What to expect when you expect more from your fridge
It wasn't long ago that switching between crushed and cubed ice was about as tricky as refrigerator features came. That's all changing, though, with a new generation of fridges that feature innovative builds designed to do more. Click through for a look at what's out there.
A door in a door?
LG has found recent success with its "Door-in-Door" feature, which lets you open a panel on the front of the fridge to access food and drinks stored in the door. The newest Door-in-Door model was on full display at January's Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas, where plenty of showgoers oohed and aahed over it.
Samsung put its own spin on in-door access with the addition of "Food Showcase" models to its refrigerator lineup. Like the Door-in-Door models, you can pull the entire front panel of the fridge open to access the in-door shelving.
For the same sort of feature in a slightly less-expensive model, consider one of Kenmore's "Grab-N-Go" refrigerators.
Smarter than the average shelf
These days, it's also fair to start expecting more from your refrigerator shelves. Plenty of fridges offer spill-proof shelving, but Electrolux takes things one step further, with elegant, curved-glass shelves designed to come right out of the fridge and double as serving trays at your next party.
You'll find another tricky shelf in this GE Profile fridge, but only if you know where to look for it. It's called the Drop Down Tray, and it nestles underneath the butter bin when you aren't using it. Very clever.
Subtle luxury from the drawers
This Electrolux fridge features "Luxury Close Drawers." Try to slam them, and you'll fail -- they automatically finish those last few inches as softly as possible. It's a little thing, but one that feels fancy every time you use it.
The ultra-high-end Samsung Chef Collection fridge does the same thing with an entire half of the freezer, which comes in handy if you somehow manage to run out of fridge room up top. Although, with a fridge this big, that's truly an accomplishment.
Manufacturers are also getting creative with fridge design. Stainless steel is an obvious favorite, but it's prone to fingerprints. Enter GE's line of "Slate" refrigerators, which keeps the attractive metallic aesthetic, but eliminates the shinier, smudgier qualities of stainless steel.
Fridges have been dispensing water for decades, but today's refrigerators are getting more and more creative in order to set themselves apart. This GE French door hides the dispenser inside of the fridge, which leaves the simple, streamlined exterior intact.
Sparkling water on demand
That pricey Samsung Chef Collection fridge even lets you load a SodaStream cannister directly into the door for sparkling water on demand. Gin and tonic, anyone?
Give the measuring cup a vacation. The GE Profile fridge will let you select exactly how much water you want, then dispense that precise amount. There's even an expandable heavy-duty shelf below the water dispenser that's built to accommodate full-size pitchers and pots. It can even fill pots on its own, automatically sensing when things are full.
Heat things up
GE is at the front of the pack when it comes to clever water dispensers. This GE Cafe fridge offers to heat water to precise temperatures at various presets, like soup, tea, and hot cocoa. Just set your mug down and pick your poison.
There's even a new fridge with a Keurig coffee brewer built right into the water dispenser. That makes a ton of sense -- with the fridge's water intake, you're essentially getting a K-Cup coffee maker that you'll never need to refill.