LG's Blast Chiller: Warm Beer's Savior

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Warm beer? Fear not! LG has the solution.

We’ve all been there before. You’re making that final beer and burger run before the first big cookout, but realize you made a fatal error: you got the beer first and no ice. Now you’re stuck in line behind captain coupon at the grocery store as your six pack bakes in your trunk. Heartbreak, thy name is warm beer.

Well fear not, LG’s got your answer: the LFX31935ST fridge (MSRP $3849.99). It’s the first refrigerator to feature the Blast Chiller: a small compartment next to the crisper drawer that draws up cold air from the freezer and swirls it around for maximum cooling. LG promises it will chill a single 12-ounce can from room temperature to 42 degrees in just five minutes. A 750ml bottle or two cans takes only eight minutes.

With the promise of two cold beers in less than ten minutes, it’s no wonder that LG has been blasted with praise ever since it debuted back in January at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Such frosty claims need to be verified, however, so we put the Blast Chiller fridge through a battery of tests.

WATCH THE BLAST CHILLER IN ACTION

Armed with temperature sensors and a case of Sam Adams, we gave the Blast Chiller a thorough workout in our climate-controlled lab and performed some... subjective evaluations as well. Although we certainly enjoyed the results, repeated tests demonstrated the Blast Chiller's impressive performance, but also its weaknesses.

THE GOOD NEWS

Things get cold fast.
Beverages emerged from the Blast Chiller about 30 degrees cooler than when they went in. Compare that to the measly six-degree drop that a fridge or freezer could accomplish in the same amount of time, and you’ll see how impressive this technology can be.

Of course, you can't expect a miracle. The Blast Chiller can't do much with a can that’s been sitting in your trunk on a hot summer day. A bottle of water that we’d left sitting for twelve hours in a 75-degree room cooled down to a chilly 49 degrees, but an 86-degree bottle of water dropped to only 59 degrees.

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Up to two cans or one bottle can be chilled at a time; not great for party prep, but good in a pinch or for a small gathering.

THE BAD NEWS

The Blast Chiller is pretty loud.
While running, it makes about as much noise as a clothes washer. That's a pretty loud five to eight minutes.

It needs some time to recover.
You'll have to give the Blast Chiller time between chills. That means you won't be able to cool an entire six-pack of Bud in half an hour. If you leave the fridge door open for more than a few seconds, it can sometimes take more than an hour for the LFX31935ST to reach the right temperature for another round of chilling. That’s not cool.

The Blast Chiller is a bit... aggressive.
To keep drinks from freezing, the Blast Chiller gently rocks its contents during the cooling process. Though LG claims it’s gentle enough to chill carbonated drinks, we got a little bit of spray from every can of soda we opened. (This wasn’t a problem with beer.)

It's not quite cold enough for soda.
It turns out that most people prefer their soda a bit colder than 50 degrees. That means that Blast-Chilled soda still needed some ice to be truly refreshing. The Blast Chiller did a much better job on beer and white wine—beverages that are best enjoyed between 50 and 55 degrees for maximum flavor.

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Multiple button presses make for less streamlined control than we expected.

We should also point out that the LFX31935ST is a good refrigerator overall: a stylish stainless steel French door design with ample room for food and drink, good efficiency, and excellent temperature consistency. We're still wrapping up our tests, but we expect the Blast Chiller fridge to be nearly identical in performance to its Blast-Chiller-free sister model, the LG LFX31925ST. The Blast Chiller feature, however, certainly sweetens the deal, turning a simple appliance into the life of the party.

If you like the idea of getting a quick cold lager every once in a while or chilling some chardonnay for last-minute guests, this may be the fridge for you. Otherwise, a cooler full of ice will still get the job done… it’ll just take a lot longer.