Have you ever thought of having a solar-powered freezer? then you must read this Solar Deep Freezer Price post. Freezers are often one of the biggest consumers of energy in our home.
A solar powered freezer may sound like a solution from the future, but this list is here to show you a range of freezers that make this happen today.
There are many reasons to choose a solar powered freezer, from driving down your home electricity bills to making sure you have a plentiful supply of ice cream for those long summer road trips.
solar refrigerator price
There are few things better than cooling down with an iced drink after a long day of working or traveling, and these solar-powered freezers make sure that refreshment is never far away.
Here, we present the 10 best solar powered freezers and their reviews to help you choose the right one for you, comparing their key features and qualities.
We examine a range of features, including size, energy consumption, and any little extra details that may help you decide.
Solar Deep Freezer Price
1. VBENLEM BD-60DC (60 Liter) Deep Freezer
You may be concerned about the running costs of a deep freezer, however, the VBENLEM BD-60DC freezer uses just 0.7 kWh in 24 hours, efficiently running off solar energy.
A sophisticated insulation system that includes a layer of tempered glass and a layer of thickened foam on the lid helps lower down the costs.
This versatile mini deep freezer is perfect for many occasions.
You can use it both indoors and outdoors.
It also includes an LED lamp for use at night.
Small enough to fit inside the trunk of a large car, there is more than enough space for plenty of frozen meat, vegetables, and anything else you might require on a long trip.
It has a neat, square design which means it can fit cleanly into small corners and take up little space.
It has a temperature range of 0 to -18°C, so a wide range of goods can be kept inside the freezer.
The electronic control makes it easier for you to easily manage the temperature, so you know exactly what temperature your goods are being kept at.
The electronic control also gives you the ability to check up on battery life and switch between “ECO” and “MAX” mode, if you need to cool something quickly.
There’s a lock on the door, so you know your food is safe.
It also prevents children from getting inside the freezer.
There’s no need to worry about your organization with this deep freezer as it comes with two rust-proof wire storage baskets to help you separate your food.
Pros & Benefits:
- 60-liter capacity
- Rotating wheels can be attached to the bottom of the freezer for smooth movement
- Lock on the door to avoid spills and energy loss
- Neat, square design
- User-friendly electronic control that clearly shows vital details (e.g. battery life, temperature)
2. Skadi 19 Quart 12V DC Portable Freezer
Though this freezer can be plugged in at home, it’s optimally designed for travel.
It works when plugged into your car adaptor and perfect for use with solar panels as well.
At a net weight of 18 lbs, this lightweight, portable freezer is great for fishing trips, camping, and keeping drinks and treats frozen for long journeys.
An exciting feature of this freezer is that it includes a USB port for charging smartphones or music speakers.
You can provide music and ice cream for any summer party with this speaker!
Though it’s small, it can powerfully keep the temperature down to -8°F (-22°C) which means you can keep any frozen goods inside without worrying.
As it’s mainly designed for travel, this Skadi portable freezer has been made with a shockproof design, making sure the freezer and your goods inside are safe when driving across even the bumpiest roads.
The freezer includes an easy-to-use touch control panel where you can change the temperature of your freezer.
Here, you can also switch between an “ECO” energy-saving mode and a “MAX” cooling mode.
It’s suitable for use with solar panels, car batteries, or you can plug it into your main electricity at home.
Pros & Benefits:
- A touch control panel that allows you to be in control of temperature and cooling mode
- 18-liter capacity
- Lightweight design
- USB port allowing you to charge phones and speakers
- Shockproof design to absorb any bumps along the road
3. CIGREEN 63.4 Quart (60 Liter) Portable Refrigerator/Freezer
This is another option for a 60-liter capacity solar-powered freezer.
It can hold a large number of goods enough for a whole family lunch.
The size of the product makes it perfect for traveling.
It’s also good as a freezer in your home for essential products such as medicine or pet food which you may not want in your main freezers.
This CIGREEN product has two compartments, allowing you to have both a refrigerator and a freezer while on the go.
A family picnic with cold sandwiches and drinks can be followed by a delicious frozen dessert at any time!
The larger refrigerator can fit up to 60 cans of soda in it while the smaller freezer compartment can fit up to 25 boxes inside.
