The freezer is back on the bottom.
That’s what is "new” in the world of refrigerators, at least according to the manufacturers.
The bottom freezer is not the only change, though.
For example, the Amana Messenger side-by-side, which retails for $1,699 to $1,799 depending on model, size and color, has a "Temp-Assure Control System." There are two temperature sensors, one in the freezer and one in the fresh-food section, so there is no chance of ice cream going soft or lettuce turning into real icebergs.
Whirlpool's side-by-side uses foam in the doors and double-tub construction to create its "Accu-Chill" system, which accomplishes the same thing as the Temp-Assure.
GE's Arctica side-by-side has the ClimateKeeper system, which uses electronic sensors and a multiflow air system and has digital controls to help keep temperatures precise.
"CustomCool express settings" let you chill wines in minutes and thaw meats in hours. A TurboCool setting quickly cools the refrigerator after frequent door openings, or when hot items are placed inside.
The names come from where?
Grant Deady, who represents Whirlpool and KitchenAid, said: "A lot of the time, Whirlpool engineers will come up with these names on their own, but they do have an outside agency that helps if it's a feature they really want to make some noise about."
And what about the features?
"Consumer research," said Jill Spiekerman of Maytag Appliances, which also produces the Amana and Jenn-Air brands. "We do a tremendous amount of research in consumers' homes," she said. "We shop with them. We watch them put away their groceries. We listen to their concerns."
Manufacturers finally recognized that different foods cannot be stored at the same temperatures, so they have come up with devices that compartmentalize cooling.
Most of these new models have EnergyStar ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning they exceed federal standards for energy savings.
Following is a list of some new refrigerators and their bells and whistles.
An Elevator shelf rolls up and down to accommodate tall items. "Easy-glide" shelves roll out so that items can be retrieved, and Spill-Catcher shelves with sealed edges contain spills for easy cleanup.
Gallon jugs and two-liter bottles fit easily into interior doors, and there are twin freezer baskets for easy pullout. (Price: $899 to $1,599.)
Maytag's Easy-Access bottom-freezer refrigerator, which is available in 19- and 22-cubic-foot models, has the Spill-Catcher and Elevator shelves and the Dual Cool temperature-control system featuring two thermostats. (Price: $1,399 to $1,899.)
A new "ice system" design combines the icemaker and ice bin. The bin slides out easily, and the cubes do not fall to the freezer floor.
There are electronic sensors and an air system designed for consistent coolness, with digital controls and temperature readouts that allow for easy adjustments.
FrostGuard reduces freezer burn by defrosting items only when necessary.
This fridge, too, has adjustable gallon-door bins and crispers, and slide-out glass shelves. (Price: $1,199 to $1,699.
The Easy Reach bottom freezer, at 25 cubic feet, has a temperature-controlled ChefPantry drawer with a self-opening lid, so your hands are free to hold a party tray. A freezer pullout drawer and an internal filtered-water dispenser is available on one model. (Price: $1,349 to $1,999.)