Battle of the Refrigerators: Direct Cool vs Frost Free

Refrigerators are a must in every household, office, and business. The demand is out there and so the supply not only keeps rising, but it also keeps improving. Refrigerators nowadays have advanced so much that it can be hard to keep up with the latest developments. People are usually confused as to which type of refrigerator is best to purchase, whether to get the direct cool refrigerator or the frost-free refrigerator. To better understand these two types of refrigerators, we will break down the discussion according to the following aspects:

  • Differences between the two refrigerators in terms of their general features
  • What is a direct cool refrigerator and what are its pros and cons
  • What is a frost-free refrigerator and what are its pros and cons
  • Which one’s the better option in terms of functionality and overall performance

Differences between Direct Cool Refrigerator and Frost Free Refrigerator

In terms of general features, here is a summarized comparison between direct cool refrigerators and frost-free refrigerators.

Direct Cool RefrigeratorFrost Free Refrigerator
The cooling process is done through natural convection.The cooling process is done through both natural convection and the use of electric fans.
Manual defrosting is required to clean and maintain the refrigerator. Defrosting is not necessary since there is no frost formation.
The capacity of the refrigerator is within the range of 50 to 250 liters only depending on the size of the refrigerator you opt to take.The capacity of the refrigerator can reach up to 650 liters depending on the size of the refrigerator you opt to take.
The design is available only in single-door.The design is more varied since there are two-doors, three-doors, or side-by-side doors available.

What Is a Direct Cool Refrigerator?

A direct cool refrigerator is one wherein the cooling process of the refrigerator is caused by natural convection. The water vapor inside the refrigerator is transformed into ice because the temperature is unevenly distributed through this natural process. The uneven distribution of temperature is a matter which cannot be controlled in this type of refrigerator because of how it is built. Because of the ice formation in the freezer, owners are required to manually defrost their refrigerators.

  • It consumes less electric power because it operates through natural convection.
  • The external structure of the refrigerator does not heat up because of the natural convection process that operates it.
  • It is a cheaper option.

  • The natural convection process can keep the food fresh only for a short period.
  • The capacity of the refrigerator is quite small and so it is ideal only for persons who use it alone or for a family of 3 people.
  • It can be quite inconvenient because the refrigerator requires to be manually defrosted from time to time to keep it clean and maintain it in good condition. Otherwise, thick ice will form and it will be very inconvenient to store food because the ice takes up too much space.

What Is a Frost Free Refrigerator?

A frost-free refrigerator, on the other hand, is one wherein the cooling process of the refrigerator is controlled by both natural convection and electric fans. The natural convection process is similar to that of the direct cool refrigerator. However, the electric fans built within this type of refrigerator allow the air inside to be distributed evenly. Since the cool air is already distributed evenly, the refrigerator does not cause any frost formations. Consequently, there is no more need to defrost manually.

  • The food can be kept fresh for a longer period.
  • It has a large capacity and so it is beneficial to those who have a big family or like to host lots of people.
  • It is a more convenient option since there is no need to manually defrost as there is no frost formation; although, from time to time it is still required that the walls of the refrigerator be cleaned to maintain proper hygiene.

  • Consumes more electric power because aside from using natural convection as a mode of cooling the refrigerator, built-in electric fans are also used to have the cool air evenly distributed within the refrigerator.
  • The refrigerator’s external structure tends to heat up because of the built-in electric fans and the heating system installed in the refrigerator, which is responsible for reducing the formation of frost.
  • It is more expensive than the direct cool refrigerator.

Which One’s The Better Option?

Based on the comparative table presented above and the pros and cons of each type of refrigerator, this might be at a tie. However, if you look deeper into the comparison of each, you will see that the frost-free refrigerator would still be a far better option because despite issues such as heating of the external structure, cost, and electricity consumption. Its cons are indirectly considered as its pros.

Concerning the heating – this can be indirectly considered as a better option because without the heating system, then the refrigerator will not be able to function as a frost-free refrigerator. Do note that because of the heat produced by the frost-free refrigerator, you have to put your refrigerator in an area where there is enough space for proper ventilation of the heat.

Concerning the cost and consumption of electricity – this can be indirectly considered as a better option because although it is more expensive than the direct cool refrigerator, in the long run, the latest technologies involved such as inverters which will help you save up on electricity costs. Further, it keeps food fresher longer which will prevent waste of groceries and money. Also, because of the rapid improvements in technology, direct cool refrigerators might soon be considered obsolete as technology is moving towards the trend of frost-free refrigerators. 


On a final note, finding the best refrigerator for you is not as difficult as you think it is as long as you know what you want and need. All refrigerators are manufactured because they serve a purpose.  It is only a matter of preference when it comes to your satisfaction with your purchase. Study the differences and the pros and cons of each to see which one would suit your wants and needs the most so you will be able to get the most out of the investment you will be making.

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