Updated at: 02-08-2022 - By: cnbusinessnews

How does an integrated fridge differ from a standard fridge, and why would you want one? Thanks to its sleek design, this type of fridge is quickly rising in popularity.

Due to its centrality in the home, the kitchen has become a hotspot for minimalistic design and integrated appliances. As a result of its success, this style is currently being offered by a number of different manufacturers.

Read on to find out everything there is to know about this amazing appliance. To begin with…

What An Integrated Fridge Is?

Can you explain what a built-in fridge is and how it functions? Many integrated refrigerators have doors that blend in with the rest of the kitchen, making them nearly undetectable when not in use. They are also known as “seamless types of integrated refrigerators.”

Liebherr Fully Integrated Refrigerators & Freezers | Andi-Co

Reason being: it is made to snuggly fit into your kitchen’s tight spaces. This means that it may be utilized in any type of house because it is aesthetically pleasing to everyone.

Since food preparation and eating take place in the kitchen, many people place a premium on its design and usefulness.

Is It Worth It To Invest In An Integrated Fridge?

Even while it may not be the cheapest option, an integrated refrigerator might be the “wow” factor in your kitchen. If you want a beautiful and practical kitchen, this is the right starting point.

Its sleek design and ample storage space mean you won’t have to give up a regular refrigerator’s conveniences. For this reason, the greater price tag is justified by the product’s usefulness and attractive design.

Comparing Integrated Fridges From Built In And Overlay Refrigerators

Here, we’ll break down the features that set the integrated refrigerator apart from the built-in and overlay varieties. All three share some commonalities, but each has its own special qualities as well.

#1. Built-in fridges

This fridge was built to order, since its edges are completely flat with the surrounding cabinetry in the kitchen. Its doors are sticking out of the cabinet so that there will be about 2-inch clearance in between the built-in model and the cabinet.

#2. Overlay fridges

Overlay refrigerators, also known as panel-ready models, can be better integrated into preexisting kitchen designs. Overlay refrigerators can also be installed seamlessly. However, it must be installed into a cabinet panel for optimal use.

#3. Integrated fridges

Keep in mind that the refrigerator may or may not coordinate with the rest of the cabinetry. This is also the main contrast between a built-in refrigerator and a freestanding one. On the other hand, paneling has been added to two of them. In spite of their name, the doors of an overlay refrigerator will still stick out from your cabinet.

Your refrigerator’s compressor vents are at an inconveniently high location. The appliance’s location will be obvious despite the uniformity of the cabinet. Contrarily, once installed, a refrigerator that is part of an integrated refrigeration system will look like it was always meant to be there.

The compressor outlets will be concealed under a cover. The inspector is also designed to lay flush against your wall and out of the way when not in use. When closed, the refrigerator blends in with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry.

Professional kitchen designs often have built-in refrigerators for this very purpose. That’s the case because you can alter its positioning and aesthetic however you choose.

Built-in fridges have a variety of features, such as stainless steel, overlay, and integrated bridges. In this case, the panels can be used with either the built-in or the overlay fridge.

The only real difference between regular and overlay refrigerators are the protruding vents and doors. On the other hand, an integrated fridge can be installed completely flush and paneled into the cabinet.

Why Are Built In Refrigerators So Expensive?

If you’re in the market for a new fridge or kitchen appliances, perusing the vast selection available can be overwhelming. Although freestanding refrigerators are no longer available, there are literally thousands of options when it comes to built-in models.

If you’ve never shopped for a refrigerator like this before, be prepared to spend a lot of money. Typical household refrigerators cost around $3,000, while high-end built-in models can cost upwards of $15,000. Of course your first thought is, “Five times as much? Do you think it’s important to have a built-in fridge?

Built-in refrigerators were once promoted as superior to counter-top models due to their enhanced temperature regulation and air-filtration capabilities. With the potential to cut down on food waste, an integrated fridge could end up saving money in the long run. Improved temperature and humidity control, as well as airflow/filtration controls, are now commonplace in many different types of freezers. Previously only featured in the most expensive models, today’s high-quality refrigerators come in a wide range of pricing points.

