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On Every Fridge’s Mystery – What Setting is Coldest from 1 to 5?

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You just bought some milk and you want to make sure it lasts in the fridge but the temperature dial doesn’t seem to have any indicators. Fridge freezer temperature settings are rarely mentioned in the manual and often remain a mystery. So, if the numbers go from 1 to 5, then which is the coldest? Are these degrees or frosting power?

So on a refrigerator what setting is coldest (1 to 5)?

On every fridge the rules for the coldest settings are always the following:

The numbers on the fridge’s temperature dial indicate refrigerant power. The higher the number goes the colder the fridge will maintain.

With this out of the way, it should be noted that a lower fridge temperature does not equal better food storage.

What number should a safe and efficient fridge be kept on?

First some clarifications:

  • A refrigerator’s temperature usually ranges from 0.5 to 4 degrees Celsius.
  • It also matters on which shelf the food is stored. In most cases the higher you go the colder it gets.

Based on these two factors here’s the number your fridge should be set on:

If you’re always storing plenty of food you need the colder settings (3 to 4). If you’re not storing as much choose between 2 and 3.

If the temperature is very low, ice will form and it may prevent air circulation. Ice could also cause the fridge’s inner thermostat to malfunction. This may lead to electronics failure.
If ice accumulates: knock it off, lower the temperature and bear in mind that the change will take place in at least 8 hours.

Tip: Try to find a fridge thermometer, this way you can be absolutely sure your food is safely stored.

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7 Responses

  1. CK says:

    I think the “Top of the fridge is Colder” is wrong. Heat generally rises, therefore the bottom of the fridge is colder. If my fridge reads 4c at the top, its about 2-3c at the bottom, which is why i keep my meats and fast perishable items at the bottom of the fridge. I think this misunderstanding comes from old fridges having iceboxes at the top, where you could store, say, a packet of fish fingers and an icecube tray.

  2. admin says:

    Hello, CK, and thank you for your comment. You are absolutely correct about heat. In fridges, however, the “warmest” place is the door. You are also correct that it depends where the icebox is located. In frost-free fridges, there is good air circulation and therefore even temperature distribution. In most (older) fridges, the icebox is located on top. In fridge freezers, the bottom will be colder. Thank you so much for your input! We now realised it might be worth an update or, perhaps, even a new post on the subject. Stay well!

    • Susan Couderc says:

      Hello! Yes i am also confused with temperature differences and trying to find the coldest zone…we have a frist free so i guess the temperature is evenly ventilated throughout but drink bottles etc freeze on our to shelf and yoghurts freeze on the shelf underneath while the bottom shelf is ok i think… really bothering me because i set our fridge to 2 degrees otherwise the blue sticker monitoring temperature goes quickly paler at 3 degrees… really annoying to not be able to place food in front of the vents as they cause the food to freeze. Thank you for any help or suggestions! Damn fridge!

  3. R. Pettipher says:

    I can assure you that in my Bosch KGV36VW32S, position 1 is colder (around 1 deg c) than 5 (around 10 deg C) causing considerable consternation at first.

  4. R. Pettipher says:

    Please remove previous comment

  5. Rachel Shennan says:

    The warmest place is actually at the back of the fridge as this is where the electricity flow is coming in at. The coldest place is the door as that is furthest away from the back of the fridge and therefore the heat source of the power supply.

  6. admin says:

    Hey, Rachel! We beg to disagree! The electricity flow in your fridge plays no role in warming it up. You opening the door, however, does. Room temperature air rushes inside every time you get a snack. The back of your fridge will always be colder than its front. Stay well!

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