Sub Zero Refrigerator – Classic Built-In vs Integrated [REVIEW]

Sub Zero Refrigerator - Classic Built-In vs Integrated [REVIEW]

A Sub Zero refrigerator will allow you to step away from a protruding white appliance and choose one that blends in with the design of your kitchen. Sub Zero refrigerator models comes in two styles, classic built-in or integrated. However, most people are confused about the differences between the two styles and need help in choosing the right one. In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences between the Classic Built-In fridges and the Designer Series Integrated models.

Sub Zero is the company that invented built-in refrigerator in the mid-1950s, and remains the gold standard of refrigeration in the world today. Between 2013 and 2016, Sub Zero rolled out integrated refrigeration, introducing the latest technology and aesthetic approach.

Sub Zero also owns the Wolf appliances and Cove dishwasher brands. These three high-end premium brands compliment each other with their fit and finish. When designing a new kitchen, you can also take advantage of package programs, which the company offers for savings. Wolf ranges are an especially beloved American tradition. You can’t miss their patented red knobs in most luxurious kitchens.

Watch our exclusive video review of Sub Zero fridges

Sub Zero Refrigerator: Classic Built-In vs Integrated?

First, let’s talk about the similarities

Sub Zero has always been an all-around great fridge. That’s because the company designs all their food preservation systems with a focus on three essential components: temperature control, proper humidity, and purified air.

All Sub Zero refrigerators come with these core-features:

  • NASA-inspired, anti-microbial air purification system that fights spoilage and reduces odors by removing bacteria, viruses, and ethylene gas.
  • Built-in microprocessor that accurately controls interior temperature and closely monitors system performance.
  • Dual refrigeration system that creates and maintains separate and optimal humidity levels for the fridge and freezer, ensuring food stays fresher longer.
  • Magnetic door seals, which help preserve cold air and proper humidity levels inside each space.
  • Nano-coated, spill-proof glass shelves and dairy comportment that are hygienic and easy to clean.
  • Water-filtration system for ice dispenser, which reduces contaminants, as well as chlorine taste and odor.
  • Crispers and deli drawers in low-temperature, high-humidity zones that provide optimum freshness.
  • LED Lighting for a bright and luxurious interior.

Additionally, all Sub Zero products are manufactured in U.S. facilities, and are rigorously tested to ensure at least 20 years of heavy use. Sub Zero also offers exceptional 24/7 support from their friendly Customer Care team based in Madison, Wisconsin, in addition to their gold standard technical service across the nation.

The Classic Built-In Series – Statement Maker with Classic Usability


Classic Built-In models are statement makers. With their 84” tall presence and signature Sub-Zero louvered grille at the top, they become the focal point of the kitchen. If you want your kitchen appliances to stand out, these are for you.

Design Options

These models can be installed in two different ways:

  1. Proud: The box is built into the cabinetry, and the door skin protrudes slightly.
  2. Flush: A one inch space is left next to the hinge to allow it to rotate. This ensures the door does not stick out beyond the cabinets.

Interior Measurements

The interior measurements of the Classic Series are a little bigger than that of the Designer Series. The depth of the cabin is 24 inches, plus 2 ½ inches for the door skin, bringing the total depth to 26 ½ inches. This means that on 30” models, you’ll have 13.2 cu.ft. of fridge space, and 4.2 cu.ft. of freezer space. On 36” models, there is 16.4” cu.ft. of fridge space, and 5/3 cu.ft. of freezer space.

Available Configurations

A range of different door options are available, including:

  • Fridge with bottom freezer drawer (Available in 30″ & 36″)
  • Side-by-side (two doors that open outward from handles in the center) (Available in 36″, 42″, 48″)
  • French doors (door swing is half that of a single-door, bottom freezer unit) (Available in 36″ & 42″)
  • Full Column (Available in 36″)

Other Features of the Classic Built-In Series

Classic Built-In models offer a french door option, which makes them a versatile option for island or peninsula installations. This is because the french door swing is half that of a single-door, bottom freezer unit.

Sub Zero cleverly redesigned the location of the compressor on the Classic Built-In refrigerator models, and some customers (particularly shorties like me) enjoy the additional accessibility to the top shelves this creates.

Pro-Tip: Because the compressor is now on the top of the fridge, it might not fit in your NYC elevator. However, the factory will make special arrangements to deliver the item without the compressor on the top. (This option is not available from other refrigerator brands like Thermador, Miele, or Viking.)

Integrated Models IT/IC: Design Variety & Enhanced Features


Modern families have different needs in terms of the amount of fridge or freezer space they require. Whereas the Classic Built-In series of products allows for only one fridge/freezer combination option, the Designer Series offers a lot of room for creativity. Homeowners and kitchen designers have the power to mix and match all models (including bottom freezer versions) to create the perfect combination unit for their project.

