Gone are the days when the fanciest feature a refrigerator could boast was a built-in ice maker. Today’s fridges offer plenty of practical—and fun—features. From speed chilling to giant touch screens, manufacturers are creating both practical and bold new features to give their refrigerators an edge in the appliance market.
Some refrigerators are now flexi-fridges, meaning they offer convertible compartments that you can change from freezer to refrigerator and back again. This is useful when you don’t need the freezer or just have a small quantity of food to store. The convertible options can be as follows
Normal mode: This is the usual mode with the top compartment of the refrigerator used as freezer while the bigger bottom part for normal refrigeration
Extra Fridge mode: Extra Fridge mode gives the liberty to convert freezer compartment into the normal fridge. This feature is useful for someone who often ends up bringing home more bags of vegetables than that can be stuffed inside the refrigerator.
Seasonal mode: Seasonal mode allows you to turn off the freezer without impacting the smooth functioning of the refrigerator compartment. This function is useful when there aren’t any food items left for freezing.
Vacation mode: There would be times when the user would move out of your home for a vacation, or a wedding, especially if the period is long. The ordinary refrigerator would keep on vociferously piling up on electricity units. To svoid this, the user can simply turn off the bottom refrigerator compartment while only the freezer compartment continues to work usually.
Home Alone mode: Home Alone mode is the most energy saving mode wherein users can simply shut down the refrigerator compartment and shift all the small stock of perishables to the top compartment which is now converted into a mini refrigerator.
There are a gamut of crisper (drawer) types and designs
Refrigerator-freezer drawers: In this case, the entire drawer can become a freezer. These drawers are great for supplemental storage, bar areas or rec rooms.
Antimicrobial drawers: Tired of celery turning to mush and zucchini growing fur too quickly? Enter crispers with built-in technology that inhibits bacterial growth, stains and odors.
Crispers with multiple zones: Sometimes, a mini-crisper is given inside the main crisper. This is done to sort the type of stored material. Fruits can be stored inside the mini crisper while rest of crisper can be stuffed with vegetables. Some models also come with three compartments.
Easy- open crispers: These are bigger than conventional drawers, but are designed such that they can be opened and removed easily even if the space for opening the door is less, thanks to its 90 Degree Contour door design.
Temperature-Controlled Drawers: Many newer high-end fridges allow you to control the temperature of drawers and compartments independently of the rest of the refrigerator. They usually have a handful of different modes, such as for deli meats, defrosting, or even wine.
Herb Storage: Some models have built-in herb storage with an angled floor, so you can put a small amount of water in the container and keep stems wet while the leaves remain dry.
Fresh food storage drawers: This is a drawer that slides out beneath the main doors but above the freezer. It’s great for fresh food you want to quickly access.
Tilt-and-Take drawers: These bottom freezer drawers glide out and tilt for easy access. They’re especially great if you have a bad back — less leaning and crouching to see what’s in the freezer
Designs and Finishes
Today, it can be hard to find a fridge that adds a splash of color to your kitchen. A few fridges come in a range of bright colors and finishes, even a few hand-painted models! On the more practical side, a black board fridge-freezer is a more stylish way of displaying your messages and reminders as you can write directly on the door using school chalk or liquid chalk markers. Some new fridge models are doing away with handles. Instead of the traditional handles, a recessed handle with assisted opening action guarantees ease of operation, Models with glossy glass surfaces in brilliant white or obsidian black are also an upcoming trend for contemporary, high-end kitchens.
On the inside of the fridge door, you can hang individual shelves that include everything from a can dispenser to a narrow compartment great for loose items like string cheese or juice boxes. Some models have polybag suspenders with hooks to conveniently hang frozen food items, while some others sport collapsible wine racks.
This feature not only dispenses the required quantity water at the touch of a button, but can also detect the size of your cup or glass and fills it to the top without spilling. There’s also a sparkling water dispenser feature on select refrigerator models. Moreover, the Self-Filling Water Pitcher feature automatically refills a jug with cold, filtered water.
Want to rock-n-roll while you rummage through your fridge? Thanks to built-in speakers and Bluetooth connectivity, so you can connect your smartphone and play your favorite tunes, podcasts, or audiobooks.
Keurig functionality will brew coffee and tea from standard K-cups in three different quantities. Best of all, since the fridge has its own water line, you don’t need to refill the water tank. What’s more, it is now compatible with Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant. That means you can simply ask your fridge to make you a cup of coffee.
Adding hot items to the refrigerator (say, a warm pot) can send its internal temperature soaring. Even room-temperature items from the supermarket can cause fluctuations, which is bad for foods already in the refrigerator. To mitigate those temperature swings, manufacturers have created quick-chill settings.
