Can a fridge and other appliances block my WiFI signal?

No WiFi signal can be a real pain in some households, especially if you use streaming services, gaming devices or rely on the internet a lot.

How do you ensure the best WiFi signal reception in your home, and is there anything like a large appliance that could be blocking the signal?

Bust the myth in the comments below and we’ll award some special BS Buster badges for the best answers.


I would be surprised if anything such as a fridge would have any substantial effect on WiFi signals in a home.

In Australia, WiFi operates in the UHF (300 MHz – 3 GHz) and SHF (3 GHz – 30 GHz) frequency bands.

Things such as concrete walls, steel sheeting and thick vegetation will affect the signal but single objects such as a fridge should not as UHF and SHF signals reflect off objects just like light does off a mirror.

However, if there were sufficient objects in an area such as an appliance showroom, then there is likely to be some degradation of the signal strength.


Yes, if the density of the material is that which readily absorbs the WIFI signal wavelengths.

In addition to this, any device of applIance which emits radio waves (or emf) in the same spectrum as WIFI has the potential to cause interference in the WIFI signal, causing loss of connection. A good example is microwave ovens which emit radio waves in tge same spectrum as WIFI.


As fridges are usually constructed from metal sheeting, the WiFi signals should not be absorbed but reflected off them.

Whilst microwave ovens can leak some electromagnetic radiation, despite being claimed to be fully shielded, this only occurs when they are in operation, and only in the on part of their duty cycle.

This can be easily overcome by selecting another frequency band, e.g., 5 GHz, if available on the router and the devices which communicate with it.


Our WiFi NBN router is located next to our desktop computer in the office (aka mission control) at the front of our home and our laptop sits on the breakfast bar at the rear of our home.

The WiFi signal strength display on the laptop shows maximum. Our microwave oven is situated on the other side of the kitchen.

I just tried running Ookla Speedtest on the laptop whilst operating our microwave on high power for 60 seconds with a plastic container of water in it.

It absolutely knocked the living daylights out of the Speedtest reading, and even caused the test to drop out a couple of times.

The problem is not caused by the signal strength being shielded but by the WiFi receiver in the laptop being jammed by the microwave.


For this explanation I am assuming a basic setup with only one wifi router.

It is best to place the wifi router up as high as possible, and centrally located in the home. As has been pointed out there are many (older and/or simpler) appliances that utilise the 2.4GHz frequency range. Also, a lot of appliances emit RF at this frequency range. 5GHz obviates these problems, and it is faster.

The other problem is signal penetration. The more material the signals have to go through, the more signal that is lost or at best slowed down.

Consider every obstruction, such as walls, furniture, appliances, etc. Passing through a wall etc at 90 degrees means that there is less obstruction than passing through at an diagonal. Same goes for other obstructions.

Metal surfaces tend to reflect the signals, so if you have a large metal surface on an appliance, the signal will have trouble getting past, so don’t place your wifi router near there, or your tablet, laptop, etc.

Finally, other wifi signals also interfere, eg from your neighbours, so use an app to see what channels are being used by the signals you can detect, and if possible, move yours to a different unused channel.

To summarise:

  • wifi up as high as possible,
  • centrally located,
  • eliminate/minimise as many obstructions between the wifi router and the receiver (phone, tablet, laptop, PC, etc.) as possible.
  • use 5GHz if possible, and
  • use a channel unused by other detectable wifi transmissions

I installed the program inSSIDer on my computer . It shows all the 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz Wi Fi frequencies and Channels i in your area in a graph form . Allows you to pick a channel that has not got much traffic . It will often suggest a channel that is relatively free of traffic .

The latest up date inSSIDer Lite even has AC WiFi added I’m hard wired but i like to see what is going on in the surrounding area .:wink: Unfortunately the program is no longer available as a free download but Googling “metageeks inssider home” may prove of interest to some.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

No doubt there are other such programs out there .


