Your Fridge Tech Decoded: A Very Handy Fridge Glossary

Fridge tech is becoming more and more complicated and buying a fridge today requires you to navigate through so many new terms that most often you try to ignore everything and just the buy the first fridge that looks nicer than the rest. But if you are spending on it, and will live with it, you have to understand what these terms mean. Read on to have your fridge tech decoded!

A

Adjustable Shelving

There are multiple grooves in the fridge which allow you to adjust where you want to place your shelves to make space for bigger containers. 

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What this means for you: More flexibility to place your shelves so you can make space for bigger containers in the fridge.

Adjustable Thermostat

An adjustable thermostat control allows you to find the best temperature setting for your needs.

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What this means for you: You can adjust the interior temperature of the fridge depending upon the weather outside. More cooling for summer, less for winter, etc.

Antibacterial Coatings

A coating inside of the refrigerator that has antibacterial properties to keep your food hygienic for longer.

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What this means for you: Your food can stay protected for longer inside the fridge.

Auto Defrost/Cycle Defrost

This type of unit has a prevents any ice build up by running a defrost cycle that modifies the temperature of the unit so ice build up is melted

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What this means for you: The fridge briefly raises its own temperature to melt any ice build up and then readjusts the temperature to the previous settings to continue cooling the food.

B

Built-in Beverage Holders

Built into the door, these pockets can store cans or bottles. 

What this means for you: The fridge has separate pockets for holding bottles, built into the door.  

Bottom Freezer

A Bottom Freezer refrigerator has the freezer compartment situated below, with the fresh food compartment above. The freezer door can either be a swing door, or more often, a pull-out drawer with bins for frozen foods. A double drawer design is also popular for better organisation. But, you have to crouch down to get your frozen food, but most consumers typically use their fresh food compartments more often.

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What this means for you: You don’t have to bend down to access the fresh food compartment because it is on the top. The freezer unit, which is anyway opened less than the fresh compartment can be accessed at the bottom.

C

Compressor

This is the heart of your fridge. A low pressure gas is pumped into the compressor, which compresses it into a high pressure gas, raising its temperature. The gas then moves to the condenser for the next step of the refrigeration cycle.

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What this means for you: This is the chief part of your refrigerator, and manufacturers typically offer a 5-year warranty for this. The compressor is the main unit of the refrigerator that begins the cooling process.

Condenser

This is the heat exchanger of the refrigerator. The condenser cools the heat from the gas and condenses it into a liquid refrigerant which, with the help of some other parts, keeps the inside of your refrigerator cold.

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What this means for you: The heated gas from the compressor is cooled down here, and then circulated around the fridge. This is the second part of the refrigeration process.

Cubic Feet

The measurement used to identify the internal capacity of your refrigerator.

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What this means for you: The bigger the cubic foot, the more space inside your fridge

Crisper Drawer

The crisper drawer has higher humidity than the rest of the refrigerator so that your produce will stay fresh longer.

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What this means for you: Any fresh fruits or vegetables you keep in the crisper will not turn soggy with moisture, and therefore, stays fresh longer.

D

Dairy Compartment

A storage compartment in the refrigerator designed to maintain ideal temperatures for storing dairy products, such as butter and cheese.

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What this means for you: The fridge maintains the right temperature for storing dairy. This temperature may be different from the rest of the fridge.

Dial Thermostat

A dial knob that allows you to change the temperature of the inside of your refrigerator.

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What this means for you: A simple way to adjust the temperature of your fridge.

Digital Display

An easy to read screen that displays information such as time and temperature.

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What this means for you: You can read the temperature of the fridge on the door and make adjustments as necessary

Digital Thermostat

A screen that sets and displays the temperature of the inside of the refrigerator.

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What this means for you: A digital screen tells you the cooling level in the fridge.

Door Bins

Door bins provide extra door storage commonly used to store condiments.

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What this means for you: Small bins on the inside of the door will hold bottles of condiments and other items

Door Gasket

A flexible strip of rubber that is attached to the inside of the door to form an air-tight seal when the door is closed.

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What this means for you: The door closes in a more snug manner because of a rubberised seal, keeping the coolness intact.

Door in Door

Certain companies like LG and Samsung have a part-opening door to make it easier to access things you use the most. This keeps the refrigerator cooler as cold air remains trapped even when you use it compared to a typical refrigerator which makes it more energy efficient in the long run.

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What this means for you: You can access frequently used items more easily without opening and closing the whole door each time, and therefore affecting the effectiveness of the fridge.

Defrost

Excessive frost tends to build in the interior of the freezer over time. Some models offer an automatic defrost that not only detects the problem but fixes it as well, most require that you defrost manually.  In most current refrigerators, the press of a defrost button melts any ice build up.

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What this means for you: In auto defrost models, any build up of ice will be taken care of automatically. In manual models (or direct cool fridges), you have to do the defrost yourself.

Drain Pan

Located out of sight next to the compressor, the drain pan collects water produced during the defrost cycle of your refrigerator.

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What this means for you: You may need to periodically empty the drain pan so in the next defrost cycle, more ice can melt into it.

E

Energy Rating

The rating given to a fridge freezer based on how energy efficient the appliance is.

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What this means for you: A higher rating means that the fridge consumes lesser electricity in its running.

Energy Efficient

An energy efficient fridge freezer can save you money and help reduce your carbon footprint.

What this means for you: The fridge uses lesser energy to run and has fewer emissions.

Extra Deep Door Storage

This feature allows you to store larger and more bulky items in the doors of the appliance.

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What this means for you: Bottles and jars of a bigger size can fit into wider spaces carved out into the door.