Energy ratings and Trickle-Down Efficiency
Most models come with 5-star energy ratings, saving big time on electricity consumption. Thanks to the trickle-down efficiency technology and linear compressors, some new models have one of the best efficiency scores.
Touch Screens with digital controls
Forget dials. Automatic defrost is now a regular feature. Moving ahead, electronic touchscreens now allow you to digitally program the refrigerator. The smartest refrigerators can play music, watch movies, check your calendar, write notes, check the weather, pin your favorite family photos, and even doodle. It is Wi-Fi-enabled and has apps to order groceries according to the stock inside.
Large capacity refrigerators have a side by side door, which puts both refrigerated and frozen food within easy reach. Additionally, the Grab-N-Go door is a separate compartment that’s accessible from the exterior of the fridge for most-often-used items This compartment is also accessible from inside your fridge, making it easy to fill with your favorite goodies. Another important refrigerator features is the dairy compartment which is used mainly to keep butter, cheese and ghee at a slightly warmer temperature than the rest.
This is one of the most important feature of a fridge if you ask a mother. Install a fridge lock so that your toddler isn’t able to open the fridge easily. A good fridge lock will ensure that your fridge is devoid of spilled drinks and ice-cream
LED lighting is not only slimmer but also softer and much more energy efficient. Hence, usable space is increased, temperature swings are avoided, and less power is consumed.. Some models sport lighting under each shelf for better visibility. Some other models have non-glare lighting along the front edge of the shelves so it is unobstructed. What’s better? Motion-sensing lights – they can illuminate the area where the user is looking for food or trying to arrange the food items.
Power cuts pose two problems- spoilage of food, and damage to the refrigerator due to voltage fluctuations. A few ways around this problem are obviously integration of inverter or solar power, which are now in the market. But there are also other technologies like Cooling Gel, Cool Wall and Insulated capillary technology that help to retain the cooling for up to 12 hours. Interestingly, there is refrigerator that can run without electricity. Made from terracotta clay, the MittiCool refrigerator is ideal for storing water, milk, fruits and vegetables.
Some fridges offer shaved ice in addition to the standard cubed and crushed options. Slim in-door ice makers are becoming widely popular.
Many brands are using antibacterial components to help you maintain a healthy storage space. Special door seals prevent the harmful bacteria outside from getting to your food, while coatings inside make everything a little more hygienic. Some models even have antibacterial door handles to protect the most-touched part of the fridge.
A compressor with inverter technology works very much like a car accelerator. When the speed required is more, the acceleration is more, and when it is less, and then the acceleration is less. This makes sure that during summer months when cooling load is more, the compressor works at peak capacity taking more electricity. But during winter months when cooling load is less, the compressor works less there by consuming less electricity. Even in summer month, the night temperature is less than the day temperature and thus electricity savings happen in night when compressor can run at a lesser speed. The benefits are that the temperature is more stable, noise is reduced, and energy consumption is lesser.
Ice cream maker
There are a few fridge models which have built-in ice cream makers along with the usual ice makers.
As part of the “Internet of Things”, refrigerators can not only keep track of their own performance, and raise alarms when necessary. They can also keep stock of the items stored, receive inventory updates while out shopping with smartphones or tablets, get connected to other appliances at home, and even suggest recipes according to the food stuffs available. Users can manage the device’s power consumption remotely, with three power-save options. Also, if something goes wrong with the Smart Refrigerator, a Smart Diagnosis application will provide diagnostic information to support staff.
Improved cooling systems
The modern refrigerator comes with strategically placed cooling vents, which ensures the cool air inside the refrigerator is circulated in a uniform manner, so there is no discrepancy in the cooling. 360 Degree Air Flow technology circulates air uniformly in multiple directions from its multi air flow vents so that every corner of the refrigerator is evenly cooled. This air flow system helps to cleanly keep the interior uniformly cool, free from any odd frozen or warm spots. Flexible vents can also allow the users to set the direction of cool air flow. Similarly, Ice Beam Door Cooling technology decreases the temperature gap between the inner part and the door side of the compartment, and this provides uniform cooling 35% faster than the conventional cooling system. Some models have a dual fan system which enables independent cooling of the refrigerator and freezer compartments.
Some more features you might know but worth mentioning, Refrigerators comes with the tag “Runs on inverter” so you could provide power supply from the inverter line, even no power refrigerators work.
As time goes on, there are many more interesting and sometimes quirky features to be added for sure. It may not be exaggerating to find them entirely unfamiliar even.