Choosing Between Freestanding Or Built-in Appliances

Your new kitchen is about to be a dream come true, and you are down to the last few decisions before the contractors show up, and the remodel begins. One of those decisions will be whether to use built-in or freestanding appliances. So, what are the differences and what are the benefits of each?

Freestanding appliances are just that, standing free from built-in structures in the kitchen. Built-in appliances are integrated into the kitchen’s cabinets and walls. Each of these come with different benefits that you should weigh out with your kitchen designer before deciding.

Freestanding units

  • They are often less expensive
  • They are easy to relocate if you move or need repairs
  • Don’t have to be professionally installed

Built-In Units

  • They are fully integrated into the kitchen for a seamless look
  • They come in a wide variety of widths and depths
  • They generally last longer than freestanding appliances

Of course, with each kind of appliance, comes different pros and cons. For instance, with freestanding stoves, you would have to get both the cooktop and oven in the same type of heating, electric or gas. If you get a built-in unit, you can separate the oven and cooktop and also, separate the type of heat source each uses. Another issue to consider is the amount of space you have in your kitchen. A typical freestanding range takes up 30 inches while a cooktop and wall oven take up 57 inches.

With refrigerators, built-in units are all 24" deep to make sure they are flush with the cabinetry. They are usually taller and often have the compressors at the top of the unit rather than at the bottom. They do come in several different sizes and can even be as wide as 48", which lets you store a lot of pesto. Also, built-in refrigerators can come with several options like wine storage, glass doors and even doors that are prepared for a wooden cabinetry panels that blend seamlessly with your kitchen. 

When you finish cooking all that fabulous food that you stored in your cool fridge, you will need one more appliance: a dishwasher. Again, the main benefit of a built-in dishwasher is that it is integrated into your cabinetry. These units are often bigger, 24” versus 18” with a regular freestanding unit. With a built-in unit, you can fit more dishes and they often come with more features like multiple spray arms.

Choosing between freestanding and built-in appliances usually comes down to what you want your kitchen to look like. If a seamless look is at the top of your list, then the built appliances should probably be your choice. If convenience and versatility are important, then you may lean more toward the freestanding units. With the right design professional, you can sort through all the choices and end up with the kitchen of your dreams.


About Toulmin Kitchen & Bath Design - We're West Alabama's award-winning, premier kitchen and bath showroom. We're experts who are known for a design-build process that makes the construction process stress-free. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a design consultation.