What is the difference between counter depth and standard depth refrigerators? This article will help you decide which style is right for your needs.

As home design has changed, so have the appliances that fit into today’s houses. It’s no longer enough to have one refrigerator size to fit every kitchen. In addition to choosing colors, door styles, and other features, homeowners can now select from two major styles, counter-depth vs standard-depth, when selecting a refrigerator.

But despite your personal preferences, chances are your current kitchen’s design dictates the type of refrigerator that will work best. It’s essential to carefully measure your existing space to make sure the fridge you choose will fit.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing between design styles. Let's dive in.


Counter-Depth Refrigerators Defined

The term “counter depth” can be deceptive when it comes to refrigerators since counters can vary from one home to another. Generally speaking, a kitchen’s counters will arrive at around the 25-inch mark when their depth is measured and cabinets are typically 24 to 24 1/2-inches deep. This means that today’s standard refrigerators, at approximately 30 inches in depth, will protrude by several inches from the edge of your countertops.

Best counter-depth refrigerators are specifically designed to sit as flush as possible with your cabinets and countertops for a cleaner, more customized look. However, it’s important to note that counter-depth refrigerators won’t necessarily be exact to the measurements of your countertops since you’ll need room for the doors to open. Often the doors of the refrigerator will protrude enough so that they’ll be easy to open without rubbing against the adjacent counter space. Counter-depth refrigerators are smaller than standard refrigerators, making them great for kitchens that have narrow walkways.

Samsung refrigerator models include most prominent selection of counter depth style. There are a few disadvantages to counter-depth refrigerators, including their cost. Manufacturers make fewer counter-depth products compared to standard depth fridges which affects unit-level cost. In addition, manufacturers often use more costly, but thinner insulation material to provide as much interior space as possible; also contributing to their higher cost.

Counter-depth refrigerators come in different styles including side by side refrigerator as well as French door refrigerator models.

Counter Depth vs Standard Refrigerator Style

Standard-Depth Refrigerators

If you’ve shopped for appliances lately, chances are you’ve encountered rows of standard-depth refrigerators. These models can range in depth from 30 to 34 inches in depth, compared to the 23 to 27 inches seen with counter-depth refrigerators. This extra depth means more space for your groceries and leftovers, making it popular with today’s homeowners. But this extra depth does take up additional room in your kitchen, which can be a problem if you’re in a smaller home.

The added depth also means your refrigerator will protrude from surrounding countertops and cabinetry, which can create an eyesore in some kitchens. For that reason, designers often now have cabinetry specially designed to fit today’s popular refrigerators, with the bonus that these cabinets also offer more storage space.

Since standard-depth refrigerators are more popular, you’ll also find a greater selection of colors and styles as you shop. This means you likely won’t need to wait for the model you want to be ordered from the factory, helping you enjoy your newly-designed kitchen more quickly.

Standard depth refrigerators are also less pricey. You might be able to allocate cost savings towards other features in your home.

Pro Tip: If you’re remodeling your kitchen, you might be able to find a way to make your standard-depth refrigerator look like a built-in. This gives you the clean look of a counter-depth while still providing plenty of space for all your groceries. To do this, invest in cabinetry that is 27 inches in depth, allowing it to conceal the body of your deeper refrigerator. Another option is to ask your contractor to cut into the wall behind where your refrigerator will sit in order to slide it back further.


Conclusion: Choosing Your Style

While appliance preferences are unique to the individual, we prefer the look of a counter-depth refrigerator, since it creates a clean, custom-designed look in a kitchen. However, the storage and functionality of a regular-depth refrigerator are more appealing for day-to-day use. We list both styles as part of our best refrigerator brands rankings.

If you are replacing a refrigerator, our advice is to choose the refrigerator that will be best for your unique needs. If you need to conserve space for a better flow in your kitchen, go with a counter-depth. If you have a large family, though, we recommend regular-depth to ensure you’ll have plenty of space to meet your daily needs.

Meanwhile, avoid costly mistakes by carefully measuring your space. Even if you’re switching a refrigerator for the same type of model make sure to triple check. This simple step will save you an unpleasant surprises on the day your new appliance arrives.


Best Refrigerator Brands

Below are our take on some of the manufacturers that consistently make great residential products.