiling or becoming uneatable.
  • Your food lasts longer. Proper refrigeration slows down chemical reactions and enzymatic activities, leading to food spoiling. To improve the shelf life of your food and drinks, keep your refrigerator at the right temperature.
  • It’s environmentally conscious. A refrigerator set to the wrong temperature will use more energy. This leads to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. By keeping your fridge at the proper temperature, you can reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Save money. Keeping your refrigerator at the right temperature can help avoid unnecessary food waste and higher energy bills. When food stays fresh for longer, you’re less likely to need to throw it out. This can save you a significant amount of money.

Refrigerator Temperature FAQ

To help keep your food and drinks safe to eat and ensure they last longer, we have compiled some FAQs to help you out.

What is the best temperature for a refrigerator?

The best temperature for a refrigerator is between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 2.8 to 4.4 degrees Celsius. Keeping your refrigerator in this range will ensure your perishable food and drink products stay fresh and safe to eat.

Why do I need to keep my refrigerator at the right temperature?

Keeping your refrigerator at the right temperature is important for several reasons. These include helping to keep your food safe to eat by stopping the growth of bacteria and preventing food from going bad and having to be thrown out.

How do I check the temperature of my refrigerator?

Your refrigerator has an internal thermometer to monitor the temperature. In most modern models, an error code will show when the temperature is too high or low. If you don’t have a fridge with an error code system, you can check the temperature by reading the thermometer in your refrigerator.

What temperature should my freezer be set to?

Major manufacturers recommend your freezer should be set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) or lower. This ensures that frozen food and liquids remain safe to consume and are not spoiled by freezer burn.

Are all refrigerators the same when it comes to the temperature?

Typically, yes. Most major refrigerator manufacturers recommend a temperature of between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 2.8 to 4.4 degrees Celsius. If in doubt, check your owner’s manual, which should list the best temperature.

Is the temperature the same in every part of a refrigerator?

No, your fridge’s back and lower shelves are usually cooler than the front and upper shelves. This means storing food like raw meats and seafood on the lower back shelves is best to stop cross-contamination.

How do I adjust the temperature in my refrigerator?

Most modern refrigerators allow you to adjust the temperature by using the temperature setting in the control panel. You might have to adjust the temperature in older models by manually moving the dial. Check your owner’s manual if you’re not sure.


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