12 futuristic fridge features you didn't know existed
Everything from hand-painted finishes to built-in speakers.
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Gone are the days when the fanciest feature a refrigerator could boast was a built-in ice maker. Whether it's storage for fresh herbs, speakers for playing music, or a smart coffee maker, today's fridges offer plenty of practical—and, dare I say, fun—features that make cooking easier.
From the practical to the whimsical, these are 12 of the coolest fridges we've seen. Some of them you can even buy today.
1. Self-Filling Water Pitcher
If you want to make sure your family stays hydrated, you should check out GE's latest refrigerator. It features a pitcher that automatically refills itself with cold, filtered water.
Just slide the 74 oz. AutoFill pitcher into place on the fridge's top shelf, and it will top itself off with water. It takes about a minute to fully refill, but offers a pitcherful of water—which makes it great for parties or keeping on the table during a meal.
The innovation came out of GE's FirstBuild microfactory in Louisville, KY—where amateurs and professionals work together in an appliance-focused maker space.
2. Airtight Crisper
If you ever feel like your crisper drawer doesn't do a good job of keeping your produce fresh, then you might want to check out Kenmore's Airtight Crisper.
Found on models like the Kenmore Elite 72483 and Kenmore Elite 74025, the Airtight Crisper uses a special pane of glass to lock moisture in and maintain an ideal environment for produce. Our lab tests have found that it works quite well.
3. Frigidaire Convertible Fridge/Freezer
Probably the most flexible appliance Frigidaire has ever created, the FKCH17F7HW convertible fridge/freezer allows you to—you guessed it—change the entire machine from a refrigerator to a freezer and vice versa.
The appliance has just one cavity, maximizing storage capacity, and can transition from fridge to freezer (or the other way around) in just 24 hours. The possibilities are limitless, and it's a great option for storing frozen meats (during hunting season, perhaps) and then switching it up to store extra drinks for barbecues and parties.
4. Automatic/Measured Filling
Water dispensers have become a de facto feature on most fridges, and companies like GE and Whirlpool have been trying to add even more utility with automatic and measured filling modes.
GE has come up with two such modes, called AutoFill and PreciseFill. AutoFill detects the size of your cup or glass and fills it to the top without spilling, while PreciseFill dispenses the exact amount of water you ask for, making it great for cooking and baking.
Whirlpool has a similar feature in its KitchenAid fridges, called Measured Fill; it works just like GE's PreciseFill. You can find Measured Fill on models like the KitchenAid KFXS25RYMS.
5. Temperature-Controlled Drawers
Many newer high-end fridges allow you to control the temperature of drawers and compartments independently of the rest of the refrigerator. They usually have a handful of different modes, such as for deli meats, defrosting, or even wine.
For example, the LG LMXS30786S has a temperature-controlled drawer with four modes: meat and seafood, cold drinks, deli snack, and chilled wine. These settings give you extra versatility depending on the type of food in your fridge at the moment, making it much easier to host parties.
6. Adjustable Fridge/Freezer Compartment
Similar to temperature-controlled drawers and Frigidaire's convertible fridge/freezer, Samsung has made one of the freezer compartments on its four-door French door refrigerators completely adjustable. Called Cool Select Plus, it allows you to set the compartment to one of four temperature modes: Freezer, Soft Freezing, Chill, and Cool.
Freezer keeps the contents, well, frozen. Soft Freezing warms the compartment slightly, to 23 degrees Fahrenheit—perfect for preventing ice cream from turning into a solid brick. Chill brings the compartment up to 30 degrees, which is good for defrosting meat and storing deli items. Lastly, the Cool setting warms the compartment up to 41 degrees for drink and wine storage.
7. Herb Storage
Need to store fresh herbs? Check out KitchenAid's new French door refrigerators. Models like the KitchenAid KRMF606ESS have built-in herb storage with an angled floor, so you can put a small amount of water in the container and keep stems wet while the leaves remain dry.
8. Sliding Shelves
Top-freezer refrigerators tend to cost less than their French door counterparts, but that doesn't mean they have to be basic inside.
Take, for example, the Frigidaire Custom-Flex door. On the inside of the fridge door, you can hang individual shelves that include everything from a can dispenser to a narrow compartment great for loose items like string cheese or juice boxes. If you don't like how they're arranged or if you need to fit awkwardly shaped items, just slide them along the door's rails.
9. Built-in Speakers
Want to rock out while you rummage through your fridge? The Whirlpool CoolVox can do just that thanks to built-in speakers. The fridge also offers Bluetooth connectivity, so you can connect your smartphone and play your favorite tunes, podcasts, or audiobooks.
If you'd like to get the CoolVox for your own kitchen, you can find the feature in Whirlpool's aptly named WRF991BOOM refrigerator.
10. Ice Cream Maker
Yes, you read that right: There's a fridge with a built-in ice cream maker. It's called the Beko HomeCream, and it manages to squeeze a small ice cream maker into the freezer without sacrificing the traditional ice maker.
Unfortunately, while some Beko appliances are on sale in the U.S., the HomeCream fridge won't be crossing the pond.
11. Colorful Finishes
From the 1950s through the '80s, refrigerators came in outrageous colors—from bright pastels to muted earth tones. Today, however, it can be hard to find a fridge that adds a splash of color to your kitchen.
Italian manufacturer Smeg might be the best known example of a brand that bucks the trend of boring finishes. Its FAB28 and FAB32 fridges come in a range of bright colors and finishes—including American, Italian, and UK flags. There are even a few hand-painted models commissioned by Dolce & Gabbana—although those will cost you about as much as an average kitchen remodeling project.
12. Built-in Keurig
Bowing to the mighty Keurig K-cup, GE built a Keurig machine into one of its refrigerators.
Keurig functionality is available in the GE Café CFE28USHSS, which will brew coffee and tea from standard K-cups in three different quantities, just like a standalone Keurig machine. Best of all, since the fridge has its own water line, you don't need to refill the water tank.
Unfortunately, the feature isn't perfect: It takes longer to heat up water than a traditional Keurig machine (about 4 minutes). However, it is now compatible with Amazon's Alexa personal assistant. That means you can simply ask your fridge to make you a cup of coffee.