Think your fridge freezer is simply for storing food? Think again. Fridge freezers are about to get a whole lot more funky. Your next fridge freezer could be customised to suit your favourite colour, show you what’s left of your weekly shop inside without you having to open the door, and even tell you when your meat’s gone off.
We’ve been in Berlin, getting a sneak peek of the latest in the world of refrigeration at 2017’s top trade gathering for home appliances, where top cooler brands, including Samsung, Liebherr, Bosch and Panasonic, revealed the fridge freezers of the future that you could get your hands on sooner than you think.
Watch the video or read on below to start making your shopping list.
Or head to our Best Buy fridge freezers if you’re looking for a new fridge freezer now.
Five ways fridge freezers are getting smarter
1) You can see inside your fridge without opening the door
You’re probably wondering why you’d ever need to see inside your fridge without opening the door. But that hasn’t stopped several fridge freezer brands from installing cameras in their appliances.
The idea is that the camera can transmit images to you of what’s inside your fridge freezer, which could be handy if you tend to forget whether you have any milk while you’re in the supermarket.
All the images we’ve cast our eye over in Berlin looked clear enough to see what’s on the shelves and in the door of your fridge. Sounds expensive? The good news for the forgetful on a budget is that this technology doesn’t have to cost the earth, because Smarter is about to launch a £99 fridge camera that can be installed in any fridge.
Or, if you want something a bit more slick that’s sure to impress friends, you could opt for the LG Instaview. It has a panel of opaque black glass on the fridge door which becomes crystal clear when you knock on it twice. See it in action in our video above.
2) You can personalise your fridge freezer
Fridge freezers across the colour spectrum are nothing new, with Smeg traditionally offering more choice and variety than any other brand. But Bosch has just gone one step further with its new Vario range of fridge freezers.
Not only will there be 19 colours to choose from, 13 of which are due to launch in the UK next month, but you’ll also be able to swap colours whenever you feel like it. The coloured doors sell as a separate product – albeit at a pretty hefty price of round £160 each – to the specially-designed fridge freezer. So, whether you’ve got a funky new food mixer or colourful kettle you want everything centred around, you can update your fridge freezer to show off your favourite shade.
If that’s not personalised enough for you, Liebherr is playing with the idea of letting you plaster one of your favourite photos on your fridge freezer. It had better be a photo you like, though, because unlike the Bosch range, you won’t be able to change your mind a few months down the line.
3) Your fridge freezer will tell you if your meat’s fresh
If you’ve ever thrown away raw meat because it smelt a bit funny and you weren’t sure it was safe to eat, Grundig’s FreshMeter has a solution.
Still a prototype at this stage, it’s a compartment for fresh meat that has a special sensor at the back. This sensor analyses the odours and gas emissions from your meat, then a traffic light display panel tells you whether the meat is fresh, past its best and needing to be eaten, or bad and not safe to eat.
If it works, it should help you to waste less food, while also potentially saving yourself from a nasty bout of food poisoning.
In the meantime read our 10 tips to help keep your food fresher for longer.
4) It comes with bigger and very clever storage
How about, instead of just a fridge and a freezer, your fridge freezer also included a compartment that can be used as either fridge or freezer and a fast-freezer chamber that that can rapidly cool to -30 degrees centigrade. Such rapid freezing should help to preserve meat and fish in shop-bought condition – or you could just use it chill a bottle of wine in next to no time.
We’ve also seen the introduction of metal storage trays, designed to accelerate the cooling of meat and fish, helping it to stay fresh and flavoursome.
Beko went one step further with its concept fridge freezer (above) which lets you put warm saucepans with leftovers in them straight into the fridge. The metal shelf is supposed to absorb the heat of the pan without sending the temperature in your fridge soaring.
Slightly less sexy, but no less useful, most fridge freezer manufacturers we’ve seen here claim to be offering more storage space than ever in their appliance. But our research has discovered that you should take these claims with a pinch of salt. Our usable volume measurements regularly reveal that you get much less space than claimed.
Head to our fridge freezer reviews to find the right-sized fridge freezer for you.
5) They can include a wine cooler
Tempted by a wine cooler but don’t have enough space, or put off by the price? That could be about to change.
Pretty much everywhere we looked we saw the new fridge freezer normal seems to be a 90cm-wide multi-door fridge freezer, with two doors for the fridge, one door for the freezer and one door for a decent-sized wine cooler.
But our tests find that many fridge freezers can’t get simple chilling and freezing right, so some will surely struggle when you throw a whole new temperature zone into the mix. Not least because wine cooling can be a complex art. Find out how to buy the best wine cooler.