The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but it’s the refrigerator that consumers love the most.
According to a survey of 1,140 homeowners by John Burns Real Estate Consulting’s New Home Trends Institute, 38% of homeowners said the fridge was their favorite kitchen appliance. Number two was the dishwasher with 17%, stove top with 14%, and range at 11%.
What makes them love their fridges so much? Beyond flexible compartments and separate sections for frequently used drinks and other items, homeowners are enjoying the high-tech features in their refrigerators, according to the Kitchens: Priorities and Frustrations report.
“We recently got a smart refrigerator by Samsung, and it's the coolest refrigerator in the world!” one respondent told New Home Trends Institute researchers.
It was a popular sentiment. “Smart features like touchscreen and smart connection were the second most frequently cited favorite refrigerator feature,” the report notes. “This, plus the fact that we saw zero complaints about smart features, could signal increased adoption (after a sluggish start) as happy homeowners refer them to their friends and family.”
4 Most Popular Smart Refrigerator Features
For builders looking to differentiate their kitchen package from the competition, here’s what those high-tech fridges frequently include:
Touchscreens. Thanks to LCD screens on appliance fronts, users can watch shows, post notes to family, share calendars, and more⸺all on the refrigerator door. Such screens can also be an innovative way to save energy; LG’s InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerators have a screen that conceals the contents of the fridge until the user taps twice on the door, illuminating the interior to see what’s inside without needing to open the door.
Smart connections. Wi-fi-enabled refrigerators are creating new ways for users to personalize, utilize, and manage this essential kitchen appliance. Samsung’s Family Hub helps users find recipes, plan meals, order groceries, and control the wi-fi connected oven. Bosch refrigerator owners can use an app to see how their appliance is performing.
Sensors. These tiny detectors that monitor interior temperatures and other functions could make coming home to discover a broken fridge full of melted ice cream and spoiled meat a thing of the past. “It’s no surprise that warning features that alert homeowners of potential inefficiencies were the third-most valued refrigerator feature,” the report said.
Disinfection. With COVID-19 concerns still affecting many Americans’ daily lives, homeowners want to do as much as they can to keep their homes clean and healthy. New Home Trends Institute researchers found that respondents are definitely interested in appliances that offer disinfection. LG, for example, has added ultraviolet LED light to disinfect the water dispenser on selected models.
As technology evolves, some manufacturers are even incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into refrigerators. Both Samsung and LG have models that use interior cameras and AI to recognize the food that’s inside.
What was the least favorite kitchen appliance, according to the survey? The dishwasher, which was cited as the most frustrating by 29% of respondents.
“Refrigerators and dishwashers top both the list of favorite kitchen appliances and the list of those that most frustrate homeowners, signaling that they are the most important kitchen appliances to get right,” advises the report.
To learn more about “Kitchens: Priorities and Frustrations,” please visit the New Home Trends Institute.