Integrated refrigerators have grown in popularity in the last few years, due mainly to their modernized look and the way they seamlessly blend into the background of any kitchen.
Before we begin listing our top five integrated refrigerators, let’s do a brief overview of what a company means when it says a refrigerator is ‘integrated’.
Top 5 Integrated Refrigerators for 2016
If a manufacturer uses the term “integrated” to describe a refrigerator system, it simply refers to a design and installation method that completely camouflages the system to match the decor of your kitchen. The door and drawers of the refrigerator will not extend past 25″ and will appear as the same depth of standard Kitchen cabinetry.
Sub-Zero 36″ Integrated Refrigerator – IT-36CIID
The 36″ Sub-Zero IT36CIID is a fully integrated Refrigerator / Freezer unit, with one large door on top for refrigeration storage and two drawers on the bottom for freezer storage – and my, oh my, is it a beauty. Like all Sub-Zero built-in refrigerators it boasts a two compressors, each running their own separate sealed systems.
The sealed system design is key. With it, moist air keeps food ready to eat in the fridge – while dry air prevents freezer burn and frost for frozen items in the freezer. With 19.7 cubic feet of storage space, you can fit almost anything inside this refrigerator – with room left to spare!
This model has an internal filtered water dispenser, providing crisp, clean, filtered water that stays cold thanks to a storage reservoir located within the refrigerator. A unique design implementation does this without compromising the integrated look and feel of the unit, both inside and out.
An air purification system is accomplished by a patented filters air every 20 minutes when activated, to ensure your fridge is free of produce altering gases and bacteria, along with mold and viruses. This NASA-designed (and well-patented) system is one-of-a-kind. Allowing Sub-Zero to claim to have the only “true” air purification system available in residential refrigeration at the moment.
Three adjustable glass shelves and an adjustable dairy compartment mean that you can rearrange the interior to fit your storage needs, with no fuss and no hassle!
Energy Star and Star-K certified this unit comes with a Max Ice feature that uses the high-quality ice machine to generate large quantities of ice with just the touch of a button. Perfect for hosting parties at home or simply recipes that require large amounts of ice (what would summer be without a few gallons of homemade ice cream?).
The IT36CIID will set you back somewhere in the area of $8,000. Considering Sub-Zero practically invented this product segment 15 years ago and still continues to be at the forefront of innovation within it – not to mention it’s excellent service track record – we have named this our Best Buy – #1 Pick.
Fisher & Paykel 36″ ActiveSmart Refrigerator – RS36A80J1
First up is the Fisher and Paykel ActiveSmart™ Refrigerator (RS36A80J1) – a 36″ integrated French Door model that comes in two sizes, 80″ and 84″. Both sizes come with two customizable options, Panel Ready or Stainless Steel, to help you choose a design that suits your kitchen perfectly.
There are a ton of features available with this Fisher & Paykel refrigerator, among them the ActiveSmart™ Foodcare system, which Fisher and Paykel guarantees keeps food fresher for longer. The ActiveSmart™ Foodcare feature is largely a temperature control design that adapts the environment of the fridge based on your user habits. So, if you’re like the majority of the world and forget to close the door as you move items in and out, your fridge will automatically adjust the internal temperature settings to make sure that your food is always kept at the optimal temperature.
The ActiveSmart™ Refrigerator is built for families, and has almost 17 cubic feet of storage space – over 5 cubic feet in the freezer and almost 12 cubic feet in the fridge. Beautiful cantilevered shelves, designed to prevent spills and catch messes before they spread, are made especially for easy cleaning and care.
LED lighting on this unit really impresses in each compartment, allowing for better viewing of items while saving you energy and keeping up with Fisher and Paykel’s Energy Star rating. There are a number of other features available with this unit, such as the Fast Freeze option and the Humidity Control System in each bin that ensures your fruits and vegetables are kept in the perfect environment for maximum freshness.
The best feature of all on the new Fisher & Paykel Integrated Refrigerator though is the price. Coming in at just under $5,300, this unit can save big bucks. What it lacks in features it tries to make up for in gorgeously detailed interior. Fisher and Paykel is a brand to watch in the coming year.
Liebherr 36″ Integrated French Door Refrigerator – HCB 2062
The Liebherr HCB 2062 is next up. Also Energy Star certified, this model comes with top of the line NoFrost freezer compartments, equipped throughout with energy efficient LED lights. A digital temperature control shows you easily how cold your fridge is at all times, and the two convenient individual temperature zones allow you to adjust the internal temperature as you see fit.
Unlike the Sub-Zero and Miele, this unit is slightly shorter at 80″ in height. The french doors seal differently than typical. Usually the french doors seal the refrigerator compartment with a plastic flap that sets into the center of the frame once the doors close, allowing the seals to have something to grab all the way around. Liebherr changed the design so that no flap was needed. Instead, powerful magnets are stitched into the flanges in the sides of the doors, allowing the rubber flanges to lock into each other and seal properly once the doors are closed. Innovative little feature.
