What Is a Smart Refrigerator?

Fred's Appliance
June 16, 2014


Smart refrigerators have become increasingly popular over the past decade. As our society continues to become more “connected,” people everywhere are looking for tech-savvy ways to improve their lifestyle, which is where this revolutionary new appliance comes into play. Major appliance manufacturers like LG, Samsung and Electrolux have all pioneered their own smart refrigerators. So, what exactly is a smart refrigerator? And can it really improve your life?

Inventory Management Technology

Also known as Internet refrigerators, smart refrigerators feature embedded sensors which identify the unit’s contents and notify the operator when a particular product needs to be replenished. While the exact technology varies from model to model, most units have a barcode or RFID scanner that allows for accurate inventory management.

Think of a smart refrigerator as a digital grocery list that’s constantly being updated. If you run out of milk, for instance, it will notify you to pick some up. Whether it’s food, beverages, condiments or any other product, the unit will keep tabs on exactly how many you have in stock and notify you when you get low or run out. A typical smart refrigerator features an LCD screen on the outside which displays the unit’s contents.

A Look Back at The History of Smart Refrigerators

LG is credited with producing the world’s first smart refrigerator in June 2000; however, it failed to gain any traction among the general public due to its steep price tag of $20,000 plus. With traditional refrigerators selling around $500-$800, most consumers couldn’t justify spending $20k simply for the “added convenience” of inventory management.

LG’s innovative new smart refrigerator suffered from technology problems as well. It often missed transparent bottles and beverages, sending false notifications to the user that it needed replenishing. The unit also failed to properly read vegetables, fruit and other products without barcodes. These problems were fixed in future models, but they served as a nail in the coffin for the world’s first the smart refrigerator.

Smart refrigerators have come a long ways since LG’s experimental project 14 years ago. Current models are more accurate, possess more features, and cost significantly less than their predecessors. A typical smart refrigerator today sells for $2,500-$3,500.

List of Popular Smart Refrigerators:

  •  Electrolux ScreenFridge
  • LG Digital Dios Refrigerator
  • LG GR-D267DTU
  • LG Smart ThinQ LFX31995ST
  • Samsung RH2777AT HomePAD Internet Refrigerator
  • Samsung Zipel e-Diary
  • Whirlpool GD5VVA
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