What Does Counter Depth Mean For A Refrigerator? (Surprising Answer)

By Nick Evans •  Last Updated: 07/16/21 •  6 min read

Purchasing a new appliance can be confusing. Learn what counter depth means for a refrigerator and whether a counter depth or standard depth refrigerator is the right pick for you.

We’ll also discuss:

  • What is refrigerator counter depth?
  • Counter depth vs. standard depth
  • Standard depth for a fridge
  • Whether counter depth refrigerators have less storage space
  • How to know if a counter depth fridge is worth it for you
  • Dimensions of counter depth refrigerators
What Does Counter Depth Mean For A Refrigerator

What is refrigerator counter depth?

Counter depth refrigerators are built to be the same depth as standard counters. This measurement can be taken in your home by measuring from the wall to the outer edge of your countertops, but typically it is 24-25 inches.

The sizing can vary up to around 30 inches, which is why it’s important to always get the measurements for the specific model you’re considering before purchase.

The benefits of having a counter depth refrigerator are aesthetics and space. Many people prefer the look of a fridge that fits flush with their counters. 

In addition, counter-depth fridges provide more floor space. This is especially helpful in tiny kitchens or homes with large families.

Some people also find them helpful for displaying food where you can see and reach it easily. With less depth, it’s less likely you’ll forget about the lettuce and find a rotten husk in the back of the fridge during your next cleaning.

Speaking of cleaning your refrigerator, that tends to be easier with counter depth appliances as well. You won’t have to reach very far into the appliance to get to the back walls and shelves.

What is the difference between counter depth and standard depth?

The only difference between counter depth and standard depth refrigerators is their size.

Standard depth refrigerators are typically about a foot deeper at 35-36 inches compared to counter depth at 24-25 inches. 

However, 30 inches seems to be the dividing line between the depths, with some models of both standard and counter depth refrigerators meeting this midpoint.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that counter depth fridges are too small on the inside, though. The manufacturers take interior size into account during the design process, which is why counter depth refrigerators are typically taller and/or wider than standard models.

The main consideration when choosing your fridge depth isn’t how much food you buy, but what will fit nicely in your kitchen. Many people like counter depth refrigerators because they take up less floor space and are the right size to fit between counters without looking awkward.

On the other hand, if you have a kitchen where the fridge stands separate from the counters, or you don’t mind giving up some floor space, standard depth refrigerators may be a better fit for you.

Lastly, your budget is an important consideration when it comes to the fridge type you choose to purchase. Counter depth refrigerators typically cost more, while standard depths are cheaper.

What is standard depth for a fridge?

The standard depth for a fridge is around 35-36 inches, though it can vary as low as 30 inches.

These refrigerators are deeper than counter depth fridges but typically are lacking in height or width in comparison.

Standard depth fridges also tend to have more freezer space, though the fridge space is very similar to that of a counter depth appliance.

A fridge at standard depth fits better in some kitchens, especially larger rooms or set-ups where the fridge doesn’t align with the counters.

In other situations, they might appear bulky and take up too much floor space.

Standard depth refrigerators also tend to be cheaper, which is another great feature of a refrigerator of this size.

Recommended >> How Long Does A Fridge Take To Cool?

Do counter depth refrigerators have less space?

Although it depends upon the specific models you’re considering, in general, counter depth refrigerators don’t have less space inside.

What they lack in depth, they make up for in height and width. This allows the interior space to store just as much food as a standard depth refrigerator.

Surprisingly, however, you’ll likely find that your freezer space is what’s smaller in a counter-depth refrigerator. If you buy a lot of frozen goods, you might consider a standard width instead. 

Are counter depth fridges worth it?

Whether a counter depth fridge is worth it depends on your preferences and budget. Neither a counter depth or standard depth fridge type will be better than the other for every household.

Measure your space carefully, as this will often determine what type you can buy. Then, consider which look you would prefer in your home as well as which storage type works best for you.

Keep in mind that, while fridge space will stay similar, counter depth refrigerators often have smaller freezer sections.

Unfortunately, counter depth refrigerators are also more expensive. This can be a barrier for some people who love the look but can’t afford the cost.

If you’re in this place and have some time before buying your next fridge, I suggest looking out for sales before making a final purchase. You might get lucky and find a good deal!

Counter depth refrigerator dimensions

Before shopping for a counter depth refrigerator, measure the area you’ll be placing it in.

First, measure from the back wall to the front of your cabinets. This will give you a rough idea of the width of your new fridge.

Keep in mind that fridges typically sit a couple of inches out from the wall, which helps with ventilation. You’ll also need to ensure the fridge sits one inch below any upper cabinets and ⅛ of an inch from counters or walls to either side.

Then, measure from the floor to your desired height. If you don’t mind how tall your fridge is, just be sure to get the wall height or the measurement from your floor to any cabinets above the fridge area.

Again, this doesn’t necessarily need to be a perfect fit. If the fridge is many inches shorter than the cabinet height and you like it, that’s okay! Just keep the measurement noted so that you don’t buy a fridge that’s too tall to fit.

Measure the width from cabinet to cabinet or cabinet to wall, depending on how your kitchen is set up.

Lastly, measure the space in front of your refrigerator. This will tell you how big your doors can be before they’re swinging into an island, hitting your cabinets, or taking up the entire kitchen aisle when opened.

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