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best built in fridge

The Best Built-In Refrigerators in 2021

Author: Joanna Davis

Home & Kitchen Expert

best built-in refrigerator

Built-in refrigerators ensure a harmonious, clear, clean line in an existing kitchen unit. Whether you want to create a completely new kitchen unit or just have to replace a defective refrigerator, this is no problem with a built-in device! Built-in refrigerators are equivalent in quality to free-standing units of the same type. That is why the exact dimensions of the width, height, and depth of the space available for the built-in refrigerator are important when buying.

1. VBENLEM Built-in Stainless Steel

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2. Avallon AFR241SSRH Built-In Refrigerator

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3. EdgeStar CBR1501SLD Built-in Stainless Steel

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The built-in refrigerator

A refrigerator belongs to every kitchen – but how it looks, how big it is and what functions it has to offer, vary. Most households have a built-in refrigerator that blends harmoniously into the kitchen equipment and contributes to the feel-good factor of the kitchen. Built-in refrigerators have several advantages: they are available in different sizes and – with or without a freezer compartment – as required. You can find out what you should pay attention to when buying and what else you need to know about built-in refrigerators in our extensive guide.

Interesting facts about built-in refrigerators

Built-in refrigerators from Bosch, Bauknecht, AEG, Liebherr or Siemens offer a variety of functions. However, before you decide on a particular model, you should know some facts about the devices. Our information on energy efficiency, the optimal size and the correct use of built-in refrigerators with or without freezer compartment should make your purchase decision easier. You can find the right built-in refrigerator for you here quickly, easily and cheap!

What are the characteristics of a built-in refrigerator?

A built-in refrigerator is characterized by the fact that, unlike a free-standing unit, it is not free in the room, but is built directly into the kitchen unit. Its dimensions (width and depth) are standardized so that it can be perfectly integrated into the kitchen unit. Thanks to a front plate matching the rest of the kitchen, it blends seamlessly into the kitchen unit and forms a uniform front with it. At first glance, you cannot tell which device is behind which door. This means that the design of the refrigerator is irrelevant and therefore always fits into the existing kitchen unit.

You do not have to worry about a suitable location and only require a small amount of space, which is particularly recommended for small kitchens. Another advantage of built-in refrigerators over free-standing appliances is that dust and dirt cannot collect behind built-in refrigerators, which saves you time and work.

What sizes are available?

The size of built-in refrigerators can relate to the usable volume, i.e. the size of the interior or external dimensions (width, depth, height), where the width and depth are usually standardized.

Usable volume of a built-in refrigerator

The cooling volume and the freezing volume of a built-in refrigerator together give the usable volume. The more people live in a household, the greater this should be. As a guide, a requirement of 60 liters per person or the following overview applies:

Household size recommended usable volume

  • 1-2 people – up to 150 liters
  • 3-4 people – 150-250 liters
  • from 5 people – 250-350 liters

Dimensions of built-in refrigerators

While free-standing refrigerators (free-standing units) can be of any size, built-in refrigerators must be integrated into the kitchen unit. So that this works without any problems, regardless of the type of kitchen unit, built-in refrigerators are standardized and approx. 55 cm wide and deep. They fit into the 60 cm wide niches that are provided in kitchenettes for electrical appliances. The advantage of these standard sizes is that you can theoretically integrate the built-in fridge in every kitchen and thus easily take it with you when you move – even if you would leave the kitchen unit yourself.

There are different sizes for built-in refrigerators, whereby the size designation always refers to the height due to the uniform width and depth of the built-in appliances. Unlike free-standing refrigerators, which are available in all possible widths, heights and depths, there are basically four different height variants available for built-in refrigerators, which determine the total volume. The two most common sizes are 82 to 88 cm and 122 to 123 cm. There are also built-in refrigerators with a height of 144 to 145 cm and those with a height of 177 to 180 cm.

Which volume is available for cooling also depends on whether it is a built-in refrigerator with a freezer compartment or a built-in refrigerator without a freezer compartment. In the variant without a freezer compartment, the total volume corresponds to the cooling volume. This is mostly the case with the small models (82 to 88 cm). The slightly larger built-in refrigerators (122 to 123 cm) are available with or without a freezer compartment. For the larger fridge-freezer combinations (144-145 cm and 177-180 cm high), the total volume is divided between the cooling area and the freezer area. The respective volume of the individual areas depends on the total volume and the height of the built-in refrigerator.

