What Is A Built-In Refrigerator?

What Is A Built-In Refrigerator

A refrigerator is one of the most important appliances that you will have in your home. Many people will go with the usual free-standing refrigerator, but what if you are looking for something more custom?

A built-in refrigerator offers more options for style, as well as more control over temperatures. They are taller than conventional refrigerators and sit flush with the cabinetry. This gives them a seamless look. They have more space for wine cabinets, that keep things at a different temperature.

While built-in refrigerators have more options and better-looking designs, they also come with larger price tags. We’re going to take a look at some of the pros and cons of having a built-in refrigerator, to help you make an informed decision.

If you’re looking for more control over temperature, and more space for your groceries, then a built-in refrigerator may be just the thing you’re looking for.

Types of Built-In Refrigerators

There are three main types of built-in refrigerators. Each one is set a little bit differently and has slightly different designs. All three are attached to the wall and are permanent.

  • Regular built-in
  • Overlay
  • Integrated

The regular built-in refrigerator slides into the cabinets and is attached to the back wall. There is no space between the two sides, giving it a seamless looking layout. The front of the refrigerator sticks out past the cabinets about 2 inches.

An overlay refrigerator is much like a regular built-in one. The difference is, that the face of the refrigerator is fitted with panels that match your cabinets. It is also attached to the back wall and sticks out 2 inches past the cabinets.

The Integrated refrigerator also has panels that match the cabinetry. However, unlike the overlay design, it does not stick out the two inches. Instead, it has an inset door, that is flush in every way with the cabinets. There are no visible vents, and it looks just like the cabinetry.

Is a Built-in Refrigerator Worth It?

You may be wondering if a built-in fridge is worth the price tag. You have to ask yourself, what are your needs? A built-in refrigerator has many advantages and offers way more options than a regular free-standing refrigerator.

They are much taller than free-standing refrigerators. They have much more space inside, and in some cases, have separate compartments for keeping things at different temperatures. Many built-in refrigerators come with a wine cabinet section. This helps to keep your wine at just the right temperature.

There is also the aesthetic that they provide. Each of the different types of built-in refrigerators, come with a unique style and design. The standard built-in, offers seamless installation. While overlay and integrated refrigerators, take it a step further. They are built to match the cabinetry with a completely flush and inset design.

How Long Does a Built-In Refrigerator Last?

Built-in refrigerators are considered permanent. They attach to the wall and have higher quality parts than a regular free-standing refrigerator. This means that if a part goes out, they can be replaced and repaired.

This keeps you from having to buy a completely new refrigerator. However, the parts can be pricey, and finding someone to work on them can be a pain. You pay 3-4 more times the amount for a built-in refrigerator, but it makes up for the price in convenience and design.

According to a 2018 survey, done by Consumer Reports, a built-in refrigerator lasts for 10 years, on average.

Pros and Cons of a Built-In Refrigerator

There are some pros and cons to having a built-in refrigerator. You must consider the amount of space needed, the extra options, and higher costs. Let’s take a look at what might make these refrigerators the right choice for you.

Built-in Pros Built-in Cons
The biggest pro to having a built-in refrigerator is the extra options that they provide. With temperature regulated compartments and more space. A built-in refrigerator comes with a high price tag. You will pay 3-4 times more than a free-standing refrigerator, but they last much longer and have better parts.
They have a smooth design, that makes them stylish and practical. They look good having flush cabinets. In some cases, their panels match the cabinets. Built-in refrigerators do not work so well in smaller kitchens. They are taller and wider than the average free-standing refrigerator, even though they are tucked in.
Since they are built into the middle of the cabinets, it gives you more space than a free-standing refrigerator. This is great for people who do not want a refrigerator sticking out. Some built-in refrigerators, require some demolition. A built-in refrigerator that is inset, often requires it to be installed inside of the wall, not just attached to it.
They become a focal point in your kitchen. A built-in refrigerator has an interesting look and design. They are eye-catching and make any kitchen look amazing. Because a built-in refrigerator is a luxury item, that has better parts, it can cost more to repair than your average free-standing refrigerator.

You will need to consider your budget, as well as how much room your kitchen has. A built-in refrigerator has many options, but those options cost extra, and in most cases, take up more space in the kitchen.

Costs for a Built-In Refrigerator

A built-in refrigerator costs much more than a free-standing refrigerator. They are made with higher quality parts and cost more to install. Since there are many options with a built-In refrigerator, the costs will vary.

You can expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 for a built-in design. The costs to maintain them are also much higher since they are made with luxury parts. They do last longer in the long run. However, you will still need to keep up with maintenance and problems that could arise with owning a built-in refrigerator.

Many people who own one, are happy with the options they provide and find them to be well worth the investment.

Layout Tips for a Built-In Refrigerator

The three types of built-in refrigerators all have slightly different layouts. Here are some tips that can help you decide which is right for you.

  • A standard built-in refrigerator is better if you do not want any demolition for the installation. They only require being attached to the back wall.
  • The overlay refrigerators have panels that match your cabinetry, if your home is a new build, consider buying the built-in refrigerator and the cabinetry at the same time.
  • The integrated refrigerator is perfect for anyone who wants their unit to have a completely seamless design. In some cases, you cannot tell the cabinets from the refrigerator.

Related Questions

Can a built-in refrigerator be free-standing?

The compressor on a built-in refrigerator is located at the top of the refrigerator as opposed to the bottom, such as on a free-standing unit. For this reason, they must be attached to the wall, and are not free-standing.

Why built-in refrigerators are so expensive?

Built-in refrigerators are larger, have more options, and in some cases, are built with decorative panels that match the cabinetry. These extra options, and styles, are the reason for the high cost of these refrigerators. They also have higher-quality parts.

Chad Kilpatrick

I'm a writer that is passionate about home improvements, remodeling, and renovating. I enjoy learning new skills and techniques and sharing them with others.

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