Difference Between Built In Vs Freestanding Refrigerator

The decision to purchase a new refrigerator often involves weighing the pros and cons of a built in fridge vss freestanding refrigerator.

refrigerator in silver in kitchen

Choosing the right type that best fits your needs requires a thorough understanding of their respective differences. Especially in design, appearance, and cost, especially if you are on a tight budget.

The first thing to consider is that built-in refrigerators offer a seamless look and high-end appearance for a new kitchen.

Many tailor to fit perfectly within your cabinet depth models. Providing a sleek and flush look for your high-end kitchen designs.

On the other hand, the major difference is that free-standing fridges come in a wide range of different sizes and styles.

But they typically stick out from the counter space, which may affect the overall aesthetics.

While a built-in unit tends to be more expensive than their freestanding counterparts, they are a good option.

They boast a customizable and space-saving design that could positively impact your kitchen’s functionality if there are any space limitations.

In contrast, free-standing refrigerators and free-standing models are generally more affordable and offer flexibility in terms of placement within the kitchen.

Carefully considering these factors along with personal preferences will guide you in making the right choice for your household. Any of the two options would be a great addition to your kitchen space.

Types of Refrigerators

close up view of a refrigerator built in

Built-In Refrigerator

Built-in refrigerators have a seamlessly integrated look with the rest of your kitchen cabinets. As their dimensions are limited to cabinet depth (24″). 

This built-in option for refrigerators come in various sizes, with some models having a width of up to 48″. 

They are attached to the wall behind them, providing fully integrated built-in models and a stylish appearance. 

The nice thing about this type of refrigerator is since they are made to fit within the rest of the kitchen cabinet space.

They usually offer a wide range of customizable options in terms of finish and paneling for a variety of door style options. 

However, this type of fridge tends to cost more than freestanding models and may offer slightly less usable space due to their cabinet-depth models design. 

Popular built-in fridge freezers configuration is the French door style.

Freestanding Refrigerator

built in refrigerator at home

A freestanding fridge freezer, on the other hand, is not attached to the wall or cabinetry. 

This allows for easier installation and greater flexibility in terms of placement within the small spaces or extra space within your kitchen. 

Freestanding appliances come in various configurations. Including top freezer, bottom freezer, side-by-side, fridge column, optional front panels, ice dispenser, wine cooler, and French door models. 

As opposed to built-in models, freestanding units are a better choice. They generally provide more usable space and are less expensive. 

Additionally, they are typically easier to move and replace, as they aren’t fixed to the kitchen cabinetry.

One option for those who desire the appearance of a built-in refrigerator but at a lower cost are counter-depth refrigerators

While counter-depth fridges still offer slightly less usable space than regular freestanding refrigerators. They are designed to sit flush with the surrounding cabinetry for a more integrated look.

Both built-in and freestanding refrigerators have their own merits and drawbacks.

The big difference is that built-in models offer a sleek, customized appearance and freestanding ones provide greater flexibility and value.

One of the most popular materials these refrigerators are made of is stainless steel.

Ultimately, it is a good idea to go over your personal preferences, budget, and kitchen layout in a new home before making the final decision between the two.

Once you finally make the decision, make sure to follow proper cleaning procedures for whatever fridge material that you purchase.

Design and Aesthetics

stand alone refrigerator in silver

Built-In Design

Built-in refrigerators, also known as fridge housing cabinets, offer a seamless design that integrates well with your kitchen cabinetry. 

This type of appliance is designed to fit flush with the surrounding cabinets. Providing a consistent depth of usually around 24 to 25 inches and widths ranging from 30 to 48 inches. 

Due to their custom fit, built-in fridges allow for a more cohesive and unified kitchen design.

Further, built-in refrigerators can be finished with matching fronts to achieve a sleek and custom look, aligning with the overall style of your kitchen. 

These kitchen appliances are available in various configurations, such as bottom freezer, side-by-side, or separate refrigerator and freezer units.

Another common built-in kitchen appliance is built-in dishwashers; they include spray arms, which help to clean your dirty dishes and can be designed to be full depth.

Freestanding Design

tall refrigerator built into kitchen

Freestanding refrigerators, on the other hand, are designed with more flexibility in mind. 

They come in a variety of styles and sizes. Including full-depth models that may protrude past your kitchen cabinetry and 24-inch depth models that can have a flush appearance with your cabinets. 

This variety of options allows you to choose a refrigerator that matches your cooking needs and complements your kitchen’s design, even a small kitchen.

One main difference and advantage of freestanding fridges are that they are the best option to be easily relocated if you need to move your appliance or redesign your kitchen. 

Additionally, while they don’t typically offer an integrated fridge design like built-in refrigerators, its free-standing counterparts, such as French door refrigerators, can still provide a stylish and premium look.

Moreover, many well-known brands offer both built-in and freestanding ranges for refrigerator options.

This allows you to choose a model that aligns with your design preferences. While still delivering the reliable performance and advanced features you expect from your appliance.

