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The 5 Best Integrated Refrigerators for 2018 (Reviews / Ratings / Prices)

Steve Sheinkopf  |  January 26, 2018  |  7 Min. Read

Integrated Refrigerators

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Integrated refrigerators have become more popular because the seamless design looks great in cabinets. 

As energy standards become more stringent, you will see more integrated refrigerators and freezers than larger, less efficient professional refrigerators for high-end kitchen installations.

In this article, I will discuss the difference between all the counter depth refrigerators and then show you the 5 best integrated refrigerators to consider for your kitchen.

 

Differences Between Standard, Professional and Integrated Refrigerators

They can be called built-in, shallow or counter depth refrigerators, but they are actually quite different.

A standard counter depth looks like a regular refrigerator with less depth.

Professional counter depths have a more commercial look with the compressor on the top. The handles and door on the professional and regular counter depths protrude. 

yaleappliance_170612_DotShowroom_12.jpg

Integrated refrigerators are flush to the cabinet. Nothing protrudes. While the other two are noticeable, integrated refrigerators will look more like your cabinets.

Counter-Depth, Professional + Integrated Refrigerators

 
 
 
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Integrated Refrigerator Manufacturers

Integrated refrigerators are specialty products.

GE, Whirlpool, and Frigidaire either do not manufacture an integrated refrigerator or sell a small amount through a subsidiary like GE Monogram for example. Only niche companies like Viking, Thermador, Gaggenau, Liebherr, Sub-Zero, and Bosch actively market the product.

Column Refrigeration vs. Refrigerators/Freezers

Integrated refrigerators are generally available at 18", 24", 30" and 36 inches to fit standard cabinet sizes containing both a refrigerator and a freezer. Columns generally come in smaller sizes like 18, 24, 30, and 36 inches which can be refrigerators or freezers. 

You can customize columns to how much space you want to dedicate toward refrigeration or freezing. Since I tend to use a lot of refrigeration space, I would place a big refrigerator column in a central location in my kitchen. The freezer can be placed anywhere since I use it so sparingly.

The 5 Best Integrated Refrigerators

5. Fisher Paykel

Fisher-Paykel-integrated-refrigerator-kitchen-1.jpg

Fisher Paykel is an appliance company based out of New Zealand. In the US Market, they are best known for manufacturing narrow width counter depth refrigeration and dishwasher drawers. For years, customers have been asking for a “standard counter depth refrigerator” that can “install perfectly flush” with custom cabinets. Fisher Paykel is the industry’s first solution. For once, you can get a flush panel-ready refrigerator for under $4,000.

Features:

  • Active Smart technology maintains consistent temperature and monitors your habits to operate efficiently
  • Icemaker with filter built into the refrigerator (different than other freestanding Fisher Paykel models)
  • Fast freeze allows you to lower the temperature temporarily so that you can make sure your groceries get cold quickly
  • LED internal lighting
  • Stainless panel option sold separately
  • Accessory kits available to extend height to fit old refrigerator cutouts

Pros: The price is aggressive.

Cons: This unit is not a true built-in, capacity and build quality is not the same that you will find among other integrated refrigerator brands.

 

4. Miele

Miele-kitchen-Integrated-refrigerators.jpg

Miele is a very quality-conscious vertically integrated appliance company known for manufacturing high-end appliances. In the American market, they are best known for dishwashers and compact laundry.

Their cooking products have gained a ton of traction over the last few years. Miele’s refrigeration is made in the same factory with the BSH family products, yet Miele uses their own electronics and aesthetics.

Note: Gaggenau, Thermador, Bosch, and Miele are all made in the same factory to different specs. Miele has the better crispers.

Model Offerings:

 

Refrigerator

Freezer

Notes

18’’ no dispenser

n/a

$5749

Left hinge only

18’’ dispenser

n/a

$5999

Left hinge only

30’’

$6599

$6899

Right and left hinge options

36’’

$6899

$7099

Right and left hinge options

30’’ bottom mount

$7799

Included

Must be ordered hinge specific

36’’ bottom mount

$8299

Included

Must be ordered hinge specific

For the purposes of consistency in this post, I excluded Miele refrigeration sourced from Liebherr.

