Direct Cool vs Frost Free: Which one is better?

Among all the criteria that must be considered as per the refrigerator buying guide, while buying a refrigerator, one important one is the type of freezer technology used in your refrigerator. To be precise, there are two types of freezer technologies available in different refrigerators namely direct cool and frost-free. It is important to know what they mean and how they affect the functioning of your refrigerator to understand which one is better. In this article, we are going to discuss Direct Cool vs Frost Free refrigerators to know which one is better, so that you can decide which one to buy. 

What is a Direct Cool Refrigerator?

A direct cool freezer with ice
Image credit: Flickr

The Direct Cool technology circulates the cool air through the natural process of convection, without any external help. This leaves no opportunity for you to control the distribution of temperature and results in uneven cooling. The freezers with direct cool technology need manual defrosting to get rid of the ice formed by the water vapors freezing on the internal surface of the freezer. The direct cool technology has been in use in refrigerators for a long period and is cheaper than frost-free refrigerators. This technology is generally used in single-door refrigerators, best suited for small families. 

Advantages of Direct Cool Refrigerator

  1. Keeps your food fresh effectively
  2. Best for small families with 2-3 members
  3. More energy-efficient and economical to maintain
  4. They are cheaper than frost-free refrigerators

Disadvantages of Direct Cool Refrigerator

  1. They need manual defrosting frequently to keep the freezer clean
  2. They are not much spacious and thus not suitable for larger families

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What is a Frost Free Refrigerator?

A frost free freezer
Image credit: Pixabay

The Frost Free technology in the refrigerators circulates the cool air evenly in all the compartments with the convection process through its electric fans. The refrigerators using this technology have hidden cooling coils with the electric fans blowing the air inside the refrigerator based on a principle known as convection or indirect cooling. In the frost-free refrigerators, there is no ice or frost in and around the freezer compartment and the food never comes in direct contact with the cooling coils. The absence of ice in the refrigerator also means that there is no need for manual defrosting to clean the freezer consistently. The frost-free refrigerators usually come with double-door or triple-door and are best suited for larger families. 

Advantages of Frost Free Refrigerator

  1. They are more effective than the direct cool refrigerators and keep your food fresh for longer periods.
  2. They are more spacious and best suited for medium to large families
  3. The thermostat in the refrigerator helps in monitoring and controlling the temperature 
  4. Easy to maintain as they don’t need regular manual defrosting to keep them clean
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Disadvantages of Frost Free Refrigerator

  1. They are expensive than direct cool refrigerators
  2. They consume more energy

Direct Cool vs Frost Free Refrigerators: Points of difference

Let us discuss the points that make direct cool refrigerators different from the frost-free refrigerators to understand which one stands on the top. Following are the differences between both:

Direct Cool Refrigerators Frost Free Refrigerators
Cool air is circulated because of natural convection  Cool air is circulated with the help of electric fans
It is more economical. It is a bit expensive.
It is more energy-efficient. It consumes more energy due to the electric fans.
Available only in single-door refrigerators. Available in double-door, triple-door, and side-by-side refrigerators. 
This technology comes in refrigerators with a capacity ranging from 50 to 250 liters. This technology comes in refrigerators with higher capacity.
Keeps the food moderately fresh. The food is kept fresh for a longer period.
Refrigerators need manual defrosting to get rid of the ice accumulation. Refrigerators with this technology have an automatic defrosting method.
The coils on the rear side of the refrigerator are exposed causing dust accumulation. The coils on the rear side of the refrigerator are completely covered, so they are safe from dust. 
Best suited for small families. Best suited for larger families.
The exterior of refrigerators doesn’t become hot. The exterior of the refrigerator becomes hot.
Mostly used in industries now. Best for residential use.

Which one is better?

Freezer compartment of LG instaview door-in-door frost free refrigerator

The advancement in technology has proved that the Frost Free technology is better than the Direct Cool technology, which is becoming obsolete day by day. In a few years, direct cool refrigerators will only be used in the industries, leaving the entire market related to the residential use for the frost-free refrigerators. The lack of ice formation makes the frost-free refrigerators more efficient than direct cool refrigerators in cooling the entire unit. Direct cool technology is used in top-mounted refrigerators while frost-free technology is used in both top-mounted and bottom-mounted refrigerators. Besides all this, the differences mentioned above make it clear which one is the winner when it comes to Direct Cool vs Frost Free Refrigerators.

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