Built In Refrigerators

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Built-in refrigerators tend to be the first choice of many interior designers and industry experts. Even the most fitting freestanding models can’t compete with the completely flush, integrated aesthetic of a built-in refrigerator. Whether you want to imbue your kitchen with a more upscale, high-end feeling, or simply require a more reliable integrated cooling system, a good place to start your search is to establish the needs of your kitchen, set budget limits, and do some essential reading on a few basic specs.

Top-3 Built-In Refrigerators

  • Configuration: French door
  • Total capacity: 19.7 cu. ft.
  • Freezer capacity: 6.34 cu. ft.
  • Configuration: Side-by-side
  • Total capacity: 24.3 cu. ft.
  • Freezer capacity: 8.56 cu. ft.
  • Configuration: Side-by-side
  • Total capacity: 29.5 cu. ft.
  • Freezer capacity: 10.28 cu. ft.

Things to Consider

Many brands that make built-in refrigeration systems attempt to keep the performance features to a more concise list, preferring to go with quality over quantity.

That said, some mid-level and top end models offer a great variety of functions and storage improvements, though many of those specs tend to overlap. In order to find the right built-in appliance for you, it’s important to weigh your priorities: do you prefer style over function or capacity over fancy temperature features?

Capacity

Average built-in refrigerators are generally larger than average freestanding models, though there are still plenty compact integrated units. Total capacity of built-in models ranges between 19 cubic feet and 30 cubic feet. It’s important to remember that the overall storage doesn’t reflect the respective size of the freezer.

Configuration

Though built-in refrigerators come in all available configurations, the most common types are French door and side-by-side built-in models. Which one is most suitable for you depends on the layout of your kitchen as well as your family’s eating habits.

Efficiency

This includes both the cooling performance and energy consumption. Some built-in units come with ENERGY STAR® certification, so you might look out for those models if you want to keep your utility expenses within reasonable margins. The cooling performance largely relies on compressors—whether there are single or dual evaporators—freezing power, interior temperature management, air filtration, and ice dispensers.

Review of the Built In Refrigerators

  • Specs

  • Configuration: French door
  • Freezer type: Bottom drawer
  • Total capacity: 19.7 cu. ft.
  • Freezer capacity: 6.34 cu. ft.
  • Exterior finish: White
  • Dimensions: 30’’W x 68,375’’H x 34.375’’D
  • Energy efficiency: 618 kWh/year
  • Features

  • More compact design
  • Humidity control
  • Flexible fresh cabinet storage
  • Bottom freezer drawer
  • Exterior water and ice dispenser
  • Interior ice maker

The Whirlpool WRF560SEHW is a French door refrigerator with 19.7 cubic feet of total capacity and produce preservation system.

With 3 spill proof glass shelves, 2 split humidity-controlled drawers and a spacious pantry, this Whirlpool refrigerator provides enough space for all types of products, whether it’s greens, dairy, or deli goods.

In addition, a slide-in shelf can be tucked away to fit taller bottles and mixing bowls, while the door storage features adjustable gallon bins to accommodate various configurations of condiments, dairy, beverages, and other pocket-fitting items. The main cabinet also comes with a factory-installed ice maker.

Equipped with the FreshFlow™ produce preserver, the fresh food cabinet facilitates the absorption of ethylene contained in some fresh fruits and vegetables. This helps slow down the process of ripening and ensures all produce lasts longer.

The pull-out 2-tier freezer has 6.34 cubic feet of storage, providing enough space for frozen goods and beverages in its two baskets, both of which are illuminated by the interior LED light for easier stocking. The added pizza pocket is a good place to keep pizza boxes and other pre-prepared meals in slim packaging.

Located on the left side of the cabinet, the exterior dispenser delivers purified water from the interior water filter supply and provides an easy access to the main control panel. Other console features include automatic defrost, door alarm, air and water filter indicator lights, control lock, night light, and temperature controls

With its pristine white finish, accessible reach-through handles, and counter depth design, this Whirlpool refrigerator is able to seamlessly fit cabinetry in most kitchen layouts.

  • Specs

  • Configuration: Side-by-side
  • Freezer type: Left compartment
  • Total capacity: 24.3 cu. ft.
  • Freezer capacity: 8.56 cu. ft.
  • Exterior finish: Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 42’’W x 84’’H x 28.125’’D
  • Energy efficiency: 818 kWh/year
  • Features

  • Improved produce preservation
  • Humidity control
  • Separate cooling
  • Flexible storage
  • Optional WiFi connection

The GE PSB42YSKSS is a side-by-side refrigerator with 24.3 cubic feet of total capacity and advanced water filtration system.

The fresh food compartment features 5 adjustable spill proof glass shelves, 5 adjustable door bins with one gallon storage, and 3 humidity-controlled drawers.