That has been one of my staples for many a year. Excellent program. Thanks for reminding me :):yum:

@vax2000 is right. They moved from a free program to an expensive paid version.

Fortunately, they have returned to providing a free ‘lite’ version. Use it to set your WiFi channels to the unused channels as I explained above.


There are numerous common tips on how to get the best from your home wifi set up. Most seem to be logical and useful.

Our most common concerns are often loss of signal passing through walls and large objects, or interference from other sources. EG microwaves, wireless head phones, neighbours wifi network etc.

One simple thing I have done when there appears to be a wifi signal issue is to copy a large file from a computer connected to the home wifi router to the laptop or PC where I am working. I can observe the data transfer rate in Windows explorer or through the performance monitor.

By repeating this in a variety of locations and comparing results I have been able to determine or eliminate if there is a particular object that makes any difference. EG iron framed upright piano!

It is interesting to also do a trial setup at a similar distance to where you may want to work, and to be sure there is a clear line of sight to the wifi router. This will give you a base test of just how good or poor the wifi router and device you are working on really are.

Experience suggests that there is often a significant difference in performance between individual wifi devices. Standing a wifi router up or laying it down changes the internal aerial orientation. One position may work better than another. Trial and test, adjust and retest.

This approach requires little technical knowledge. It also concedes that you are limited to making the most of what you have.

We’ve noted also significant differences between individual laptops. We suspect that the quality of a laptops wifi and our wifi routers may have more of an impact on getting good home wifi than any other consideration. You may be able to move the piano or the wifi router to a higher shelf. Upgrading the wifi in a laptop is not so easy!

Using the 5GHz band for a home wifi network is definitely faster, however the range is more limited than the 2.4GHz bands.

To get around problems, I’ve previously resorted to long runs of Ethernet cable, wifi network extenders, dedicated wireless APs running as stand alone bridges and power line Ethernet adaptors. All have their own uses, however nothing beats an Ethernet wired solution for speed and reliability.

PS. I have also used inSSIDer for many years.


I don’t think any fridge will block this new WiFi development.


I’m still looking for the fridge.
Is that Wally on the top of the race?

In practice for industrial applications low power (2.4 GHz) wifi using 802.11b or faster over long distances has been an option for more than a decade. It’s clever of the NT using perhaps a variation on the use of the same class of equipment, modern mobiles that can wifi call and a local service such as SkyMuster to extend the usable range of a wifi connected mobile that is not a sat phone.

I considered putting an external Yaggi on my wifi to get better outside service, but chose to cut down the slash pine forest instead. Now I can use my mobile everywhere without a need to wifi call through my ADSL.

In the far end of our house where the wifi is poor and we do not need wifi service routinely, we often now just use our mobile phone in teathered mode if required. Just by moving the pine forest!

No need to even move the fridge. :smiley:


Our Optus wifi router is near the microwave oven… When the microwave is in use, I have noticed that it causes the 2.4Ghz band to drop out. (I haven’t tested the 5Ghz band)…


My WiFi router is in my study, at the opposite end of the house from our lounge room. My wife spends most of her time in the lounge room, and was getting terrible reception. This is because there are two walls and several kitchen appliances between her and the router.

I bought a WiFi extender and plugged it into our dining room - at the mid-way point between her and the router. No further problems.

Similarly, my sister for some reason had placed her router in a spare bedroom that she never used - and wondered why her Internet was so slow. I suggested that she consider opening the doors in-between, or moving the router to where she was.

As indicated by others, WiFi signals can be scrambled by microwave ovens.


Thanks for the great answers everyone, especially loving the tips for programs to help test out your signal.

In our testing, we’ve found the following household appliances and items can interfere with WiFi signals.

We’ve handed out some BS Buster badges - more chances to earn this rare badge soon :slight_smile:


I guess that a hot water service storage tank and 500kg cast steel slow combustion stove might also be effective blockers based on these examples?


No doubt! :signal_strength: