What Is A Counter-Depth Refrigerator? – The Kitchen Furniture


What Is A Counter-Depth Refrigerator?

Getting the right look for your kitchen should be considered fine art.

The lifeblood of any kitchen, and indeed one of the key appliances, is the refrigerator. It can be quite a challenge to choose the right refrigerator depending on your style of kitchen.

In this article, we aim to answer your questions surrounding counter-depth refrigerators, including a pros and cons list, and the different styles of counter-depth refrigerators.

What Is A Counter-Depth Refrigerator?

What Exactly Is A Counter-depth Refrigerator? 

As the name suggests, a counter-depth refrigerator is designed to be as close to the depth of your countertops as possible. Traditionally, a countertop is roughly between 24 and 30 inches in depth.

This means that counter-depth refrigerators are slightly shallower than traditional fridges. With this in mind, counter-depth fridges offset the loss of depth by being wider and often a bit taller.

The term “counter-depth” denotes the distance between the front of the countertop and the back wall (sometimes referred to as the backsplash).

This is useful to know if you’re remodeling your kitchen or have always had Standard Depth refrigerators, as you’ll need to take the correct measurements.

However, it can be slightly misleading as retailers use the umbrella term “counter-depth” to mean any refrigerator designed to go under your kitchen countertops without considering the actual depth of a specific kitchen countertop.

It is self-defeating if your counter-depth fridge overshoots your counter. It is, therefore, important to take careful and precise measurements before considering which appliance is suitable for your kitchen.

Some of the best counter-depth refrigerators are designed specifically to sit as flush as possible with the kitchen countertop and cabinets, offering a cleaner, more customized look.

It is important to remember that if you are on a particular budget, counter-depth refrigerators are generally more expensive than standard-depth ones.

Counter-depth Vs Standard-depth

The most important difference between standard-depth and counter-depth refrigerators can be blindingly obvious.

Whilst you can be forgiven for thinking that a standard-depth refrigerator offers more capacity, many manufacturers of counter-depth refrigerators design the appliances to offer similar capacity as their full-size counterparts.

Unless you have remodeled your kitchen with modernity in mind, traditional refrigerators may stick out half a foot or more from the kitchen counter edge.

Ultimately it might be that your kitchen’s design is the deciding factor on whether to opt for counter-depth or standard depth.

Pros Of A Counter-depth Refrigerator

  • Streamline your kitchen 
  • Probably the main reason why people chose a counter-depth refrigerator is they give your kitchen a sense of uniformity.

    Given the fact that they don’t protrude massively past your counter, counter-depth refrigerators offer a more streamlined aesthetic.

  • No more bottlenecks in the kitchen
  • Unlike a standard depth refrigerator which is usually much deeper than its neighboring counters or cabinets which means it protrudes, sometimes into the main traffic area, counter-depth refrigerators alleviate this issue.

  • Easily access the contents of a counter-depth fridge
  • It’s much easier to find and retrieve items from a counter-depth refrigerator as it requires less extended bending. This also applies to the freezer compartment. The bonus is that this easier access is appreciated when it comes to cleaning. 

    Cons Of A Counter-depth Refrigerator

  • Wider profile
  • When comparing like for like in terms of counter depth, a 25-inch standard-depth refrigerator will be narrower than a counter-depth model meaning you sacrifice capacity.

    With this in mind if you are replacing a standard depth refrigerator with a counter depth model you’ll most likely lose some capacity for the fridge to fit into the existing space.

  • Freezer capacity is reduced
  • Regardless of whether the freezer compartment is at the top or the bottom of the fridge, anticipate less capacity.

    Counter-depth Refrigerator Styles

    The four main styles of the counter-depth refrigerator are as follows: 

    French Door

    This style of refrigerator configuration is ideal for those who prefer the freezer compartment below the main fridge. The two main doors open outwards and generally need less clearance compared to a single-door top-freezer refrigerator. Meaning that French Door refrigerators are more appropriate for smaller kitchen spaces. 


    The Top-Freezer is a more traditional style of a refrigerator with the freezer compartment on the top and the main fridge below. Depending on the model, the doors of the freezer and fridge compartments can open to the left or the right. 


    These refrigerators have doors on either side which extend the full height of the refrigerator. One side houses the fridge and the narrower side houses the freezer. In certain models, the doors are narrower to maximize space. 


    The Bottom-Freezer is similar to the French Door style in that the freezer compartment is at the bottom of the appliance, but different as it has a single door instead of two. Like the Top-Freezer, certain models can have the doors open to the right or left-hand side. 

    Final Thoughts

    There are so many different choices when it comes to refrigerators, which might not be a bad thing considering every kitchen is unique.

    Whilst you might have specific details in mind such as the design of your refrigerator or whether it is going to be French Doors or a Bottom Freezer there’s a couple of general points to bear in mind:

    1. Ultimately your choice of the refrigerator may well be dictated by the kitchen space available to you. 

    2. Have an idea of the clearance you will need for opening the doors/compartments.

    3. Remember that on some models door placement can be either on the left or right.

    4. Shop around - it is always good advice to consider multiple options when purchasing large appliances. 

    Counter-depth refrigerators have many benefits and can make a kitchen look and feel more modern. They’re ideal for smaller spaces but can be just as appropriate for those of us lucky to have a larger kitchen. 

    Whether you are thinking about going for counter-depth refrigerators or standard-depth, the biggest takeaway should be that you ensure that all measurements of the countertops are accurate. 

    Even if you decide to go for a standard-depth refrigerator, knowing your kitchen space is a must when buying larger appliances. 

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published