Designed for fruits, vegetables, and greems, the adjustable middle and bottom drawers are sealed to achieve better preservation, while the slimmer top drawer is best for snacks and deli products.

Moreover, the multi-shelf cooling system distributes air evenly within the compartment, maintaining consistent temperature throughout.

This GE refrigerator is equipped with advanced filtration system that uses NSF-certified MWF filters. The cartridges are replaceable and able remove trace pharmaceuticals from your water supply, including ibuprofen, atenolol, fluoxetine, progesterone and trimethoprim.

The left-side freezer compartment comes with 4 adjustable shelves, 3 door bins, and 2 utility baskets. The automatic defrost function saves you time and effort on manual defrosting, and the factory-installed ice maker produces enough ice to supply a houseparty.

Connected to the ice maker, the exterior dispenser can deliver filtered water, ice cubes, and crushed ice. The dispenser also features capacitance touch controls with additional child lock and door alarm functions.

Both refrigerator compartments are powered by independent cooling systems and have their own temperature settings that you can manually adjust on the console. Optional WiFi connect module can be purchased and installed for this model, making it compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT.

This is a smooth stainless steel refrigerator with reach-through handles and built-in installation suitable for full counter integration.

  • Specs

  • Configuration: Side-by-side
  • Freezer type: Left compartment
  • Total capacity: 29.5 cu. ft.
  • Freezer capacity: 10.28 cu. ft.
  • Exterior finish: Stainless steel with PrintShield™
  • Dimensions: 48.25’’W x 83.875’’H x 27.75’’D
  • Energy efficiency: 632 kWh/year
  • Features

  • Superior interior capacity
  • Exterior water filter and dispenser
  • Premium fresh cabinet storage
  • Extended produce preservation
  • Certified energy-efficient operation

The KitchenAid KBSD608ESS is a side-by-side refrigerator with 29.5 cubic feet of total capacity and a large freezer cabinet.

The fresh food cabinet, located on the right side, features 5 adjustable spill proof glass shelves, 2 full-width crispers with SatinGlide® rollers, a full-width pantry, and 5 door bins with gallon storage and a dairy pocket.

In addition, the ExtendFresh™ temperature system with produce preserver is able to prolong the freshness of your fruits, vegetables, and greens.

The large freezer cabinet holds 10.28 cubic feet of storage capacity and offers 5 shelves—3 of which are adjustable—2 baskets, and 3 adjustable full-width bins, allowing you to stock a variety of frozen foods and beverages.

This compartment also comes with the automatic defrost function. The factory-installed ice maker connects to the exterior water filter and dispenser, with the latter delivering crushed or cubed ice and chilled water in a much more efficient fashion.

The responsive touchpad console is located on the dispenser panel and provides easy access to temperature controls, status indicators, and other functions such as door alarm and Sabbath mode.

Coated with stainless steel and featuring matching bar handles, this tall and spacious KitchenAid refrigerator can serve as a superior upgrade of your regular built-in model. This is also an ENERGY STAR® certified appliance that consumes only 632 kilowatt hours per year.

  • Specs

  • Configuration: Side-by-side
  • Freezer type: Left compartment
  • Total capacity: 21.9 cu. ft.
  • Freezer capacity: 7.7 cu. ft.
  • Exterior finish: Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 35.75’’W in x 69.25’’H x 30.75’’D
  • Energy efficiency: 669 kWh/year
  • Features

  • Improved ice production
  • Humidity controls
  • Even cooling and faster freezing
  • Multi-stack drawer system
  • Flexible storage

The GE Café™ CZS22MSKSS is a side-by-side refrigerator with 21.9 cubic feet of total capacity and counter depth design.

With 14.24 cubic feet of dedicated interior capacity, the fresh food cabinet offers plenty of space on top of its 4 adjustable spill proof glass shelves and inside 4 clear door bins with one adjustable gallon storage pocket.

In addition, the quick space shelf improves stocking flexibility, while the dairy compartment in the door section ensures optimal preservation for eggs, cheese, and dairy beverages.

The 3-stack drawer system is located at the bottom of the fresh food compartment and features multi-level drawers, including the humidity-controlled middle drawer and the compact top drawer designed for snacks and deli products.

Located on the left side of the refrigerator, the freezer cabinet features 4 shelves, including 3 glass shelves, one slide-out shelf, and a sweet spot shelf for various frozen desserts. The door section has 4 storage bins, 3 of which have tilt-out design to accommodate frozen goods with different dimensions.

Near the top you may find the factory-installed ice maker as well as the ice storage bin, and underneath the main shelves there is a 2-stack drawer system designed for meat, seafood, and large packages of frozen food. The freezer comes with the Frost Guard defrost function and efficient LED lights for better visibility.

