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Sub-Zero Built-In vs. Integrated Refrigerators (Reviews/Ratings/Prices)

July 18th, 2017 | 4 min. read

By Eddie Jacob

We wrote this article back in 2012 when Sub-Zero first launched their new integrated refrigerators.

Five years later, Sub-Zero is still selling than their iconic built-in and integrated units. However, they are two very different products, so we will describe the difference and compare both of them.

sub-zero-built-in-refrigerator-BI36S sub-zero-36"-integrated-refrigerator BI-36UG-sub-zero-glass-door-refrigerator
Sub-Zero 36" Built-In Refrigerator Sub-Zero 36" Integrated Refrigerator Sub-Zero 36" Glass Door Refrigerator

First, let's talk about the company. 

In 1943, Westye F. Bakke built the first freestanding freezer in the basement of his Madison, Wisconsin home. Bakke was a businessman with a keen sense for trends and a wealth of knowledge about refrigeration.

Just two years later, he established the Sub-Zero Freezer Company in an old, two-car garage (it's funny how most of the appliance companies start that way).

Proprietary Features of Sub-Zero

Sub-Zero's mission has always been keeping food fresher for a longer period of time. Their vacuum seal keeps outside air from infiltrating into the refrigerator. Their two compressors keep the moist refrigerator air away from the dryer air in the freezer, so tastes and odors do not transfer.

The newer features are described in this video, and both of these refrigerators are identical with their feature packages (except the 648PRO).


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Sub-Zero Built-In Refrigerator / "BI" Series

Sub-Zero offers a slew of options in the “Built-In” category. This type of unit is available in a standard height of 84”, a standard depth of 24” and varying widths ranging from 30” to 48”.

These units vent from the top and the classic stainless steel grill helps provide a professional look to highlight the kitchen. Built-in refrigerators can be installed with custom overlay panels (custom cabinet look), with stainless steel door panels or with stainless frame and a glass door.

A flush inset design installation option also allows the unit to sit flush with surrounding cabinetry. There are 2 different handle options available: Pro and tubular.

Models and Prices

  • BI-36R (all refrigerator) - Start at $6,230 (also available with glass door)
BI-36R sub zero built in refrigerator
  • BI-36F (all freezer) - Start at $6,540
BI-36f built in refrigerator

Refrigerator with Freezer drawer options:

  • BI-30U - Start at $8,000 (also available with glass door)
BI-30U subzero built in refrigerator
  • BI-36U - Start at $8,140 (also available with glass door)

BI-36U subzero built in refrigerator

  • BI-36UFD - Start at $8,750
BI-36UFD subzero built in refrigerator

Side by Side options:

  • BI-36S - Start at $8,080
BI-36S subzero built in refrigerator
  • BI-42S - Start at $8720
BI-42S subzero built in refrigerator
  • BI-48S - Start at $9000
BI-48 subzero built in refrigerator
  • 648PRO / 648PROG – Start at $16530
648PRO sub zero built in pro refrigerator

Both the 36” and 42” bottom freezer units, now offer the option of “Internal Water Dispensers." 

The 42” and 48”, Side by Side units, are available with “Internal or External Water and Ice Dispensers.” 

Sub-Zero Integrated Series

In late 2012 / early 2013, Sub-Zero launched their new Integrated Refrigeration Series, which replaced their previous, 700 Series. With this release, their entire line of full-size refrigeration now lines up with the industry standard of 84” tall.  

This style unit offers numerous models, tremendous flexibility and can be used anywhere in the home. They merge seamlessly into the décor, with no visible hinges or grilles. Some models offer an upper cabinet refrigerator with freezer storage drawers, or these same style units can be “all refrigerator” or “all freezer”. These units are 84” in height, 24” in depth and available in 30” or 36” in widths.   

There are also all freezer or refrigerator “columns”. These units are also 84” in height, 24” in depth and 18”, 24”, 30” or 36” wide. Other integrated options include the release of their new, 24” fridge and freezer column, model# IC-24C. This unique seamless design, offers a single door, with both a fridge above and freezer below.


Other integrated options include wine preservation columns and under-counter refrigeration drawers.

Typically, integrated units are set up with custom overlay panels. Stainless steel panels are also available but must be purchased separately. Unlike the built-in units, these units vent on the bottom.

Here is a list of different Integrated Model Styles and Prices:

  • IT-30 (refrigerator with freezer drawers or all Refrigerator or all freezer) – Start at $7,350

it30 sub zero integrated refrigerator
  • IT-36 (refrigerator with freezer drawers or all Refrigerator or all freezer) – Start at $7,850

IT36 subzero integrated refrigerator
  • IC-18F / IC-24F / IC-30F / IC-36F (all freezer column / also available with ice-maker) – Start at $6,300

ic36F subzero intergrated freezer
  • IC-24R / IC-30R / IC-36R (all refrigerator column) – start at $6,540

ic36r subzero integrated refrigerator
  • New IC-24C (fridge with bottom freezer / single door / ice-maker optional) – Starts at $6,500

Here is a list of different Integrated Model “Refrigerator” Drawer Styles:   

  • ID-24R / ID-27R / ID-30R / ID-36R – starts at $3,920 (The 30” and 36” are also available with the “Air Purification System”)

Here is a list of different Integrated Model “Freezer” Drawer Styles:

  • ID-24F and ID-30F (ice-maker optional) – Starts at $3,900
Drawers are also available as “combination” fridge in the upper and freezer in lower:
  • ID-30C and ID-36C (ice-maker optional) – Starts at $4,280 

ID30C subzero integrated refrigerator drawers

Which Sub-Zero is Better: The “Built-In” or the “Integrated” Series?

First of all, the features are the same, so you are comparing aesthetics, prices, and total cubic footage. The integrated is more expensive but offers less cubic footage for less depth (21 vs. 19.7).

From an aesthetic point of view, you are comparing this. 

integrated vs. built in refrigerator

The integrated looks better in cabinets because it is designed to fit within the cabinet itself. Have a look in actual kitchens.

Integrated, with Custom Panels

subzero integrated refrigerator

Built-In, with Custom Panels

sub zero built in refrigerator

In stainless, it is less obvious. You may like the built-in better for the industrial look. You also have the more popular French door option in built-in only. You can also buy the built-in with a glass door as well.

Integrated, Stainless Steel

sub zero stainless steel integrated refrigerator

Built-In, Stainless Steel

sub zero stainless steel built in refrigerator

As I mentioned, the integrated is more popular due to the current trend of covering the refrigerator with a panel. For a stainless kitchen, the built-in may be better, but in the end it depends on your personal tastes.

Additonal Resources

Download our free Counter Depth Refrigerator Buying Guide with features, specs and inside buying tips to counter depth refrigerators. Well over 230,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our counter depth refrigerator buying guide

Related Articles

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 27, 2012 and has been updated for accuracy, freshness, and comprehensiveness.

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Eddie Jacob

Eddie Jacob has 15+ years of sales & consulting experience and is in the appliance sales department at Yale Appliance. He takes pride in total customer satisfaction and enjoys coaching youth soccer.

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Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.