Know the lifespan you can expect from your refrigerator and what you can do to extend it.

By Nafeesah Allen

Similar to other large household appliances, the lifespan of a fridge is expected to be well over a decade. Exactly how long it lasts depends on how it’s used and maintained. Time, wear and tear, and part failures can make replacing a refrigerator urgent.

Knowing how long a fridge typically lasts lets homeowners know when a repair is (or isn’t) worth it and when to budget for a replacement. We called on experts to share how long fridges usually last and signs that it’s time to get a new one. 

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The Average Lifespan of a Fridge

“Refrigerators are built to last, and the need to replace a refrigerator varies with how the product is being used and cared for over time,” says Rebecca Cottrell of BSH Home Appliances. The average lifespan for refrigerators ranges from 10 to 14 years, she says.

white kitchen with stainless steel fridge and wood floors

Different fridge types have slightly different lifespans. Based on 2019 data, the average useful lifespan for a top-freezer refrigerator is 14 years, while a side-by-side refrigerator usually lasts just over 11 years, says Chris Doscher from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

“It is hard to gauge a timeline for fridge longevity from French door vs. top/bottom freezers, as there should be little to no difference in how long they work in a home,” Cottrell says. Smaller, more compact refrigerators have a shorter lifespan of four to 12 years, with the average lasting around eight years.

The quality, brand, and maintenance of the fridge can determine how long it will last.