When it comes to temperature management, this Café refrigerator offers 4 electronic temperature sensors and a short air tower for more even distribution of cool air.

Connected to the interior water filtration system and the ice maker, the through-door dispenser is able to deliver filtered water and cubed or crushed ice right on the spot.

The dispenser is the location for upfront touch temperature controls and temperature display as well as additional functions such as quick ice, child lock, door alarm, LED dispenser light, and filter indicators.

The stainless steel exterior is matched with the smooth graphite gray dispenser and contoured doors, while the improved cabinet liner ensures a quieter performance.

  • Specs

  • Configuration: French door
  • Freezer type: Bottom drawer
  • Total capacity: 26.8 cu. ft.
  • Freezer capacity: 7.77 cu. ft.
  • Exterior finish: Black stainless steel with PrintShield™
  • Dimensions: 35.69’’W in x 69.875’’H x 36.625’’D
  • Energy efficiency: 710 kWh/year
  • Features

  • ENERGY STAR® certification
  • Humidity controls
  • Improved temperature management system
  • In-door ice maker
  • Exterior water and ice dispenser
  • Multi-level storage

The KitchenAid KRFF507HBS is a built-in refrigerator with 26.8 cubic feet of total capacity and a 2-tier bottom freezer.

Taking up 19.03 cubic feet of storage space, the main refrigerator cabinet features 5 shelves, 2 half-width humidity-controlled drawers, 6 door bins, and a full-width pantry with the FreshChill™ temperature management system.

Acting as a cover for the pantry drawer, the pull-out tray is spill-resistant and can be removed whenever you might need to optimize your storage space.

On the inside section of the right door, you may find the factory-installed ice maker aimed to produce ice in quantities enough to provide for a large family.

The pull-out bottom freezer drawer offers 7.77 cubic feet of storage, including 2 spacious drawers, a pizza pocket, and the In-Door-Ice® ice dispensing system designed to free up more space in the compartment. The freezer comes with the automatic defrost function, meaning there is no need for you to conduct manual defrosting.

Located on the left cabinet side, the exterior dispenser not only delivers filtered water and ice with measured fill, but also makes controlling your appliance much easier. In addition to temperature controls, the console features child lock, night light, and door alarm functions.

The black stainless steel finish of this KitchenAid refrigerator is coated with additional PrintShield™ layer to resist excessive smudging, while the smooth contour door and metallic reach-through handles complete the sleek integrated design. 

Conclusion

What is a built in refrigerator?

Refrigerators are generally divided into two types based on their style of installation: built-in and freestanding. Built-in refrigerators are designed to fit inside your counter space to be less protruding as well as provide a more flushed look in general. Built-in refrigerators are generally taller than freestanding models, reaching up to 85 inches in height, though many brands make 67-70-inch built-in units. In addition, built-in models come with 24-inch cabinet depth as opposed to regular protruding full-size freestanding refrigerators. The width of built-in models ranges from 28-30 inches and up to the broader 48 inches. While most built-in models tend to be more expensive than their freestanding counterparts, these refrigerators offer sufficient compensation for their pricing with superior durability and longevity of service.

What is the best built-in refrigerator?

The leading brands among mid-range and commercial top end built-in refrigerators are considered to be GE and KitchenAid. While GE supplies their built-in models with more features and cooling modifications, KitchenAid focuses on delivering more minimalistic yet reliable built-in refrigerating systems.

How long do built-in refrigerators last?

According to appliance manufacturers as well as independent testing groups, built-in refrigerators are designed to last for a period of 15 to 25 years.

Why are built-in refrigerators so expensive?

While the surface level answer might be a rather obvious one, since built-in refrigerators are, in fact, designed for built-in installation and require pricey custom adjustment for each individual kitchen, they can actually bring much more to the table than the basic concerns over style. One costly yet effective feature of many built-in refrigerators puts them in contrast with freestanding models: the application of two compressors. Such independent cooling systems are designed to service the refrigerator cabinet and the freezer separately to improve temperature regulation, minimize odors, and reduce the strain on hardware that standard single compressor systems experience. Other features that may influence the pricing are various modifiers of the main cooling system, notably dedicated humidity controls for the crispers, temperature-adjustable exterior drawers, turbo freezing systems, through-door dispensers with touchpads, additional pantries and ethylene-absorbing produce preservers.

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Aaron Black
Aaron Black
Hey there! My name's Aaron Black. I’m 34 and I've been repairing fridges for 15 years. As you know, some appliances may be too dangerous to fix on your own as you, and I’m here to save your time, money, and, maybe, even your life! Because I'm the man with Experience. If you have any questions, you may contact me via e-mail: [email protected]

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