Can Freestanding wine fridges be built in

Our most frequent live chat questions come from customers looking at the invariably cheaper freestanding wine fridges and asking if they can be built in to their kitchens. Unfortunately, and always, the answer is no. The reason a freestanding wine fridge can't be built in is just one - ventilation.

A freestanding wine fridges needs 30cm to vent from the top and 2-3 inches all around. It should not have items placed on top of it and neither should it be pushed up against a wall, radiator or the side of any other appliance or kitchen carpentry. The unit shouldn't be boxed in or have a door affixed to it or closed into a cupboard.

Why can't a freestanding wine fridge be built-in?

The sole reason is ventilation. The heat of being boxed in will cause the unit to overwork and shorten its lifespan. Freestanding wine fridges vent from all around their circumference, built in wine fridges vent from a panel a the bottom front of the unit, making them ideal for building in to kitchens.

What happens to the warranty if a freestanding wine fridge is built-in?

It will break and the warranty will be invalidated as the wine fridge is being used outside of the manufacturers guidelines. As tempting as it is to buy that cheaper freestanding unit, in the end, it will lead to a false economy when the unit overheats and breaks in a matter in months.

What wine fridge should I buy if I want to build in to a kitchen?

A built-in wine fridge or an integrated wine fridge. These units come as both undercounter or full height wine fridges and are as slim as 15cm wide or 60cm wide. These wine fridges come with single or dual zones and are built for service and/or long term maturation. 

There is an incredible range of choice for the kitchen but invariably the built-in and integrated options do cost more due to their specific ventilation needs.

How to save money on a built-in wine fridge?

That cheaper freestanding wine fridge was tempting, but invalidating your warranty and having to buy a new wine fridge within a couple of months is certainly a false economy. The better option is to consider ways you can save money on your built in wine fridge, our tips include;

  • Choose the very latest models. Models new to market in this year or last will have the very latest technology and therefore be the most energy efficient and quietest in the range. This could save you £100 a year in running costs alone.
  • Choose a single zone. Dual zones are convenient but they're always the more expensive if a model comes in single or dual zone, they hold less bottles than their compatriot single zone and they use more energy and cost more to run. 
  • Consider other brands. Liebherr and Swisscave are clearly amazingly stylish and great at maturing fine wine but does the undercounter kitchen unit need to do that job, or is this fridge for service? Perhaps, considering the usage, a Climadiff, Montpellier, Avintage or Dunavox is an option?

What sizes do built in wine fridges come in?

When it comes to picking the right built-in wine fridge, there are a few things that you need to consider. The height of the fridge, the type of cooling system, and the width of the fridge are all important factors that can determine how well your wine fridge will function. When it comes to size, most built-in wine fridges come in two different widths: 30cm and 60cm with 15cm, 40cm and 50cm wine fridges also in production.

The 60cm width  is the most common and is typically the best fit for most kitchens who will typically also benefit from other similar sized appliances like dishwashers or washing machines. When it comes to type of cooling system, most built-in wine fridges use either a compressor-type system or a thermoelectric system. Compressor-type systems are the most efficient and reliable, while thermoelectric systems are quieter and use less energy although are much rarer to the UK market.

However, if youre looking for a more compact option, then a 15cm or 30cm built-in wine fridge may be the best choice and are typical in many new build apartments. No matter what size or type of built-in wine fridge you choose, its important to make sure that it fits the width gap in your kitchen before placing the order to avoid having to return the wine fridge. As wine fridges are bulky and delicate items, returning them can cost around £100 and would require the units to be boxed too.

In conclusion, don't be tempted to buy a freestanding wine fridge and build it into your kitchen as it will certainly malfunction within a few months. Instead, think carefully about what you need the wine fridge for and make appropriate cost savings by following our tips and tricks. If you need expert advice on which wine fridge to buy then visit us in our London store, call, or use live chat.

Sarah newton

Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.