Built-in Fridge vs Standard / Recessed

njgolfnutFebruary 6, 2012

All, I've been lurking in the kitchen and appliance forums for a few weeks. Just about the embark on a remodel and I've been reading and searching the site for tips and recommendations. The biggest question I have right now is the built-in Fridge versus a standard size that can be recessed in the wall to make it cabinet depth. We currently have a 48 inch KA but we will be moving the fridge and I'm thinking of a standard size fridge that can be recessed in the wall. It would save me $4-5k. So from that standpoint, a no-brainer. But what am I missing? Are built in's much more superior? Asthetically they look great, especially if you want the custom panels, but really wondering if it's worth the extra cost when I can do the recessed standard for a lot less money.

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The main drawback for the standard recessed fridge is that it will not be able to ventilate properly.The compressor will work harder(noisier),cost more to operate than its energy guide would suggest,and compressor will fail earlier than anticipated. Most people who have done it don't seem to mind the noise and the extra operational/repair cost will not equal $4-5K over the lifespan of the fridge.

Builtins tend to be higher end and have nicer bins and drawers,sometimes better lighting like LED,ulta-violet air scrubbers like on Sub-Zero, no frost options, better temperature consistency overall,24 remote monitoring via wifi on Miele, NSF type SS interiors on Gaggenau and Northland and other high end features.

Plus they look cool and make your kitchen look high-end :)

Still,a standard recessed fridge is a better value vis-a-vis the built-in fridge as almost all standard products are versus luxury products.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 3:45PM
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I'll have to check the spec sheets on some of the units. I thought most of the new models have the coils on the bottom and vent out the front. Will certainly check into the ventilations issue. Thanks for the heads up.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Just in case anyone is intereseted, I spoke with an appliance person yesterday regarding this question. Ventilation is not an issue, it's the hinges. You can't recess a standard fridge to make it flush because the doors need room to open. In addition, you need a big enough wall for to do the recess. Our wall is too skinny. Built in it is.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 10:10AM
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Well, it depends.

Some fridges can sit flush (or nearly so) to surrounding cabinets and the doors will open just fine. Many won't. But the carcass can sit flush with just the doors protruding and they will fit fine (if the countertops don't stick out too much).

If you want that flush "Look, Ma! No fridge!" look, then you have to pay the big bucks. If having the doors out a bit is not a problem, then you can spend the money on something else.

I saw a KA SxS non-built-in inside a cabinet box flush with the cabinet sides. It opened and closed with no problems, though I think if you needed to swing the doors more than 120* (to remove drawers) you might have to pull it out an inch or two. It's on rollers.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 6:25PM
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