One of the most common questions we get asked at CoolerSomm is 'what is the difference between integrated, fully integrated and built-in wine fridges'? It can be confusing as a lot of the jargon and technical terms are industry terms and for a customer, who has to navigate their way through what they actually need for their kitchen wine fridge needs, it can be a minefield.
However, the question really boils down to just two basic premises when it comes down to fully integrated wine fridges.
1) Do you want your wine fridge to sit on the ground or be placed up within carpentry?
Wine fridges that sit on the floor, are visible (not hidden within carpentry - no door is blocking them visually) and vent from a panel at the bottom are classed as built-in wine fridges. Wine fridges that sit on the the ground but a door is fitted on them are called fully integrated wine fridges.
2) Do you want your wine fridge to be visible or part of your kitchen design?
Wine fridges that sit within carpentry, raised off the floor, but you can still see the fridge, are called integrated wine fridges. Wine fridges that sit within carpentry, off the floor and do have a door in-front of them, so hidden within your kitchen design are also called fully integrated wine fridges.
Basically, any wine fridge that is obscured from view by a door or panel that matches your kitchen design is called a fully integrated wine fridge.
What about ventilation?
There is one additional complication around ventilation. All wine fridges need to expel the hot air they generate somehow through the act of cooling. You will need to choose a fridge that aligns with the ventilation you can give it. There are self ventilating wine fridges, from Dunavox and mQuvee, which also do away with any consideration on that part.
Which are the best brands for fully integrated wine fridges?
What sizes do fully integrated wine fridge come in?
Almost all our fully integrated wine fridges are meant to fit a width gap of 60cm, a standard kitchen appliance size, there is one Dunavox that is 50cm wide. However, they do come in different heights ranging from 60cm tall (similar to an integrated oven) all the way to 178cm tall (the size of an integrated fridge freezer).
Are fully integrated wine fridges as good as freestanding wine fridges?
Integrated wine fridges generally have most of the same technology as their freestanding counterparts, and as they're designed for kitchens, they're usually quieter too. Often they operate as dual zone wine fridges because they are for kitchen service, the service of red wine, white wine and Champagne.
However, some fully integrated wine fridges do not come with carbon filters and the technology necessary for the long term maturation of fine wines. They are generally not used as wine storage cabinets for example, however, some brands, like Liebherr and mQuvee do still have carbon filters in some of their integrated models.
Can I place any door of any material on an integrated wine fridge?
If the fittings can be attached to the back of the door that secure the door to the wine fridges, then pretty much yes. However, most customers hang doors on their wine fridges that match their kitchen design, so commonly they're made of wood.
How many bottles can I fit into an integrated wine fridge?
Integrated wine fridges tend to have a depth limitation that means stacking bottles neck to neck, like a freestanding wine fridge, can be impossible, as such, fully integrated wine fridges tend to range from 12 bottles all the way up to a maximum of 114 bottles.
How much does it cost to install an integrated wine fridge?
Our delivery team will happily put your wine fridge in place, however they will not hang the door of your kitchen cabinet. However, instructions always come with the unit and even the most DIY-shy wine lover should be able to hang the door. At the worst, a carpenter could perform this task for a nominal amount. The housing for your integrated wine fridge is obviously the responsibility of the home owner.
Are fully integrated wine fridges noisy?
No noisier than standard, built-in wine fridges. They tend to stay under the 40dB mark with some very quiet between 34-36dB.
What does panel ready wine fridge mean?
Panel ready is another industry term meaning that the wine fridge comes with all the fixings and holes necessary to hang you own kitchen door on the front of it.
What does technical door mean?
A technical door just means a wine fridge where a door can be hung upon the front that covers the UV glass.
If you're still struggling to know which wine fridge to buy, speak to our team of experts on live chat or visit us in our London store.