What Makes a Fridge Smart?

What Makes a Fridge Smart?
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Back in the day, the biggest novelty a fridge could have was an ice dispenser. Nowadays, home appliances can do much more than just keep your food fresh. Some are even self-governing (here’s looking at you, robot vacuums). But when it comes to the humble fridge, how can you make it smart and how can it add to your home?

What does make a fridge smart?

Image: Samsung

At its core, a smart fridge is a refrigerator that can be connected to Wi-Fi and is often accompanied by a compatible app.

While it does fulfil all of your cooling and freezing needs, it often comes with a bunch of extra features that elevate it beyond a humble cooling and storage unit.

For instance, many smart fridges can send you notifications on your phone whenever there’s a maintenance issue, which allows you to diagnose any malfunctions quicker. Some will even tell you if you’ve left the door open, which can ultimately save you electricity in the long-run.

Others allow you to write on the fridge door itself via a touchscreen, so you can leave messages for family members or search recipes. Most also connect with other smart devices in your home, such as your video doorbell or security system, so you can always know who’s at the door or check on other members of your household.

Some are even helpful to the point that they let you log items as you put them in the refrigerator and remind you when to consume them before they expire.

Who would’ve thought that your fridge could be doing so much more?

What to look for when buying a smart fridge

Image: LG

When it comes down to it, you should choose all of the stuff you’d normally look for when shopping for a regular refrigerator. Think about the capacity you need, its measurements to ensure it fits into your kitchen and whether it has adjustable shelves, an ice dispenser and whether you want the freezer on the top or the bottom.

Once you’ve worked all of that out, it’s time to think about which features you want your smart fridge to have. As touched on above, your smart fridge can have a touchscreen, see-through glass, the ability to leave notes and more.

From there, keep in mind that in Australia, there are really only two brands that offer smart fridges at the moment: LG and Samsung. Both are reliable, well-known brands that are popular in households. In fact, you or someone you know has likely owned a Samsung or LG fridge at some point in their lives. For some, this can be a make-or-break moment while shopping, since you’re more likely to go with a brand you’re already familiar with.

And the last factor to keep in mind is cost. Most smart fridges sit on the more expensive side of the refrigerator price range, often starting at around $1,900 and inflating up to $8,000. Ultimately, it all depends on your budget. At the end of the day, a smart fridge is not a necessity, but a luxury. As fun as it may look.

The best smart fridges in Australia

LG MoodUP Fridge

LG MoodUP Smart Fridge
Image: LG

Stainless steel fridges, and anything that’s millennial grey, are out. Colour is in. That’s why it’s hard to look away from LG’s state-of-the-art MoodUP fridge.

In terms of features, the LG MoodUP fridge really takes the cake. For starters, its double French doors feature LED-lit panels that light up with every colour of the rainbow, so you can customise it to your preference. All you have to do is hop on LG’s ThinQ app and pick a combo that speaks to you.

These MoodUP smart fridge even features a unique Party Mode via Bluetooth, so that its lights will flash in sync to the music you’re playing. Who would’ve thought your fridge could do more than keep your guests’ beers cool?

It’s also installed with InstaView, a fancy LG smart fridge feature that allows you to see into your refrigerator without opening. All you have to do is knock twice on the external door and you’ll get a glimpse inside to see whether your milk’s getting low.

And, of course, the ThinQ app also allows you to keep up-to-date with your fridge’s internal components, to ensure everything continues to run smoothly, whether it’s the fan motor or evaporator.

Samsung FamilyHub Smart Fridge

Samsung FamilyHub Smart Fridge
Image: Samsung

Our next choice has exactly all of the bells and whistles you’d hope a smart fridge would have. Samsung’s FamilyHub smart fridge features a large touchscreen display known as the “Family Board” that you can use like a tablet.

One of its most useful features is that you can look inside your fridge at any moment. Whether it’s when you’re standing right next to it and don’t want to open the door for a quick look, or even when you’re already at the shops ticking items off your grocery list. You can simply open the Samsung SmartThings app from anywhere and have a look at what’s in your smart fridge.

The Family Board will also allow you to plan meals using a calendar and even access the Smart Recipes app to follow simple instructions on your fridge door as you cook. There’s even an app available on your fridge that lets you write down or voice memo groceries, so there’s no need to keep multiple shopping lists.

You can even just use the Family Board for display, such as showing off precious family memories, or to leave notes for other members of your household, as well as a little drawing from your young ones.

Another great thing is that it can also act as a security camera if you hook it up to a compatible video doorbell, like Amazon’s Ring range. That way you can check who’s at the door even when you’re in the kitchen. And if you’re sitting at your dining table, you can mirror your phone to the fridge and stream your favourite TV shows or music on a slightly bigger display.

LG InstaView Fridge

LG InstaView Smart Fridge
Image: LG

Our last smart fridge recommendation is LG’s InstaView range. Most of these LG smart fridges feature an ice and water dispenser, flexible fridge shelving options, easy access freezer drawers and, of course, its InstaView touchscreen. This touchscreen allows you to knock on it twice to immediately see what’s inside your fridge without opening the door.

Many of LG’s InstaView smart fridges also come with a door within a door. Meaning? You can open the door that covers the actual fridge door and get a better look at the contents of your refrigerator without letting any cold air escape. Some fridges in this range even come with moving baskets and easy access compartments that will help you to organise your smart refrigerator much more easily. In fact, some shelves are even retractable, so you can slide them backwards to make room for taller items like a bottle of wine.

It’s essentially very similar to LG’s MoodUp fridge, but maintains that sleek, stainless steel look that will complement any modern kitchen.

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At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.