Thanks to human nature, leisure industries are growing by leaps and bounds, with new technologies being added day by day, the world is surely growing at a faster pace.
Generally, there are two kinds of fridges out there in the Indian market, Direct cool and Frost-free refrigerators. They both do the same job of keeping your food cold and preserved but there some features that separate them.
If you are about to purchase a refrigerator then knowing the difference between direct cool and frost-free refrigerators will come in handy as it will save you a lot of time, effort, and money.
So read along to find out more about these types of refrigerators.
What are these types of Refrigerators?
Now, as mentioned earlier there are two types of refrigerators, namely direct cool and frost-free. The name might have given you the slightest bit of idea about how they work and stuff, but if it has not, then read along.
They have a different cooling system thus are used depending on the individual’s need and usage. So they have their own unique qualities which are discussed in a bit. You will see that the major distinction between direct cool and frost-free refrigerators has to do with the price and go a long way beyond the price.
However, the cost is unquestionably a huge perspective. Generally, direct cool refrigerators are substantially less costly than their frost-free partner and thus have a price gap between them. While this gap has proved to be more helpful for those individuals that are tied to budgets and cannot splurge on the refrigerators.
Back in the days, frost-free refrigerators were considered only by those who were ready to spend lavishly on their first refrigerator. With that being said, the price gap between these two refrigerators is contracting and it is expected to shrink more in the foreseeable future.
So depending upon your usage and needs as well as the budget you’ll have to pick one accordingly.
But before we get on to the details of direct-cool refrigerators and frost-free refrigerators it is important to understand Convection Cooling. Now, this may seem a little bit redundant, but trust us you will find it imperative soon within the article.
Convection cooling is a type of mechanism where heat is transferred from a sort of heat device with the help of the progression of fluid. In simple terms, the heat is transferred from a device—heat device by the flow of fluid or liquid that is surrounding the object. Typically, this liquid can be air (which is the most common one), gas, or any other appropriate fluid.
During this cycle of heat transfer, this heat causes an expansion of the liquid or fluid as well as reduces its density or thickness. This difference in the thickness makes the fluid flow and as this occurs the fluid which is less thick, hotter and expanded conveys with it some sort of thermal energy.
This outcome is the transfer of the heat and energy from the hot device to the object that has the fluid. And that causes the whole cooling.
There are usually two types of convection cooling like direct cool and frost-free refrigerators, one is a natural cooling and the other is forced-air cooling. Guess what, these cooling mechanisms are used in both of the refrigerators.
Natural Convection Cooling
In the natural cooling the air that we mentioned earlier, that is surrounding the object, transfers the heat away from it. It doesn’t use any type of blowers or fans for the transfer process. Mostly, you will find this type of cooling in the direct cool refrigerators and it is used with the presumption that the encompassing air is most of the time cool while staying within a specific range.
Forced-Air Convection Cooling
As for the forced-air convection cooling, typically the cooling process is just the same however this one uses a cooling or electric fan to direct or blow the air/liquid towards the object that may or may not have heat sinks. This type of cooling is mostly used in frost-free refrigerators but the fans that are directing the air or liquid are hidden.
Direct Cool Refrigerators
Let’s talk about direct cool refrigerators, these are the most common type of refrigerators and you’ll probably find one in your house or your relative’s house. Direct cool refrigerators are the most major types used in domestic refrigerators.
Direct cool refrigerators use a natural convection cooling for the circulation of the air that is present within the fridge. Remember we talked about natural convection cooling? Yes, that is used in these types of the freezer.
Since it circulates the air within a specific temperature range and you cannot control the temperature, it leads to the formation of ice of the water vapours, which mostly happens due to the uneven distribution of the temperature.
So you will find ice around the freezer and near your items. These are the most traditional type of refrigerators you will find out there in the market and the ones that most of us use. The formed ice cannot automatically defrost and has to be done manually frequently or depending upon the usage.
For defrosting these types of refrigerators comes with a knob or button to manually defrost the formed ice. This type of cooling is mostly available in single door refrigerators. Even though they are traditional and manual they are still used and served as new model fridges and refrigerators.
Advantages and Disadvantages
One of the biggest advantages that come with direct cool refrigerators is that they are cheaper—like really cheap when compared to its frost-free counterpart. They can be easily found and are great for small families as well as offices and businesses.