F

Flush Back Design

This type of refrigerator does not have a compressor, coils, or other hardware protruding from the back of the unit allowing for the unit to fit flush against the wall.

What this means for you: Better aesthetics as unsightly coils or the compressor is not visible on the backside of the fridge

French Door

A French Door refrigerator splits the fresh food compartment door in half, making it easier to open in smaller kitchens. All French door refrigerators have the freezer compartment on the bottom, so the fresh food compartment is more accessible. Sometimes the freezer comes as double drawers. One of the key benefits to French door models is energy conservation as you only open a small portion of the fridge to access a single item.

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What this means for you: You only open the door to the required part of the fridge, thereby not altering the temperature in the other parts, hence saving energy

Fridge Capacity

This gives you an idea of how much you can store in the fridge. Capacities are usually given in litres.

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What this means for you: A higher capacity fridge will hold more items.

Frost Free Freezer

A frost free freezer uses a constant flow of cold air around the appliance to prevent the build up of ice and frost

What this means for you: There is no longer any need to defrost the freezer periodically.

I

Ice Bin

A plastic storage container that holds ice from the ice maker

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What this means for you: Usually a twist and turn method dispenses ice from the ice tray to a small detachable bin located below it.

Ice Dispenser

A convenient feature located on the outside of the door for easy access to dispense ice.

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What this means for you: You don’t have to open the freezer door to get ice, so the temperature there does not get affected.

Integrated Handle

The handle groove is integrated into the door of the refrigerator and is not visible from the front of the unit.

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What this means for you: Some might say it adds to the aesthetics of the fridge. But a groove might be more difficult to clean.

Interior Light

A small light that allows you to see inside the appliance.

What this means for you: Even when you open the fridge for a late night snack, you can still the insides clearly.

Internal Storage Drawers

Drawers that provide dedicated storage space for meat, cheese, or vegetables.

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What this means for you: Keep your meat, dairy and produce separately in drawers so no odours are mixed and everything stays at an ideal temperature.

M

Manual Defrost

This unit does not have a defrost cycle and must be unplugged to let any ice build-up melt. It is recommended to manually defrost this refrigerator outside to prevent any water damage to your home or office.

What this means for you: You have to frequently do manual defrosting so ice build up melts and your fridge functions optimally.

Multi-zone Cooling

Multi-zone cooling allows 2, 3 or more independent controlled temperature zones. 

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What this means for you: Separate areas have separate temperatures, hence maintaining optimal cooling at these zones.

N

Noise Level

An indicator of how noisy the fridge will be when it’s running. This is usually given in decibels – a unit of sound volume.

What this means for you: A loud fridge will make a fair amount of noise everytime the compressor restarts. A lower decibel means it is a relatively quiet fridge

O

Open Door Alert

If you accidentally leave the door of the fridge freezer open an alert will sound to let you know you have left the appliance open. Great for making sure you don’t ruin foods stored in the appliance

What this means for you: Often when you push the door shut, it does not close, leaving a very small gap that affects the cooling. In the case of an Open Door Alert, an alert sound will let you know that the fridge door hasn’t completely closed and you should push it shut.

S

Spill Proof Glass Shelves

Spill proof glass shelves have raised edges that create a barrier to contain spilled liquids. Typically these shelves are made of tempered glass that is stronger and safer if it happens to shatter.

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What this means for you: If you spill any liquid accidentally on the shelf, the upturned edges will prevent the liquid for spilling over to the rest of the fridge.

Side by Side

A Side by Side refrigerator has two separate split compartments for fresh and frozen food that are adjacent to each other. The split design gives you more shelves to organize your food items and is ideal for organizational purposes, but the shelves are much narrower and make large item storage more difficult. Side-by-side refrigerators typically have more storage space than other types of refrigerators. One added bonus of these units is the reduced door swing clearance. The smaller doors make it ideal for tight, galley style kitchens.

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What this means for you: The fresh foods and freezer compartments are separate so you need to open only one to access either compartment. There is more space overall, but the shelves are narrower so you cannot store a large container easily.

Sliding Shelves

Sliding shelves allow easy access to items typically out of reach. By utilizing a track system, these adjustable shelves can be pulled out like drawers in order to easily grab items in the rear of your fridge. This feature is also very convenient when cleaning.

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What this means for you: Sliding the door out lets you have access to the items at the back so you don’t have to move the ones in the front to reach those.

Super Cool

A clever function which allows the fridge freezer to quickly reduce the temperature of any food added to the appliance as to not affect other foods currently being stored

What this means for you: A new item placed in the fridge will receive fast cooling so it does not heat up the air inside to warm up other items.

Super Fast Freezing

The freezer quickly reduces the temperature of any new food that is added to the appliance as to not affect any food which is currently inside the freezer

What this means for you: Anything placed in the freezer will become cool quickly and this will have no effect on the fresh foods section of the fridge.

T

Top Freezer

A Top Freezer refrigerator has the freezer compartment situated above the refrigerator at eye-level with a capacity ranging up to 22 cubic feet. The top-mount refrigerator, as it is also called, is one of the more traditional and less expensive configurations that offer better organization and more useable space. The only drawback to this style of refrigerator is you have to bend down to reach your fresh food.

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What this means for you: The fresh foods area is located below so you have to keep bending to retrieve items from there. But all frozen items can be accessed easily because the freezer is at the top.

W

Water Dispenser

A handy extra which allows cool water to flow from the appliance.

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What this means for you: You don’t have to open the fridge door to get a bottle of water. A simple dispenser on the door will give you cool water.

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