If you need a large amount of freezer space specifically, this is important to bear in mind.
Each compartment has an individual temperature control panel, so you know the exact temperature your goods are being kept at.
A vital feature of this freezer is that it has been designed to ensure noise levels are kept low.
The fridge will not make more than 40dB which means that it won’t disrupt sleeping children making long car journeys a little bit easier.
The freezer is easy to transport as it has two durable handles and lightweight design.
Though it’s lightweight, it’s made with high-density foam which keeps the cold in and protects what’s inside the freezer.
The lids can be secured with a durable latch that makes sure there are no spillages during your journey.
This also makes sure energy consumption stays low as it keeps the coldness inside.
Pros & Benefits:
- 60-liter capacity
- Low-noise design
- Durable latch for security
- Two compartments for fridge and freezer with separate temperature controls
- High-density foam insulation
4. Dometic CF110 12v Electric Powered Cooler, Fridge, Freezer
This is a smaller freezer having a 10.5-liter capacity.
It’s not just able to be transported in a car, but as it comes with a shoulder strap, you can carry it while hiking or camping.
It only weighs 18 lbs, so it can be easily moved around and even carried while walking to the perfect spot for your picnic.
There is simple, soft-touch temperature control in front of the freezer.
The temperature can be adjusted from 0°F to 50°F (-18°C to +10°C) which allows you to choose whether to use the product like a refrigerator or a freezer.
It has two deep cup holders on top of the freezer, so you can securely hold open refreshing drinks while driving or walking.
Dometic has a wide range of sizes and styles of portable freezers.
It’s a company known for creating products with a durable design.
It’s also possible to purchase an insulating cover to go with the freezer to make sure the product lasts a long time and further lower energy costs.
This is the smallest freezer in this list and it’s best for those looking for ultimate mobility.
This Dometic freezer offers the luxury of enjoying your favorite frozen dessert even after a long day of hiking to a beautiful, remote spot.
Pros & Benefits:
- 10.5-liter capacity
- Has a lightweight design and shoulder strap
- Deep cup holders to keep your drinks safe on the go
- Can be used as a fridge or freezer
- Very low energy consumption
5. Dometic CDF11-DC-A Portable Refrigerator/Freezer
This is the largest portable freezer that Dometic can offer.
It has a great 106-liter capacity which can carry around 144 330 ml cans of drink.
That’s more than enough for a family party!
Like the smaller Dometic product, you can also purchase an insulating cover for this which can help cut down energy consumption.
The cover is designed with eyelets that secure attaching the freezer to your vehicle simply.
The lid of the freezer closes with secure latches to make sure that there are no leaks and the temperature stays low.
The inside of the freezer is cleverly designed with a three-section basket to keep items separate and organized.
There is also another small compartment to keep other essential items, for example, cosmetics or medicines, at a slightly cooler temperature.
This product can be used as a freezer or a refrigerator with a simple temperature control allowing you to adjust the temperature from 0°F to 50°F (-18°C to +10°C).
There are sturdy air vents built into this freezer which help regulate the temperature of the device and prevent overheating.
These vents are covered so that no unwelcome animals can enter the freezer.
It has a “quick chill” feature which speeds up the process of getting the temperature you desire.
Though its size means that it’s heavier than many others in this list, it comes with detachable handles to make transportation easier.
Again, it’s essential to note that this freezer is made by a reputable brand which is known for the durability of its products.
Pros & Benefits:
- 106-liter capacity
- A neat basket inside for organization
- Wide temperature settings for use as a freezer or fridge
- Matching insulating cover available
- Secure latches on the lid
6. Whynter CUF-110B Energy Star 1.1 Cubic Feet Upright Freezer
This is another small and versatile freezer with a 31-liter capacity perfect for a range of small spaces such as offices, garages, basements, or RVs.
Its clean, square design and flat back mean that it can fit securely against the walls and corners.
It’s stylish and it doesn’t have to be hidden when used at home.
Another space-saving feature of this freezer is the swing door which can be adjusted to open to the left or the right, so it can be placed in any area.
It’s an upright, freestanding freezer that includes a wire shelf to help you organize whatever you may keep inside.
