Direct Cool Vs Frost Free Refrigerators – A Detailed Analysis

Direct Cool Vs Frost Free Refrigerators - Who will win? An in-depth analysis of the basic differences between direct cool technology and frost free refrigerators.

Refrigerators have become an integral part of our homes. The kitchen looks almost incomplete without a refrigerator and we cannot imagine our lives without one. Come to think of it, how did our ancestors manage without a refrigerator? Well, we will dig into that a little later. Let’s discuss what are the differences between a Direct Cool Refrigerator and a Frost Free Refrigerator.

Every year a lot of brands enter the electronics market with new technology refrigerators with respect to design, color, type, and features. In addition to some old players, many new brands have also entered the market of refrigerators. There are two most popular cooling technologies that refrigerators use – Direct Cool Refrigerators and Frost Free Refrigerators. Direct cool refrigerator are more old school and traditional type used mostly in single door refrigerators, while the frost free is a relatively modern one. Before buying any refrigerator or getting into a deep analysis of Direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators, let’s understand their working.

Direct Cool Vs Frost Free Refrigerators - Who Will Win The Battle?
Direct Cool Vs Frost Free Refrigerators – Who Will Win The Battle?

What Is A Direct Cool Refrigerator?

Before analysing direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators, some questions may arise in our mind – What is a direct cool refrigerator, how does it work and which refrigerators use it?

In the case of a direct cool fridge, the natural convection process helps to cool the air circulated in the refrigerator. This leads to uneven distribution of cool air inside the refrigerator. In any way, you can’t control the temperature inside the fridge.

Remember shaving out ice from the ‘freezer’ compartment as a kid? That’s what direct cool technology is associated with. In this kind of refrigerator, the frost formation takes place from the water vapor present inside the refrigerator. And you can generally notice the ice formation in refrigerator near its freezer box. In a direct cool technology, from time to time, manual defrosting is necessary. For the manual defrosting purpose, a knob or defrost button in fridge is provided.

Moreover, you will find that direct cool refrigerator technology is usually used in single door refrigerators only. Due to its limited features, its demand is gradually reducing from the market. However, many people still prefer direct cool refrigerators over frost free refrigerators due to their personal requirements.

What Is A Frost Free Refrigerator?

The first question that arises in our mind is what is frost free technology and how is it different from direct cool technology? The invention of frost free fridge has made our lives simpler, that’s for sure.

In this kind of refrigerator, the natural convention method is not used to distribute the cool air evenly. The electric fans present inside the refrigerator help to distribute the temperature evenly. As the cool air distributes evenly within the fridge, it eliminates the chances of formation of any ice or frost. You don’t need to defrost it manually. The particular refrigerator has a timer usually. The power supply of the fridge is automatically cut when the fridge’s temperature reaches its maximum limit and restarts when the temperature drops.

In some of the frost free models, a heating system is present inside the fridge to lower the temperatures when the cooling is extremely high to protect the produce. This feature in the refrigerator helps to maintain a constant temperature throughout.

The Differences Between Direct Cool Vs Frost Free Refrigerators

Before you go to the market or any online shopping website to buy a refrigerator, you need to understand the functioning of different types of refrigerators. Many people get confused with direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators. We are mentioning some of the differences between both the categories of the refrigerators below:

1) Difference In The Cost Of The Refrigerators

In the battle of direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators, refrigerators using direct cool technology are much cheaper in comparison to the frost free refrigerators.

Single door refrigerators with direct cool technology can cost anywhere between Rs 10,000/- to Rs 18,000/-. Frost free double door refrigerators belong to a very different segment and can cost anywhere between Rs 20,000/- to Rs 30,000/-.

If you are muddling over ‘Are frost free refrigerators worth it?’, decide on the budget first. Once the budget is settled, then decide on which technology is best suited for you and your home – Direct Cool Vs Frost Free Refrigerators.

Looking for budget friendly refrigerators? Read all about it.

