What is the difference between a built-in refrigerator & a free-standing?

Updated February 21, 2017

Appliances are usually expensive, so choosing between a built-in or a free-standing refrigerator is an important decision. By learning about both refrigerators, you may be able to make your choice based on what each has to offer.

Built-in Refrigerator

A built-in refrigerator is a speciality refrigerator that is built flush with the cabinetry in your kitchen. This type of refrigerator is built to the same depth as adjacent kitchen counters and other fixtures.

Free-standing Refrigerator

A free-standing refrigerator is not built in to your cabinetry and doesn't require custom installation. A free-standing refrigerator is free of support or attachment and therefore, is self contained.

Built-in Pros

Some kitchen manufacturers and suppliers give you the option to install custom front panels to match your cabinetry so that the refrigerator blends in with your cabinetry.

Built-in Cons

The cost of a built-in refrigerator and the cost of installation are higher than that of a free-standing refrigerator, as it must be integrated into your kitchen cabinetry design. The inside of a built-in refrigerator is shallow and, therefore, less spacious, and because they're wide, built-in refrigerators are not space-efficient.

Free-standing Pros

Free-standing refrigerators are generally less expensive than built-ins because they usually do not have to be customised to fit into your kitchen. This type of refrigerator is simpler to install and easier to remove and replace.

Free-standing Cons

A free-standing refrigerator may not be as visually appealing as a built-in refrigerator, as it is not designed to be integrated with your cabinets or decor. If you purchase the wrong size, you might end up with a refrigerator that is either too small or too big for your kitchen.

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About the Author

Veronica Romualdez has over 10 years of writing experience, which includes thousands of articles that have been published online as well as marketing copy for online stores. She's written e-learning/training material and technical and instructional manuals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and completed a course in interior design.