✔️Smart home compatibility: While all smart refrigerators have built-in Wi-Fi, they won’t always support your voice assistant or existing smart home ecosystem. So, if you want to be able to ask Alexa or Google Assistant to make more ice or change the fridge’s temperature, ensure that the fridge you purchase comes equipped with a built-in assistant or is compatible.
✔️Maintenance: Most smart fridges can alert you about maintenance issues and general troubleshooting, such as when a door was accidentally left open or a filter needs to be changed. Such alerts can help prevent serious issues from developing down the line while keeping your fridge in pristine condition.
✔️Cameras and sensors: According to Petrino, “some smart refrigerators give you the ability to view the inside from your smartphone or tablet. This way if you forget to make a grocery list, you have a real-time view of the items in your fridge.” Though a built-in camera isn’t a necessary feature for everyone, it does save you the hassle of accidentally forgetting a key ingredient while you’re out shopping.
✔️Display features: Petrino also shares that “some smart refrigerators can double as your home media center. Your refrigerator can be the new place for family photos, calendars, recipes, and media reducing the amount of clutter in your beautiful new kitchen.” Some even offer a custom user experience, such as being able to “recommend recipes that incorporate soon-to-expire grocery items, reducing food waste and saving you money.” And with certain models, “you can manage automatic food deliveries with third-party delivery services like Fresh Direct or Amazon Prime.”
✔️Style: Modern smart refrigerators come in a variety of styles, but the most popular ones you’ll see today are top- or bottom-freezer refrigerators, French door refrigerators and side-by-side refrigerators. Top- or bottom-freezer refrigerators have a freezer that is located either at the top or the bottom of the fridge, while the main contents are at eye level. French door refrigerators feature two doors that meet in the middle, along with a freezer on the bottom and oftentimes a middle compartment for extra storage of beverages or snacks. A side-by-side refrigerator, on the other hand, features a freezer on one side and a fridge on the other. These often require less space for doors to swing open but mean you’ll have to bend down to reach certain items.
✔️Size: Consider how big your family is and what the right fridge capacity is for your home. Does the interior of the fridge offer ample storage for the amount of food you regularly keep on hand? Are there convertible sections so you can organize your food so regularly reached for items are easily accessible? Does the ice maker take up a large chunk of space? Always triple-check the dimensions of the fridge to ensure it will fit in between your cabinets, there will be enough airflow around the sides and enough space to open the doors.