Freestanding vs. Built-in Kitchen Appliances

freestanding vs. built-in appliances

When it comes to building a new kitchen or remodeling the old one, one of the biggest decisions you'll have to make is whether to choose freestanding appliances or built-in units. Freestanding appliances can stand on its own with finished sides, without the need of installing in the cabinetry while built-in appliances are integrated into the kitchen cabinets or walls, creating more modern, sophisticated look in the kitchen. Both types of appliances have their advantages and disadvantages, so you'll have to decide which type of appliances will be the best fit for your kitchen by considering your kitchen space, budget and lifestyle.


  • Typically, they are more affordable.
  • Freestanding models offer an easy installation since they have finished sides and can be placed anywhere in the kitchen.
  • They can be easily relocated in case you need to move to a different home or take them for the repair.


  • They are built-in the kitchen cabinetry or walls, providing a seamless, integrated look for modern kitchens.
  • The panel ready models can be customized to blend with the rest of the cabinetry, so that the appliances look like another cabinet in the kitchen.
  • Built-in appliances are permanently installed in the kitchen, so they can't be relocated, although they have longer life spans than freestanding units.


When choosing between built-in and freestanding refrigerators, here's what you'll need to know:

Freestanding refrigerators are designed with finished sides, which allows placing it anywhere. Additionally, freestanding units are easy to move around if you decide to rearrange your kitchen. Freestanding refrigerators can also be installed in the cabinetry. They come in full and cabinet depth models in sizes ranging from 15" to 36". The full depth means that refrigerator will protrude from the standard 24" cabinets.

Built-in refrigerators, on the other hand, are typically 84" tall and have a 24" cabinet depth to ensure the units fit flush with surrounding cabinets. In addition to that, built-in refrigerators usually have the compressors on the top of the unit rather than at the bottom. The fully integrated built-in models with panel ready doors allow for installing custom panels for a seamless integration into your kitchen cabinetry.

Built-in Refrigerators

Cooking Appliances

cooktop and wall oven

When shopping for cooking appliances, you have options to choose a freestanding gas/electric range or built-in wall oven and cooktop combination. Whether you choose one or the other, it all depends on your kitchen space and cooking habits. Freestanding ranges come in gas, electric or dual fuel models and take up from 30" to 36" floor space (the most popular sizes). Like all freestanding appliances, freestanding ranges are also easier to install and allow for an easy relocation. The cooktop and wall oven combination, on the other hand, offer more stylish, modern, look. This combination provides the flexibility of installing each unit independently, although you're going to need the cabinet space to install the wall oven and counter space for the cooktop.


built-in vs. freestanding dishwashers

Dishwashers became essential appliances that save you a tremendous amount of time and effort by eliminating the need of washing the dishes by hand. So, when it comes to choosing between the freestanding and built-in dishwashers, you need to think about several factors.

Built-in dishwashers are installed beneath the counter top and fit flush with the rest of the cabinetry. Typically, they are 24" wide and can hold up to 12 to 14 standard place settings. In addition to that built-in units have more advanced features compared to freestanding models, such as multiple spray arms and specialized wash cycles for hard to clean items. Therefore, built-in dishwashers are ideal for somebody who wants units with big capacities to wash a lot of dishes in a single load.

Freestanding dishwashers, on the other hand, are perfect for small apartments where space is limited. Most of the freestanding dishwashers come in 18" compact sizes that can hold up to eight place settings. The convenient design of the freestanding models allows to place them anywhere in the kitchen. They are easy to install and easy to relocate since they don't require undercounter installation.

Choosing between freestanding and built-in appliances will depend on your kitchen layout, budget, and personal preferences. If you like a modern, integrated look, built-in appliances will be the right choice. Although, if you prefer the convenience and versatility, the freestanding appliances will be a great alternative.

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