2) Power Consumption

A direct cool refrigerator consumes less power or electricity than the frost free model. The basic reason for the difference in electricity consumption between both the models is that frost free fridge uses external fans to distribute the cool air evenly inside the fridge. However, external fans do not exist in a direct cool refrigerator. Moreover, a frost free refrigerator uses a heating system in it which results in more electricity consumption.

3) Freshness Of The Food

In the battle of direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators, if you take a shorter time interval into consideration, then a direct cool refrigerator is better than a frost free model in retaining the freshness of food. But for a longer duration or interval, frost free refrigerator works better considering the freshness of food due to the fan speed and even distribution of air.

4) Type Of Refrigerator

Direct cool technology is mostly in a single door refrigerator only, due to its property of an uneven distribution of the temperature within it. However, frost free fridges come with double doors, triple doors and side by side doors. This feature allows you to buy refrigerators with different designs and specifications. However there are certain disadvantages of triple door fridge as they are not as energy efficient as it counterparts.

5) Family Size And Requirement

The minimum capacity of a direct cool refrigerator is 150 litres, whereas the maximum capacity is 200 litres. But on the other hand, the capacity of a frost free fridge ranges from 200 Litres to 650 Litres. So, if you are living alone or a small family, then you can choose the direct technology model (single door refrigerator), whereas a large family or a family with more storage needs should always opt for the frost free double door refrigerator.

6) Maintenance Of The Refrigerator 

In the duel between direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators, it doesn’t matter whatever model of refrigerator you buy, but its maintenance is quite crucial and necessary.

In case of a direct cool fridge, you need to clean it regularly. Your usage decides the amount of cleaning required. As frost formation takes place regularly, you need to shut down the fridge so that the ice melts down and the fridge functions properly. You also need to clean the interior areas of the fridge regularly. Moreover, this can accelerate the food contamination rate as the cooling may reduce due to frost formation.

Whereas, in case of a frost free refrigerator, it doesn’t need more maintenance as compared to the direct cool model as no frost formation takes place in it.

7) Heating Issue

In the case of the direct cool fridge, it follows the conventional method of cooling. This method is natural and takes place with the air already isnide the refrigerator. So, the external parts of the refrigerator do not face any heating issue. A frost free fridge has a heating system built in it. This is a primary factor when you are contemplating over direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators. It uses external fans to distribute the cold air evenly inside. Both these factors combine together to form heating up of the external parts of the refrigerator. The back side of the frost free fridge gets heated up when used continuously for a long time.

8) The Rear Side Of The Refrigerator

The rear side of a frost free refrigerator is fully covered whereas the direct cool model has coil exposed in its back, which leads to the accumulation of dust.

As technology advances each day, the outer mechanism of the refrigerator has also been modified. Now refrigerators have a plain back, unlike refrigerators from olden times.

9) Settings

Unlike the direct cool refrigerators, the frost free models come with additional settings and also touch panel so as to make the customers easy to operate the fridge. Moreover, you can also set a timer for different functions for the refrigerator.

10) Design And Space

These days, most fridges are trendy to look at. Frost free refrigerators have separate compartments for storing different items. In some models, it also allows you to adjust the temperature for specific compartments. Larger vegetable compartments and side door panels can help maximise your produce storage. The direct cool refrigerator, as most are single door, do not have a lot of storage space when compared to the double door refrigerators. This is also a major factor to consider while contemplating direct cool vs, frost free refrigerators.

11) Brand, Durability And After Sale Services

Commonly available brands like Samsung, Whirlpool, Bosch, Godrej, Haier and LG have a brand value that will provide you proper guarantee/ warranty on the product. Make sure you check for availability of spare parts and after sale services before making the purchase. Rely on dependable brands that provide good after sale services.

If you consider direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators, then direct cool refrigerator is losing its popularity nowadays whereas frost free refrigerator is becoming more popular due to its functioning method, design, and efficiency.

As the purchasing power of the people is getting increased, they are buying more efficient, powerful and well-designed refrigerators.

