Differences Between Freestanding and Built-In Refrigerators

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Refrigerators stand out as one of the most frequently used kitchen appliances. Even for those less inclined towards cooking, the indispensability of a fridge is hard to overlook. When undertaking a kitchen remodel or designing a new one, understanding the distinctions between freestanding and built-in refrigerators is crucial for choosing the right fit for your space.

Types of Refrigerators

Various refrigerator styles and designs abound, featuring attached freezers, external water and ice dispensers, and even windows for a sneak peek without opening the door. However, a critical consideration in kitchen design lies in the choice between freestanding and built-in styles.

Freestanding Fridges

A freestanding fridge, as the name suggests, is a standalone kitchen appliance that can be placed anywhere with suitable space and proper hookup. These vissani freezer refrigerators come in diverse styles, but the common thread is their mobility without requiring professional assistance. Some kitchens may have designated cabinet areas for placing freestanding fridges, but it’s essential to note that these refrigerators are still classified as freestanding.

Built-In Fridges

Conversely, a built-in fridge fits into a specially designed opening in your kitchen cabinetry, allowing its main body to remain concealed. Terms like “overlay” or “integrated” may also be encountered when exploring different refrigerator models; these essentially imply that the fridge will seamlessly align with the rest of your cabinets or even blend in entirely.

Popular Fridge Styles

Both freestanding and built-in fridges offer a range of common styles, including:

  • Top mount—freezer on top of the fridge
  • Bottom mount—freezer below the fridge
  • French door—two-door access to the fridge, with the freezer possibly below
  • Side-by-side—fridge on one side, freezer on the other
  • Column—full-size refrigerator only, possibly with a separate matching freezer unit
  • 4-Door—French door fridge on top, with separate freezers below

Choosing a Door Style

When deciding on a fridge style, consider your usage patterns. For instance, if bending over is challenging, a bottom-mount freezer might not be ideal. Baking enthusiasts might prioritize space for large baking sheets, while those who love hosting could find an exterior water and ice dispenser essential.

Comparing Freestanding and Built-In Fridges

While both freestanding and built-in fridges offer similar styles, distinctions arise in areas like maintenance, price, and kitchen design options.

Appearance and Design

Built-in or integrated refrigerators hold particular appeal for seamlessly blending into the kitchen, providing a high-end, luxurious appearance. Depending on the chosen style, built-in fridges may even incorporate additional features like wine coolers.

Freestanding fridges, though unable to vanish into cabinets, still present an attractive appearance. They are available in finishes such as stainless steel and slate, offering a facelift to your kitchen without the complete integration of built-in options.

Installation and Maintenance

Unlike freestanding refrigerators, installing an integrated or built-in fridge requires the expertise of a professional due to specialized design components. Repairing such refrigerators also necessitates the skills of a certified technician rather than an ordinary repairman.

The relative ease of working with freestanding fridges is attributed to their mobility; they can be moved for unplugging, and repair parts are more readily available due to their commonality. On the contrary, finding repair parts for integrated fridges at local hardware stores might prove challenging.

Size and Depth

While both freestanding and built-in fridges can be sizable, a significant distinction lies in fridge depth. Built-in or integrated fridges are typically cabinet-depth, around 24 inches, ensuring a flush alignment with surrounding cabinets. In contrast, freestanding fridges are usually full depth, reaching up to 36 inches.

While the convenience of not having to reach deep into the fridge is appealing, consider that exceptionally large platters and baking trays may encounter difficulty fitting into a built-in refrigerator.

Other Considerations

Built-in refrigerators are an excellent choice for cooking enthusiasts and for increasing home value. However, they may lack certain features commonly found in freestanding fridges, such as water and ice dispensers. The seamless integration of built-in fridges with kitchen cabinets prohibits the inclusion of visible dispensers, preserving the overall aesthetic. Nevertheless, built-in fridges often compensate with additional features like multiple freezers, wine coolers, or filtered water dispensers inside the fridge.

Another notable difference is the lifespan of built-in fridges, which tend to outlast other types due to their higher initial investment cost. Their durable design underscores the importance of having a certified technician handle any maintenance requirements.

Choosing the Perfect Refrigerator

For those seeking a built-in refrigerator, Town Appliance offers an impressive selection in-store or through our online platform. We proudly carry top-of-the-line brands such as Thermador, Bosch, Liebherr, and Bluestar, offering a diverse range of colors, door styles, and other design options to meet your preferences.

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