The freezer is lightweight, weighing 36 lbs which means that it can be easily transported.
It has a temperature range of -10°F to 2°F which can easily be set with adjustable temperature control.
With this, a wide range of goods can be kept inside it.
It’s energy star-rated which means that it has low energy consumption.
Therefore, it’s perfect for use with solar panels.
The door can be secured with a cylinder lock.
The freezer comes with two keys which means that you can keep one key in a safe place, so you can access your goods anytime!
Though this product became available only since 2014, it remains one of the best-selling freezers which is true to its quality.
Pros & Benefits:
- 1.1 cubic feet / 31-liter capacity
- Door locks for maximum security of goods
- Reversible swing door
- Low energy consumption
- Square design that makes it perfect to fit in corners
7. F40C4TMP Portable Refrigerator Freezer
Unlike other items in this list, the F40C4TMP is not only a portable refrigerator and freezer but, can warm up food as well!
This makes it ideal for a person who is a casual traveler and prefers one device to cater for a range of needs.
The temperature can be adjusted from -7.6°F to 131°F making it sure that ice cream stays frozen.
It can also keep burgers and other meals warm or even warm up milk for maximum comfort on cold, camping nights!
The design is lightweight and also includes a USB port, so you can charge your phone and other devices while on the go.
Its 18-liter capacity means it holds enough food to cover short trips while remaining lightweight.
The product is made with thick insulation, so food should remain frozen (or warm!) for hours, even if it cannot be connected to power.
The insulation used in the product also helps make it shockproof and therefore, safe when traveling.
On the bottom of the freezer, it has non-slip feet to make your food extra secure.
The product runs quietly and will not disturb you while you’re eating or driving.
The lid of the freezer is flat which you can use as a table when camping or fishing.
Also, it has four drink holders.
The LED display accurately shows the temperature of the device and from here, you can control the temperature and put it into “ECO” (energy saving) or “MAX” (quick heating or cooling) mode.
The display also shows the electricity usage of the freezer, so you know how much you’re using when electricity is limited.
Pros & Benefits:
- 18-liter capacity
- Cooling and warming settings
- Low-energy consumption on “ECO” setting
- LED control panel
- Shockproof design
Things to keep in mind while buying a refrigerator
- Types of refrigerators
- Energy rating
- Additional features
The capacity of a refrigerator is measured in litres. The range from the lowest capacity to the highest has grown exponentially these days. But for you to be able to decide your requirement, one key factor needs to be considered – the size of your family. This determines the amount of food you will be keeping inside your fridge.
For a couple with one child, a 150 to 250-litre refrigerator should suffice. For a larger family of four to five people, you might want to go for a 250 to 500-litre one. But if it’s a family of four comprising of two adults and two children, a 250 to 350-litre fridge is good enough. Large families of six to seven people will of course require a big refrigerator with a capacity of anywhere between 550 to 850 litres.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have refrigerators with capacities of 40 to 100 litres. These are the best fit if you live alone. Sometimes, you might require a higher capacity despite not having many family members, so it’s always advisable to consider your requirements in detail before deciding the capacity.
The amount of space available in your house is also a big consideration while choosing your fridge. You can always read the measurements of the refrigerator of your choice and see whether it fits in your available space. While doing this, don’t forget to consider that the fridge doors will also need some space in order to be opened freely, and you’ll need at least an inch of space at the top and back to allow heat to escape easily.
Sometimes, bringing the fridge inside your house can also be a hassle due to the shortage of space in a starcaise or elevator. This is a major aspect to consider before buying the model of your choice.
Defrosting: Direct cool vs Frost free
All fridges require cool air circulation inside their compartments. When it comes to direct cool options, this circulation is handled through natural convection, without any external help. A major disadvantage of this method is uneven distribution, which leads to the forming of ice in the refrigerator.
You hence need to manually defrost the fridge regularly. A few advantages of this technology are the fact they these refrigerators are economical and consume less electricity.
The name frost free itself tells us that there’s no frost or ice to deal with. These refrigerators circulate the cool air evenly with the help of electric fans.
