One of the best built-in refrigerators in a high-end kitchen.
Photo: Subzero

A built-in refrigerator can instantly give your kitchen a high-end look.

Unlike regular refrigerators that stick out from cabinets by as much as 10 inches, built-ins sit flush with cabinetry (both are typically 24 inches deep) and usually come in a stainless steel finish or are panel-ready, meaning you can add cabinet paneling to the front of the fridge so that it blends in.

But there is a trade-off: “With a built-in, what you’re really paying for is the style and premium finishes,” says Joseph Pacella, CR’s test engineer for refrigerators. “Compared with stand-alone fridges, built-ins cost a lot more but actually offer less interior storage space.” 

Built-ins are primarily made by high-end manufacturers, such as Dacor, Miele, Thermador, and Sub-Zero, and range in price from around $5,000 to well over $10,000. Because built-ins can be only 24 inches deep, some models go as wide as 42 inches to add storage space (the width of stand-alone fridges is typically 36 inches). 

More on Refrigerators

To test refrigerators, we outfit each model with thermocouples in a climate-controlled chamber and monitor it for a month, collecting more than 5.4 million temperature readings that identify warm and cold spots, to determine which models will keep your food fresh longer.

We also factor in survey data from thousands of CR members to judge brand reliability and satisfaction. All of that data—and then some—informs CR’s refrigerator ratings charts and each model's Overall Score.

Below, CR members will find ratings and reviews of the five best built-in refrigerators from our tests. These are models from Dacor, Jenn-Air, Miele, Sub-Zero, and Thermador. To see more highly rated built-ins, see our built-in refrigerator ratings. And for guidance as you shop, check out our refrigerator buying guide.


Go to Consumer Reports' 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.
 

The 5 Best Built-Ins

Top Picks

1

Temperature uniformity
Thermostat control
Ease of use

2

Temperature uniformity
Thermostat control
Ease of use
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