Built-in Vs Freestanding Refrigerators – Choose What’s Best For You

Refrigerators basically come in two types: built-ins and freestanding. You can choose one or the other based on your needs and preferences. They each have their pros and cons and you should review all their basic characteristics so you can decide which type best fits in your kitchen.


First of all, you should know that built-in refrigerators are taller than the freestanding ones. They also have cabinet depth. They usually feature the compressor right on top and must be installed by professionals. The good part is that they can be installed flush with the cabinets and that’s great if you want a clean design.

They often feature optional front panels so you can match them with other elements in the kitchen. This allows you to opt for a custom look.

As for the configuration, built-in refrigerators usually come in bottom freezer and side-by-side designs.

The not so great part is that built-in refrigerators are usually more expensive than freestanding ones. If you also add the cost of installation then might realize this is not the best option for you. In addition, built-in refrigerators are difficult to move so you have to choose their location perfectly from the start.


Freestanding refrigerators give you a lot more freedom because they can be moved relatively easy so you can reorganize the kitchen any time you want. They are also less expensive than the other type and, if you need more interior space, there’s the full depth option.

However, freestanding fridges have a shorter life expectancy than built-in refrigerators so take that into consideration before making a decision. Also, they cannot be installed completely flush so you need to leave a few inches on either side.

Regular freestanding refrigerators come in four configurations: top freezer, bottom freezer, side-by-side and French door.

If you want the appearance of a built-in refrigerator but for less money then opt for a counter-depth fridge. Even so, they cost more than a freestanding one and they offer less usable space.

Published by in How To, Tips, and Advice, on February 14th, 2011



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