This method does not allow ice to form inside the compartments, and hence does not subject your food to freezer burn. But they are more expensive than direct cool refrigerators, and consume more electricity due to their usage of fans.
Types of refrigerators
Depending upon their sizes and the way they are built, refrigerators can be classified into five main types:
As the name suggests, these refrigerators have just one door, and range from a capacity of 150 to 250 litres. These are the most economical options available out there, and apart from fridge space, even offer modest freezer space.
Single door refrigerators are mostly direct cool in nature, but even this is changing nowadays with many companies introducing a digital auto defrost option on their models.
These feature two doors, one on top of the other. While the upper compartment is reserved for the freezer, the lower one is meant for regular use. This way, you get more freezer space to use.
A double door fridge usually has a capacity of 250 to 500 litres. Such refrigerators are also built to use less energy, and they are always frost free in nature. Double door models are energy efficient, and they ship with toughened glass shelves too.
Triple door refrigerators are taller and slimmer than other models, and are great for homes with less floor space. They come in capacities of 250 to 350 litres.
The door at the top is for the freezer, the middle one is for regular use and the lower one is a crisper – aka vegetable drawer. Triple door models come with frost free technology and toughened glass shelves.
Side by side
Side by side refrigerators are the most expensive models out there, and hence are equipped with the latest technologies. With capacities ranging from 550 to 850 litres, these refrigerators offer huge storage space with several different sections.
Some even come with water and ice dispensers in the front. They are of course frost free in nature, and come with toughened glass shelves.
Mini refrigerators are tiny in size and just offer basic cooling for keeping your food fresh. They can be up to 100 litres in capacity. They might have a very small freezer integrated into them, but this is not always the case. They are always direct cool in nature.
EER (Energy Efficiency Rating) or star ratings are given to appliances signify how energy efficient they are. The higher the star rating, the more energy-efficient they will be. If you wish to go deeper into this aspect, you should look for the total units of electricity (kWh) that your model will use in a year.
A 1-star rating for a refrigerator will offer around Rs 300 in savings per year, while a 2-star rating will save you around Rs 800 a year. A 3-star rating is even better, as it offers savings of up to Rs 1,200 a year, while a 4-star rating ensures that you save around Rs 1,500 a year. As for a 5-star rating, it will deliver savings of up to Rs 1,800 a year.
One should always look for a blue and green coloured Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) symbol to ensure the authenticity of the EER tag.
Compressors are responsible for maintaining the temperatures inside the fridge. One should note that smaller fridges usually come with general compressors, while medium and large-sized refrigerators ship with inverter compressors.
These compressors start off at very high speeds, and then continue running at a constant speed. This way, even if there is no cooling loss, they will keep running at the same speed and switch off only when optimum cooling is reached. This is why you hear a ‘tick’ sound from your refrigerator every now and then.
Inverter compressors are adaptable in nature, in the sense that they can run at varying speeds depending on the amount of cooling that is required. They start at low speeds, and speed up only when there’s a loss in cooling. This allows them to be more energy efficient.
There are plenty of additional features that modern refrigerators offer to make your lives easier. Let’s have a look at the main ones among them:
Water and ice dispensers are found mostly on side by side models. They allow you to grab cold water or ice cubes without opening the fridge. You can simply press your glass against an inbuilt lever to dispense cold water or ice.
Toughened glass shelves
If long-term use of your refrigerator is a priority, always look for models with toughened glass shelves. They are more durable than plastic shelves, and can take more weight.
Some refrigerators offer convertible technology, and are incredibly useful if you’re constantly running out of space in your fridge. That’s because they allow you to easily convert the freezer compartment into fridge space.
Brought a large cake for a birthday party and have no space to keep it in the fridge? Adjustable shelves come to the rescue at such times, as you can remove a few to allow bigger items to be stored.
Cool pack is a feature that’s capable of keeping the freezer cool for up to 12 hours without any power supply. Such refrigerators are very handy in areas where there are constant power cuts.
If you live in areas where there are frequent voltage fluctuations, a refrigerator with a built-in voltage stabiliser is the best choice. These models can protect the compressor from high voltage fluctuations.
Deodorisers remove odour from your fridge with the use of powerful filters. This ensures that there’s no foul smell coming from the fridge each time you open it.
