Pros and Cons of a Built-In Fridge. Is It Worth the Money?

Built-in household appliances are becoming more and more popular, but some people still doubt whether everything can be built-in and whether each device will be convenient to use if it is hidden behind furniture fronts. People are asking a lot of questions about built-in refrigerators. Let’s see what their pros and cons are and you will see whether built-in fridges are worth the money.

Why are built-in refrigerators so expensive? Built-in refrigerators are on average more expensive than free-standing refrigerators. Manufacturers explain this by the complexity of the design and the cost of additional thermal insulation and by the complexity of the installation of built-in models. However, practice shows that they are very convenient to use, besides, built-in models provide more opportunities for creating a really interesting interior in the kitchen.

You should not treat a built-in fridge as an item sewn into furniture. The operating conditions of such equipment are more severe and difficult. It requires additional ventilation, and the thermal insulation layer must be thicker.

Pros and Cons of a Built-In Fridge

Pros of a Built-In Fridge:

  • Reduced noise level. During operation, most refrigerators make a characteristic noise. The built-in unit has external panels in the form of a cabinet, which hide it from public view. They also act as additional noise protection. Therefore, this unit is practically silent.
    The noise level is reduced due to the absorption of sounds by surrounding panels or other similar objects.
  • Economy. The walls of the built-in fridge have additional thermal insulation.
  • Invisibility. Those who are used to considering all the details of the interior of the room to the smallest detail, first of all, think about installing such a model in the kitchen. Thanks to the built-in, the unit becomes almost invisible and goes well with the general interior of the room.
  • Versatility. It has quite compact parameters. This allows it to be used not only in different rooms but also in different conditions. For example, it is perfect for a kitchen with a small area.
  • Compatibility with the interior of any kitchen, especially for a complete installation.
  • Reduction of electricity consumption due to thermal insulation, which reduces the impact of external heat on the unit.
  • Full functionality. There is an opinion that the internal volume of free-standing devices is slightly bigger, this is not entirely true. If you buy premium built-in refrigerators, they will be completely identical in volume with equal dimensions.
  • The desire of manufacturers to equip such models with the most advanced technological developments.

Cons of a Built-In Fridge:

  • Cooling the inner compartment requires increased energy consumption since air circulation around the built-in refrigerator is difficult. Thus, the efficiency indicated among the advantages may be not as obvious.
  • The wear of the machine parts is increased by the high load required for effective cooling. As a result, the durability of the device is reduced.
  • Not space-saving. The requirements for the thickness of the insulating layer and ventilation lead to the fact that the amount of space required for installation may exceed that of a single device. As a consequence, space savings are also relative.
  • High price. Built-in fridges are more expensive due to installation costs. The high price is a disadvantage of built-in refrigerators. Their cost is an order of magnitude more expensive than standard models.

The features of built-in refrigerators include:

  • Versatile equipment design. Most conventional refrigerators are light in colour. And when installed in any kitchen, they will still stand out. The built-in refrigerator allows you not to disturb the harmony of the interior. It will not differ from the rest of the furniture, it can be made with the same shade as the countertop.
  • Most often, the built-in refrigerator is smaller than the freestanding. But at the same time, you can easily place all the products in it.
  • Modern models of built-in fridges can be installed not only at home but also in an office space.
  • The refrigerator is almost closely mounted in the furniture. Therefore, when the characteristic noise appears, it is difficult to find the place of a collision between the walls of the equipment and the furniture panel.
  • Complicated cleaning process. Considering that the refrigerator needs periodic cleaning not only inside, but also on the back (compressor, fan), this type of equipment is not very easy to maintain. It cannot be moved like a normal refrigerator. To get to the equipment for cleaning or repair purposes, it must be lifted and taken out, or a special stand must be used for this.
  • In the complex, the cabinet along with the refrigerator is practically stationary. Moving it is impossible without much effort, mostly taken only for repair or installation of another unit.
  • Different size. If there is a need to install a larger refrigerator, then the furniture will have to be made for it differently.

What’s the Difference Between Integrated and Built-In Refrigerators? [Pro Refrigerator FAQ]

Should You Buy a Built-In Refrigerator? Are Built-In Fridges Worth It?

In order to make the right decision, you need to understand your needs and decide what exactly you want to get in the end.

It is worth buying a built-in fridge if:

  • When arranging the kitchen, there were difficulties with the selection of furniture. There are owners who strive to achieve the perfect interior. But sometimes it is difficult to find a refrigerator that will fit perfectly into a certain design. Built-in hardware solves this problem easily. It can even be picked up under the countertop.
  • You are ready to accept that the dimensions of the refrigerating chamber will be smaller than in standard models. But at the same time, the refrigerator will look perfect in the general interior of the room.
  • You originally planned to hide the refrigerator from public view and make it invisible. You do not want the unit to be thrown into the eye and stand out from the general background.

You should not buy such a built-in refrigerator if:

  • Various additional parameters are important for you such as electronic control, homemade soda preparation, etc. Built-in refrigerators do not have such additions.
  • You spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing meals and need a lot of space to place food and cooked meals. As already noted, the capacity of such a refrigerator may be slightly less than in the standard version.
  • The functional qualities of the equipment are more important to you than its appearance and design. You are not going to match its design to the countertop or the overall kitchen interior.
  • You planned to save money and do not want to overpay just for the feature of the refrigerator to become “invisible”.

