Sears Knowledge Center

      Auto Defrost vs. Manual Defrost

      Fridge temperature is hard to regulate, so defrosting your refrigerator and freezer is inevitable. Appliances come with either automatic defrost or manual defrost options, and there are advantages and limitations to each. Both are used to accommodate for temperatures that fluctuate out of the preferred range. Too much frost can interfere with how well the refrigerator operates and can cause freezer burn on foods. The main difference between the two options lies solely in convenience, but there are other factors to consider when choosing between automatic and manual defrost.

        Auto Defrost
      Manual Defrost
      Energy Efficiency

      Heating coils use more energy

      Warm, room-temperature air is used to defrost, so it's more energy efficient

      Convenience

      Defrosting occurs automatically

      Defrosting can take hours

      Temperature Control

      Self-regulation allows for better temperature control

      More difficult to control interior temperatures

      Cost

      More expensive

      Less expensive

           

      *Refer to the freezer buying guide for more specific cost ranges.


       

      Advantages of Auto Defrost

      • ConvenienceAutomatic defrost is always working, so you don't need to put in additional work to manage the temperatures.
      • Less Frost – Appliances with auto defrost will naturally have less frost build-up, so food packaging is easier to see and you can keep food fresher longer.

      Limitations of Auto Defrost

      • More Energy Consumption – Constantly heating the coils inside the refrigerator and freezer to control and maintain temperatures uses a lot of energy.
      • Unnecessary Defrost – Auto defrost can cause items in the freezer to partially defrost and then freeze again.

      Advantages of Manual Defrost

      • Eco-Friendly – To manually defrost, you only rely on the circulation of air within your home to break down frost, so this option is extremely energy efficient.
      • Low Cost – Manual defrost a less popular option, so appliances that feature manual defrost are less expensive.

      Limitations of Manual Defrost

      • Convenience – Manually defrosting requires you to remove all of the food from your refrigerator and freezer and can be extremely time-consuming.
      • Messy – The process of defrosting can cause large puddles and a big mess if you don't prepare the area with towels and monitor the entire process.

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