Modern refrigerators are being equipped with plenty of smart features to bring them in line with the IoT progression. Smartphone integration is one thing, but some models even come with huge displays of their own that showcase stuff like tasks, calendars, photos, videos and more. In India, there are a handful of smart refrigerators available from Samsung and LG, but these will set you back a couple of lakhs.
What type of fridge do I want?
Stylewise, you’ve got four options to choose from, and each comes with its own pros and cons. Figuring out which one is best for you is the first, most obvious step toward making a final buying decision.
When I say the word “fridge,” chances are good that this is the style that pops into your head. With the bottom two-thirds dedicated to fresh-food storage and the freezer unit sitting on top, most of us probably struggled to reach the Popsicles in a top freezer unit when we were kids, or maybe we used one in our first apartment.
Tastes have moved on since then, so if you’re looking for something modern, high-end and feature-rich, then a top-freezer model probably isn’t for you. If style isn’t as much of a concern, however, you’ll find that top freezers offer some of the best bargains on the market. Plus, there are still enough being made to offer a solid variety of choices.
Price: $479 to $2,199
Average dimensions: Width: 29 inches; depth: 31 inches; depth with door open 90 degrees: 58 inches; height: 66 inches
Best suited for: Bargain shoppers who aren’t looking for anything too flashy.
If you’re looking for something on the simpler side, and would enjoy slightly easier access to your fresh foods, then a bottom-freezer unit might be right for you. Bottom-freezer units aren’t much different from top-freezer units except for the fact that the freezer is located — you guessed it — on the bottom. This means that you won’t have to hunch over while rooting around for commonly used ingredients.
Of course, this also means that frozen foods will be located down around your ankles — though a majority of models now come with drawer-style freezer doors, which can make getting the ice cream out a little easier. Bottom-freezer units tend to be just slightly bigger than top freezers, but there’s also less variety of models to choose from.
Price: $999 to $1,899
Average dimensions: Width: 29 inches; depth: 32 inches; depth with door open 90 degrees: 59 inches; height: 67 inches
Best suited for: Home cooks who don’t mind bending over to get into the freezer.
Side-by-side units split your fridge right down the middle, offering you frozen foods on the left and fresh foods on the right. Some models offer equal real estate for both sections, but most allocate an extra couple of inches for the fridge. This can make for an especially narrow freezer section, so frozen-pizza aficionados might want to consider something a little less limiting.
Side-by-side units come in a wide variety of models and tend to showcase more features than their horizontally minded top and bottom freezer counterparts. Many of these features are aimed at saving space, especially when it comes to the shelving inside the doors. Side-by-side units also don’t need as much clearance to open the doors, making them ideal for narrow kitchens. Due to the vertical split, you’ll probably want to go with the widest model that will fit into your kitchen, and your budget.
Price: $1,149 to $3,099
Average dimensions: Width: 35 inches; eepth: 30 inches; eepth with door open 90 degrees: 45 inches; height: 71 inches
Best suited for: Space-conscious consumers who still want a feature-rich fridge.
Highly popular, French-door models combine the drawer-style freezer of a bottom-freezer unit with the low-clearance doors of a side-by-side unit. This means that you’ll have a full-width, double-door fridge with plenty of storage space. With your refrigerator door effectively split into two, it also means that you won’t be letting quite as much cold air out when you’re opening just one door to grab the milk.
With the high demand for French-door refrigerators, you’re sure to find a huge variety of options, including models with top-of-the-line smart features you won’t find with other styles. You can also upgrade the look of your fridge to match your kitchen or even get one that camouflages itself entirely among your cabinets, but be aware that you’ll likely be tacking a few thousand dollars onto the already steep price.
Price: $1,599 to $3,999 ($4,500 to $8,000 for a built-in cabinetry appearance)
Average dimensions: Width: 35 inches; depth: 29 inches; depth with door open 90 degrees: 48 inches; height: 68 inches
Best suited for: Fashionable homeowners who want lots of space for groceries and the most advanced features available.
Selecting the style that’s right for your kitchen is half the battle, and should give you a much clearer idea of what you want from your new refrigerator. But don’t run off to the department store just yet, because you still have some very important questions to ask yourself, including:
How big do I really need my fridge to be?
