Get Mint Premium at ₹2949

Claim Now!

Difference Between Direct Cool vs Frost Free Refrigerator

In our times, we can hardly find a decent kitchen that doesn’t take the help of refrigerators.

Before you set out to choose a new refrigerator to have its pride of place in your kitchen, the information about the various types of refrigerators in the market in addition to the exact differences between them will help you in choosing the one that suits your home and your needs the best.

By and large, you are likely to find two basic types of fridges in the market viz:

  • The traditional direct cool fridge
  • The modern frost-free refrigerator

As might be expected there are some fundamental disparities between these two refrigerator types which are as follows:

The Working Methodology

  • Direct Cool Fridges: In the traditional form of home refrigeration, the phenomenon of natural convection is used to cool the circulated air to be found inside fridge compartments. The cooling and distribution of temperature are uneven in this method as a consequence of making use of a natural process. This uneven temperature distribution gives rise to ice being formed from the water vapour captured inside the fridge. Further in most such fridges, there is no way for you to control the said distribution of temperature. One will come across the formation of frost in the vicinity of the freezer. The defrost button is there to help you with just that, to get rid of the accumulated frost from time to time manually. This working methodology of direct cool refrigerators translates in the fact that two and multi-door model designs are not feasible.
  • Frost Free Fridges: In this refrigerator variant the operating basics remain more or less the same with the exception that instead of natural convection in the insides of the fridge, the inside air is circulated by electric fans evenly. As a result, the cool air gets distributed in an even manner which helps to prevent the formation of frost or ice thereby giving the refrigerator type its name. It is common to find such refrigerators coming equipped with a thermostat as well as a timer. These cut off the power as soon as the temperature set by you is reached within the time frame set in the timer. In some frost-free models, you will also find a heating system at work which serves to melt the ice formed automatically.

​The Characteristic Differences Between the Two

  • Consumption of power: Traditional direct cool fridges consume a lower amount of electricity that the modern frost-free fridges don’t due to the absence of the need to power the external, additional fans. Not only that the special heating system found in the frost-free variants are also known to gobble up a large amount of power thereby adding to the electricity bills.
  • Ensuring that food stays fresh: In comparison the modern frost-free variants, direct cool fridges keep food fresh for a lesser amount of time. A frost-free is designed with a special emphasis on ensuring fresh food for a significantly longer time.
  • Two or multiple doors: Direct cool fridges come with a big handicap in that they can be single door only as the temperature distribution is uneven. In contrast, the typical frost-free fridge comes with two, if not three doors along with a door that opens on the side.
  • Suitability to family member numbers: The storage capacity of the typical direct cool refrigerator varies from 50-250 litres which suffice only for families with at most 3 members. The modern frost-free variants come with much higher capacities ranging from 50-650 litres which means they work like a charm for families that consist of several members.
  • Maintaining the fridge: Depending on your level of usage, direct cool fridges usually ask from you that you perform maintenance tasks at regular intervals. Besides, owing to the frost formation and the manual defrosting, it is common to find such fridges being filled with droplets. If you don’t clean them up it will result in the fading of the inside colour of the fridge in addition to pushing up the contamination rate of the food. In contrast, in the case of frost-free refrigerators, you need not perform maintenance tasks with painful regularity due to the absence of frost formation.
  • Issues with the device heating: This is one definite advantage that the traditional direct cool fridges have over the modern frost-free ones. The former as a result of using natural convection does not heat the external parts of the device. In comparison, the heating systems and fans used in the frost-free modern fridges to prevent ice formation get heated up. However, it is to be noted that this heating is not a major issue. Nonetheless, if the heating gets out of hand refrigerator parts can potentially get damaged and the fridge performance deteriorates. What this means for you is that you need to service your refrigerator annually if you own a frost-free variant.
  • Expenses: As might be expected, direct cool fridges cost less than the frost-free modern ones. As a result of the absence of additional components requiring power as well as the freezer, direct cool fridges are easy on the pocket in terms of electricity bills too. To be honest, however, consumers are increasingly opting for frost free models making the direct cool ones almost obsolete.

Why Prefer Frost Free Refrigerator Variants

  • The freshness of stored food: As in modern fridges, the temperature is distributed equally in the different parts of the fridge, the food items remain fresh for several days. This is a feature or advantage that direct cool refrigerators lack. This wanting is a result of uneven distribution of temperature, frosting and the frost leftovers occurring as a result of manual defrost. The key to keeping food fresh for long is to make its surrounding air coolness uniform and even.
  • The issue of cleaning: For owners of direct cool fridges, some amount of heavy-duty cleaning from time to time is very much in order. This cleaning starts by pressing the defrost button whenever you notice frost accumulating on the freezer. Further manual defrosting results in water droplets which need to be wiped off. You also have to take care of duct accumulating on the coils which typically is placed on the refrigerator rear. If the coils are not cleaned at regular intervals the coils lose much of their efficiency. However, such cleaning is not at all necessary for frost-free refrigerators as there is no frost to be cleaned. The rear of the fridge is covered in totality which negates the need to clean the coils and keep them dust-free.
  • Enhanced design: As we mentioned earlier you will find direct cool refrigerators coming in a single door variant only. Multi-door fridges are not only more fashionable and convenient but add to the usability of the refrigerator as well. People find the separate compartments found in frost-free fridges to be easier to use. Each refrigerator compartment is better suited for storing particular types of food according to the optimal storage temperatures of such items. These multi-door fridges not only look better but are more convenient too.
  • Settings: The modern frost-free variant of refrigerators features several special setting options that are unavailable in their direct cool counterparts. The former also ship with thermostats and some even let you regulate the inside temperature of refrigerators. They also offer several operating modes that help to save energy in addition to storing food better. Timers also let you control the fridge operations.
  • Durability: Because direct cool variants of fridges are becoming obsolete fast, it is only natural to presume that the spare parts and components for the same will be hard to come by in the coming days making servicing, repairs and maintenance a hard task. It is advisable to opt for frost free fridge models unless you want a refrigerator for your store or are pressed for money.

To Conclude Things:

From the point of view of buyers except for some rare cases most people would do well to choose a frost-free fridge. By all means, if it is affordable for you  go for it! ​

n case you are one of the rare people who think that a direct cool fridge would serve your purposes better or simply you can’t afford anything else.

Remember to take care of your fridge by regularly defrosting the device besides cleaning it regularly. 

However, keep in mind that in the years to come the spare parts needed for repair might not be available anymore.

If you have a budget and want to buy a frost-free refrigerator then congrats.

You not only have the luxury of choosing from a wide range of trendy designs but also can enjoy better-stored food, more convenient usage and of course minimal cleaning and defrosting. 

Not only that you can be more or less assured that spare parts are going to be available in the market should you need them in the long run.