Cold water on tap, but not from the tap – what is the difference between plumbed and non-plumbed refrigerators?

Cold water on tap, but not from the tap – what is the difference between plumbed and non-plumbed refrigerators?

Do you like the idea of cool fresh water (and maybe ice too) on demand this summer? Many of our new fridges have water dispensers but what is the difference between the plumbed and non-plumbed models? We’ve taken the hard work out of finding out. Check out our expert’s summary of what you can expect from a plumbed and non-plumbed refrigerator plus some of our top picks in each category!

Non-plumbed – quick facts

  • Enjoy chilled water from the water dispenser without needing to open the fridge door.
  • Refillable water tank.
  • Position anywhere.
  • Easy to relocate.

Refillable water tank

A non-plumbed refrigerator holds the water in a water tank inside the refrigerator that you will fill manually when it runs out. One disadvantage of this is that it can slightly reduce the usable space inside your refrigerator. 

Most models have a built-in water filter but some may require you to fill the tank with pre-filtered water.

The Panasonic 377L S/Steel Bottom Mount Fridge/Freezer with Hygiene Water has a large 3-litre water tank that is molded from BPA-free plastic and equipped with a carbon filter (also available in Black).


Position anywhere

A non-plumbed refrigerator does not need to be connected directly to your water supply so gives you the flexibility to position it anywhere. Perfect if you are buying a fridge to fit into an existing space and ideal for renters as this makes it super easy to relocate if needed.

The Haier 514L Satina French Door Fridge/Freezer is a favourite among Kiwis. The water dispenser offers easy access to chilled water without the need for plumbing. Its internal water tank is simple to refill.
more options from Haier check out our newsletter.

Plumbed – quick facts

  • Never have to refill – connected directly to the water supply 
  • Built-in water filter 
  • More internal storage space

Connected directly to the water supply

Because it is connected directly to your household water supply this means that you will need a plumber to install your refrigerator. On the plus side, it gives you unlimited water (and ice if it is a model with an ice dispenser).

More internal storage space

As you do not have an internal water tank that space can be used for your groceries.

Fisher & Paykel 498L S/Steel Quad Door Ice & Water Fridge/Freezer features a slimline water dispenser that makes it easy to fill almost any sized jug or vessel with cool filtered water, while fresh ice is always available for you in a dedicated freezer bin.

So whether you decide a plumbed or a non-plumbed option suits your needs best, be sure to make sure you choose a new fridge that provides you with fresh chilled water this summer.

Check out all our amazing refrigeration options!