The bigger, the better, right? Not necessarily!
REFRIGERATOR CAPACITY RANGES
- Top freezers: 14.5 – 24.0 cubic feet
- Bottom freezers: 19.0 – 24.9 cubic feet
- Side-by-sides: 20.0 – 29.0 cubic feet
- French doors: 18.0 – 32.0 cubic feet
- Compact models: 9.9 – 12.0 cubic feet
It varies, but a general rule of thumb is that you’ll want 4 to 6 cubic feet (cu. ft.) of refrigerator space per adult in your household, along with a little bit of extra contingency room. With full-size refrigerators ranging from 10 to 32 cu. ft., this means that a family of four probably won’t want anything much less than 20 cubic feet, and might prefer something even roomier.
Of course, the biggest limiting factor is your kitchen, so be sure to measure to see how much width, height and depth you’ve got to work with before you start shopping around.
All of that said, a bigger fridge means a bigger energy bill, so be careful not to splurge on extra space that you aren’t actually going to need. You’ll be paying more both upfront and down the line as you continue paying the power company to refrigerate that wasted space alongside your food.
If you’re looking for something on the small side, you’ll probably want to stick with a top or bottom freezer, as none of the other types of refrigerators come in sizes much smaller than 20 cu. ft. If your kitchen is particularly cramped, or if you’re just looking for something small for a garage or a back room, you’ll find compact models in both styles, too.
Do I need a counter-depth refrigerator?
You’re likely to hear this term quite a bit as you shop around. As the name suggests, “counter-depth” refrigerators are simply refrigerators that are designed to align perfectly with the edges of your countertops, leaving only the refrigerator door sticking out. This gives your fridge the appearance of an expensive, custom-designed unit that’s built directly into your kitchen’s cabinetry — without anything actually being custom-built.
Since they shave a few inches off the front of the fridge, counter-depth refrigerators are slightly less spacious than their normal-size counterparts. They also tend to cost a little bit more. Whether or not you’re willing to sacrifice that space and pay extra for a more fashionable fridge is totally up to you, but for my money, it’s a feature you should consider skipping.
And hey, while we’re on the subject of features…
Watch this: Five fridge features you won’t want to miss out on 2:21
What features should I look for?
Refrigerators have come a long way since the debut of the egg holder and the butter bin. These days, you’ll find a wide variety of features designed to bring a whole new level of functionality to your fridge. With the endless parade of trademarked names and bold claims, finding the features you actually want can quickly become overwhelming. So, which ones are worth it?
Take care of the foods you love
First, think about the things you like to cook and/or eat, then look for features that take really good care of those things. It’s a safe bet that those are the features you’ll enjoy using the most. Are you a devoted foodie who always wants a variety of fresh ingredients on hand? Many models offer sectional climate controls for the different compartments in your fridge or even dedicated, temperature-adjustable drawers. Do you live off of TV dinners and frozen leftovers? Look for advanced defrosting features designed to help eliminate freezer burn. Love a nice glass of pinot grigio? Look for a fridge with a built-in wine rack.Enlarge Image
This Frigidaire’s top shelf slides in and folds up to make room for large items.Tyler Lizenby/CNET
Get sneaky with your storage space
If you’re constantly rearranging things in your fridge to make space for groceries, then look for storage-minded features designed to give you a hand. Shelves that slide in or fold up will make it a lot easier to make room for tall items, and the increasingly common door-in-a-door feature can transform your in-door shelves into a makeshift mini-fridge for kitchen staples like beverages and condiments.
One storage consideration you might not have thought of: the ice maker. Some fridges situate it up on the top shelf — the ice drops down through a chute in the door into your waiting glass. That’s all well and good, but the icemaker eats up some obvious space inside of the fridge, and the bulky overhang of that in-door chute will tend to block off the in-door shelves underneath it.
That’s why I tend to prefer fridges that squeeze the entire icemaker into the door. They tend to make less ice, but they’ll also give you more usable space inside of the fridge. That’s a fair trade-off in my book.
