Integrated vs. Built-in refrigerator

Janice742March 7, 2013

Is there a difference?

Looking to do a semi-remodel of our kitchen. Depending on what the cost is to change it up, we are considering moving the placement of our fridge. We currently have a slide in KA - but would love the flush look of a built-in. Is there a diff. between the above?

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Most "integrated" fridges are "built-ins" but several manufacturers sell "panel ready" freestanding counter-depth fridges for what they call an "integrated." KitchenAid is one of them. To find others, I suggest you try searching on the AJ Madison website and use the search filters.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 15:55

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 11:01AM
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^ ^ ^

ALL integrated fridges are built in unless a manuf.'s marketing dept. is lying to the customer.

"Panel ready" is not and integrated fridge., Panel ready is not a built in fridge, though some built ins accept panels but are not integrated.

Fully integrated means that you cannot see any of the hinges, mechanicals, frames, feet, wheels, grilles ect...It looks just like a cabinet would, but has a fridge hidden behind doors and drawer fronts.

There is also a HUGE cost difference between a regular panel ready fridge and a built in / integrated one. Panel ready units can be had for @2-3,000 while built in models are typically $7,000 - $9000.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 6:48PM
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The biggest difference is in the looks. The built ins generally have the air intake grill on the top and that grill is hidden behind a panel. 20 years ago, the grill was made of metal and you saw the grill. Now the grill can be covered with matching panels. Even so, it still looks like a grill.

Integrated frigs have the air grill below the frig and the grill is hidden behind the door/drawer front of the frig. Therefore there is no grill panel shown on the front. Integrated frigs can look like a large cabinet. Built ins look like a built in frig mostly because of the grill placement.

Integrated frigs have hinges that are designed in such a way that the frig can actually be recessed from the side/top panels. This gives a fitted look to the frig by having the panels frame the frig.

The built in frigs are usually mounted flush with the adjacent panels. These are little differences but if you know what to look for, it makes a big difference.

Most integrated frigs are European brands except Sub Zero 700 series. Thermador Freedom series is essentially the Euro Bosch/Gagganeau twin even though it has an American brand name.

There are many American Built in manufacturers. KA, JenAir, GE, Monogram, etc

Panel ready frigs are counter depth frigs that come without the frig door skin. You put a panel that matches the cabinet on the door. They often stick out the depth of the door from the side panels surrounding the frig. Because of the hinges they cannot be either flush or recessed from the panels.

Good designers know how to get the most of the "look" you want from these frigs.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 8:34PM
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To fine it down, the only thing that that distinguishes a fully integrated fridge from anything else on the wall is the size of the handles and I've seen designs that minimize that aspect as well.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:26AM
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