You shouldn’t prioritize performance when shopping for a built-in refrigerator. Instead, prioritize aesthetics, home value, and how much you enjoy using the fridge on a daily basis. Incorporating a built-in refrigerator into your kitchen or living room design involves more than just adding another appliance. A built-in refrigerator is a long-term investment for any home.

Who Should Get a Built In Fridge?

In theory, a built-in fridge would be a fantastic luxury for those who can afford it. It is wise to incorporate these upgrades into a renovation of an older home in a high-value region.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that these devices aren’t suitable for everyone. For these seven-foot-tall (84-inch) appliances to fit, you’ll need a spacious kitchen with high ceilings.

It’s also the simplest thing to do if you’re redoing your kitchen or just your cabinets. Therefore, you can make your cabinets specifically for your built-in fridge’s measurements (84 inches in height and 36, 42, or 48 inches in width).

Unless you want to modify your cabinets to accommodate a standard refrigerator, a new built-in model is required when replacing an older one.

Who Shouldn’t Get a Built In Fridge?

Even if you have plenty of room in your budget, a built-in refrigerator might not be the greatest choice. Don’t rule out alternatives if you have low ceilings or if the traditional refrigerator you’re replacing is less than 72 inches in height.

Consider a counter depth fridge if you’re on a tight budget. These refrigerators provide the impression of being built in because they are not as noticeable of an outward projection from the cabinetry as is the case with standard depth refrigerators. One must remember that a custom cabinet panel cannot be fitted on a counter depth refrigerator.

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Think about how much room you’ll actually need. A standard refrigerator could be the ideal choice for a small kitchen that is short on storage space. On very rare occasions, you might even think about getting a mini-fridge.

Built In Fridge Design Options

Choose one of these four stylish and efficient built-in refrigerators.

1. The Type

French door, side-by-side, and column refrigerators are all examples of built-in refrigeration styles. So is the less common bottom mount freezer. There is no clear functional advantage to any one style when it comes to preserving food; therefore, you need consider your kitchen’s arrangement while making your selection.

  • Bottom mount freezer refrigerators typically have one or two freezer drawers installed on the bottom. The whole refrigerator compartment is at eye level, making it much easier to see and reach all of your perishables than in a conventional top freezer refrigerator.
  • French door refrigerators allow for greater versatility and accessibility, making them ideal for storing and retrieving larger trays and containers. Their door combinations are likewise highly customizable. A French door refrigerator with one or two convertible refrigerator/freezer drawers in the base can be used for a wide range of storage needs.
  • Side-by-side refrigerators are a great option for people who want to keep their most often used fresh and frozen foods at eye level. On one side of this sort of freezer is a traditional top-to-bottom freezer, while on the other is a fully functional refrigerator. Although there is a lot of vertical space, the refrigerator and freezer are on the tiny side compared to larger models. The freezer could be smaller than the fridge.

If you routinely cook and freeze big quantities of food or keep frozen shopping staples on hand, a side-by-side refrigerator may not be the best choice for you. Larger containers or trays may also have trouble finding a home in the fridge.

  • Columns are the most adaptable form factor for built-in refrigerators. You can store a lot of things in a full-sized refrigerator and a wine cooler that is built right in. Column-style built-ins, which can be fitted side-by-side and joined to provide the appearance of a continuous unit, allow you to conceal a wine cooler between your fridge and freezer. You are free to arrange things however you like. Depending on your preferred layout and habits, you may, for instance, position your refrigerator on one side of the kitchen and your freezer on the other.

Sub-Zero is the preferred brand of designers because the refrigerator’s columns can be configured in an almost infinite variety of ways, each producing a one-of-a-kind look. With this design, cost is a major factor. Because of the autonomy of its parts, the total price of this type of built-in refrigerator can easily exceed that of other types.

