If you read our refrigerator brand comparison, you’ll be reminded that shopping for a new refrigerator is a multi-step process. It’s an exciting experience, but the time spent researching brands, styles, features, and configurations can leave you frozen in place. You know you want a dependable appliance to organize your groceries and keep your food chilled, but have you considered how your refrigerator may affect the layout and structure of your kitchen space?
Envision how your refrigeration appliance will look in your kitchen. Determine if it will fit properly without impeding the walk path, be sure it will install correctly between cabinets, and be confident the style and finish option will contrast nicely with your current kitchen design.
One way to ensure your kitchen space is looking and performing at its best is with the addition of a built-in refrigerator. Built-ins provide a uniform and tailored look for professional, luxury, and household kitchens alike. It's a premium option if you’re looking for a true centerpiece to anchor your kitchen and create a cohesive, well-balanced area for family and dinner guests.
Are you ready for a new fridge? This buying guide is a continuation of our brand comparison, but this time we're exploring refrigerators from some of our most popular luxury appliance brands: Sub-Zero, Thermador, and Liebherr.
Benefits of a Built-In Refrigerator
Built-in refrigerators are popular among homeowners who love a seamless, high-end kitchen design. Built-in fridges are generally taller than freestanding models, but they are limited in their depth so they can be installed flush with kitchen cabinetry. They come in many different sizes and can be as wide as 48 inches. Most built-in refrigerators have the compressors on top as opposed to the bottom with most freestanding models.
Even if your refrigerator is tucked away in a corner, it can still be a burden when it comes to traffic flow. If your refrigerator sticks out of the wall, this can limit the available space in your kitchen and make it difficult to move around. Built-in fridge models enhance the appeal of kitchen areas by contributing towards a more streamlined and uniform profile that does not protrude out of the wall. Therefore, you can invite more guests to your gatherings without worrying about overcrowding.
Now that we got that covered, let's see how some of the top brands in the industry compare to one another.
Sub-Zero is one of the industry pioneers when it comes to refrigeration. The door seals keep food fresh, preventing air from infiltrating the fridge unit and spoiling your perishable items. The air scrubbers “scrub” ethylene gas away from older food and lessen the risk of cross-contamination.
These American-made refrigerators include dual compressors, low temperature, and high humidity-controlled storage crispers for optimal organization and food preservation. Other features include nano-coated spill-proof shelving, soft-close doors and drawers, user-friendly temperature management facilitated by a smart-touch control panel, and soft-on LED lighting that gradually illuminates the refrigerator interior.
Thermador is a premium appliance brand primarily known for high-end cooking appliances and professional-style ranges—you may be familiar with the pedestal star burners. But Thermador isn’t limited to an open flame, they also carry a selection of refrigeration appliances.
Some upgraded features include new storage solutions, a push-to-open door, LED internal theater lighting, soft-close doors and drawers, TFT touch controls to regulate temperature, and half-gallon door bins for additional fresh food space. The Open-Door Assist allows the user to open the door with a gentle push to avoid spreading potential bacteria while handling uncooked foods. The crisper drawers have humidity control to give your fruits and veggies the ideal storage conditions, and the Super Cool feature lets you temporarily reduce temperatures to cool foods quickly.
Refrigeration appliances from Liebherr have the mark of quality, reliability, and longevity. With innovative technologies and high-quality materials, Liebherr refrigerators are distinguished by modern design, energy-efficiency, and convenient operation.
A super-quiet energy-wise system, flexible food storage solutions, and an artful design that is thoughtful, restrained, and elegant is what you can expect from any Liebherr product. Liebherr products have been in production for nearly seven decades, providing the full spectrum of food storage solutions, from compact models designed for small kitchens, apartments or workspaces, to fully equipped 36-inch refrigerators that can accommodate the demands of a growing family with ease.
Next on the list is our product overview. Let’s take a more detailed look at some specific refrigerator models and see what they have to offer.
Sub-Zero Built-In French Door Refrigerator (BI-42UFDID/O)
This Sub-Zero built-in fridge model features two separate cooling systems so food can stay fresh. Bursts of dry air prevent frost and freezer burn from occurring inside the freezer, allowing for optimum preservation conditions and humidity levels for each type of food.
Many fresh foods emit ethylene gas, a natural compound found in spoiling food. Sub-Zero's refrigerators come with an anti-microbial air purification system (based on technology developed by NASA) that scrubs the air of ethylene, as well as mold, viruses, and bacteria, every 20 minutes to fight spoilage and odors.
