What Is Frost Free Refrigerator And How It Differs From Direct Cool?

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Freezer. Refrigerator. Fridge – Call it what you will; this home appliance is a staple in any household across the globe. It transcends all forms of geopolitics, culture, and religious boundaries and makes a space for itself in every household. Since its invention, this device has become an indispensable part of any household slowly but surely.

Over the years, refrigerators have evolved and become more advanced gradually. Its primary function of keeping food items cold remains intact. However, it has been equipped with a plethora of features over the years to keep up with changing times. So, to get our readers up to speed, we will be elaborating on certain facets of the humble refrigerator. Here we go.

What Is A Frost-Free Refrigerator?

One of the buzzwords in the world of refrigerators is the term “frost-free”. As the name suggests, a “frost-free” refrigerator prevents the build-up of ice by automatically defrosting it in regular intervals so you don’t have to spend your precious hours chipping the ice that builds up inside of the refrigerator. So how did frost-free refrigerators come into being? – Here’s how; older models of refrigerators required the users to manually defrost the ice at regular intervals which could become a hassle and consume a lot of time. To eradicate this problem, “frost-free” refrigerators were developed. And as they say – the rest is history. Currently, “frost-free” refrigerators are more expensive than their “non-frost free” counterparts.

How Does Frost-Free Refrigerator Work?

A “frost-free” refrigerator has three essential parts: a timer, a heating coil, and a temperature sensor. The timer turns on the heating coil once every 6-7 hours. The heating coil is wrapped around the freezer coils. Once it heats up, the ice starts melting from the freezer coils. This melted water is collected in a pan in the back of the refrigerator from where it gets evaporated into the open air gradually. The temperature sensor turns off the heating coil once it detects a temperature of 32 degrees Celsius. While this technology is convenient, it tends to consume more energy. Many of the newer refrigerators have the option to opt for manual or automatic defrosting based on preference.

Direct Cool Vs. Frost Free Refrigerators

Most domestic single door refrigerators come with direct cool technology. The cooling effect is produced by natural convection. The cooling is uneven and high in the freezer section. As a result, ice forms in the freezer compartment.

Direct cool refrigerators are also used for commercial purposes as it’s much cheaper than frost-free refrigerators. In case you are unable to envision a direct cool refrigerator, imagine going to your local store and looking for ice cream; chances are you will come across a large single door refrigerator which is horizontally placed. Well, that’s a direct cool refrigerator to you. To be clear, direct cool more specifically refers to the old technology that is used to cool food items. However, this is as good as any other example we can think of. Here are the main differences between a direct cool and frost-free refrigerator.

Direct CoolFrost Free
Cooling is done by natural convection Cooling don’t by electric fans
Consumes less electricityConsumes more electricity
Frost forms regularlyNo formation of ice 
This technology is applicable only on single door refrigeratorsThis technology can be applied on the double door, triple door, and side by side door
Keeps food items fresh for a reasonable periodFood items remain fresh for a much longer period and don’t get freezer burn
Its maximum capacity is 200-250 litresMaximum capacity can go up to 650 litres or more.
Suitable for a family of 2-3Best for a medium to a big family.
No issue with heating since it doesn’t use a heating system.Uses a heating system that tends to heat the backside of the appliance after long usage.
frost free refrigerator

Pros And Cons Of Frost Free Refrigerators

Frost-free refrigerators came into existence to prevent the build-up of frost/ice in their compartments. While frost-free refrigerators are convenient, it’s prudent to consider their pros and cons before you make the purchase.


Low Maintenance: The primary advantage of the frost-free variant is we don’t have to defrost it manually. This saves us time and effort. All you need to do is clean the storage space once in a few months just to get rid of any dirt, spills and odour.

More storage space: Frost-free variants come up to a capacity of 650 litres or more. This means more space to store your food items. Also, no build-up of frost/ice means that you get the entire storage inside the compartment for the food instead of ice.

Food remains fresh for longer: Since the temperature is well-regulated inside a frost-free refrigerator, the food tends to remain fresh for longer than in direct cool refrigerators. Also, freezer burn is zero in frost-free refrigerators which allows the food items to retain their nutrition.

Available in various models: Frost-free refrigerators allow variations in the model based on the maker’s preference. You have refrigerators which are double door, convertible, triple door, side-by-side, etc. And that’s not all, you also have touchscreen panels and even water taps in the newer models of refrigerators. 

Longer lifespan: Frost-free refrigerators are more efficient and have a better build. As a result, they last longer than their older counterpart.


Consumes more electricity: It comes as no surprise that frost-free refrigerators consume more electricity (up to 40% or more). This is mainly because of the extra heating coils in the freezer. Every time the coil heats up while defrosting, it consumes more energy.

Costlier than regular freezers: This is mainly because of the parts used to set up the automatic defrosting option. Since this is considered a premium feature, it naturally demands a higher price tag. 

Heats up faster: The appliance, especially the sides tend to heat up after long usage since it works harder to regulate the temperature inside the refrigerator.

This article sums up by and large everything our readers need to know about frost-free refrigerators. Do keep in mind that although the frost-free variants are costlier, they will serve you much well in the long run since the technology behind them is much more durable and efficient. While frost-free refrigerators may not be as widely used as their other counterpart, this gap will be narrowed gradually with development in technology and ease of production. Frost-free refrigerators are expected to become a standard affair within a decade while the direct-cool refrigerators may either become obsolete or used for industrial purposes only. Both appliances have their role to play. All you have to decide is which one will serve you the best based on your requirements.

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