BUILT-UNDER AND SEMI-INTEGRATED
Some appliances do not fit into the standard categories of built-in or freestanding. You can combine the two or choose a built-under or semi-integrated appliance. There are also models which are built in but have some visible features.
This part of our buyers guide explains the alternative ways to fit appliances into your home.
Built-under appliances, also known as undercounter models, can fit under standard sized kitchen worktops. They generally have smaller dimensions so they can sit flush with the work surface.
You can typically find freezers, fridges, and fridge freezers in this category. It’s also worth noting that all single ovens can either be built-under or built-in, but not all double ovens have this flexibility.
INTEGRATED AND SEMI-INTEGRATED DISHWASHERS
Integrated appliances are usually the same as built-in models, apart from dishwashers.
Built-in dishwashers are available as integrated or semi-integrated. Integrated styles are completely hidden by a cabinet door, while semi-integrated models have a control panel visible at the top of the door. This means you can control the dishwasher even when the door is closed.
Generally, fully integrated models are more common, so you’re more likely to find an appliance within your budget.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULES
Some brands offer appliances that are available as either freestanding or built in, but have a combination of features.
For example, Lec wine fridges can be built in or freestanding, but they have glass doors for viewing the bottles, so they don’t need a cupboard door.
COMBINING FREESTANDING AND BUILT-IN APPLIANCES
There are ways of combining freestanding and built-in features, such as housing a freestanding appliance in a cupboard that’s part of your kitchen units. You’ll need to have cupboards with plenty of space for the appliance, but it can be done effectively.
This method is potentially cheaper than buying and installing a built-in model. Bear in mind that you’ll need a large enough space to fit the appliance, with plenty of clearance on all sides, to help manoeuvring and ventilation.
Some appliances, such as fridges or fridge freezers, need extra ventilation, so this method may not be suitable for them. Models which move around when in use, such as washing machines, may create a lot of noise as they’re more likely to hit the cupboard door and sides. You’ll also need easy access to plumbing, electrical sockets, ventilation, or a water source depending on the appliance, so consider removing the back of the cupboard or creating holes.