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7 Refrigerator Features to Look Out For in 2021

by Pam Silvia

Whether your refrigerator is on the outs or you’re looking to do-over your kitchen with a brand-new appliance, there are many factors to consider when making this purchase. In a sea of impressive-sounding fridge features, it can be daunting to parse through them to narrow down your selection.

To guide your search, your friends in the business at Spencer’s TV & Appliance compiled a list of refrigerator features that will make your life and kitchen design, well, cooler. Offering endless utility and high-end style, our top 7 features are listed below.

family assembles around kitchen island as they cook together

1. Door Configurations

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to selecting the door configuration for your new fridge. Your choice of refrigerator style should depend on your family size, available kitchen space, and lifestyle, among other considerations.

Here is our quick rundown on the most popular fridge configurations!

a. French Door

French door refrigerators showcase two side-by-side fridge doors toward the top of the appliance and one or two freezer drawers at the bottom. Compared to other configurations with just one door, French door models are more energy-efficient since less cold air escapes the appliance when opened, keeping your foods more chilled for longer. And thanks to its unpartitioned space, the fridge compartment can fit wider items, like party platters and pizza boxes.

b. Side-by-Side

Like a French door model, a side-by-side refrigerator involves two vertical doors, but instead of having the freezer compartment at the bottom of the appliance, its freezer is right next to the fridge compartment, taking up roughly half of the appliance.

Slimmer than the other configurations, this fridge requires less space on either side of the appliance for door outswings, making it suitable for compact homes. Plus, with a maximum width of approximately 40 inches, side-by-side fridges boast the most volume—better accommodating bulk purchases since capacity in the freezer compartment is larger.

c. Top Freezer

True to their name, top-freezer refrigerators entail a larger fridge compartment at the lower level with a smaller icebox on top. This configuration is largely favored for its affordability, as most models are typically priced between $500 and $800.

d. Bottom Freezer

As you might have guessed, a bottom-freezer refrigerator has a drawer freezer at the lower level. Hailed for its convenient organization, this fridge also lets you access the items you reach for the most often—without straining your back and neck. Compared to its top-freezer counterpart, bottom-freezer fridges have generous storage space in the freezer compartment.

closeup of stainless-steel French doors on refrigerator

2. Energy Efficiency

Across all refrigerator types, the average refrigerator lifespan is said to be approximately 13 years. What’s more, if your refrigerator was originally purchased more than 16 years ago, it could be using twice the amount of energy as most Energy Star models—and costing you an additional 300 dollars on your utility bills annually.

Given that energy conservation comes down to limiting the amount of cold air that escapes the fridge, there is very little negotiation when it comes to preventing spoiled milk, contaminated eggs, and droopy ice cream.

Therefore, it might behoove you to look out for the Energy Star logo when you’re shopping for your new refrigerator—these models are stocked with enhanced gaskets that seal tightly when your fridge is not being raided.

3. WiFi Connectivity

The possibilities are endless with a smart refrigerator. While capabilities vary across brands and models, some smart features include being able to remotely monitor the contents of your fridge, keep track of expiration dates, easily compile a shopping list, and control other home automation devices—all from your smart device.

Most impressively, some Samsung refrigerators come with a touchscreen panel that allows you to create a virtual bulletin board for family memos on the door, from which you can also view recipes, stream music, and browse the web.

For more smart-refrigerator features and benefits, check out our blog!

4. Edge-to-Edge Shelves

If you’re wary of not having enough storage space for your copious amounts of groceries, you may choose to invest in a refrigerator that has edge-to-edge shelving. Essentially, this refrigerator feature lets you maximize your space with shelves that extend the full width of the appliance. Most importantly, you won’t have to compromise your menu.

Many GE Appliances and GE sub-brands (including the premium GE Profile and the luxurious Café) tout this useful feature.

Café quad modern glass refrigerator interior

5. Organization Drawers

As you’re browsing online, we compel you to read descriptions of key refrigerator features closely to determine what organization-based attributes may be essential. Too often, we dispose of expired groceries long after we have forgotten about them. To curb food waste (and optimize your paycheck), it’s important to ensure all our food items are within view. Not only will strategic organization remind us of what we have, but it will also make maintenance—in terms of odor control and cleanup—easier in the long run.

Select Frigidaire refrigerators have freezer baskets with dividers and adjustable interior storage to accommodate over 100 ways to organize your appliance.

6. Automatic Temperature Controls

Nothing is more disheartening than spoiled berries and wilted herbs not even a week after you went shopping. To put an end to the despair, many refrigerators are engineered with preset temperature controls that automatically balance both temperature and humidity, effectively removing the guesswork from food storage.

Hosting a best-in-class freshness system, Bosch 800 Series refrigerators offer patented VitaFreshPro™ and FreshProtect™ in the crisper drawers to calibrate an optimal environment and slow ripening, an AirFresh™ filter that absorbs the foulest of food odors, and a MultiAirFlow™ fridge feature that evenly circulates cool fresh air to maintain consistent temperatures.

7. Specialty Ice Dispenser

The secret is out. Our hack for elevating our favorite cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages alike is specialty ice. Yes, whether you’re partial to a whiskey, a fruity cocktail, or lemonade, specialty ice provides next-level entertaining.

With slow-melting round ice, you can enjoy chilled drinks for longer, thanks to dual ice makers from select LG and LG Studio French Door refrigerators that also automatically dispense cubed and crushed ice.

woman’s hand scoops LG slow-melting round ice into glass cup

Let Us Help You

We hope our refrigerator features list inspires you to pursue innovation. Whether you call or visit us in-store, our friendly staff of experts is always happy to help. Don’t forget to browse our selection of refrigerators on our Spencer’s catalog. In 2021, let us not delay happiness—build the kitchen of your dreams today!