The most common design for built-in refrigerators are for those seeking a seamless and custom design that integrates perfectly with their kitchen cabinetry.

On the other hand, freestanding refrigerators provide more flexibility in terms of style, size, and relocation options. Making them a versatile choice for various kitchen designs.

Installation and Relocation

built in refrigerator at home

Built-In Installation

Built-in refrigerators are designed to seamlessly integrate into your kitchen cabinetry, providing a sleek and cohesive aesthetic. 

This type of installation may require extra money and professional installation help. As it involves customizing your cabinets and ensuring a proper fit for the appliance.

The back of the fridge will atachto your cabinet doors and it should fit the same counter depth, even if it has a shallow depth. 

Due to the complexity of the installation process, one of the most important considerations for built-in models tends to be more expensive than freestanding ones.

Both in terms of the appliance cost and installation fees.

Freestanding Installation

free standing refrigerator

Freestanding refrigerators, on the other hand, are unattached and do not require any customization to your cabinetry. 

These appliances come in various sizes, including a full-depth model that may protrude past your kitchen counters or 24″ depth models that are designed to align with your cabinets. 

The installation process for freestanding models is generally easier, faster, and more affordable compared to built-in models.

For game rooms, mini freestanding fridges are a popular appliance that people have for easy access to foods and drinks.

Ease of Relocation

As for relocation, freestanding refrigerators undoubtedly have the advantage. 

Their design allows them to move easily whenever you decide to change your kitchen layout or move to a different place. 

This flexibility makes freestanding models more suitable for those who rent or anticipate moving in the near future.

In contrast, built-in refrigerators are not easily relocatable due to their customized installation. 

Should you decide to remove or relocate a built-in refrigerator, it could involve additional repair and modifications to your cabinetry. 

It is important to consider your future plans and weigh the pros and cons of each installation type when making your decision.

Built-in and freestanding refrigerators both have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to installation and relocation. 

Built-in models offer a more aesthetically pleasing look but are more expensive and less flexible for relocation. 

Freestanding models, however, provide an affordable and flexible option for those who may need to move or rearrange their kitchen in the future.

Storage Capacity and Features

refrigerator in kitchen

Built-In Capacity

Built-in refrigerators fit seamlessly within your cabinetry, which influences their dimensions. 

Due to their integration with the kitchen cabinets, these appliances tend to be taller and wider than freestanding models, offering you more vertical storage space. 

Typically, built-in refrigerators can reach heights greater than 80 inches. Moreover, built-in fridges can have widths up to 48 inches if you require more storage capacity.

However, they are usually around 24 inches deep, which might limit their depth compared to some freestanding models.

Freestanding Capacity

Freestanding refrigerators offer flexibility in terms of relocation and installation. 

Typically, they are a full-depth model, which means they can protrude beyond your kitchen cabinetry for increased storage space. 

These models generally have more depth, allowing for a larger storage capacity with a smaller width compared to built-in models. However, they tend to max-out at widths of about 36 inches.

Special Features

white free stand refrigerator

Both built-in and freestanding refrigerators can offer unique features that enhance their functionality and aesthetic appeal. Some of these features include:

  • Glass Door: An elegant glass door showcases the contents of the refrigerator and adds to its overall design.
  • Air Purification: Some premium models, like the Sub-Zero PRO4850G, include air purification systems that help keep your food fresh for extended periods by reducing ethylene gas and odors in the fridge.
  • Panel-Ready: Many built-in refrigerators offer a panel-ready feature, allowing them to seamlessly integrate into your cabinetry design with custom panels.
  • Flexibility: Freestanding refrigerators have the advantage of being easy to move and relocate if necessary, offering greater flexibility in placement and kitchen design.
  • Custom-Made: Whereas some freestanding refrigerators are designed by third-party manufacturers, bespoke built-in appliances can be custom-made by experienced technicians, providing a premium look and feel to your kitchen.

When selecting a refrigerator or kitchen appliances for home use, consider factors such as storage capacity, flexibility, which has a longer lifespan, and the array of special features available to make an informed decision.

Final Thoughts

refrigerator surrounded by cabinets

When considering the choice between a built-in and freestanding refrigerator, it is important to assess individual needs and preferences.

Built-in refrigerators are often the best choice for modern kitchens. As they seamlessly integrate with cabinetry, offering a sleek and cohesive look.

Counter-depth models provide a streamlined appearance, aligning with the surrounding countertops for a more polished aesthetic.

On the other hand, freestanding refrigerators offer flexibility in terms of placement and can be easily moved if needed.

However, integrating a built-in refrigerator may require professional help. As it often involves modifying the fridge housing cabinet to achieve a perfect fit.

It is advisable to consult privacy policy and seek expert guidance to ensure proper installation and maximize functionality.

Ultimately, the decision between built-in and freestanding refrigerators should be based on personal style preferences, available space, and the desired level of integration with the overall kitchen design.

built in vs free standing refrigerator Pinterest image

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