How Long Should a Built-In Refrigerator Last?

On average, built-in fridges last from 10 to 15 years. However, it all depends on the brand and how well you look after the fridge.  

A refrigerator is not a cheap purchase. Therefore, you must be interested in making this irreplaceable device work as long as possible. You can extend its lifespan up to 20 years just by following simple tips.

  • Clean the condenser from dust.
  •  Fill the built-in refrigerator correctly. The more food there is in the refrigerator, the less too cold air there is in it. No need to fill the refrigerator to overflowing. This will prevent efficient cooling of every food you keep in it. Try to distribute the contents evenly throughout the refrigerator.
  • Find the right place for the built-in refrigerator.
  • Keep the built-in refrigerator door seal clean.
  • Organize the food in the refrigerator correctly. Correct placement will not only help you easily find the product you want and not keep the door open for too long (which is why the refrigerator will undoubtedly deteriorate). In different zones of the built-in refrigerator, the temperature is not the same, therefore, the recommendations must be followed in order not to overload the device.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Built-In Refrigerator?

The cost of the installation of a built-in fridge varies from 500$ to 2500$. Installation price also includes the following works:

  • Unpacking equipment.
  • Preparation of equipment for installation. Preparation of fasteners for installation.
  • Preparing furniture where the refrigerator will be installed.
  • Installation of a built-in refrigerator in a niche, using the fasteners included in its kit.
  • Connecting the refrigerator power cable to the power supply using an electrical outlet.
  • Testing equipment for performance, showing the client the basic functions of working with this equipment.
  • Cleaning the place of installation of equipment from packaging material and debris.

Built-in Refrigerator Design

It is important for each customer to remember that in the store most built-in refrigerators are presented with a very modest design. This is due to the fact that they acquire their final appearance only after installing decorative panels on the surface. Therefore, you first need to choose a refrigerator that is suitable in function and size and only then take care of the design of this very part of the structure, which can be made in any colour and style.

The built-in refrigerator, perfect in appearance to all kitchen furniture, will be a great addition to it. The cost of the discussed models is slightly higher than that of the standard ones, but this moment is compensated by the convenience, noiselessness and high ergonomics of the model.

Are Built-In Fridges Worth It?

Whether it is worth buying a built-in refrigerator or a regular one depends on your own preferences and interior features. The above-listed pros and cons are the necessary characteristics of the units as a whole.

If we talk about the features of the appearance, then it directly depends on the room where it will be located. For example, for a separate kitchen in a living room, with sufficient space in a modern style, there are decent ready-made models. Some are distinguished by interesting colours, patterns on the panel, modern electronic scoreboards. That is, pretty good models will successfully fit into the interior.

In rooms that, in principle, do not provide for the placement of a refrigerator (office, study), of course, the hidden type will be better in choice.

Built-in refrigerators will be indispensable when the style of the kitchen simply does not harmonize with household appliances. For example, combining a kitchen and a living room in one room and making them in a specific style, which is not combined with modern household appliances. For example, country style with vintage furniture; classic interior with antique furniture and pompous crystal chandeliers. It is clear that in such cases one really wants to hide the badly needed technique so that it does not spoil the overall picture.

Built-in appliances create additional comfort in operation, and the disadvantages are compensated by the possibility of creating a unique design. But before deciding to purchase a built-in refrigerator, experts recommend analyzing the feasibility of such a purchase, assessing the needs and requirements for this type of device.

Who Makes the Best Built-In Refrigerators?

Built-in models in the refrigerator market are a minority, even though they are becoming more and more popular. Liebherr is considered to make the best built-in refrigerator. Refrigerators of the Swedish company Asko are of very good quality. However, these fridges are very expensive. If you are looking for something less expensive, then you should opt for built-in fridges of these brands:

  • Smeg,
  • Sub-Zero,
  • Jenn-Air,
  • Fisher & Paykel,
  • Hotpoint-Ariston,
  • Gaggenau,
  • Siemens.

Which Is Better — a Built-In Refrigerator or Free-Standing?

There are models that look great even without building-in. Check out the two-chamber options, solid digitally controlled models with chilled water supply. Manufacturers are working on the coating, designers are trying to make modern household appliances more attractive. Sometimes a single appliance looks better than a large cabinet.

Undoubtedly, the built-in refrigerator is suitable for a complete redesign of the kitchen design. If the headset becomes the main decoration and the owners carefully select every detail so that everything is in the same style, then you cannot do without a built-in refrigerator, oven and dishwasher.

The built-in refrigerator looks cosier. In addition, you don’t have to bother with design at all (no one will see it anyway), but focus only on technical advantages. And it often happens that all the functions are fine, but the appearance is completely inappropriate.

The built-in refrigerator will solve the problem of compatibility between the interior design and the “exterior” of the refrigerator. The built-in refrigerator is practically inaudible due to the walls surrounding it.

Another great plus is compatibility. If you don’t have a place for a refrigerator in the kitchen at all, then the built-in one will perfectly fit, for example, into the hallway or even the room, because it does not look like a refrigerator: rather, it is just a cabinet, at first glance, though.


I am passionate about making my home a better place and I want to share all my knowledge with you.

Recent Posts