Because of the uniform width and depth, the height largely determines the usable volume of a built-in refrigerator. In the case of a pure refrigerator, the total volume corresponds to the cooling volume. However, the latter can be reduced by an integrated freezer compartment. The following table provides an overview of the relationship between the refrigerator height, an integrated freezer compartment and the approximate usable volume:


Approximate usable volume in integrated freezer compartment

Height – Frezzer Compartment – Volume

  • 82-87 cm  – no – 8 to 150 liters
  • 122-123 cm – if available – 160 to 200 liters
  • 144-145 cm –  yes – 200 to 250 liters
  • 177-180 cm – yes – 280 to 350 liters

What are the electricity costs of a built-in refrigerator?

Built-in refrigerators also differ in their energy consumption. How much electricity a particular model consumes in operation can vary significantly. It is therefore worth paying attention to the energy efficiency class to protect your wallet and the environment. Older devices with energy efficiency class A consume an average of 400 kWh of electricity per year. With an electricity price of 30.4 cents per kWh (as of 2019), this costs 121.60 euros. For comparison: Devices with energy efficiency class A ++ consume only 320 kWh (97.28 euros) per year and those with energy efficiency class A +++ even only 160 kWh (48.64 euros) annually.

Especially if you have a very old device with high energy consumption, it is worth buying a more economical refrigerator. The acquisition costs have already paid for themselves within a few years. Whether and when the purchase of a new refrigerator is worthwhile depends on the power consumption of your old and the new device as well as the current power consumption and the service life.

A calculation example:
Your old fridge consumes 400 kWh of electricity a year. The new model consumes 120 kWh annually. This saves you 250 kWh of electricity every year. With an electricity price of around 30 cents per kWh, this results in annual savings of 75 euros. The cost of the new refrigerator is 450 euros. The purchase price paid for itself after 6 years.

General money and energy-saving tips for built-in refrigerators

  • choose the right size
  • o not place the refrigerator next to heat sources (such as a stove or dishwasher)
  • Do not cover the rear ventilation openings
  • set optimal temperature
  • if necessary, defrost regularly
  • replace defective door seals immediately
  • Always close the refrigerator door
  • only put cooled food in the fridge
  • Let the food thaw in the fridge

With or without freezer

With built-in refrigerators, a distinction is made between appliances with a freezer compartment and appliances without a freezer compartment. Whether you should prefer a built-in fridge with or without a freezer depends on your lifestyle and shopping habits. A built-in fridge with a freezer compartment or a built-in fridge-freezer combination is always an advantage if you like to shop or cook in stock and regularly freeze food.

However, if you do this only rarely or if you already have a freezer that is sufficient for your needs, you can do without an additional frost area in the refrigerator and you can confidently choose a built-in refrigerator without a freezer compartment.

When do you need a freezer and when do you need a freezer combination?

Built-in refrigerators differ not only in their height but also in whether they have an integrated freezer or not. There is no general answer to whether you should choose a built-in fridge with or without a freezer compartment. Both variants have specific advantages that you should compare with your lifestyle and everyday habits.

Do you like to buy, cook or freeze in stock? If so, we recommend a built-in fridge with a freezer or stand-alone freezer.

In the case of a built-in refrigerator with a freezer compartment, the frost area is integrated into the cold room but separated from it by a separate inner door. Depending on the model, food can be frozen in the freezer at up to -12 ° C. The volume of the freezer compartment is 15 to 35 liters – completely sufficient for ice cream, vegetables or pizza.

If you need more space for freezing, a built-in fridge-freezer combination is ideal. These have their outer door for the frost area, which is divided into different compartments (mostly drawers). The total volume of the freezer compartment is 35 to 74 liters and allows to freeze supplies for the whole family.

However, if you already have a freezer or freezer with a sufficiently large usable volume, you do not need an additional freezer compartment. In this case, you can save energy consumption for the freezer area and use the additional space for additional refrigerated goods.

What is an automatic defrost / no frost function?

Modern built-in refrigerators can do a lot more than just cool. A popular additional function for refrigerators is the automatic defrost function (also: automatic defrost) in the cooling area and the no-frost function in the freezer compartment. While the latter reduces the air humidity so much that no ice can form, the automatic defrost function allows the ice that forms to melt in the refrigerator. The melted water is drained off at the rear wall into an evaporation bowl attached to it.

An icy refrigerator or freezer not only limits the space inside but also uses more energy. It is all the more important to defrost the device regularly or to prevent ice formation from the outset thanks to the defrost or no frost function.

Which temperature settings are recommended?

The temperature can be set individually for each built-in refrigerator. This is usually done via a multi-stage controller, which is attached near the lighting and can be easily adjusted. A refrigerator temperature of 7°C is optimal. This usually corresponds to the lowest levels from 1 to 2 on the controller. Many consumers set their refrigerator too cold due to ignorance and excessive worry. This not only costs an unnecessary amount of electricity but can also affect the quality of the food.

