Integrated refrigerators have now replaced the built-in top compressor refrigerators as the premium refrigerator of choice. Manufacturers have driven some demand because they pass stringent energy efficiency laws.
However, you may like integrated refrigerators. They become indistinguishable from the cabinet itself.
Sub-Zero and Thermador really dominate this niche for different reasons. We will look at both companies, both products, and then compare the two at the end. But first, let's fully explain what an integrated refrigerator is.
Quite simply, an integrated refrigerator is the shallowest cabinet depth refrigerator. The door and handle will protrude from a regular cabinet depth refrigerator. Integrated refrigerators do not protrude, so they look flush like your cabinets.
There are many sizes at 18, 24, 30 and 36 inches, so you can customize your refrigerator and freezer to any specification.
Now, let's look at Thermador and Sub-Zero.
Thermador has an impressive history of innovation in the appliance industry. Founded in 1916 by William E. Cranston, they were once known for their portable and built-in heaters. Thermador invented the downdraft and wall oven.
In fact, Thermador was the first to market "integrated" as a category in multiple sizes. Their real success is from their 1,2 free rebate program, where you can receive a free dishwasher and hood with qualifying purchases.
Their integrated refrigerators are manufactured in Turkey.
Thermador 30" Refrigerator Column T30IR800SP - $4999
- ALL LED sidewall and theater lighting
- Accepts custom or stainless steel panels
- Reversible Door Swing
- Dedicated compressor and evaporator
- FreeFlow® Cold Air System - Air channel in the door ensures that items stored on the door are as cold as on the shelves
- Electronic controls for precise temperature management
- FlexTemp® Drawer optimized for fish, meat and produce
- Carbon air filter reduces odors and keeps air clean and fresh
- Full-width glass shelves with metal trim
- Full extension drawers at 90° door opening angle
- Gallon door bins
- SuperCool - Chills food quickly
- Door open alarm
- ENERGY STAR® Qualified
- 17.2 Cu. Ft.
Thermador offers theater lighting, which illuminates the refrigerator with LED lights located on both sides of the unit. This makes it easier to find food in your stocked refrigerator.
The “Freedom” Hinge allows the column to hold over 200 pounds on the door. The FreeFlow Cold Air, a vent on the door, circulates air to maintain the temperature of the fridge.
Sub-Zero, founded in 1945 in Madison Wisconsin, is the second largest family-owned appliance company in the world after Miele.
Sub-Zero was the originator in the built-in refrigeration market. It gained popularity due to its dual refrigeration system. This method relies on two separate cooling systems for the refrigerator and the freezer to eliminate taste and odor crossover.
They were also the first to design the integrated refrigerator in 1994 but at the odd 27-inch size. It was discontinued a few years ago.
In 2014, Sub-Zero introduced their new integrated refrigerators at the standard 18, 24, 30, and 36-inch widths with an internal dispenser on select models, and a new water and air purification system.
Sub-Zero is produced in the US.
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Sub-Zero 30"All Refrigerator Column IC-30R - $6790
- 3 adjustable spillproof glass shelves
- 2 crisper drawers with dividers
- Air Purification System
- Deli drawer with dividers
- 3 adjustable door shelves
- 2 stationary door shelves
- Adjustable dairy compartment
Accepts custom panels or Stainless Steel Panels
In the Sub-Zero, food will stay fresher longer thanks to the IC-30R’s advanced food preservation features. The NASA-inspired air purification cleans the air of ethylene gas that hastens food spoilage. It also reduces odors by removing bacteria, mold, and viruses.
Meanwhile, the crisper and deli drawers have a lower temperature zone, ideal for produce and meat. Many of Sub-Zero's legacy features of keeping food fresher for a longer period of time can be found on their integrated refrigerator.
It has a vacuum seal so air cannot infiltrate or exfiltrate in or out of the refrigerator. The temperature can be set to one degree and has an interactive controls like your phone.
The crisper drawers are magnetic and close tightly to further remove outside air. The shelves are coated with nanotechnology. They are designed to congeal spills so you do not have to clean your whole refrigerator out due to a spill.
Both are good for different reasons. Thermador is more reasonable and will give you a free dishwasher with other purchases.
On the other hand, Sub-Zero is the better unit. Their newer features are designed to keep food fresher for a longer period of time with the air scrubber, better seal, better crispers, and better temperature controls.
Thermador for price, but Sub-Zero for design and features.
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