The microprocessor controls and advanced temperature control system retain the interior temperature of the fridge within one degree of its set point. An advanced air seal around all four sides of the door prevents leaks so you can preserve your food and conserve energy.
Additional specifications include:
- LED refrigerator and freezer lights
- Internal water dispenser
- 5 refrigerator door bins (3 adjustable; 2 stationary)
- 4 glass refrigerator shelves (3 adjustable; 1 stationary)
- 2 adjustable dairy compartments
- 1 refrigerator storage drawers with adjustable dividers
- 1 high-humidity crisper drawer with adjustable dividers
- Remote Wi-Fi connectivity
- 1 full-extension roll-out freezer drawer
- Automatic ice maker with removable ice container
The Freedom collection from Thermador gives you the “freedom” to preserve every culinary moment and carve your own path in the kitchen. The Open-Door Assist technology allows you to either push or pull to open the refrigerator door to add a personalized touch.
Delicate produce bins help you avoid bruised produce and damaged herbs with removable and soft-close Delicate Produce Bins. A touchscreen display panel controls each setting throughout the refrigeration unit, including individual temperature control, lighting, and Open-Door Assist.
Thermador refrigeration units are more energy-efficient than ever before with Cool Air Flow technology upgraded with a new, quieter fan. This is proprietary Thermador technology that optimizes and evenly distributes cold air throughout all parts of the unit.
Additional specifications include:
- Theater-style, diffused lighting
- All-leg leveling for faster installation
- Full-width ice drawers
- STAR-K Sabbath compliant
- Freedom Hinges for a flush design
- Uniquely shaped Diamond Ice made with twist tray technology
This Liebherr refrigerator offers the quality and cutting-edge design you need to fit with your busy lifestyle. Exclusive components, materials, and the latest features ensure energy-efficiency and reliable performance for years to come.
The BioFresh function guarantees the perfect climate for long-term freshness. Through its advanced technology, the temperature is kept at just above freezing to keep the contents of your fridge at the ideal, chilly temperature. Each drawer can be used individually to provide specific humidity levels. HydroSafes controls high humidity and DrySafes controls low humidity to create a versatile storage solution for meats and cheeses as well as fruits and vegetables.
Noise is kept to a minimum with virtually silent, speed-controlled compressors, and a low noise cooling circuit; while also ensuring exact performance, energy efficiency and SuperQuiet operation. And with SuperQuiet comes SuperCool. This function generates greater cold reserves so that freshly stored food can be rapidly chilled.
Unique to Liebherr, the patented SoftSystem is often used in high-end cabinetry to ensure the door closes gently, even when fully loaded. If you’re utilizing the gallon storage bins on the door, they can be weighted down with a supply of milk or juice and the doors will still close softly. Plus, the door opening angle can be reduced to 90 degrees allowing for more design options within kitchen décor.
Product vs Product vs Product Comparison
For a quickly accessible overview, here is how each luxury refrigerator brand stacks up:
|Total Capacity (cu. Ft.)
|Door swing option
|Energy Star qualified
|Custom panel ready
Sub-Zero vs Thermador vs Liebherr: Which is Better?
We’ve highlighted some of the most prevalent features of each refrigerator model, but before you decide, let’s revisit some similarities.
The Thermador refrigerator features the Open-Door Assist that allows users to open the door without using excessive force. This feature helps prevent the spread of bacteria which is always a possibility when you’re handling raw food.
Sub-Zero built-in refrigerators feature soft-close doors and drawers, which are similar to the doors on the Thermador model but aren’t quite as spacious. Liebherr has the SoftSystem to ensure fully loaded doors still shut gently. They all possess this similar feature, but Sub-Zero claims a narrow victory with the convenience of Open-Door Assist.
In terms of control, all three appliance models offer similar features. You can easily control temperature and humidity levels, but Sub-Zero and Thermador also feature smart-touch control panels that allow users to adjust temperatures and change operational modes.
As far as controls are concerned, there might not be a clear-cut winner, but you could give the nod to Thermador because they offer a bit more in terms of tracking performance.
Again, all three fridge models feature technologies that help store and purify air to ensure foods stay fresh for as long as possible.
Liebherr’s individual humidity levels and BioFresh function provide exceptional long-term freshness and protection, while Thermador's carbon air filter is effective at eliminating unwanted odors from the refrigerator’s interior.
The Choice is Yours
We hope our luxury refrigerator brand guide inspires you to pursue a high-quality refrigerator worthy of your kitchen space. Be sure to browse our digital catalog of name-brand refrigerators, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact our appliance experts. Give us a call or visit us at one of our Albert Lee store locations today!