The temperature inside the refrigerator varies by a few degrees. This allows you to optimally store different foods in the appropriate temperature zones and thus to extend their shelf life. Most built-in refrigerators have a vegetable compartment at the bottom with one large or two smaller drawers and three shelves above and various compartments in the door.

Some refrigerators also have a so-called zero degrees zone. In these areas, the temperature is around 0 ° C and the air humidity is particularly high. Vegetables, leafy salads and certain types of fruit can be stored here particularly well and for a long time without losing their taste, vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Depending on the manufacturer, zero-degree zones are called, for example, BioFresh, VitaFresh, PerfectFresh, LongFresh or ZeroFresh.

In some built-in refrigerators, there are so-called fresh zones as drawers. In these, you can vary the humidity as you like and adapt it to the food stored there. Because while a humidity of 90-95% keeps fruit, vegetables and lettuce fresh and crisp, a humidity of approx. 50% is optimal for eggs, dairy products, fish and meat.

When is an ice cube dispenser and water dispenser suitable?

Some models have an ice cube dispenser and water dispenser. This is a function that can be switched on and off and serves ice cubes for a refreshing drink in activated mode and chilled water in the deactivated mode. This function is particularly useful for parties or other occasions when you are expecting guests. If you also want an ice cube and water dispenser, you should take a look at the side-by-side refrigerators in our range. The stainless steel models, in particular, are not only functional, but they are also a visual highlight.

FAQ - Built-In Refrigerators

How is a built-in refrigerator assembled and disassembled?

Unlike a free-standing floor unit, a built-in refrigerator must be integrated and installed in the kitchen unit. This is not easy for a layman and requires sensitivity and patience. If you have neither the time nor the leisure to install the refrigerator, simply hire a specialist to do the work for you. However, if you do the installation yourself, you must follow the assembly instructions for the refrigerator. Basically, you should note the following with the individual variants of built-in refrigerators:

Built-in refrigerators: These models are very easy to install, as they are usually simply pushed under the kitchen unit. A front door is not provided in most cases.

Integrated built-in refrigerators: These devices “disappear” behind a front door in the kitchen unit. There are two variants for installing the door: fixed door installation (furniture and appliance door are firmly connected) and tow door installation (furniture and appliance door are connected with hinges).

Fully integrated built-in refrigerators: With these refrigerators, all operating elements must also be integrated into the outer door, which is very complex and requires previous experience. If you are not familiar with this, you should rather rely on the expertise of a specialist.

The following applies to all variants: Removal is easier than installation and can usually be carried out well without prior knowledge if you observe the following tips:

  • Remove all food, vegetable drawers and shelves before removing.
  • Remove the device from the mains and let it defrost for several hours if necessary.
  • Remove all covers and then all screws and, if present, hinges that connect the refrigerator to the casing.
  • Take the refrigerator out of the kitchen row as vertically as possible, do not tip!

How do you transport a built-in refrigerator?

It is best to transport a built-in refrigerator upright. Transported in this position, you can use the device again immediately afterward. In theory, lying transport is also possible, but only sideways and never on your back. Otherwise, there is a risk of damage to the cooling line and the grille. If you have transported the device horizontally, you must let it stand upright for at least 12 hours before using it again. This time is required so that the lubricant that has got into the cooling circuit while lying down can run back into the compressor.

Can you use a built-in refrigerator as a free-standing unit?

In theory, you can also use a built-in refrigerator as a free-standing unit. There is no technical reason to argue against it. However, built-in refrigerators have no feet, so the refrigerator door extends to the bottom of the device. You should take this into account when assembling and it is best to pay attention to a slightly elevated position and a precise vertical position.

Where can you find spare parts and accessories?

If you need spare parts or accessories for your built-in refrigerator, you will find a large selection for devices from various manufacturers in your expert technology market, including:

  • Fridge filter
  • Bottle racks
  • Storage boxes
  • interchangeable fronts

What is an interchangeable door hinge?

The door stop designates the side on which the door is attached to the device. Depending on the model, it can be on the left or right and determines the direction in which the door can be opened. With some refrigerators, the door hinge can be attached on the left as well as on the right, as you wish.

This is a so-called interchangeable door hinge. It gives you flexibility in where you install the refrigerator and allows you to always choose the possible (or your preferred) side. This is especially useful when you have to move or you want to redesign your kitchen.

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Last product update on 2022-09-29 | Source: Amazon Affiliate