As with other models listed, this refrigerator comes with SuperCool features, once again allowing you to lower the temperature of the fridge to cool items to ideal storage conditions in much less time. There is also a quantity controlled SuperFrost option, to be used to freeze large quantities of food quickly, saving you time and energy (going back to the Energy Star certification).
Spacious bottom drawer compartments allow for easy storage of items that require additional temperature control, along with family sized freezer capacity for storage of meats or boxes and packages (read: pizza boxes) that are often too big for traditionally sized freezers. The DuoCooling System maintains optimal, but separate, cooling settings in the refrigerator and freezer sections to ensure the taste and quality of your food are also maintained.
Cold, dry air is circulated in the freezer section, while moist air is used to cool food in the fridge section. These separate cooling systems prevent loss of nutritional value by keeping food only as cool or cold as it needs to be for freshness, never exposing the items to extreme temperatures on either side.
At just over $7,000. USD this is a slightly cheaper alternative to the Sub-Zero, but has much competition now with the new Fisher & Paykel units due to their much lower price. Unlike the Fisher & Paykel refrigerator however, these have been on the market for many years now and are given decent marks for reliability. Service is still a bit spotty, and one area I know they are working to improve.
Dacor 36″ Discovery Integrated Refrigerator – DYF36BF
Dacor Appliances, once a staple American-made brand, is slowly starting to make a comeback. They have finally released a high-quality integrated product, thanks in part to a partnership with Italian manufacturer Fhiaba. Their new Fhiaba-based “Discovery” refrigerator is impressive in the flesh and built like a rock.
“Solid” is one of the first words that come to mind when you lay your hands on it for the first time. The exterior fit and finish is one of the best here. Inside, gorgeous glass shelves with metal banding are adjustable. The crisper drawers are built entirely out of bead blasted aluminum and feature heavy duty soft-close mechanisms. They feel rugged in hand and look fantastically high-end.
The LED lighting in the unit is well placed, reflecting off the white metal walls. The ice maker is unique in that the cubes can be made in one of two different sizes. And you get to choose! Change it any time you like, it is the only refrigerator in this line-up to be able to do that. The unit features two variable speed compressors and two sealed systems with separate evaporator units, just like the Sub-Zero. The freezer compartment can, at the touch of a button, be converted to additional refrigeration space. Another feature that is unique to this model in the line-up.
In fact, if this were the end of the story this unit would be in the #2 spot, just behind the Sub-Zero. But unfortunately there is one key issue with this unit. The control panel is extremely difficult to navigate. Like, get out your manual for the 5th time difficult. If this was not the case, this unit – when bundled with Dacor’s current rebate incentives – could very well give the Sub-Zero a run for its money.
Priced at $7,299. we find a lot of things to like about this Dacor, and one big control interface we don’t. If you can get past the controls, this unit may be the perfect fit for your home.
Miele 36″ Master Cool Refrigerator – KF 1903 Vi
Next on the list is the Miele KF 1903 Vi MasterCool Bottom Mount Fridge/Freezer. While this unit has quite an impressive name, it does try to back its title up with an impressive list of features. With almost 18 cubic feet of storage space, the Miele Refrigerator is only slightly smaller than it’s main competitor, the Sub-Zero.
This refrigerator boasts a control panel straight out of Star Trek, with beautifully illuminated and easy to read capacitive touch controls. The unit itself has several easy-to-use features. The MasterFresh system ensures that your items are always at an ideal temperature, so your food keeps fresh as long as it can. Separate temperature controls for each bin allow you to adjust the temperature in each compartment as needed, to suit whatever type of food is being stored at that time.
The freezer comes with SuperFreeze technology, which allows the freezer to drop to –18 degrees Celsius and below to ‘flash freeze’ items when needed. This is a great option for freezing large quantities of fresh or perishable foods, such as leafy greens or meats, that require fast freezing while fresh to stay prevent spoiling.
The refrigerator’s SuperCool feature is very similar and lowers the temperature of the fridge to the lowest level for six hours to allow the contents of the fridge to reach optimal storage temperature quicker and more efficiently. Perfect for when you’ve just filled the refrigerator after a long grocery store run. After six hours, the fridge automatically adjusts its internal temperature and the fridge will return to its normal temperature settings.
This unit also comes with a door and temperature alarm, which alerts users when the doors have been left open for too long or when the internal temperature is not longer ideal for optimal freshness and food longevity.
With an average price of $8,400. USD, we consider this unit a bit overpriced. Nearly identical to the Thermador units (both are built by the same factory) and lacking internal water dispenser and air filtration features of the Sub-Zero, the price tag now weighs heavily against it. Dollars and cents aside, this is a extremely well-built machine, with one of the finest service and support networks in the appliance world standing behind it.