Integrated Fridge Freezer (What Exactly Is It?)

If you thought there was only one obvious location for a fridge freezer in your kitchen, think again. An integrated fridge freezer is one potential setup for your cold food storage that allows you to place your fridge freezer combo anywhere in the kitchen you’d like.

Integrated fridge freezers are appliances that are built into the cabinetry of the kitchen so as to be indistinguishable from the rest of the cabinets. They usually come equipped with cabinet doors to attach to the front of the appliance to complete the façade.

In this article, you will learn about integrated fridge freezers, how to install an integrated fridge freezer combo, and the advantages of having an integrated fridge freezer in your kitchen. Additionally, I will cover if an integrated fridge freezer needs a vent as well as how much they typically cost.

Modern kitchen: What is an integrated fridge freezer
A clean modern kitchen with an integrated fridge freezer hidden in the cabinetry.

What Is an Integrated Fridge Freezer?

An integrated fridge freezer is a refrigerator and freezer combination that is a part of the kitchen cabinets instead of freestanding. The design of the integrated fridge freezer allows the kitchen cabinetry to completely blend together instead of being broken up by a large appliance.

Most cabinet makers will accommodate integrated fridge freezers and there are two different types of cabinets you can purchase for your appliance. Fixed hinge cabinet doors attach directly to the fridge freezer whereas sliding hinges attach the door to the rest of the cabinets. Fixed hinge doors are usually preferred because they last longer and allow the door to open wider.

The functions of an integrated fridge freezer are the same as a freestanding fridge freezer, although most of them offer less storage space to accommodate the extra cabinet cover. Most people who prefer a clean contemporary kitchen look choose integrated fridge freezers.

How Do You Install an Integrated Fridge Freezer?

Installing an integrated fridge freezer is a bit trickier than a standalone unit, but still easily done with the help of a friend. Shimmy the appliance into the cabinet space, making sure to leave gaps along the sides and in the back. Put spacers at the base of the fridge and screw the top of the appliance to the back of the cabinet for security.

what does an integrated fridge freezer mean
A freezer fridge combo is integrated into the kitchen cabinetry. (CC image by Joe Shlabotnik)

Next affix the cabinet door with your sliding or fixed hinge setup, again making sure to leave enough space for circulation and to be able to reach the appliance plug. Once you plug in the fridge freezer to make sure it works, double-check that the unit’s door can be fully opened and closed within the cabinet.

However, the best course of action may just be to let a professional handle the installation. They know the proper ventilation for an integrated fridge as well as the precise measurements to take and make to ensure that the fridge freezer fits properly.

What Are the Advantages of an Integrated Fridge Freezer?

One of the biggest advantages of having an integrated fridge freezer compared to a freestanding appliance is the aesthetics. Hiding such a large and often unwieldy appliance behind the more aesthetically pleasing look of a nice cabinet can give your kitchen an upscale appearance, especially if the monotone colors of a fridge freezer don’t match your décor.

More cabinet makers are designing units specifically for integrated fridge freezers so that it is easier than ever to purchase the right size cabinet for your cold storage unit. A fridge freezer that is hidden away behind a cabinet door also makes the room seem bigger and much neater.

Moreover, since many people prefer the tucked away look of an integrated fridge freezer, it may make your house easier to sell if you put it on the market. First time buyers are especially keen to find integrated fridge freezers in a house because they may not have a unit of their own and this mitigates the need to buy one.

There are several things to consider before purchasing an integrated fridge freezer.

Does an Integrated Fridge Freezer Need a Vent?

Even though integrated fridge freezers are tucked away in a cabinet, they still require vents for proper circulation. Ventilation in the back, on the bottom, and on the top is just as necessary for integrated fridge freezers as it is for freestanding units. When installing the appliance, make sure to leave enough clearance for vents.

Fridge freezers should never be flush with the back of the cabinet. If the cabinet is not specifically designed to accommodate a fridge freezer or it did not come with ventilation, you may need to cut holes in the cabinet to provide proper air circulation for your unit.

Most brands will tell you exactly where you need to have vents cut into the cabinetry. Be sure to design your kitchen so that adjacent cabinets can accommodate fridge freezer circulation if necessary.

How Much Does an Integrated Fridge Freezer Cost?

Integrated fridge freezers are typically much more expensive than freestanding fridge freezers because of the added cabinetry and potential labor and installation costs. On the low end, integrated fridge freezers can cost a few thousand dollars. They can go up to $10,000 or more depending on the brand of appliance and size.

In comparison, the cost of freestanding fridge freezers top out where the price point for integrated fridge freezers begins. However, a lot of people agree that integrated fridge freezers are worth the extra money spent. They make the kitchen look nicer and there is no hassle when it comes to buying or selling a house with an integrated fridge freezer because the unit typically comes with the home.  

The 3 Main Problems Of Having an Integrated Fridge Freezer

While having an integrated refrigerator and freezer may be aesthetically pleasing, there are three downsides you should be aware of. They are:

  • Capacity – An integrated freezer fridge will always have less storage capacity than a similar size freestanding refrigerator because the unit will have less depth to accommodate the cabinetry.
  • Price – As I mentioned previously, an integrated fridge freezer will cost significantly more than a counter depth model.
  • Features & Configurations – Integrated fridge freezers have limited features and configurations when compared to freestanding refrigerator models which will have more door styles (i.e. french doors) and a more robust set of available features.

While these disadvantages might not overcome the benefits of having a clean-looking integrated fridge freezer, they are something you should be aware of.

Integrated Fridge Freezer (What Exactly Is It?) – Conclusion

Integrated fridge freezers are a great way to class up your kitchen. By installing such a large appliance with the façade of a kitchen cabinet, your kitchen will look aesthetically pleasing, appealing to potential home buyers, and give you the appearance of more space to cook.

Integrated fridge freezers are not difficult to install yourself, but professionals are more than happy to take the task off your hands if you are uncomfortable with it. The biggest thing to remember is to allow plenty of ventilation for your integrated fridge freezer.

In no time, you could have the kitchen of your dreams with hidden cold storage.