Features:

  • Made in Turkey
  • Dynamic cooling circulates air for even consistent temperature management
  • Humidity controlled crisper drawers with the ability to optimize temperature based on which foods you are storing
  • Extendable storage drawers for convenient loading
  • Remote vision capable gives you the capability of remotely diagnosing service issues
  • Halogen interior lighting
  • Rapid Cool loading reduces temperature to get new groceries to temperature quickly
  • Internal or external icemaker options (depending on model and size)

Pros: The lighting and interior shelving system is beautiful. The electronic control panel is easy to access (waist level) and is easy to use. Miele has been ahead of its time for remote vision module accessory for advance service issues. The MasterChef controls on the crispers are the best.

Cons: Lighting is halogen, limited offerings in sizes and hinges.

 

3. Gaggenau

Gaggenau-integrated-refrigerator.png

Gaggenau is the premium brand in the BSH corporation (sister brands are Thermador and Bosch). Gaggenau is the lesser known luxury appliance brand due to limited distribution. They are best known for side-swing wall ovens.

Gaggenau’s refrigeration is made in the same factory as the Thermador, Bosch, and Miele models yet has a stainless interior modeled after commercial appliances to hold the colder temperatures better.

Model Offerings:

 

Refrigerator

Freezer

Notes

18’’ no dispenser

n/a

$5599

Hinge reversible

24’’ no dispenser

$5799

$6199

Hinge reversible

24’’ w/ external dispenser

n/a

$6599

Right and left hinge options

30’’

$6399

$6799

Hinge reversible

36’’ French door

$8499

Included

n/a

30’’ bottom mount

$7299

Included

Hinge reversible

36’’ bottom mount

$7999

Included

Hinge reversible

Features:

  • Made in Turkey
  • Stainless interior for an upscale look and commercially inspired cooling performance
  • Motorized shelf makes it easier to access items on top shelves
  • Temperature controlled crispers
  • Bright LED lighting with sidewall panels
  • Aluminum door bins for better durability
  • Humidity controlled crisper drawers with the ability to optimize temperature based on which foods you are storing
  • Fast cooling reduces temperature to get new groceries to temperature quickly
  • Internal or external icemaker options (depending on model and size)

Pros: Stainless interior holds cold temperature better; the electronic shelf makes it easier to access items on top shelves.

Cons: Controls are out of date relative to the others in this category. 

 

2. Thermador

Thermador-kitchen-integrated-refrigerator.png

Thermador is a premium appliance brand owned by the BSH Corporation. Thermador is primarily known for manufacturing professional-style ranges. Their refrigeration is made in Turkey along with Gaggenau, Bosch Benchmark, and Miele models.

Thermador was one of the first companies to introduce column refrigeration in the US and since then, it has been a major trend. Thermador was also one of the first brands to have a “Freedom Hinge” so that their refrigeration could integrate completely flush with your cabinetry.

They have upgraded Thermador with new bins, a new TFT display, and a push top open assist. 

Model Offerings:

 

Refrigerator

Freezer

Notes

18’’ no dispenser

n/a

$5199

Hinge reversible

18’’ external dispenser

n/a

$5649

Left and right hinge options

24’’ no dispenser

$5649 for 24’’, $5499 for 23.5’’

$5649

Hinge reversible

24’’ external dispenser

n/a

$6249

Left and right hinge options

30 no dispenser’’

$6249

$6249

Hinge reversible

36’’ no dispenser

$7249

$7049

Hinge reversible

36’’ French door

$7499

Included

n/a

30’’ bottom mount

$7299

Included

Hinge reversible

36’’ bottom mount

$6699

Included

Hinge reversible

Features:

  • Made in Turkey
  • Half-gallon bins on the door for more fresh food space
  • Door shelves and produce bins can be adjusted to any level on door for more flexibility
  • Open door assist, door can open with a light push to the panel, great for full integration with handless kitchen cabinets
  • Humidity controlled crisper drawers
  • Super cool feature in refrigerator allows you to temporarily reduce temp to cool foods quickly
  • LED internal theater lighting
  • Soft-close doors and drawers
  • TFT touch controls to regulate temperature
  • Option for filtered external ice/water dispenser on 18’’ and 24’’ freezer columns
  • Automatically filtered diamond ice maker in freezer

 

Thermador Freedom Integrated Refrigerator [Video]

 
 
 
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1. Sub-Zero

Sub-Zero-kitchen-integrated-refrigerators

Sub-Zero was the original industry pioneer for built-in refrigeration about fifty years ago. Today, they are a leader in manufacturing high-quality refrigeration and wine preservation. Sub-Zero specializes in refrigeration and owns the cooking company, Wolf.

