When it comes to choosing the right refrigerator, you have one of two options to begin with. Those are Direct Cool Refrigerators, and Frost Free Refrigerators. Both come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, however frost free refrigerators are the most commonly found, and the more efficient of the two. That said, Direct Cool Refrigerators also have their place with someone who wants an appliance that consumes less electricity than the frost free kind. If you are wondering what is direct cool refrigerator, read on to know everything there is to know about them.

What is Direct Cool Refrigerator

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Direct Cool Refrigerator Explained

Refrigerators come with either of two technologies. Smaller, single door, and older refrigerators use the direct cool method, while the bigger, more modern refrigerators tend to be frost free. The difference is how the insides of a refrigerator are cooled. The slight technological differences between the two can have a drastic impact on its functioning and your convenience.

The best refrigerator brands do have a few direct cool refrigerators available, but we suggest you try out the frost free range instead.

What are Direct Cool Refrigerators?

A direct cool refrigerator is a type of fridge that uses natural convection to circulate cold air. The air in the fridge is cooled by an evaporator, which is located at the back of the fridge. This type of refrigerator is not as energy efficient as a frost-free or auto defrost model, but it is much cheaper to operate.

One disadvantage of a direct cool fridge is that it does not evenly distribute cold air, so food can spoil if it is not stored properly. Another drawback is that the fridge needs to be manually defrosted every few months.

However, overall, a direct cool refrigerator is a great option for those on a budget. If you are living alone, you can easily opt for a direct cool refrigerator instead of the frost free kind to save a lot of money during purchase, and even more in the long run with lower electricity usage.

Also read – Best Refrigerators: Guides, Reviews & Comparisons

Difference Between Direct Cool And Frost Free Refrigerators

Most refrigerators work by using a cooling substance called Freon. Freon is a gas that turns into a liquid when it is cold. The Freon goes through a small pipe to the back of the fridge, where it gets cold. The Freon then goes back to the front of the fridge, where it makes the air inside the fridge cold. A fan in the fridge blows the cold air around so that everything inside the fridge gets cold.

Now, there are different types of refrigerators, including direct-cool and frost free refrigerators.

A direct-cool refrigerator has a coil that goes into the freezer compartment, where it gets cold. The coil then goes into the fridge compartment, where it makes the air inside the fridge cold.

A frost free refrigerator has coils that go around the outside of the freezer compartment. These coils get cold when the compressor is on, and they make the air inside the freezer cold. When the compressor is off, the coils get warm and thaw any frost that has formed on the coils.

Essentially, direct cool refrigerators use natural convection, which results in instant cooling capabilities. On the other hand, frost-free refrigerators are much better at maintaining consistent temperatures which keeps food fresh for a longer time.

  1. Direct cool refrigerators are cheaper than frost free refrigerators.
  2. Frost-free refrigerators use electricity more efficiently, but direct cool refrigerators come with a lower operational cost.
  3. Frost-free refrigerators do not require defrosting or deicing, all that is done automatically. In direct cool models, defrosting is done manually.
  4. Direct cool refrigerators use natural convection to cool their insides.
  5. Direct cool models are usually available in single door models, and prove perfect for people living alone.
  6. Frost free refrigerators are slowly making direct cool refrigerators obsolete due to their newer technology and higher efficiency.

Benefits & Drawbacks of Direct Cool Refrigerators


  • Cheaper to purchase
  • Cheaper operation
  • Cooling is instant
  • Take a lot less electricity to run
  • The exteriors of the fridge do not heat up as they do in frost free


  • Usually only available in single door models
  • A dying breed of refrigerators
  • Requires manual defrosting
  • Air flow is not even

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are direct cool refrigerators good?

Direct cool refrigerators, even though an old technology, and limited to single door refrigerators, still have a few advantages. If you are living alone and do not have a lot of leftovers, direct cool refrigerators would be perfect for you. Plus they do not take a lot of electricity to run either.

Which is better frost-free or direct cool refrigerator?

In most cases, frost free refrigerators are a better choice for you. Direct cool is an older technology that is slowly getting obsolete, while frost free refrigerators are taking over the market for their more convenient and effective functioning. Both can find themselves a place in any kitchen, but frost free are simply the better appliance.


So, if you are out purchasing your pick of refrigerator, you can very well choose a direct cool model if you can find the right use for it. We wouldn’t suggest you buy it if you live with your family. However, if you live in an already cold climate and food storage is not an issue for you, a cheaper direct cool refrigerator would be perfect to help you with any requirements you may have. For really hot climates, direct cool refrigerators are only good if only one or a maximum of two people are using them. In any other format, you should be better off with a frost free refrigerator.

We hope you have understood what is direct cool refrigerator.

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