Updated: January 23, 2020

Is a counter-depth fridge right for you? Our guide covers everything you need to know about these sleek, modern appliances, including their benefits and style options.


You’ve probably seen counter-depth refrigerator models in newer, updated or renovated kitchens. These types of refrigerators are popular for their streamlined looks.

So, what is a counter-depth fridge, exactly?


A counter-depth refrigerator matches the depth of your kitchen countertops (24-25 inches), and therefore, has a shallower depth than traditional refrigerators (35-36 inches). To compensate for their narrower depth, counter-depth fridges are typically wider and a bit taller than traditional fridges.

A French door counter-depth refrigerator in a cabinet cutout.


The distance between the front of your kitchen countertops and your back wall or backsplash is your “counter depth.” It’s usually somewhere in the 24–25-inch range. 
A counter-depth refrigerator is designed to offer basically the same storage as a regular, full-size refrigerator in a style that generally doesn’t stick out more than an inch or two past the kitchen counters and cabinets. Counter-depth refrigerators are typically under 30 inches deep.
By contrast, most full-size refrigerators are over 30 inches deep, often in the 35- to 36-inch range.
So, in many kitchens, traditional refrigerators may stick out half a foot or more from the edge of the kitchen counters.

So, what does a counter-depth refrigerator mean for your kitchen? It means you can get the sleek look you want, with just as much storage, while minimizing disruptions in your workflow — especially when you’ve got one too many cooks in the kitchen!

A person opens the door of a Maytag counter-depth refrigerator.


The benefits of counter-depth refrigerators include:

  1. Refrigerator generally extends only one to two inches beyond the edge of the countertop.
  2. Has a built-in look with kitchen countertops and cabinets for a more modern, streamlined aesthetic.
  3. More room to open the doors without bumping into something.
  4. Easy to get around the kitchen, even with multiple cooks.
  5. Shallower depth means easy access to food and condiments.
  6. Extra width and height allows for similar capacity as traditional refrigerators.
A counter-depth refrigerator creates a sleek aesthetic in a modern kitchen.


What’s nice about a counter-depth fridge is that it provides a seamless design solution. Even if you don’t need the extra space for floor traffic, you can still enjoy the sleek look of a counter-depth refrigerator.


Since these refrigerators are designed to line up with the end of your cabinets, they fit in nicely with most modern kitchen designs. Plus, you don’t have to sacrifice space for style since by going a bit taller and/or wider, counter-depth refrigerators can deliver the same amount of usable space as a full-size refrigerator, without sticking out.


There are four main styles of counter-depth refrigerators – French door, side-by-side, top-freezer and bottom-freezer.


The French door style refrigerator has two doors on top and a freezer drawer below. The French doors open outward to reveal one large refrigerator space inside. Opening and closing the doors on a French door refrigerator generally requires less clearance compared to a single door on a traditional top freezer refrigerator. For this reason, French Door refrigerators are suitable for smaller kitchens.


Side-by-side refrigerator models have two doors extending the full height of the fridge. One side is the refrigerator and the other side is the freezer.


A more traditional style, the top-freezer refrigerator has a freezer on top and a fridge below. The refrigerator and freezer doors can open to the right or left depending on the model you choose.


Bottom-freezer fridges feature a refrigerator on top and freezer drawer or door below. It’s similar to a French door style in this way, but has one refrigerator door instead of two. Depending on the model, the refrigerator door can open to either the right or left.


You can find counter-depth refrigerators in side-by-side, French door, top-freezer and bottom-freezer styles with a narrower depth. You can also find counter-depth, top- or bottom-freezer refrigerators with a narrower width to give you more space in a small kitchen. With so many styles to choose from, you’re bound to find the ideal counter-depth refrigerator for your kitchen.

A side-by-side counter-depth refrigerator aligns with the edge of the countertops in a white kitchen.


Before you can start enjoying the perks of integrated design, it’s important to thoroughly measure your cabinet cutout and specific counter depth to ensure your fridge will be truly aligned.


If you already have a counter-depth fridge and you’re looking for a replacement, it’s important to revisit and confirm the dimensions of the space for your counter-depth fridge.


When shopping, pay special attention to the “door open” and “with handle” dimensions, to ensure a match that allows you to enjoy the benefits of a more flush appliance.


Learn how to find the right dimensions for your counter-depth refrigerator.

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