2. The Compressor Location

The compressor may move to a different part of an older built-in refrigerator. These motors and pumps will help you preserve the temperature inside your refrigerator. Unlike high-end built-in refrigerators, which typically have two compressors, freestanding refrigerators typically only have one. Sub-Zero and other built-in refrigerator brands have typically boasted dual compressors. Separate cooling of the refrigerator and freezer prevents the mixing of air and gas from the food in either compartment. Using this method, your food will remain fresher for longer.

It’s possible to locate the compressor for a built-in fridge at either the top or the bottom of the fridge. It’s important that the coils can be reached for cleaning purposes. Compressors installed at the bottom of a machine are easier to maintain. Additionally, your storage space increases. If your refrigerator’s compressor is on top, you won’t be able to install any upper cabinets, but the shelves inside will be lower and simpler to reach. To put it another way, there is a cost and benefit. Where you should put your compressor is a matter of personal preference.

3. The Door

When shopping for a new fridge, it’s just as important to think about how it will look in your kitchen’s overall design scheme. Built-ins with a panel front or overlay can help your kitchen look more polished and put together. The refrigerator goes from being an ordinary utility to a design focal point when its panel front makes it virtually invisible in the kitchen. A stainless steel exterior, on the other hand, offers the same sophisticated look without the hefty price tag. Due to the lack of any discernible practical difference between the two, this is a matter of personal preference and financial constraints.

4. The Dimensions

Before making snap judgments based on looks alone, be sure you have the right sized appliances. In general, built-in refrigerators are 84 inches in height, while shorter 72- and 80-inch variants are available. However, selecting the breadth can be more challenging, as there are several options between 18 and 48 inches. You should expect a significant increase in storage capacity when upgrading from a 36- to a 42- or 48-inch refrigerator. Buying a 42-inch built-in refrigerator and the matching cabinets makes it difficult to install a 48-inch built-in refrigerator later on.

Additionally, the depth varies to some extent. Most built-in refrigerators are 24 inches deep, but you can choose to have yours sit at an angle to the cabinetry or keep it flush (in other words, to stand out slightly from the cabinets). There is no better way to achieve a sleek, modern look than with the help of columns.

Top 9 Built In Refrigerators

1. Best Overall Built In Refrigerator: Sub-Zero Classic Series

  • 30-inch, 36-inch, 42-inch, and 48-inch lengths are all readily accessible. Take into account the fact that the most purchased product is a 48-inch built-in fridge.
  • Side-by-side freezer or bottom freezer (also known as over/under) with only one freezer drawer
  • The unit’s compressor is conveniently situated at its top, making maintenance a breeze.

Sub-Zero built-in refrigerators are widely considered the gold standard for this use, and they are still manufactured in the original family-owned facility in Madison, Wisconsin. Last but not least, the Classic models are the most traditional of the bunch. There’s more to the “Classics” moniker than just longevity. The Sub-Zero brand of built-in refrigerators are distinguished by a sizable grill and concealed hinges. Sub-designer Zero’s series refrigerators (more on those below) are designed to blend in with your cabinetry, therefore covering the door with a panel is optional.

If you want to see what’s inside your refrigerator without opening it all the way, a Classic model with glass doors is a great option. If you have any spills, you can keep them contained using shelves that are designed to prevent spills. Each refrigerator in the Classic series from Sub-Zero has Wi-Fi connectivity and can be integrated with Wolf stoves and Cove dishwashers through the same software.

2. Best Built In Refrigerator Columns: Sub-Zero IT Series

  • The ID-27R is the only 27-inch option, with 24-, 30-, and 36-inch breadths also on offer.
  • Buildings with a columnar or vertical layout (one door, two drawers)
  • Compressor installed at the bottom

Sub-Designer Zero’s range of built-in refrigerators are genuinely invisible and seamless. More metal is saved by using these fridges as opposed to older models. Multiple column units from the Designer series can be installed in sequence to make a custom refrigerator or freezer configuration. When compared to prior versions, the newer refrigerators in this line are much easier to clean because to their touch screen controls and nano-coated shelves. All Sub Zero Designer series refrigerators may be managed wirelessly through apps, and this includes the company’s more upscale Wolf and Cove models.

