Most of the advancements in refrigerators lately have been about looks – with slim models that fit better in your kitchen or smart home integration and other high-tech conveniences (I’m particularly a fan of LG’s Smart InstantView models). But this year Whirlpool is introducing SlimTech insulation, a new type of vacuum-sealed insulation that will help keep your fridge cooler and your food fresher.
Most refrigerators rely on polyurethane foam for insulation, but it’s bulky and inefficient. Whirlpool’s SlimTech insulation uses insulation that is vacuum-sealed into the doors and sides of the refrigerator, which allows for walls that are 66% thinner than conventional insulation. And that means you get more storage space in the same size refrigerator: SlimTech refrigerators have up to 25% more capacity than standard refrigerators because of those thin, vacuum-sealed insulation panels.
Better insulation means that these models will cool more efficiently, too. SlimTech insulation has a lower thermal conductivity, allowing these refrigerators to be up to 50% more energy efficient. The insulation also helps reduce temperature swings caused by opening and closing the door – which can lead to food spoiling – by cooling down 30% faster when the door is closed. Faster cooling also means fewer compressor cycles, so they’re quieter and use less electricity to keep your fridge cool.
This insulation technology will be integrated into new KitchenAid and JennAir branded refrigerators starting this year. KitchenAid models will use SlimTech insulation throughout for a significant boost in efficiency and capacity. While JennAir luxury 30-inch Column refrigerator models will include SlimTech insulation in the doors.
We’ve seen manufacturers use this type of insulation in refrigerators before, but it’s usually paired with traditional polyurethane foam insulation, such as Samsung’s SpaceMax models (similar to the SlimTech JennAir models). However, the KitchenAid refrigerators will be the first fully vacuum-insulated models for the North American market (we saw fully vacuum-insulated refrigerators demoed at IFA for the European market last year).
No pricing is available for these refrigerators yet, but expect them to have a premium price compared to similar models. Look for the first JennAir SlimTech refrigerators to arrive sometime in 2024, with KitchenAid fully vacuum-insulated models making an appearance some time in the future.
[Image credit: Techlicious]