Another great advantage is that they are energy efficient and do not consume a ton of power, thus they are economical to maintain. This is mainly due to the fact that they don’t use any sort of external cooling fans. It consumes less amp power and energy when compared to frost-free at the same temperature.
One more significant advantage that a direct cool refrigerator has to bring to the table is maintaining the food for a longer time. Now, this might sound counterintuitive but this applies to specifically those individuals that face a ton of power outs.
How you may ask? The answer is a bit absurd yet effective, it is due to the formed ice. Since, considering that you are facing more blackouts, most of the time your refrigerator will be out of electricity, so the only way to keep the food within the temperature will be with the help of the ice formed.
Unfortunately, these are the only positives that we can accentuate on, they do accompany some demerits like the first and the notorious one, that is you’ll have to manually defrost the ice. Now though this grotesque looking ice might prove to be a little advantageous, you will still have to defrost it manually and it can consume a ton of time as well as the whole process is mundane.
Speaking of which, you will have less space available, since the ice formed will take up most of the space in the refrigerator. Also, the food will be most likely prone to freezer burn which will damage it due to oxidation and dehydration.
|Energy efficient||Consumes more space|
|Great for small families||More time for manual defrosting|
|Excellent for areas where power cuts are common||Freezer burns|
Now, let’s get into the frost-free refrigerators. As you might know by now, this type of refrigerator is costlier than the direct cool refrigerator. With that being said, as the old saying goes “With higher comes higher quality” which is 100% true in this case.
Frost-free refrigerators use the same cooling mechanism, the convection cooling but in this case, the air is circulated with the help of electric fans that ensures the even circulation of the air. Generally, the cooling coil is hidden while the fans make sure that the air is delivered into the compartments.
As the coils or cooling coils are hidden the food contents are not directly exposed and not in direct content with the coils, thus the water is not frozen and converted to ice in the first place saving you the trouble of manually defrosting.
And so they are named frost-free refrigerators and they live up to their reputation. Some other names for this type of cooling include forced-air, indirect, convection, fan and frost-free. These refrigerators come with a thermostat and timer that cuts off the power supply whenever the desired temperature is achieved.
Not only that, but they also offer a heating system that ensures the melting of the ice that is possibly formed (which isn’t most of the time). Since the ice is out of the equation, maintaining these types of refrigerators is fairly easy and so you will not have to clean them very frequently.
This way they are an excellent choice for domestic use but come with some high price tags. With that being said, remember quality and ease is what you are paying here for. Additionally, these types of refrigerators are gaining more popularity and in the coming future will also have a decreased price.
Advantages and Disadvantages
As you might’ve guessed the biggest benefit of using a frost-free is low maintenance. Humans are by nature lazy and would not like to do some extra work especially one that’s tedious, we bet this what the inventor of the frost-free refrigerator would’ve gone through.
Jokes apart, not manually defrosting is a god-like feature saving enough time and effort that would otherwise not be possible. With this feature, you will clean maybe once a year and monthly to prevent obnoxious odours.
Another benefit that frost-free refrigerators accompany is no freeze burns. Due to the ice buildup sometimes the foods get spoiled or have some bad smell. But with frost-free refrigerators, this is not the case.
Space is also a benefit that you get by opting for frost-free refrigerators. As you will have no ice formed, there will plenty of space for you to store items. In a way, the cons of the direct cool refrigerators are the pros of the frost-free refrigerator.
Now, that said, space can also prove to be a curse. Since you will be storing all the items in the compartment no space will be left. As a frost-free refrigerator uses air as well as heat while defrosting, when you store the items fully, the air finds it hard to circulate properly thus the items inside the compartments become vulnerable to spoilage.
And the cost, though you are paying for quality, you will still have to splurge a little. Not only does the refrigerator cost you more but the power consumption is also high which leads to hefty bills.