3. Best French Door Built In Refrigerator: Sub Zero BI-36UFD

  • Sub-freezer compartment in a French door
  • An air compressor is mounted on the top.

Like the Sub Zero Classic line, these refrigerators have two doors on top and a freezer drawer below, but they use the more convenient French door design. Door widths of 18 inches are standard on the 36-inch unit, making it a great choice for compact kitchens; panel ready or stainless steel doors are offered on the 42-inch unit. In addition, a water dispenser can be installed in the cabin of this type. There is a choice of either a tubular handle or a more conventional one. The appliances are all wifi-enabled and compatible with the same app as those from Wolf and Cove’s other brands.

4. Best Promotional Deals: Thermador Refrigerators

  • 18″, 23.5″, 24″, 30″, or 36″
  • All the columns, the French door, and the over-and-under fridge are standard features.
  • Compresor’s bottom end

Thermador is a subsidiary of Bosch and Gaggenau, and its refrigerators are known for their theater-like lighting and stainless steel interiors. Thermador just released its Freedom line of refrigerators. Soft-closing drawers, Open Door Assist, and wifi control via the Home Connect app are just a few of the exceptional features of these built-in refrigerators by Thermador. Thermador’s proprietary Diamond ice, with a rounder shape and slower melting time, may be made with the ice makers in the company’s freezers.

Thermador’s steep promotional discounts are the only ones for other appliance brands that are straightforward. The Thermador 1-2-Free program can save you thousands of dollars on a kitchen remodel. The promotion provides a free dishwasher to those who purchase a Thermador range. If you buy a Thermador refrigerator, you can also get a sleek range hood.

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5. Best Fingerprint Resistant Finish: Miele Refrigerators

  • Available in 18, 24, 30, and 36-inch widths.
  • One or two drawers in the French door, columnar construction, and an over/under layout are all possible variations (bottom freezer drawer).
  • Compresor’s bottom end

Miele’s top-of-the-line dishwashers, washing machines, and vacuum cleaners use the same robust, reliable technology and ingenious design as its built-in refrigerators, making them a wise investment. With push-to-open doors and self-closing drawers, as well as LED strip lighting within the various storage areas and easily adjustable glass shelves, some of which are even dishwasher safe, you can achieve a seamless appearance. The Miele WiFi Conn@ct app is also well regarded for its user-friendliness.

Miele’s stainless steel finish is unmatched in the industry. If this is a built-in fridge, what does it mean? Assume you have to clean a stainless steel table that is 48 inches long and 84 inches wide… Cleaning an Miele doesn’t need much work on your part.

6. Best for Budget w/Style: Fisher Paykel Refrigerators

  • Inches: 18, 24, 30, 32, and 36
  • The combination of a French door, columns, and an under/over (freezer drawer on the bottom of the cabinet)
  • Compresor’s bottom end

The Fisher Paykel Integrated collection 9 and 11 series are the most energy-efficient refrigerators on the market. When compared to the previous 7 series, the availability of over/under versions with bottom freezers or columns is a major improvement. Both the 9 and 11 series have a built-in water dispenser that is well placed at counter height and features a Smart Touch user interface, LED lighting, adjustable shelves, soft-close produce bins, and more. Even while both series employ stainless steel on the inside, the 9 series has a more traditional white color. The second alternative is the better buy if you’re on a lower budget but still want cutting-edge features and hardware. The only unit with French doors is in the 7 series. The 32-inch French door model is also highly recommended for kitchens with limited space.

7. Best Custom Colors: True Refrigerators

  • In this article, we’ll look at the differences between 42-inch and 48-inch widths.
  • Column sizes of 30″ and 36″
  • The compressor is located at the very top.

Although True is known for its commercial refrigeration (almost every supermarket and restaurant has one), it is gaining traction in the household market. With its chef-preferred aesthetic, True Residential is now available in homes. As an alternative to stainless steel, you can choose from nine bespoke colors and five various hardware finishes, including Pewter (pewter), Gold (gold), Copper (copper), and Chrome (chrome).

