Built-in vs. Countertop Appliances – Analyze and Choose

If you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen, there’s a very important question to ask yourself. Are you going to go for appliances that are freestanding or built-in? The answer to that depends on how much space you have available.

As a general rule, you should know that freestanding appliances are generally less expensive than built-ins. In addition to this, the installation process is much easier and straightforward. Whereas, built-in appliances are visually more pleasing. Some people argue that they bring a sense of modern into their kitchen by having these. Especially since some products will allow you to install custom door panels to match your cabinetry.

Arguably the most two important appliances in every kitchen are microwaves and refrigerators. Thus, we shall analyze them cohesively.

Countertop Microwaves

This staple appliance is used for convenient and quick cooking. By purchasing this item, you will be able to be provided with versatility and a number of cooking options. The models developed lately are much better than the previous models. Especially because they are capable of cooking the food evenly and properly as they are created with integrated sensors. These sensors will automatically detect how long the food needs in order to be properly prepared. In addition to this, they are extremely safe to have around children.

Built-in Microwaves

If you’re not a fan of appliances taking up a lot of countertop space, you need to consider the built-in ones. Even though the majority of the time, you will need a professional to set it up, you can do it yourself if you’re willing to do the handy work. You can easily tuck it into a wall or cabinet to get some more space if you need to. There are millions of people who prefer this type of model because it integrates with the kitchen design. They blend in with the décor.


Freestanding – Regardless if you have a lot of space or not, many manufacturers have created them in different sizes to fit your specific needs. They will rest on your counter so you don’t need any tools for the initial installation. All that you will need to do is to read the user manual and understand the function of each button. Don’t worry they are usually extremely easy to understand.

Built-in – You have to remember the fact that not all designs can fit into your specific wall or cabinet. You will need to have a trim-kit and carefully measure the available space you have. In this case, the manufacturers design the majority of them at a standard but it may happen that your space is not the same as it is for the majority.


Countertop – As mentioned, it’s very easy to install these. All that you will need is an electrical outlet for the plug and the space to position it. That’s it. For the modern models, all of the welcome instructions will appear on the display. Therefore, you don’t need a professional to set it up. Thus, you will completely eliminate the extra costs for installation.

Built-in – Some argue that this is the only hurdle of these units. This is due to the fact that you will need a licensed contractor to set it up in your home. Without proper installation, you will risk the safety of you and your loved ones. Make sure that the unit is properly vented.


Freestanding – When it comes to these units, you will notice that the price depends on the design, and size. The more features the microwave has, the more expensive it will be. Regardless, they are much cheaper than built-in ones.

Built-in – These custom-installed units are much more expensive. The most expensive one will cost you around $1,000. Additionally, you also need to take into consideration the installation costs. However, even though they are more expensive, we recommend this unit.

Freestanding Refrigerators

These are the for those who are looking for roomy refrigerators. If you have a large family and you constantly have a lot of food inside, you should consider purchasing this unit. All of the models designed come in various widths. However, you have to remember that the widest available models can reach 36”. In addition to this, they come in a variety of door style options. Some are designed with a left hinge, right hinge, and French door. In addition to this you will notice that some models have integrated features. The greatest thing about it is the fact that they do not require a specialist for installation.

Built-in Refrigerators

Those that are looking for a seamless, high-end kitchen design, you should consider purchasing these units. This is because they are taller than the freestanding models, the tallest model you can find has a measurement of 48” width. Furthermore, you will find that they are longer lasting and much safer. You can fit them at a convenient height so you have easy access to what’s inside. Nonetheless, you have to remember that they offer less depth. This means that if you have a small family, you should consider this product. One of the greatest thing about it is the fact that most of them are designed with more cabinets. Such as wine cabinets. Thus, you will be able to fit even more space.


If you are not intested to spend a lot of money on your appliances, you should consider the countertop and freestanding units. How much you spend depends on how innovative you want the model to be. You will be spared the installation costs. On the other hand, the built-in products will give your kitchen a modern look. In addition to this, you will have more available space for more activities. Regardless, they will all last for many years.

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