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The refrigerator is arguably the single most used appli […]
The refrigerator is arguably the single most used appliance in your entire home. There may be days where you don’t use the dishwasher, the microwave, or the washing machine, but rarely will a day go by when you don’t access your refrigerator multiple times over the day.
When it comes to choosing the right refrigerator, it might seem like a simple task on the surface. It’s just a large box that plugs into the wall and keeps your food cold, right? But the truth is that it's a fine line between a refrigerator you’ll love and a refrigerator that will drive you crazy from the moment you bring it home. It’s not just about whether it keeps food cold (although that is an important element that we’ll talk about). It’s also a long list of other factors that can determine your fridge’s quality.
That’s why we’ve put together this rundown of some of the most important elements of a great fridge, and how you can educate yourself to avoid selecting a refrigerator that won’t get the job done day in and day out (or decade in and decade out).
Your fridge keeps things cold, and the freezer keeps things colder, right? Well, there’s a little bit more to it than that. While basic refrigerators with only two climate control sections, the fridge, and freezer, may get the job done, you have a lot more options now than ever before.
It’s also not just about temperature— humidity, air circulation, and filtration are also vital factors that the best fridges offer to extend the freshness and life of your foods. You’ll notice a measurable difference in how long veggies, fruits, milk, and other foods remain fresh. Odors won’t transfer from one food to another in a quality climate-controlled fridge.
How Does a Fridge Achieve Improved Climate Control?
Your fridge controls the conditions inside by managing:
3- Air circulation and filtration
First and foremost, you need a steady temperature inside your fridge. Old or basic refrigerators feature a simple dial that ranges from 1-5, 1 being the warmest, and 5 being the coldest. Many newer fridges also now feature digital readouts and adjustments, rather than the traditional clicker knobs. This gives you even more control, flexibility, and transparency when it comes to the climate controls of your refrigerator and freezer. In a good fridge/freezer, the internal temperature shouldn’t fluctuate more than one degree from what you set.
Some brands feature a Super Cool or Super Freeze function. Let’s say you’ve just arrived back from the store, and some of your food has begun to melt after the journey home in the car. You can have your fridge’s compressor temporarily work overtime to provide an additional boost of cold. This also helps maintain the fridge’s temperature while the door remains open while stocking your fridge.
Humid air is needed generally to maximize preservation. However, vegetables may need more humidity compared to meat and other products. So, crisper drawers are essential at this point.
A good fridge should give you the ability to adjust humidity inside crisper drawers. Some brands go even further with this. For example, Bosch and Samsung have a sealed 4th drawer door where you can adjust the temperature and humidity based on the food you store inside.
Air Flow and Filtration:
Air should not stay stagnant inside your fridge. A good refrigerator should filter out ethylene gas, produced by vegetables and fruits, to help keep foods from developing a stale smell and flavor.
Quality brands now offer individual drawers or sections that act both as a refrigerator and a freezer. Based on your needs, you can set the compartment to its own unique temperature. This is perfect for tasks like quickly chilling drinks, making specific items last longer, etc.
One last point, the ambient temperature is vital for a fridge. Say your home does not have air conditioning and it is 100 degrees inside. The room temperature makes the fridge work a lot harder. Good refrigerators can withstand ambient temperature swings better.