|Quality and Features||Costly|
|No manual defrosting||Power consumption|
|Overall, better than direct cool|
|Excellent for home use|
|No freeze burns|
Direct Cool Vs Frost-Free Refrigerators
Well, that explains a lot of things right? But if you found the information vaguer and need a simpler explanation then here is a table that will do the job for you. Remember both of the refrigerators are great depending upon the usage
|Direct Cool Refrigerators||Frost-Free Refrigerators|
|Natural Cooling Convection||Electric fans do all the cooling|
|Economical maintenance||Kinda costly|
|Consumes less power||Consumes more power|
|Manual Defrosting||No need to defrost|
|Mostly comes with single door refrigerators||You will find this in all types of refrigerators|
|Has 50 to 250L capacity||300 to 100L of capacity|
|Food stays fresh||Food stays fresh for a longer time|
|Excellent for small families||Great for large families|
|Known for industrial uses these days||Domestic use|
|Ice takes up most of the space||More spacious|
|More overall maintenance||Low overall maintenance|
|Excellent for keeping food fresh during frequent blackouts||Has a timer and thermostat|
|The only advantage is the cost||Overall best, just has a high price which is also declining|
|Obsolete these days||Becoming more popular these days|
Which one should you Purchase – Direct Cool or Frost-Free Refrigerator?
Okay, I got the idea but which one should I opt for? Well, if you are still struggling to choose one, let us help to simplify your dilemma. To be honest, a frost-free refrigerator is a much better choice especially considering the growth of technology and the decreasing price gap as well as the features it accompanies.
Now, having said that, you find the differences and be the judge yourself. Here are the factors that you should consider when settling on one type of refrigerator.
By and large, the most discernible contrast between the two refrigerators is the price. Now, the cost can be the deciding factors and has the potential to alter the whole decision, it should not be the last thing. You see, it is always advisable to go for the one that gets your job done, albeit the price tag.
This is generally the case for most of the electronic items, opting for a cheaper one hoping that it would work just to know that it messed up pretty bad is the last thing you would want. So only go for direct cool refrigerators if you are on a high-tight budget, there is nothing wrong with a direct cool refrigerator and buying it with resources you have.
Just be prepared for more work and maintenance, sadly that will be the trade-off you will have to live with. But if you manage to do it, then it will work just fine. However, frost-free refrigerators will always be the top priority.
If you happen to store a lot of meat and other similar products frozen for a prolonged period then you likely would’ve experienced a freezer burn with the direct cool refrigerator. Now, this is not the case every time, but it happens.
With frost-free refrigerators, this is a rare case. Additionally, they are also known to keep food fresh for a longer time than direct cool refrigerators. We would only recommend direct cool refrigerators if you are literally facing a ton of power cuts frequently, as the formed ice will keep the food from going rancid.
If you are a lazy fella like us, then frost-free is your go-to choice. As you will not have to deal with towels and wooden sticks to clean up the ice while defrosting. A direct cool refrigerator requires a lot of maintenance, you will have to manually defrost the ice, then after cleaning the water, later also clean the compartment.
That’s not it, since the coils are not hidden like frost-free refrigerators, they are prone to dust and should be clean frequently or else will malfunction. So if you are ready to do all those things then you can opt for a direct cool refrigerator.
As mentioned before, direct cool refrigerators work only with single door refrigerators. So this is a sad limitation if you choose this type of refrigerator. Thus if you don’t store much in a refrigerator then you can at a point think to purchase this one.
Frost-free, on the other hand, is compatible with all types of refrigerators, single door, double door, and even three-door designs. With more doors, you can keep foods and items more organized in different compartments. This gives more flexibility and reliability to the user.
You will not find a bunch of options with direct cool refrigerators, but with frost-free, you can have a plethora of options that you can use according to your needs. There are so many features that a frost-free refrigerator boasts.
You can have the setting of changing the refrigerators mode from fridge to freezer and vice versa. You get a thermostat, timer, temperature control, and so forth that you would never find in a direct cool refrigerator.
Aforementioned the price gap between direct cool and frost-free refrigerators is decreasing and is expected to decrease in the near future. Even though you are saving some money and bills by choosing direct cool refrigerators, you’ll still end up spending it on the service.
Direct cool refrigerators are getting obsolete these days and thus you will find it hard to get the parts needed for repairing or servicing the refrigerator. Frost-free refrigerators are dominating the Indian market and are the most popular ones right now.
Honestly, we would only recommend choosing a direct cool refrigerator if you are really tight on budget. Otherwise, frost-free should always be your choice, even though it has a high price, the quality and features speak.
You don’t have to defrost, low maintenance, keeps the food fresh for a longer time, great for big families even for small families as well, you can control the temperature and many more. Clearly, you will not get this much range of options with direct cool refrigerators.
Frost-free refrigerators are surging in popularity as well as decreasing in cost. So they are excellent alternatives for domestic use.