Why Are Some Refrigerators More Expensive?

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Dear Drury Design,

I am totally lost about refrigerators. I can find one at a big box store for $2,000 yet I also find some well over $10,000 in appliance stores. Help me understand please!


Lynette from Lake View 


Thank you for your question! 


Dear Lynette, 

There is no doubt that shopping for refrigerators can be confusing and frustrating. There is a huge range in cost due to features, sizes, installation types, and brands.

Generally speaking, refrigerators come in a variety of configurations: side-by-side, French door, refrigerator on top with freezer on bottom or vice versa. The main differences come with the type of installation. 

Freestanding Refrigerators

These refrigerators are typically the least expensive of all. While most of these units range from 68 to 72 inches in height, the depth can vary greatly. Standard-depth refrigerators are typically about 28” deep from the back to the front of the box, but add the doors and handles and you’re now at 35 to 36 inches deep. These refrigerators will stick out into an aisleway, which is something to keep in mind when planning a kitchen layout. Standard-depth refrigerators can range in price from $2,000 to $4,000.

One issue we hear often from homeowners who currently have standard-depth refrigerators is that items get lost in the back because there are so many things in front of them. The front items are the most accessible and those in the back are left untouched until they go bad.

A counter-depth refrigerator box is 24” deep and is meant to line up with the depth of a standard base cabinet. Adding the doors and handles will increase the depth to about 28 inches. The idea here is to create a slightly more cohesive look between the refrigerator and adjacent cabinets. Counter-depth refrigerators can range in price from $3,000 to $5,000.

Freestanding refrigerators are typically stainless steel and cannot accept cabinet panels. These appliances can have a semi-built-in look with the addition of side panels and full-depth wall cabinets above.

The benefit of freestanding: the price and capacity.

Built-in Refrigerators

Built-in refrigerators are available in stainless steel or cabinet panel-ready models and are usually 80 to 84 inches in height. The box is 24 inches deep while the entire unit is about 26 inches with the doors. This model will sit slightly proud of the base cabinets and just about even with the countertop overhang. There will, however, be a small gap around the outside edge of the unit. Built-in refrigerators are available in widths of 30, 36, 42, and 48 inches and can range in price from $9,000 to $15,000, depending on the size.

The benefit of built-in: the potential to add cabinet panels and the shallow depth, which provides a more streamlined look between the appliance and surrounding cabinetry.

Integrated Refrigerators

Integrated refrigerators offer the sleekest installation as they are designed to be set completely flush with the cabinetry. When custom panels are applied, the appliance totally disappears. The result is subtle and sophisticated.

Integrated models are available in the form of all-refrigerator, all-freezer, or a combination of both, as well as various door and drawer options, which offer the most flexibility for your needs. These units also come in a variety of widths from 18 inches to 36 inches, allowing for better wall space utilization and point-of-use function in kitchen design. Integrated refrigeration can range in price from $8,000 to $12,000.

The benefit of integrated: the sleek approach of incorporating a large appliance as an aesthetic visual or hiding it completely.

There are other nuances to consider when shopping for a refrigerator. From cubic feet capacity, the amount of space required to operate doors and pull-out drawers, to budget; the research time you invest will be invaluable. Getting advice from an appliance salesperson will certainly be beneficial in a general sense. However, a professional kitchen designer will be more experienced in matching your lifestyle needs with the best possible refrigeration solution. The designers at Drury Design have decades of combined experience and are poised to help you understand your options so you can make the best selection for you and your family!

Thanks for your question. Please, reach out to us if you have more!


Drury Design


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