Now playing: Avoid these five overrated fridge features 2:14
Consider the water dispenser
One trend that we’ve seen over the past few years: creativity from the water dispenser. GE has been leading the pack here, with French-door models that can serve the exact amount of water you want, and even ones capable of shutting off automatically once they detect that your glass, pitcher or pot is full. You’ll even find nifty features in GE’s less-expensive top-freezer models — most notably, ones that come with an Autofill Pitcher that’ll fill itself back up whenever you place it back in the fridge. Samsung’s in the mix now, too, with an autofilling water pitcher of its own in its higher-end French door models.
This GE fridge comes with a special pitcher that fills back up with water whenever you dock it in place.Chris Monroe/CNET
The brand’s Cafe Series line of fridges can dispense hot water at a variety of temperature settings. The newest models even add in a mini K-Cup brewer that’ll let your fridge brew up a quick cup of coffee on demand. It’s a surprisingly sensible addition, given that refrigerators have dedicated water lines — that means you won’t ever have to worry about keeping a reservoir full.
Of course if you keep shopping around, you’ll also find refrigerators with touchscreens and built-in Wi-Fi, and plenty of bold manufacturer claims about smartening up your kitchen — which brings us to one last question:
Do I need a smart refrigerator?
You can certainly live without one, if that’s what you’re asking, particularly if affordability is your chief concern. Simply put, smart fridges don’t come cheap, and whether or not the extra cost is worth it is really up to you.
For some, smart technology gives refrigerators a whole new cool factor, and the fact that we use our refrigerators every day makes these features a sound investment. For others, “smart” just seems like another word for “gimmicky.” If this includes you, then spending an extra $1,000 or more in order to have a cutting-edge kitchen probably seems like a waste of money.
Watch this: LG’s see-through smart fridge takes the CES stage 1:02
That said, don’t be too quick to slam the door on so-called “smart” features, because there are plenty of them that live up to the name, and a growing variety of options to choose from, too. In 2017, LG even went so far as to say that it plans to start putting Wi-Fi radios into each and every refrigerator that it manufactures.
In other words, we might be quickly approaching a point where smart refrigerators are the norm, not the exception.
So what do smart fridges actually do?
Glad you asked. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s currently out there:
- Energy monitoring: More and more, we’re seeing connected refrigerators that are capable of syncing up with the smart grid in cities where it’s available. Fridges like those can automatically schedule costly defrost cycles for the times when energy rates are at their lowest. One model from Whirlpool will even sync up with the Nest Learning Thermostat ($287 at Amazon) to take advantage of Nest’s Rush Hour Rewards feature, or send your phone an alert if the power ever goes out.
- Smart multitasking: Some smart fridges aim to make your kitchen routine more efficient. That K-Cup-brewing Cafe Series fridge from GE includes Wi-Fi now, which lets you tell it to start heating the water up remotely, from your phone.
- Voice control: Smart fridges are also trying to take advantage of the current surge in popularity of smart-home voice control platforms. GE’s smart fridges offer their own Alexa skill, which lets you ask Amazon’s voice-activated assistant to make a quick temperature adjustment, or let you know if the water filter needs replacing. Samsung and LG have each gone one step further, building voice control directly into their flagship smart fridges. You’ll find native Alexa controls in LG’s Smart InstaView refrigerator, while the Samsung Family Hub fridge offers voice controls through Samsung’s own Bixby voice assistant. It’s not hard to imagine HomeKit-compatible refrigerators that work with Siri in the near future, too.
- Kitchen command centers: Speaking of Samsung and LG, both brands envision their smart fridges as the central command centers for the connected kitchen, if not the entire smart home. That’s why each one has a huge touchscreen on the door, complete with its own set of fridge apps. Whether you want to set a cooking timer, follow along with a recipe, update your family’s digital calendar or just stream some music while you cook, smart fridges like these want to handle all of it.
- Fridge cameras: We’re also seeing more and more fridges that feature built-in cameras that’ll let you check what’s inside remotely, from your phone. You can also typically drag little countdown timers over the top of your food to help keep track of expiration dates, which is a surprisingly nice little feature. Moving forward, manufacturers like Samsung plan to make use of artificial intelligence to teach these smart fridges how to identify foods on their own without any input from you.