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You might think there's nothing new in refrigerators. Top Freezer, Bottom Freezer, Left-Side, Right-Side... it's all been done before, right? Maybe not. I think you'll enjoy taking a second look at the newest refrigerators from LG, Samsung, GE and other manufacturers.

True, many placements have been tried over the past 100+ years home refrigerators have been around. Manufacturers once had models with a motor at the top! Not a bad idea, considering that heat rises. But since the 1850s, when they really started to become practical, it's generally been one of the three common types listed above.

But... today's refrigerators really do offer quite a bit that's new.

Flexible Food Storage Compartments - One big improvement in just the past 20 years is flexibility. Bins, drawers, and shelves are more numerous than ever before - and more re-arrangeable to personal needs.

You can adjust shelves to virtually any height permitted by the interior space. Many will swing out, fold up, or even remove altogether. Don't need a separate dairy bin? Fold it or eliminate it. Want separate storage compartments for fruits and vegetables or cold meats? Done.

Temp and Humidity Controls Galore - Along with that ability to divide up the interior space comes individualized temperature and humidity controls.

Most people know lettuce needs a very different environment from fish for optimal storage. Modern refrigerators allow you to select the ideal temperature (and frequently the best humidity) to keep everything at peak freshness as long as possible.

They also know you don't want the odors from fish soaking into the bread you baked yesterday. And, the gases given off by ripening bananas and avocados usually require them to be kept outside the fridge entirely. Many refrigerator models have the ability to vent individual storage areas, so you can keep lots more foods in the fridge than in past days.

External Control Panels and Display - A glance at a contemporary refrigerator model shows something else that's changed quite a lot: door panels.

Sure, water and ice dispensers have been around for a long time now. But even they have been improved. You can get a model with dual ice buckets. Water filters that fill them or supply a glass can now remove not just chlorine but even pharmaceuticals. There are models with a space large enough not just to set a cup but a pitcher. Some can fill a container to a precise amount you select.

The electronics have advanced even more than those helpful mechanical changes. Take a close look at some models and you'll see what looks a lot like a tablet computer in the door. It may not be as powerful or full-featured as the one you use, but it's getting there.

It won't be long now before sensors are built-in to keep track of inventory. You'll insert a milk carton; the code will be scanned and the item recorded. When you get low on something an app will display and/or send a message to you.

But what's available now is already pretty impressive. The simpler ones allow you to upload photos, display recipes, leave notes for the family and record or show other helpful content. The really sophisticated ones are actually Internet-capable. You can search for recipes, use specially-designed apps for inventory and cooking, or look up the latest stock prices.

From the outside, you can select temperature settings for each section - fresh food storage or freezer. You can monitor outside how everything is performing inside. You can find a model that will alert you - audibly and visually - that a door is open or that it's time to change the water filter.

French Door Refrigerators - One fairly new style is worth noting separately: the French Door. They get the name from the doors that swing out, similar to a traditional left-side / right-side model, but with the addition of another section or two.

Here, rather than having a freezer on the left, cold storage on the right, it offers two fresh food storage areas (left and right). The bottom is then dedicated to a freezer, usually with baskets, shelves, and controls all its own.

Some models are Four-Door French style; they have an additional, large, drawer in the middle. You can set its temperature separately. That's ideal for storing fruits and vegetables, fish you want to thaw safely, and other "right at hand" items.

It really is a whole new world out there in refrigerators. Check out the reviews on this site to see just a few of the exciting new options that will make your life easier.