How Panel Ready Refrigerators Change a Kitchen

Panel ready refrigerators blend into your kitchen design, but there are more reasons why you want one

White panel ready refrigerator

Instead of a giant stainless steel block, a panel ready refrigerator brings a high-end look to your kitchen. These refrigerators blend seamlessly into a kitchen design with an exterior that matches the cabinets.

They come in many shapes, sizes, and styles including a panel ready counter depth refrigerator. Simply put: they are fridges with a customizable front. They’re also known as integrated or custom refrigerators. 

Whatever you want to call them, Sweeten details some considerations when you are in the market for a panel ready refrigerator.

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and up to $50,000 in renovation financial protection—for free.

Pros

Good-looking

Fridges typically came in white, stainless steel, or black. That changed with the panel ready refrigerator. The material and color of the front panels can be customized as well as the handles. Other appliances such as dishwashers can also be panel ready.

Resale value

If your home is high-end with semi or full custom kitchen cabinetry, future buyers will expect details like a panel ready refrigerator. Keeping those buyers happy keeps your home’s value high. 

Simple if part of a kitchen redesign

It isn’t a big step to add a panel ready refrigerator if you’re already ordering custom cabinets. The cabinet maker will attach your chosen material and hardware to your fridge with minimal cost and effort. 

Pre-made reduces cost

Panel ready fridges come with the option of pre-made panels in a variety of colors. This is also the same for hardware. Normally, this is an additional cost but it’s small compared to a cabinet maker. However, the choice is limited. 

Cons

Expensive

Most refrigerators with a panel ready option are higher-end because this is a high-end process. A panel ready refrigerator will likely cost a few thousand dollars. Fitting that fridge with custom cabinetry and hardware could double the price. So, expect to pay at least $6,000 total. Added features such as an ice dispenser can increase the complexity of the design and cost of the custom cabinet front.

Limited depth selection

There is much to choose from with panel ready fridges including side-by-side and under-counter. However, they are often aren’t as deep as the deepest models. It’s typical for panel ready fridges to be about 24 inches deep so they are flush with the counter. 

Costly to replace

If your fridge breaks that means heading back to your cabinet maker with the new fridge. 

Hard to install

If your panel ready fridge is part of a bigger renovation, it won’t add too much to install. But if this is the only project, a cabinet maker will be needed to ensure the fridge fits snuggly into your existing cabinetry. 

Best panel ready refrigerators

Fisher & Paykel RS36A80J1N

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  • Highlight: The ActiveSmart™ Foodcare system adjusts to the owner’s lifestyle. The technology monitors the use of the refrigerator to customize temperatures, humidity, and airflow, preserving food longer.
  • Dimension: 35.66″ x 79.85″ x 23.75″
  • Features: Counter depth, adaptive defrost, adjustable shelves, Fast Freeze
  • Price: $6,199.00
  • Where to buy

Samsung RF23A9675AP

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  • Highlight: The Bespoke Series offers customized panel colors and configurations. Three evaporators allow for precise temperature and powerful cooling performance. 
  • Dimension: 35.87″ x 73″ x 28.75″
  • Features: Counter depth, Energy Star Certified, triple cooling, FlexZone
  • Price: starting at $2,799.00
  • Where to buy

Liebherr HC1540

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  • Highlight: DuoCooling technology preserves food better, for longer. With no unwanted air between the freezer and refrigerator, food texture and flavor are protected. 
  • Dimension: 29.81” x 79.81″ x 24.06″
  • Features: Counter depth, SuperCool, SuperFrost, Star-K Certification
  • Price: $5,899.00
  • Where to buy

Miele KS37472ID

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  • Highlight: The FlexiLight system offers glare-free lighting which can be adjusted when the food is placed. DynaCool technology maintains a uniform temperature within the unit. 
  • Dimension: 22″ x 69.68″ x 21.5″
  • Features:  Reversible doors, Energy Star Certified, Sabbath mode
  • Price: $3,299.00
  • Where to buy

Bertazzoni REF30PRL

  • Highlight: With Digital User Interface technology, controlling your refrigerator is easy. In addition, the FlexMode Refrigerator-Freezer makes it possible to switch the bottom compartment to freezer, fresco, or fridge.
  • Dimension: 29.5″ x 83.5″ x 25″
  • Features: Counter depth, Frost free defrost, ETL Certified, FlexMode
  • Price: $7,899.00
  • Where to buy

A note on appliance deliveries: If you’re on a tight timeline, Appliances Connection has over 10,000 items in stock and ready to ship. In-stock items can be delivered to NY/NJ within 2 days.

More popular questions

The exterior material of a panel ready refrigerator can be customized so it will blend into any cabinetry, including hardware. They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors allowing for more choices than a standard refrigerator.

Most panel ready refrigerators will cost a few thousand dollars because it is an expensive process with high-end options. Outfitting these refrigerators with custom cabinetry and hardware can possibly double the price. When shopping for a panel ready refrigerator, expect to spend at least $6,000 in total, not including extra or upgraded features.

  • Fisher Paykel french door refrigerator, #RS36A80J1N, is equipped with the ActiveSmart™ Foodcare system, preserving food for longer, $6,199.00
  • Samsung freestanding refrigerator, #RF23A9675AP, offers triple cooling and FlexZone, starting at $2,799.00
  • Liebherr bottom freezer refrigerator, #HC1540, provides DuoCooling technology and automatic defrost, $5,899.00
  • Miele refrigerator column, #KS37472ID, comes with a glare-free FlexiLight system and  DynaCool technology, $3,299.00
  • Bertazzoni freezer refrigerator, #REF30PRL, offers a Digital User Interface and FlexMode Refrigerator-Freezer settings, $7,899.00

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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