Although True is known for its commercial refrigeration (almost every supermarket and restaurant has one), it is gaining traction in the household market. With its chef-preferred look, True Residential is now available in homes. As an alternative to stainless steel, you can choose from nine bespoke colors and five various hardware finishes, including Pewter (pewter), Gold (gold), Copper (copper), and Chrome (chrome).

Even though True is best known for its commercial refrigeration (which can be found in virtually every grocery store and restaurant), the brand is now making inroads into the residential market. True Residential, the favorite style of chefs everywhere, is now available in private residences. Pewter (pewter), Gold (gold), Copper (copper), and Chrome (chrome) are some of the nine custom colors and five hardware finishes available in place of stainless steel (chrome).

8. Best for Budget: GE Profile Built In Refrigerators

  • dimensions of 42 and 48 inches
  • Side-by-side
  • The compressor is located at the very top.

If you own a popular refrigerator made by GE, you’re bound to be familiar with the company’s more upscale Profile brand. While other brands can only be purchased at specialty stores, GE Profile built-in refrigerators are widely available at major retailers. If you’re familiar with other GE products, such as Cafe, you’ll notice that the main difference between Profile and others is one of aesthetics rather than functionality. This refrigerator from GE Profile has a stainless steel door, hidden hinges, and an external water and ice dispenser. To put it simply, it’s a sturdy piece of machinery. Panel-ready doors are not currently offered.) Inside, you’ll find an LED light and some flexible shelving. Your GE refrigerator may be managed remotely via the Wifi Connect app, Amazon Alexa, Sonos, or the Google Assistant.

9. Bonus: Cafe Built In Refrigerators

When the company dropped “GE” from its name in 2018, it made the strategic decision to differentiate these low-priced luxury offerings from its other offerings by emphasizing their new, more distinctive brand identity. Until now, they have remained a GE and Haier product. At the cafe, you may be both stylish and hip.

The company provides counter depth, standard depth, and built-in refrigerators in addition to stainless steel, matte black, and platinum glass. It’s important to note that Profile only offers stainless steel for their built-in refrigerators and doesn’t provide any panel ready options. You may customize the look of your fridge by choosing from a variety of finishes, including brushed stainless, brushed black, brushed copper, and brushed bronze.

The built-in refrigerators found in cafes feature LED lighting, glass shelves designed to prevent spills, and unusually big door bins for additional storage. The outside water dispenser at the cafe is also an unusual amenity. Among the many wireless networking options are GE Wifi Connect, Google Assistant, Sonos, and Amazon Alexa.


The following is a complete and comprehensive list of answers to the most common inquiries.

How do integrated fridges work?

The standard refrigerator, or any other equipment, must be modified to fit inside your kitchen cabinetry.

You can also have your kitchen door installed in front of it. For all intents and purposes, the appliance will blend in with the rest of the kitchen’s doors.

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Can I use an integrated fridge as freestanding?

Your kitchen door can be hung in front of it for added convenience. The equipment will, for all practical purposes, disappear behind the kitchen cabinetry.

How can I make a standard fridge look more like a built in fridge?

Consider a counter-depth refrigerator if you like the look of a built-in model but don’t have the room or budget for one. These refrigerators are less obvious from the cabinetry than conventional depth refrigerators, giving the impression that they were built in (23 to 27 inches versus 30 to 34 inches, with only the door jutting out).

Why can’t I buy a built in fridge at a home improvement store?

Big-box retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s may be convenient, but they can’t offer the same level of individualized attention as smaller shops. They aren’t competent in the details of making a built-in fridge. To begin, you need a great deal of experience in the field to successfully market built-in freezers. They also want personalized treatment and care, which is difficult for big-box retailers to provide due to their size and limited inventory selection.

It’s A Wrap!

So, you’ve learned what an integrated refrigerator is and how it differs from conventional models. It’s easy to see why you’d want to acquire this refrigerator because of its superior features and sleek design.