For example, if a family is looking for a larger refrigerator/freezer combination, the Designer Series offers the option to create a 72″ wide combination by placing a 36″ All Refrigerator next to a 36″ All Freezer. Sub Zero even sells accessories to make this configuration look like one seamless product. The 36″ All Refrigerator also has a glass door option for you to showcase your Pinterest-worthy fridge organization.

Design Advantages

Designer Series IT/IC models are completely built-in. They have articulated hinges, which is a fancy way of saying that the hinges are hidden on the inside. This means that there is no need to leave extra space around the unit, making them an attractive option for those who want to have a completely modern and streamlined finish.

Interior Measurements

Like the Classic Built-In models, the Designer IT/IC models have a depth of 24″. Although you don’t need to consider the extra 2 ½ inch door skin when planning your design, you do lose some interior space. On 30″ models, you’ll only get 10.6 cu.ft. of fridge space, and on the 36″ models there are 13.3 cu.ft. of fridge space. On the flip side, these models have more freezer space than their Classic Built-In counterparts, with 5.0 cu.ft. and 6.4 cu.ft., respectively. Bottom freezer models also have two drawers, which allows for better organization.

Available Configurations

The Integrated series can be ordered with the following door options:

  • All refrigerator column (24″, 30″, 36″)
  • All freezer column (18″, 24″, 30″, 36″)
  • Refrigerator/freezer column (24″)
  • Over-and-Under (30″, 36″)
  • Undercounter refrigeration drawers (24″, 30″, 36″)

Additional Features

Fresh Food, Guaranteed
For optimal conditions for your produce and meat, the Integrated models come with a drawer that provides a lower temperature, higher humidity zone. This helps you to get the most out of your produce and meat without having to worry about it spoiling quickly.

Ever wonder why your strawberries go bad so quickly after purchase? It could be because you’re storing them next to the wrong foods. To make the most out of their innovative food preservation technology, Sub Zero also includes ‘freshness cards’ with your purchase. These give great instructions on proper food storage, so you can enjoy fresher food for longer periods of time.

Sleek Design
In addition to being a food preservation powerhouse, Sub Zero’s Integrated models provide a sleek design that is sure to wow your guests. Models in the Integrated Series are seamless inside and out – this means you’ll never see hinges. Sub Zero also uses frameless door shelves and interior shelving for a more modern and classy look.

Sub Zero’s Integrated refrigerators come with flexible toe kick heights. You can opt to have a toe kick height of between 2 and six inches, for your convenience.

Speaking of convenience, some customers love the idea of having a water dispenser in their fridge, but don’t want it to become an eyesore in an otherwise seamless design. On the Tall and Column 30 and 36 inch models, you can choose to incorporate an internal water dispenser, located on the left side of your fridge

And finally, in addition to having bright LED lighting throughout the fridge, you can select the ‘soft on’ feature, which gradually increases the light while

Support and warranty

Sub-Zero has one of the best 24/7 customer support services of all appliance brands, so you can have peace of mind that you will be looked after should something go wrong at any time of day or night.

All Sub-Zero refrigeraton units come with an industry best warranty which covers the following:

  • All inclusive two-year warranty (parts & labor)
  • Five-year full warranty on the sealed system (parts & labor)
  • Twelve-year limited warranty on the sealed system (parts only)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I combine a Sub Zero fridge and freezer together?

Yes, you can, but you are limited to only one option in the Classic Built-In Series, whereas the Integrated series allows you more flexibility. All families have different needs in terms of how much fridge and freezer space they need. At the end of the day, it will come down to your individual requirements and what works best for you.

Classic Built-In Combinations

By putting a 36” All fridge next to a 36” All freezer, you can make a 72” fridge/freezer combination, which is your only option with the Classic Built-In series. Using the dedicated Sub Zero accessories, you can have it looking like it’s one product rather than two. If you like the idea of showing off your organized fridge, you can have a glass door.

Integrated Refrigeration Combinations

Here you have a wider variety of choices, as you can mix and match all models to create your ideal fridge/freezer combination. The exact depth and zero-clearance hinges allow you to match a 24”, 30” or 36” All refrigerator with either an 18”, 24”, 30” or 36” All freezer. Sub Zero is the only brand that gives you this number of configurations.

How do I replace my old Sub Zero refrigerator? Will the new one fit in the space of the older version?

You can replace the old Sub Zero refrigerator with a new one (we cover this in our earlier posts). Please contact our sales staff for incentives and promotions on available loyalty programs.

Is Sub Zero and Wolf Ranges the same company?

Yes. The Wolf brand is the cooking and ventilation arm of the Sub Zero. In addition, Sub Zero launced the Cove dishwasher brand to cover the entire line of kitchen appliances.

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SIDENOTE. This post was last modified on August 19, 2021. However, we regularly update our content as we test more products and new models are released. We also listen to the feedback of our customers and make changes to our product recommendations based on their experiences. So don’t be surprised if you see some old comments below! Since reader comments contribute to the topic, we have decided not to delete them.

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