Upgrade Your Fridge Into a Smart Device

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Buying a smart refrigerator can cost you as much as buying a car—a pretty hefty price tag for something that essentially simply stores your food. But with a few affordable upgrades, any fridge can become a whole lot smarter for a fraction of that price.

Get a Tablet

Integrated touchscreens are a standout feature of any smart fridge. But you can just as easily fake a touchscreen door by buying a tablet for a couple of hundred bucks. Attaching the tablet couldn't be easier. In fact, there are mounts that are made specifically to put a tablet on the fridge that cost less than $20 as of this writing. And if a tablet mount won't work, you can use simple adhesive strips.

Fill your fridge tablet with apps to help you complete your grocery shopping, store your recipes, and help you find cooking tutorials easily. You can also get a family calendar, coupon apps, and lots of the other features you'd get with any actual smart fridge.

Don't forget to add your music, radio, and streaming apps, and integrate those apps with any smart devices in your house. This way, you can watch your shows or listen to your music library while you cooking—another feature of the smart fridge that's easy to replicate. You can also get some Bluetooth speakers for the kitchen and sync them with your tablet, to simulate the speakers that typically come standard with a smart fridge.

a woman holds a tablet computer in a clean kitchen

Add a Camera

One really cool feature of a smart fridge is the monitoring system. A smart fridge can tell you when you're running low on staples like eggs and milk. But if you put a camera in your fridge, you can look inside of it using any of your synced devices and see what you might need. A simple wireless indoor security camera will do the trick. These cameras are equipped with night vision, so you can see inside the fridge even with the door closed. They will stream to any connected device, so you can check the contents of your fridge no matter where you are.

In fact, you can even get a camera that's specifically designed to go in your refrigerator. These are made to go right inside the door and provide the same monitoring functions you'd get in a smart fridge.

Keep Food Fresher

Smart fridges have tech integrated into the design in other ways, too. One such fridge comes with a triple cooling system that keeps fruits and veggies fresher longer. But you can give any fridge this same feature and spend less than $50. Upgrade to a produce keeper that filters out ethylene gas, which is what causes fruits and vegetables to spoil. As long as you regularly replace your refrigerator's filters, this technology will do the same thing a smart fridge does at a fraction of the cost.

Don't forget to add an app to your fridge tablet that keeps track of expiration dates on food, so you know when items are going to spoil.

fresh fruits and vegetables in a refrigerator

Be Smarter About Your Smart Fridge

There’s no denying that technology is just plain cool. It’s amazing to live in today’s world that’s so connected, synced up, and full of possibilities. When your fridge can tell you that you’re out of eggs, it’s almost like being inside an episode of “The Jetsons.” The future that everyone talked about years ago is actually here, and there is so much cool stuff to explore it’s overwhelming. But don’t be seduced by the siren song of an ultra-expensive smart fridge. With some basic DIY skills, a little bit of creativity, and some affordable tech, your fridge can become a smart fridge for about one-fifth of the cost of an actual smart fridge.

Instead of spending $6,000 or more to have that fancy-dancy smart fridge, you can spend less than $1,000 to get your fridge to do all the things that a more expensive design would do. So who’s truly smart, now?