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What’s the Difference Between a Built-In and Freestanding Refrigerator?

In this Article

does sub-zero make built in refrigerator

The type of refrigerator you choose for your kitchen shapes how the family interacts with food and household routines. You may not think there is much difference between a built-in and freestanding refrigerator, but there are pros and cons to both. Knowing which to choose depends on your lifestyle and your budget.

The Difference Between a Built-In and
Freestanding Refrigerator Revealed

Freestanding Refrigerators

A key difference between a built-in and freestanding refrigerator is the inherent design. A freestanding refrigerator is exactly what it sounds like. It is freestanding. Unattached. Not built into any furniture or cabinetry. It can be moved.

Some people prefer freestanding refrigerators for this reason alone, especially if they plan to move frequently and want to take the refrigerator with them.

Choosing between a freestanding and built-in refrigerator depends on how much you want to spend and your long-term vision for your refrigerator. Let’s dive into some pros and cons to help you sort through the options.


  • Typically more affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Can be placed anywhere
  • Can be installed in the cabinetry
  • Come in full and cabinet-depth models
  • Finished sides can be exposed
  • May be transported for repair or relocation


  • Maximum width of 36″
  • Shorter life expectancy
  • Full-depth models protrude out beyond cabinets

Does Sub-Zero Make Freestanding Refrigerators?

But, of course! Browse high-end Sub-Zero freestanding refrigerator options.

Model # PRO4850G48″ PRO Refrigerator Freezer with Glass Door

This new model incorporates the popular trend of having a glass door to view contents without opening the door. NASA-based air purification technology keeps the internal air free from mold, bacteria, ethylene, and viruses. Available in both built-in and freestanding options.

can a built in refrigerator be free standing
Photo Credit: Sub-Zero

Built-In Refrigerators

Now let’s explore the difference between a built-in and freestanding refrigerator by looking at the built-in option. So can a built in refrigerator be freestanding? No. They are literally built into the existing cabinetry, making the refrigerator a permanent fixture in the home. However, you have options with size and design, and some built-in models offer a freestanding version.

On the other hand, since a built-in model has longevity, you won’t need to worry about replacing it anytime soon.

That said, let’s dive in further to the pros and cons that outline the difference between built-in and freestanding refrigerators compared to the (freestanding) list above.


  • Built into the cabinetry or walls, providing a seamless design
  • Customizable to match the kitchen decor
  • Long lifespan
  • Permanently installed in the cabinetry
  • Taller than freestanding and flush with cabinet depth
  • Available in sizes wider than 36″


  • More expensive than freestanding refrigerators
  • Cannot be moved easily

Does Sub-Zero Make Built-In Refrigerators?

Sub-Zero produces a legendary built-in refrigerator line.

Model # BI-42UFDID/O42″ Classic French Door Refrigerator/Freezer with Internal Dispenser

This unit is a classic in style yet modern in technology. You have the ability to monitor and control remotely with wifi connectivity. Panel ready, this unit blends beautifully into your kitchen. Features include an internal dispenser, plenty of storage, and exceptional food-preservation technology.

differenct between a built-in and freestanding refrigerator

Don Bacon Appliance has been providing exceptional service to the Cincinnati and surrounding areas for years. Specializing in Sub-Zero appliance repair service means our technicians are factory-authorized to perform service and repair that you can trust.

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