When deciding on whether or not a smart fridge is the right appliance for you, you might want to consider the pros and cons of owning one. These intelligent refrigerators have a lot to offer, but, like anything, they have some cons that might be deal-breakers for you.
Using a smart fridge comes with the benefits of having an automated grocery list, versatile touchscreens, maintenance alerts, temperature and humidity control, and tech-savvy bonus features. But they also have a high initial and repair cost and are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of getting a smart fridge. I’ll walk you through the best and worst of these devices and help you decide if getting a smart fridge is the right choice for you.
The Advantages of Owning a Smart Fridge
Smart fridges allow you to keep track of what’s inside, stream and browse from the front door, get automatic maintenance notifications, control the temperature remotely, and pair your fridge with other smart devices.
So, let’s look at these benefits in detail and talk about what makes smart fridges so smart:
1. You Get an Automated Inventory of Your Grocery
Many smart fridges keep inventories of all the food items in them. Typically, you’ll have to manually make the lists or configure the fridge to identify the products by barcodes.
Models with this feature have detailed instructions on using it in their user manuals.
This inventory list is a massive benefit because it means you don’t have to keep track of how much milk you have left or how many more days your bread will last. The fridge will do it for you and make you a list of everything you need to buy the next time you go to a grocery store.
Some fridges can connect to smartphones. If you have the option to do that, you can get the list on your phone even if you aren’t home.
2. Smart Fridges Have Touch Screens for Leisure and Recipes
Another great feature of smart fridges is that they have touch screens. These are pretty versatile, and you can use them for many different tasks.
For instance, you can play songs while cooking to keep yourself entertained. If you’re alone at home with a child, you can put on a movie for them to keep them distracted while you make food. You can even use the screen to display a recipe when you’re trying out a new dish.
The Samsung Family Hub line, for example, has excellent smart fridges. They come with screens that can stream music, mirror a Samsung smart TV, and search for recipes according to the items in your fridge.
Most smart fridges connect to apps like Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and NPR, too, allowing you to tune in whenever you’re cooking.
3. Stay on Top of Maintenance via Real-Time Alerts
Smart fridges like LG’s Door-in-Door Refrigerator keep an eye on their internal workings. They have software that keeps you updated with whatever needs your attention.
The specific functions of these alerts will depend on the company and model of your fridge. However, they generally perform the same purpose – to help you stay on top of your appliance’s maintenance.
For instance, the LG fridge I just mentioned uses software called ThinQ. It sends users preventative alerts and monthly reports.
The former covers situations where a part of your fridge, like the water filter, becomes faulty. It also gives you instructions on how to fix the issue in question. The latter tells you about routine maintenance you should be doing yearly or bi-yearly.
4. Get Complete Control Over Humidity and Temperature
Smart fridges can help you keep food from rotting by giving you total control over humidity and temperature. Depending on the model, you can do this manually through buttons on your fridge or remotely via a phone app.
The Bosch 800 Series uses the Home Connect App, which allows you to make these changes with a smartphone.
You can’t find this kind of convenience in regular refrigerators. They don’t offer the same degree of customization or peace of mind.
You can turn the temperature up or down depending on what you’ve put in the fridge. Some fridges even let you control the temperature of different compartments separately, which can be a huge benefit.
5. Bonus Tech-Savvy Features
In addition to all the basic features, many smart fridges come with great tech-savvy bonus features.
Each one makes it easier to use the fridge by making your life easier.
For instance, the LG InstaView Door-in-Door Fridge comes with voice support. That means you can connect it to Alexa or Google Assistant. So, for example, you can order food and add groceries to a list you started making on your phone through your fridge.
Owning a smart fridge is like having a smartphone that keeps your food fresh.
As another example, you can connect the Samsung Family Hub Series that I discussed before to Ring Doorbell Pro. This product typically sends a live feed of your front door to your Samsung smart TV, but you can also connect it to your fridge. That way, you can check to see who’s at the door and welcome visitors while you’re cooking.
The live feed will show directly on your smart fridge’s screen. If you’re waiting on a package to be delivered but have to cook, you don’t constantly need to be paying attention to the door or going to check on it if you can’t hear the bell in your kitchen.
The Disadvantages of Owning a Smart Fridge
The most significant disadvantage of smart fridges is that they are costly to purchase and repair. In addition, they are vulnerable to security leaks and hackers, jeopardizing your personal and financial information.
1. Smart Fridges Are Almost 30% More Costly Than Regular Ones
As you’ve probably realized, smart fridges have a lot of features you don’t see in regular fridges. Consequently, manufacturing them costs more, so they’re more expensive.
If you want to get all the benefits of customizability and ease of use, you will have to pay a higher up-front cost.
The average smart fridge costs between $2,000 and $5,000. However, they can be as expensive as $10,000.
On the other hand, you can get a regular fridge for anywhere between $700 and $3,000. The most expensive fridges may touch $7,000.
While you can get a decent regular fridge for under $1000 if you look enough, that isn’t an option when it comes to smart fridges.
2. Repair Work Is Expensive As It Requires Technical Experts
Repairing a smart fridge also costs more than fixing a typical fridge.
Smart refrigerators have more technically advanced components and software. So, understanding and working with them requires a more modern skill set than one would need to operate and repair a typical fridge.
Given the difference in the expertise required, technicians are likely to ask for more money.
Additionally, you’ll need advanced materials to fix a smart fridge if it ever breaks.
For instance, while you’d need to replace wires and pipes in a typical fridge, you might need to update Bluetooth software in your smart fridge. You’ll need more money for the latter.
3. Smart Fridges Can Be a Security Risk
You can connect your smart fridge to many devices in your home. From the camera on your front door to your phone and tv, these appliances are compatible with most smart devices.
If a fridge is offering you these features, you’re more than likely to make use of them. After all, they’ll make life easier for you.
However, with these added connections, you’re increasing security risk. Cybercriminals can hack any Wi-Fi connection, and smart fridges are no exception to the rule.
Smart fridges are uniquely vulnerable to cyber hackers. That is because, unlike Google, Apple, or other companies that have access to your devices and the information in them, appliance manufacturers don’t have a lot of experience in developing privacy protection technology.
These devices are designed to keep your food cold, not to keep your data safe.
If Alexa has access to your credit card information and your smart fridge is connected to it, anyone who hacks your fridge can get that data and steal your money.
On the other hand, if your fridge is connected to your Google account so that the screen can display Calendar information, a hacker could get access to your login information and anything in your emails.