What is the difference between Frost Free and Direct Cool refrigerators?

A direct cool model produces the necessary chill through natural convection. It’s not as effective at keeping cold foods fresh, as it maintains a more consistent temperature, especially in the humidity controlled fresh food bins. The direct cool model also needs manual or semi-automatic d defrosting to get rid of the ice build-up within the freezer. Direct cool refrigerators are typically much less expensive than the frost free versions.
Frost free refrigerators, as the name implies, do not require any kind of manual defrosting. A small element is placed inside the unit that actually melts accumulating ice. This is done without interfering with the natural cooling cycle that is required to continuously refrigerate food.
At a Glance

  • Direct cool refrigerators use natural convection, resulting in instant cooling capabilities, but result in frost build up which needs to be handled via manual or semi-automatic defrosting.
  • Frost free refrigerators do not require any deicing or defrosting through manual means. It is handled automatically.
  • Frost free refrigerators are more expensive, although the price gap is declining.
  • Frost free models are better at maintaining consistent temperatures, and keeping food items fresh for a longer period of time.
  • Direct cool refrigerators are more energy efficient.
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