Refrigerators aren’t just where you store the goodies for your next party. Some of the latest models are part of the party, with Bluetooth-enabled sound systems, wine-chilling compartments, and even café-worthy dispensers that serve more than just water. Here are some of this year’s top trends:
Built-in music. The Whirlpool WRF991BOOM, $2,900, and Whirlpool WRF990BOOM, $2,700 French-door bottom-freezers, which will be sold exclusively at Lowe’s, can fill your kitchen with dance music on Saturday night—and late-breaking news over Monday morning coffee—via built-in Wi-Fi speakers. Called CoolVox, the feature may be expanded to additional retailers later this year.
Beyond ice and water. Superb temperature control and energy efficiency helped put the four-door Samsung RF31FMESBSR, $2,900, among our top picks. Care for a wine spritzer? The Samsung can serve sparkling water from its on-the-door dispenser. The GE Café CFE29TSDSS, $3,000, and GE Café CYE23TSDSS, $3,100, add to those choices with hot water for coffee, tea, or soup. Hidden door-within-a-door compartments, such as those on the high-scoring French-door LG LFX32945ST, $3,000, and the Kenmore Elite72193, $4,150, can also hold an extra six-pack on game day. Expect to see more of those extra doors on side-by-side models, including the ones in Samsung’s Showcase series, which we’re currently testing.
Forgot to chill that bottle of chardonnay before your guests arrived? The blast chiller compartment on the LG LFX31935ST French-door fridge, about $3,000, comes with a promise to do that in just 8 minutes. Opt for the newly tested Whirlpool WRX988SIBM four-door model, $2,600, and you get a middle drawer with adjustable temperature controls for everything from lettuce to beer. This Whirlpool narrowly missed our winners’ list but did well overall.