Every year, there’s always something you can, or want to do, to update your home. It might be getting new backsplash for the kitchen, laying down new tiles, updating your bathroom, renovating the basement, or getting new furniture, entertainment systems, or appliances. This year, with so much innovation in the category, it might just be the perfect time to upgrade your refrigerator.

When you think about it, the refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in your home. It’s accessed by everyone in the family every day, often multiple times a day. It is tasked with keeping your food and drinks freshly stored. It’s essential for weekly groceries as well as large gatherings. And since it’s the centrepiece of your kitchen, you want it to look good, too.

What are some of the latest features to look for in a new refrigerator if you’ve decided to upgrade your old, boxy white one this year? Here are some of the most compelling updates to consider.

New Refrigerator Finishes Outside, Lighting Inside

Stainless steel was once all the rage, replacing boring white appliances in the kitchen. And stainless steel is still pretty hot. But one of the latest design innovations is black stainless steel, which includes a coating overtop that gives the appliance a sleek and elegant look. There are also black-finished refrigerators that are equally as stylish.

There are functional advantages to black stainless and black finishes as well, such as the ability to resist smudges and fingerprints as well as easier cleaning. That’s something we can all get behind.

When it comes to inside the fridge, there are also some really cool innovations in lighting. Some of the latest fridges feature LED lighting that is ultra-bright as well as more energy efficient. The bright illumination makes it super easy to find things in the back of the shelves as well as to view items inside when you’re seeking out a midnight snack.

Smart Refrigerators

If you want to go all out and add a super high-tech refrigerator to your kitchen, there are options there as well. The most common smart features include things like built-in Wi-Fi and apps so you can access recipes, video chat with the kids, watch videos, view calendars, and more from the fridge. But there are smart fridges that do more as well.

For example, with the Samsung Family Hub fridge, you can not only access tons of information using the 21.5″ WiFi-enabled touchscreen, you can also leverage three built-in cameras inside that let you examine the contents of your fridge remotely from your smartphone or tablet so you can double check if you are indeed out of milk so you can grab some while at the grocery store, or if the ketchup is running low. You can use this feature at home, too, if you just want to see what’s inside and avoid constantly opening and closing the refrigerator door and letting the cold air out unnecessarily. You can also stream music to the fridge, send calendar updates, photos, notes, and more, making it a worthwhile upgrade for the busy, multi-tasking family.

With the latest LG fridges with SmartThinQ, you can do things like control the fridge temperature or the icemaker from your phone or tablet, receive notification on your mobile device if the fridge door is left open, and even make ice using just your voice.

5-Door, Inner Door Refrigerators

You’re probably familiar with 4-door and French door refrigerators by now and might even have one. French door style includes two doors at the top that open outward. Many also have a middle drawer for easy-access items like drinks and deli meats and then a bottom freezer. Some include two doors at the top and two freezer doors at the bottom. But have you heard of 5-door refrigerators?

For families that love organization, this might be worth the upgrade. They sometimes involve the middle drawer section being divided into two separate drawers, each with their own individual temperature controls. This means you can safely store fresh, raw meats and poultry separate from things like deli meats and cheeses to prevent cross contamination.

Another innovative way extra doors are being incorporated is through a convenient door-in-door design that lets you open an outer door to grab frequently-accessed items, like condiments and drinks, without opening the main fridge compartment. Press a button on the handle to open only the outer door, or just pull as usual to open to the main fridge interior. It’s great for preserving food as well as adding more storage space without taking up more room in your kitchen. With LG’s InstaView fridge, you can also knock twice on a the exterior glass panel to illuminate the fridge so you can see what’s inside without having to open the door.

Refrigerators With Internal Wine Racks

If you are a wine drinker and don’t have room for a dedicated wine rack but want to keep your favourite cabernets and pinot grigios at the perfect temperature, there are even refrigerators that come with removable wine racks for organizing your reds and whites and keeping them nicely chilled.

They can hold anywhere up to four bottles of wine or other containers inside of the fridge. And when you need to use the interior space for something else, take out the rack and place it on your countertop or elsewhere.

Features for Better Organization

The latest fridges offer so many neat ways for you to organize your food, from adjustable shelves that can shift back to accommodate taller items, like milk jugs or juice bottles,
when you need to store them, to adjustable bins for keeping drinks and condiments out of the way, and smooth sliding shelves, crispers, and bins that glide in and out easily.

Many new fridges also include extra storage in doors through better organization, the aforementioned door-in-door designs, and more. You’ll find tempered glass shelves that are also designed to prevent spills from one shelf to another. Some fridges even have dedicated vertical slots for storing pizza boxes so you can keep leftover pie safely stored until you’re ready to munch on it the next day!

In the freezer, you’ll also find things like pull-out drawers so you can store items like frozen meats and poultry separately from TV dinners, fruits, and vegetables. It also makes retrieval easier so you don’t have to fish around for what you need to complete a meal.

Features That Keep Food Fresher, Longer

There are tons of new features found in fridges from every major manufacturer to help keep your food fresher, longer. And this goes beyond features already mentioned, like separate drawers and door-in-door designs, to include things like humidity-controlled crispers that can adjust to accommodate your fruits and vegetables, air filters that help reduce fridge odours (Bosch’s technologies are called MultiAirFlow and AirFresh, for example), and adaptive defrost that will only run a defrost cycle in the freezer when it’s needed to prevent freezer burn.

New compressors can help deal with temperature changes so your food will stay fresher, longer, too. For example, some new fridges have quick cooling features that can crank up the temperature after the doors have been opened for a while (for example, while you’re loading groceries) or have been opened and closed multiple times, to get the interior back to the proper temperature quickly.

Many new fridges also include intelligent temperature management systems that can monitor and adjust the temperature settings so food always stays fresh, or stays fresh for as long as possible. Whirlpool, for example, calls this technology Accu-Chill while KitchenAid refers to it as ExtendFresh. Other features, like KitchenAid’s Produce Preserver, work to absorb the ethylene gas that many fruits and vegetables produce so they don’t over-ripen too quickly.

Built-in External Water and Ice Dispensers

My refrigerator has a built-in external water and ice dispenser, and it’s a total game-changer. Not only has it eliminated the need for buying bottled water, but it’s also really convenient. I do everything from refill my water bottle (and my son’s water bottle) every morning from it, to dispense cubed or crushed ice for drinks when guests are over and keep my Keurig coffeemaker water reservoir full with filtered water. Yes, you have the added expense of having to replace the filter every few months (typically around four times per year). But you’d be spending about the same on bottled water every week, or filters for a water pitcher. And even if it works out to more in the long run, you’re doing something good for the environment, which we can all get behind.

Many of the latest fridges can dispense water as well as ice in cubes and crushed format (LG’s newest InstaView models can even dispense rounded ice!) The water comes out clean and filtered. Some fridges even have water dispensers that can dispense measured water and will automatically shut off when it reaches your desired amount, perfect for measuring for recipes.

Check out plenty of refrigerator options, including many that contain the features noted above, at Best Buy Online. (Use the filters on the left side of the page to find a fridge with specific features you want.)

Christine Persaud
With 20+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism, I have covered the tech space since before social media was a "thing" and the smartphone as we know it was even invented. Writing for various technology, lifestyle, and entertainment sites, I have covered and reviewed hundreds of tech products, from home appliances to wearables, fitness tech to headphones, TV entertainment products and services, and more. I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV show fanatic (happy to give what to watch recommendations!), and proud mother to a 12-year-old son.