Stainless steel KitchenAid® french door refrigerator built into a modern kitchen

What is a Built-In Refrigerator?

If you’re giving your kitchen appliances an upgrade or designing a new kitchen, consider the premium look of a new built-in refrigerator. Built-in refrigerators are installed inside cabinets, allowing for a seamless integration with surrounding counters and cupboards. Use this guide to compare other refrigerators with built-in options to help you decide which style best fits the way you make.

KitchenAid brand offers a range of built-in refrigerator options that help you keep all your ingredients fresh while making a stylish statement in the kitchen.

Side-by-side image of black stainless steel and stainless steel french door refrigerators

What’s the difference between a built-in vs freestanding refrigerator?

The main difference between freestanding and built-in refrigerators is installation. Freestanding refrigerators can be placed nearly anywhere with the proper power and water hookups. Built-in refrigerators are installed within cabinets and secured to the wall for a more permanent installation. Freestanding refrigerators also come in full and counterdepth options that range between 24–36 inches in depth, while built-ins are typically 24–27 inches deep. Both refrigerator types offer a range of sizes and features to help keep your ingredients fresh and easy to find.

Side-by-side image of black stainless steel and stainless steel french door refrigerators

What’s the difference between a built-in vs counterdepth refrigerator?

While both built-in and counterdepth refrigerators are more shallow in depth to sit nearly flush with cabinets and countertops, the main difference is again the installation style. Built-in refrigerators are secured to a wall within your cabinets for a more permanent installation, while counterdepth models can be installed as a freestanding refrigerator.

Another difference between built-in and counterdepth fridges is that built-in refrigerators can come in wider sizes. This extra width adds capacity to your refrigerator, allowing for ample space for your favorite snacks and fresh ingredients so they don’t get lost in the back of the fridge.

Stainless steel french door refrigerator built into a rustic wooden kitchen

What is an integrated refrigerator?

Integrated refrigerators, like built-ins, are installed directly into your kitchen’s cabinetry. The goal of an integrated refrigerator is to be completely flush with cabinetry, so models are typically more shallow in depth than built-in fridges. In addition to shallow capacity, integrated refrigerators often have inset handles that keep the refrigerator from protruding from its surroundings with the doors closed.

Is a built-in fridge the same as an integrated fridge?

Built-in and integrated fridges are very similar refrigerator types. The main difference between the two is the fridge depth and handle type. Integrated fridges tend to be more shallow than built-ins and often have inset handles, while built-in fridges offer a variety of handle styles. Both options create a premium look in any kitchen, combining sleek style with modern function.

Man cooking in a kitchen with a black panel-ready french door refrigerator

What are the benefits of a built-in refrigerator?

Benefits of a built-in refrigerator include: 

  • Seamless appearance offers a high-end, gourmet kitchen style

  • Panel-ready models allow for wall-to-wall cabinet look

  • Select built-ins are available up to around 48 inches wide

  • Can fit in almost any kitchen

  • Enhances the flow of your kitchen by taking up less floor space
Black French door refrigerator in a modern kitchen

Which kitchens are best suited for built-in refrigerators?

The more permanent installation of a built-in refrigerator is perfect for a custom-designed kitchen layout and can be enjoyed for years. You can customize your kitchen even further when you select a panel-ready model that allows a custom-made panel to be installed on the front of the appliance for a streamlined wall-to-wall cabinet look.

Though it is always easier to replace an old fridge with a similar style, built-in refrigerators can fit in most kitchens. If you’re replacing a freestanding fridge with a built-in model, you may have to reconfigure some of your kitchen cabinets to accommodate the new fridge.


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