2023's Most Exciting Refrigerator Trends

The consumer appliance industry kicked off 2023 with impressive trade shows showcasing modern kitchen inventions. CES, a Las Vegas Trade Show, attracted an especially large audience as more than 100,000 industry professionals were in attendance to market and observe products. The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) also displayed recent developments in kitchen appliances during its January event. Several refrigerator models were front-liners at these shows, as these appliances have new and innovative features that improve their functionalities, accentuate their appearances, and extend their capabilities. Due to advancements in smart technology, video recording, and computer networking, refrigerators now come with various features beyond keeping food cold and fresh. 

Modern models are designed to maintain foods and beverages at different temperatures, help you avoid running out of food, and make everyday life more convenient. Even customization options have been extended, allowing owners of these innovative fridges to customize the front designs and other interior aspects. Keep reading to learn more about these first-of-their-kind refrigerators and their unique attributes.

Built-in voice assistants

Virtual voice assistants, like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, have become commonplace in modern technology. All new phones, laptops, and touchpads include this artificial intelligence (AI) software, and it's no surprise that the feature has spread to home appliances as well. Refrigerator models from popular brands like Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove are now enabled with voice assistants, specifically Amazon's Alexa.

This feature allows people who own these fridges to speak to them and give them various commands. Depending on the model and its capabilities, you can ask Alexa to add items to your grocery list, play music, look up recipes, and even change refrigerator settings. These smart fridges have a digital screen that allows you to connect to other smart devices on the same network. They can also connect to an app on Apple and Android mobile devices, allowing you to make changes whether at home, at work, or otherwise outside of the house. Users can set temperatures, turn the ice maker on and off, change the operating mode, get filter change reminders, and enable notifications for when the fridge or freezer doors are left ajar. All of these features are designed to make everyday living more convenient by taking full advantage of voice-assisted technology. 

AI-powered fridges

Refrigerators with artificial intelligence (AI) go beyond simple voice activation features. LG recently released a new smart refrigerator with a feature they coined "FridgeCam." FridgeCam is a small cold-resistant camera that you can attach to the inner door of LG refrigerators, allowing homeowners to record and view the inside. Everyone has that moment when they're out grocery shopping and can't recall whether or not they have a certain ingredient. With FridgeCam, you no longer have to worry about accidentally purchasing duplicate items or passing up on food that you need. All it takes is opening the app and checking out the inside of your fridge from wherever you may be. This is a huge step forward in showing how smart technology can accommodate everyday life by solving a common mishap.

The recording device even integrates with Amazon Fresh, Amazon's online and in-person grocery store, allowing you to perform one-click checkouts of items you need delivered. It also connects with Alexa and Siri, Amazon and Apple's respective voice assistants, through the Smarter App. If you download this app, you can utilize it to ask the FridgeCam about the contents of your fridge, what you need, and what items are near expiration. 

Temperature-controlled drawers

Crisper drawers are an essential component of refrigerators and have been a basic feature for decades. These drawers are enclosed spaces that help maintain humidity and are often used to hold vegetables, fruits, deli meats, and cheeses. Keeping perishable items in these controlled spaces preserves them longer and more effectively.

Over many decades of technological improvements, innovators in refrigeration have created advanced crisper drawers with configurable controls. Often called "Climate Zone Drawers," they are set to the exact temperature and settings for whatever is preserved inside. Using either the fridge's digital control or an app, you can enable custom temperatures or choose from a list of presets; meat, beverage, produce, cheese, citrus, and others (depending on the brand and model chosen). This way, you can help prolong the expiration of some of your most frequently used foods. Many of these drawers also come with dividers, allowing you to adjust compartment sizes to optimize their organization.

Fingerprint-resistant surface

Stainless steel is an ever-present characteristic of interior design that never fades. Homeowners and interior designers glorify its sleek appearance, durability, and hygienic qualities, which make this material ideal for kitchen spaces. Many companies that manufacture high-quality stainless steel appliances ensure their products' quality by finishing them with shiny fingerprint-resistant top coats.

Fingerprint-resistant finishes are beneficial enough to be considered a necessity for kitchen areas. They repel oil and grease often found on our hands, especially after cooking and eating, which keeps smudges from spotting your appliance handles and doors. The resistant coat also reduces how often you need to clean your appliances, which can be a lifesaver, especially in a home with small children with sticky fingers. The fingerprint-resistant coating is typically available in silver, charcoal gray, or matte black, giving homeowners more versatility in the color scheme of their kitchen. Since integrated kitchen styles are coming back in for 2023, the appearance of appliances is very relevant. Your refrigerator should match other accents and metal fixtures in your kitchen with a complementary finish color.

Measured-fill water dispenser

One of the most satisfying features an individual can come across while scouting for a new kitchen appliance is a refrigerator with an integrated water filter and dispenser. The convenience of always having cold purified water at your fingertips without having to remember to refill your supply is a luxury. However, newer fridge models have taken this feature one step further.

