Buyer's Guide \ Ranges \ The Built-In Kitchen Appliance Guide

The Built-In Kitchen Appliance Guide

If you’re moving into a new home or need to upgrade your kitchen appliances, you may be considering built-in kitchen appliances. Or perhaps you’re wondering: are built-in appliances worth it? Our helpful Built-in Kitchen Appliances Guide can help you understand the benefits.

Table of contents

What is the Difference Between Free-standing and Built-In Appliances?


Free-standing appliances are precisely what they sound like: They are not attached to furniture or cabinets, so they can be moved. A built-in appliance, however, is incorporated into the cabinetry and walls, which makes it more permanent in the home.

What are Built-In Appliances?


Built-in appliances are commonly found in high-end kitchens because they integrate seamlessly into the cabinets, providing a neat, uniform aesthetic with no awkward gaps.

An upgrade to built-in appliances may be the perfect way to enhance your kitchen. But first, you might be wondering how they work and what the advantages are.

Appliances That Are Often Built-In


Many kitchen appliances are available with built-in options. Here are some examples of built-in appliances:

  • Wall Ovens
  • Cooktops
  • Dishwashers
  • Ventilation Hoods
  • Refrigerators
  • Undercounter Refrigerators
  • Microwaves
  • Fridge Freezers
  • Wine Cellars 
  • Coffee Machines
  • Warming Drawers

Upgrading to one or more of these built-in appliances can help you make the best use of available space and also enhance aesthetics at the same time.

Pros and Cons of Built-in Appliances


Here is a list of pros and cons you may find helpful when determining whether to purchase built-in appliances.


  • Appearance: These pieces integrate into surrounding areas for a seamless appearance. They allow for a more custom design and have no gaps or spaces. With built-in kitchen appliances, you can select from a wide range of materials, textures, colours, and designs to complement your other devices.
  • Consistency: Some built-in kitchen appliances sit completely flush, while others can protrude slightly, though not as much as a freestanding unit.
  • Space: A built-in appliance is an excellent choice if you’re looking to save space. For instance, in your kitchen, built-in appliances let you enjoy added space to socialize, work, entertain guests, or assemble your next culinary masterpiece. You can still maintain a sense of style as these appliances are tailored for a specific area.
  • Flexibility: They can be installed anywhere in the kitchen, provided installation is planned for in the kitchen design.
  • Range of Options: Built-in appliances come in a wide variety of widths and depths.


  • Pricing: You may be wondering: are built-in appliances worth it? Built-in appliances are generally more expensive than free-standing options. However, if you place a high value on design and decor, you’ll definitely find it worthwhile.
  • Installation and Relocation: In most cases, built-in appliances need to be professionally installed, which can make their installation more costly than free-standing appliances. Additionally, they are not easy to relocate if you decide to move.
  • Repairability and Replacement: Built-in appliances can be more challenging to repair and maintain. They tend to be slightly more costly and harder to update or replace.

Important Things To Consider


Measurement and Installation: It’s very important to ensure your measurements are accurate in order to avoid costly mistakes, like a cut-out being too large or an appliance not sitting flush. Inaccurate measurements could mean you have to rework an entire area.

Fit Guarantee: Some manufacturers today offer fit guarantees. This can help ensure your appliances can be properly installed into existing cabinetry of compatible width, height, and layout.

Installation Options:

There are two methods of installation: standard and flush. Here’s how they work.

1. Standard built-in installation

When installed in accordance with standard installation guidelines, appliances such as refrigerators or ovens will sit beneath or ahead of surrounding framed cabinetry or end panels or directly on top of counters.

Standard installation options often have the following properties:

  • Framed cabinets include appliances such as an oven, microwave, warming drawer, etc., that sit against the face frame of the cabinet box.
  • Typically, framed cabinetry is installed with larger reveals around the appliance, leaving cabinet faces exposed.
  • Edges of the appliance or trim kit are exposed.
  • Manufacturers’ installation instructions may limit the appliance’s placement options.

2. Fully Integrated Flush (Regular)

This type of installation, commonly used in frameless cabinetry, results in a unit and countertop seated on the same plane (or flush) as the cabinet, end (side panels), or countertop.

* Please Note: You cannot install an appliance in a flush inset application if you do not have any flush inset installation specifications for the unit you selected.  Always check and follow your appliance use and care and installation instructions, as they should be your primary source of information.

Flush inset installation applications often have the following characteristics:

  • For frameless cabinets, the face frames of the cabinetry or side panels are flush with the wall oven, microwave, and other built-in appliances.
  • You can expect minimal gaps and tighter reveals around the appliance.
  • There are no visible edges to the appliance since it is flush with the cabinetry or panels.
  • You can position the appliance to suit your needs with added flexibility.
  • You can specify cabinet cut-outs or include separate cabinets around the unit.
  • A neat, linear appearance is achieved when the cabinetry is aligned with the adjacent unit. 
  • Some built-in appliances offer panel-ready options. A panel-ready appliance allows a custom cover to be installed on the face or the front of the appliance that matches the rest of your cabinetry. Most often, this is seen on refrigerators and dishwashers and creates a consistent, streamlined look across your whole kitchen.

Ready To Create A Built-In Look?


Now that you have a better understanding of how built-in appliances work, you may be interested in achieving the seamless, high-end look that these appliances can offer.

Our Appliance Finder tool makes it easy to choose the right built-in appliance to create your dream kitchen.
Can't find an answer? Trust the Appliance Pros for certified services. Schedule appointment.
Did you find the article helpful?
You already voted!

Related Articles

Can't find an answer? Trust the Appliance Pros for certified services. Schedule appointment.

Share this article

This will come in handy.

Get monthly answers to household challenges, and more from Appliance Answers and Whirlpool Canada.*

Popular Articles

Gas vs. Electric Dryers

When the time comes to buy a new dryer, you have some decisions to make as far as features and design options but, choosing your

How to Buy a Dryer: The Full Guide

Table of Contents Planning considerations Decide on Your Preferred Set-up Washer and dryer sets can be installed in one of two ways. You can position

Fix it, clean it,
adjust it, love it.

Sign up for monthly tips & tricks and more from Appliance Answers and Whirlpool Canada.*
By closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our Privacy Notice unless you have disabled them.