Over the past several years, Sub-Zero and Wolf released many products in various sizes and aesthetics. There is some promotional packaging when combining Sub-Zero refrigeration with Wolf cooking products.

Model Offerings:

 

Refrigerator

Freezer

Notes

18’’ no dispenser

n/a

$6300

Left and Right Hinge Options

24’’

$6540

$6700

Left and Right Hinge Options

30’’

$6930 no dispenser $7080 internal water

$7040

Left and Right Hinge Options

36’’

$7340 no dispenser
 $7550 internal water

$7630

Left and Right Hinge Options

24’’ bottom mount

$6500 no ice

$6650 ice

included

Left and Right Hinge Options

30’’ bottom mount

$7440 no dispenser

$7550 internal water

included

Left and Right Hinge Options

36’’ bottom mount

$8060 no dispenser

$8250 internal water

Included

Left and Right Hinge Options

These are the most popular, Sub Zero makes more options that are 30’’ or 36’’ all-refrigerator or all-freezer bottom mounts as well.

Features:

  • Made in the US
  • Dual Compressor and Evaporator
  • Accepts custom or stainless-steel panels
  • Double freezer drawers for optimal organization
  • Full height door - True cabinet integration without exposed venting grille
  • Internal water dispenser (optional)
  • Air purification system scrubs air of ethylene keeping food fresher longer
  • Crystal interior with Nano-coated spill-proof shelving
  • Soft close doors and drawers
  • Soft-on LED lighting gradually illuminates refrigerator interior
  • Smart-touch control panel for user-friendly precise temperature management
  • Low temperature and high humidity controlled storage crispers

Pros: The most model options, years of manufacturing, made in the US, options for internal water. Best filtering and air scrubber prolongs food life 

Cons: Interior is a not as flashy as some of the others, no external water dispenser

 

Conclusion

Integrated is the new growing trend for upscale refrigeration. Your choice will likely depend on aesthetic preferences, features such as internal or external water, service history, and your budget. It really depends on what you value which we took the time to list below:

The Best Control Panel

Winner: Miele

miele-control-panel.jpg

Miele makes all their own electronics and the control panel is conveniently located at waist-level for easy access.

Runners Up: Sub Zero, Thermador

These brands also offer a comprehensive TFT display to adjust refrigeration conditions. 

The Best Lighting

Winners: Thermador and Gaggenau

The sidewall LED lighting is the best out there

Runner-up: Miele

Miele’s lighting is also beautiful, yet halogen so there is more heat in halogen then LED. 

The Best for Contemporary Kitchen Design

Winner: Thermador

thermador-design.jpg

Thermador’s new integrated refrigeration can be touch-to-open, perfect for handle-less kitchen designs.

Best for Running Water

Winner: Sub Zero

Sub Zero offers a filtered internal water dispenser on many of their integrated models that maintain the seamless aesthetic of integrated refrigeration on the outside and does not affect internal refrigerator capacity.

Runners Up: Thermador, Miele, Gaggenau

These brands make select freezers with external ice/water. The problem with this design is that the icemaker takes up a huge amount of internal capacity and affects the overall aesthetic of the integrated refrigerator.

Best for a Tight Budget

Winner: Fisher Paykel

RS36A72J_Stainless-Fisher Paykel-1.jpgRS36A72J1-RD3672-Internal-Fisher-Paykel.jpg

For years, the industry begged for a fully integrated counter depth refrigerator, Fisher Paykel is first to market with a solution under 4K.

Runner-up: Thermador

Thermador has super aggressive rebates. Although the line-item pricing of the Thermador columns is not profoundly less expensive than the others, with a full Thermador package, the Thermador refrigeration is a smart budget choice.

The Best Cooling System

Winner: Sub Zero

At the end of the day, the goal is to make your food cold. Sub Zero is the most advanced in terms of temperature control in conjunction with an air scrubber system to remove ethylene gasses. Sub Zero has been working for over 50 years to perfect this system.

Additional Resources

Download the Yale Counter Depth Refrigerator Buying Guide with features, specs and inside buying tips to all the major brands of regular, professional and integrated counter depth refrigerators. Well over 100,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our counter depth refrigerator buying guide

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Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

A Note About Pricing

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.

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