Measured fill water dispensers are an installation on new LG refrigerator models. In addition to being one of the tallest dispensers and clocking in at over 12 inches, it also has a sliding platform that can accommodate both cups and bowls. But even more impressive, these dispensers also have multiple presets for specific water measurements. You can fill bottles, glasses, pitchers, and other containers with a precise amount of water in eight different increments. The fridge display shows measurements in ounces, cups, and liters, ensuring that you won't accidentally overfill your drink and cause a mess, making it beneficial for forgetful individuals and busybodies alike.

LED drawers and shelves

Lightbulbs inside refrigerators are nothing new, and most refrigerators are outfitted with bright lighting to make everyday use easier. Sufficient lighting isn't only beneficial for the person searching their fridge, for this feature is also vital to optimizing food preservation. LED bulbs are becoming commonplace in crisper drawers, specifically those designated for produce. This form of lighting imitates natural sunlight, which slows the decay of fruits and vegetables and preserves their vitamin content. A scientific study in food and bioprocessing technology confirmed this chemical reaction, proving these drawers are essential for people who want to maximize the lifespan of refrigerated ingredients.

The lights in these drawers stay on at all times and don't have auto-shutoff features like the other lights in your refrigerator. If you're not interested in retaining produce quality for longer, the bulbs can be removed or disabled in most appliances. If you remove these lights to save energy, you should know that it doesn't have much of an impact on your energy usage — LEDs are highly efficient and use minimal power compared to other types of lightbulbs.

Soft freeze storage

Freezers have come a long way since the first Freon-operated coolers that were crafted in the 1940s. These appliances are often included in a refrigerator's design and are used to freeze food at precise temperatures that keep products fresh for extremely long periods. Although old-fashioned freezers can preserve food for months or years, they are missing a capable feature found in more recent inventions.

Soft freeze technology sets the contents of your freezer department to be lower than refrigerators, which usually range around 30 degrees Fahrenheit by default, but higher than standard freezers, which are usually configured to zero degrees Fahrenheit. This feature "soft freezes" food at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping groceries preserved for up to three weeks without transforming them into a solid frozen state. This makes it easier to cook meat and sauces you know you'll be using within the week, as you don't have to take as much time to dethaw them before making a meal. It's also a smart choice for freezing vegetables, fruits, alcohol, and other consumables with high water content, since these items are more vulnerable to freezer burn and damage from being exposed to rapidly cooling temperatures.

Door-in-door features

Preparing and cooking food often takes multitasking, and sometimes you don't have enough hands to do everything at once. Luckily, a top electronics company, LG, has developed another innovation to make kitchen endeavors run smoothly. The InstaView Refrigerator is known for its many innovative features, and its front panel deserves top praise thanks to its "door-in-door" feature. This is a hidden compartment behind the fridge door that pops open with the press of a button. You can store your most-used snacks, beverages, and sauces there, allowing you to get to them faster without opening the whole door. But that's not its only feature. When your hands are full of groceries, you need only swipe your foot, and the panel will slide open and give you access to these shelves without opening your entire refrigerator. When the freezer is open, the drawers operate similarly and self-adjust to make space for whatever you're carrying.

The InstaView panel also operates as a window, which you can tap to turn on the fridge's LED lights and view the contents of these shelves. This allows you to browse your selection without opening the doors and releasing cold air, making it very energy efficient. 

Generative art print doors

Personalizing refrigerators with magnets and stickers is a fad of the past thanks to Samsung, which unveiled customization features that prove 2023 has leveled up. This company partnered with a generative artist named Matt Jacobsen, a professional who creates art pieces through conceived algorithms and computer programs. With his assistance, they made dozens of gorgeous art prints that can grace the front doors of their MyBespoke line.

These prints come in various colors and patterns, enabling people to enhance their kitchen's interior design. You should know this feature isn't limited to generative art; you can add any custom photos and artwork as long as you have the rights to use them. However, Samsung requires that the images meet specific resolution requirements to ensure the images used for the front panels are visually appealing.

Samsung isn't the only company to recently unveil refrigerators with customized front panels. LG has also released a line of refrigerators known as "MoodUp." These appliances have LED door panels with over 20 color options that can be mixed and matched to brighten your kitchen. These colors can also be used to indicate there are issues with your refrigerator. For example, if you leave the door ajar, you can set it to flash red to notify you of your mistake.

Musical light show-enabled software

LG's MoodUp refrigerators have capabilities beyond the general setup of their LED light panels. These doors connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, like many other modernized refrigerators, enabling people within your home to stream music from the fridge. At 2023's CES, an annual trade show that exhibits the latest inventions in consumer electronics, the MoodUp refrigerators were revealed to stream both music and podcasts through Alexa and Google integrations. You can control the playlist through a linked smartphone, tablet, or laptop by using streaming apps or LG's Music Collection playlist.

The colors on the refrigerator doors are configurable to pulse and change to the beat of the music, adding an entertaining light show to any kitchen. This speaker feature has been integrated purely for entertainment purposes, showing how recent innovations don't need to be solely functional to boost home living and enhance everyday products in a household. These refrigerators are very new, having been first announced in late 2022, and they are slated for release in 2023.