Best Built-In Refrigerator Models of 2014 [Reviews]

Best Built-In Refrigerator Models of 2014 [Reviews]


We previously published an article explaining why we think Sub-Zero is the best built-in refrigerator brand on the market right now. I definitely recommend taking a look at that article if you’re new to the Sub-Zero brand, but here’s a quick summary:

  • Highest quality componentry in the industry: no corners cut or expenses spared during production
  • Best warranty in the industry: Sub-Zero stands behind the durability of their product
  • Best air purification and food preservation system in the industry: Produce lasts for weeks — even months — in the crisper drawers, thanks to the same air purification technology used by NASA aboard their space shuttles.

These qualities are common to every refrigerator in the Sub-Zero product line. Today, we wanted to take a closer look at the best built-in refrigerator models Sub-Zero has to offer. The models featured here are dictated by the most popular consumer choices (for instance, 36″ is by far the most common selection for built-in refrigerators.)

(Related: 7 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Buy a Refrigerator)

Sub-Zero’s 3 Best Built-In Refrigerator Models

best-built-in-refrigerator-BI-36UFD-reviewBI-36UFD Review: 36″ Built-In French Door Refrigerator

Sub-Zero’s 36″ built-in french door refrigerator is perhaps their most popular model. 36″ is the most common refrigerator application, and the popularity of the french door design is on the rise in the past decade, because french door refrigerators seamlessly combine the advantages of other refrigerator designs.

The logic behind the french door design is simple: because you spend more time in your refrigerator than your freezer, the freezer gets tucked out of the way, while the refrigerated compartments stays at eye-level.

The BI-36UFD features 4 full-width glass shelves and an abundance of door shelving, all of which can be adjusted at 1″ increments for incredibly configurable storage. This is great if you need to store large party platters or unusually tall foods, like a multi-layer cake. (By this way, this advantage is not lost in this unit’s sister model – the BI-36U, a bottom-freezer column with a single refrigerator door instead of the split french doors.)

Want to learn more? Read our full review of the BI-36UFD.

Full specs & images: Sub-Zero BI-36UFD

best-built-in-refrigerator-reviews-BI-48SIDBI-48SID: 48″ Built-In Side-By-Side Refrigerator with Internal Ice & Water Dispenser

When you step up into a 48″ housing to work with, the french door application becomes less common – neither the refrigerator nor freezer in the 48″ unit feels too cramped.

The BI-48S comes with ample shelf space (comparable to the refrigerator in the 36″ french door design), so you can store large trays and Thanksgiving leftovers. But it also boasts a spacious, full-height 9.8 cu. ft. freezer compartment. Side-by-side refrigerators have always been the most ergonomically friendly option, but the 48″ application allows room for both the freezer and refrigerator compartments to breathe.

The BI-48S is the single most versatile and spacious built-in refrigerator Sub-Zero manufactures. It is eclipsed only by the Pro 48 line, which is forged from 100% steel and sectioned into 6 (!) compartments.

The model featured here – the BI-48SID – has an internal ice and water dispenser. The hidden dispenser is the most popular option on this model, because it doesn’t break up the clean stainless steel or paneled look of a custom-designed kitchen.

Full specs & images: Sub-Zero BI-48SID

best-built-in-refrigerator-reviews-bi30ugBI-30UG: Sub-Zero 30″ Built-In Single Glass Door Refrigerator

There’s another alternative to the Pro 48 behemoth I just mentioned: some customers choose to mix and match 30″ (or larger) models and install them side-by-side in their kitchen.

This is a striking design choice we see professional designers make all the time: two 30″ Sub-Zero columns installed side-by-side, one with a glass door and one without. (Another common application: dedicated refrigerator and freezer columns installed side-by-side.)

Seeing the contents of your refrigerator from across the room has its advantages. First of all, it’s an excellent energy saver. You can make your selection through the glass, then open the door for just a second to retrieve your selection. This prevents cool air from escaping the refrigerator, which means less work for the compressor to regulate the internal temperature of your unit back to normal. The less time the compressor runs, the lower your energy bill will be.

Of course, one downside is that you might feel like you have to keep every shelf perfectly organized, just in case your neighbors drop in for an unannounced visit.

To solve this, we see designers pair a BI-30UG with a BI-30U (no glass door), which designates the glass door model as a serving refrigerator, complete with drinks, appetizers, etc. The unit with the full stainless or paneled door becomes the personal use refrigerator.

Full specs & images: Sub-Zero BI-30UG

Which Sub-Zero Built-In Refrigerator is Best for You?

At the end of the day, the features of your optimal built-in refrigerator will depend heavily on the specific needs of your family and your kitchen. Most of the units here can be reconfigured to suit your kitchen space. For instance, the glass door option is available regardless of the width of the product.

We hope that reading about these popular models has been helpful in that regard. If you are still feeling undecided and are curious about other Sub-Zero built-in models, you can browse the full suite of Sub-Zero’s built-in refrigerators on our website.