Refrigeration has grown to become the most essential food storage technique in developed countries. As key features of any kitchen, refrigerators and freezers form an integral part of the home appliances market. Makers of some of the most popular refrigerator brands—like Whirlpool, Samsung, and General Electric—are among the leading household appliance companies worldwide.
Refrigerators and freezers may either be free-standing, or built into a kitchen. Refrigerators may also be combined with freezers, stacked with either the refrigerator or freezer above, below, or side by side. Other types include the French door style and the less expensive compact refrigerator, built to save space but with less storage space inside. Around 10 million units of refrigerators are sold each year in the United States and shipment of freezers within the U.S. amount to more than two million units every year.
By far the most common type of refrigerator is the compressor refrigerator. Also available are refrigerators that use oil and gas (natural gas or propane) as well as refrigerator models with dual gas/electricity units (typically found in RVs). Other types of refrigerators in use with specialized cooling mechanisms are the solar refrigerators and the thermal-mass refrigerators. Refrigerators make up about a quarter to a third of the smart connected home appliances market.
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