The Basics To Buy The Right Refrigerator

In case of direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators, no matter what type of refrigerator it is, you should always keep a check on the following features of a refrigerator before buying it –

Capacity – It is common to find that two types of capacities are displayed on a refrigerator – gross and net. So, you need to find out the correct usable capacity of the particular refrigerator before buying it. If you have a large family, then go for a larger capacity (450-650 L) , or else you can go for the smaller or medium one (180-250 L).

Star Rating And Energy Consumption – Nowadays, before buying any electronic item, customers first enquire about the BEE star rating and energy consumption of the particular product. The same is in the case of a refrigerator. 

There is a term called EER, which means Energy Efficiency Rating. It shows or denotes the efficiency of your electronic appliance. You should always look for the higher-rated models. The efficiency level is directly proportional to the rating given. 

Apart from the rating on the refrigerator, you should also check the kWh or the total units of electricity that your refrigerator will use in a year. Moreover, to ensure that the energy rating is authentic, you should look for the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) logo on the refrigerator. 

Nowadays, electricity bills are becoming a major concern for many households as they are using or running numerous electronic items in their respective houses. So, buying the correct rated refrigerator can save some of your money. Moreover, the level of electricity consumption of a refrigerator also depends on the number of times you open the door of it. Because whenever you open the door, the fridge consumes extra electricity or power to maintain the cooling temperature.

Type of Compressor – A compressor is a vital part of a refrigerator, as it works as the cooling unit. You can find two types of compressors in the market now- Regular compressor and inverter or digital compressor. 

A normal compressor runs at a constant speed. It does not alter its speed even if cooling loss happens. But on the other hand, a digital compressor alters its speed according to the amount of cooling required inside the refrigerator. The normal compressor is fine for smaller refrigerators. 

But if you are thinking of buying a larger refrigerator, then it is advised to choose the digital compressor. Moreover, the digital compressor is more efficient as compared to the normal compressor. Now days, almost all medium-sized and large-sized fridges come with the digital compressors.

The Add-ons – Larger refrigerators have a multi-storage capacity in them. It is evident that medium and large-sized refrigerators come with many advanced features attached to them such as deodorizer, in-built voltage stabilizer, door alarm, touch panel, etc. Some refrigerators also come with a cool pad, which helps to keep the food items fresh during power cuts. 

So, you should look for the right and latest features before buying a refrigerator or any other electronic item. But the add-ons will pull extra money out of your pocket too. 

Technology used – As we discussed above, direct cool refrigerators use a conventional method of cooling. So, frost starts to appear at certain places. But it is not in the case of any frost free refrigerator.

As the direct cool refrigerators provide an instant cooling facility, they are the right fit for industrial purposes while the frost free technology is suited for residential use.

Quick Recap And Conclusion

Today every household in India requires a refrigerator because it is useful in preserving raw food items and ready-made foods. There are two types of cooling technologies available for refrigerators in the market- direct cool refrigerator and frost free refrigerator. Both of these varieties of refrigerators carry different features with them. Generally, customers face a dilemma regarding direct cool vs. frost free refrigerators.

ParametersDirect Cool TechnologyFrost Free Technology
Type of refrigeratorMainly single doorDouble door, side-by-side and triple door
Freezer Build UpYesNo
Cooling MethodConventional method of coolingUses external fans to maintain regular cooling temperature
Defrost MethodManual defrosting requiredNo defrosting required

Today, with the increase in the purchasing power of the people, the craze for advanced electronic items is also increasing. Though frost free refrigerator is costlier than the direct cool model, it comes with a series of features along with it. Frost free refrigerators provide you the option for larger space, better design, advanced features, trendy looks. Apart from this, they also come with an inverter or digital compressors.

You can buy any type of refrigerator according to your own needs. But before buying a refrigerator or any electronic item, you should always remember some basic points. Always check the BEE Star rating of any electronic item before buying it. This can help you cut down on your electricity bill. Moreover, buy the refrigerator according to the capacity needed by your family. In addition to this, if you get a chance to choose between a normal compressor and a digital compressor, then always go for a digital compressor-fitted electronic item.

In the battle of Direct cool Vs Frost free refrigerators, who won according to you?

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