Comparing Counter Depth vs Standard Depth Refrigerator—Which One Is Better?

counter depth vs standard depth refrigerator featured photo

Choosing the right refrigerator for your kitchen involves more than just picking a brand or model. There are more things to consider than just their depth. The size of your kitchen, the design of the fridge, and the quantity of food items you can stuff in them matter, too.

While the reduced size of a counter-depth refrigerator offers a sleeker and more modern look, a bulkier standard-depth fridge will give you ample storage space.

So there’s an obvious trade-off here. And did you know that you will pay more for smaller fridges like counter depth models?

Below, we will compare the two in terms of installation, capacity, features, aesthetic appeal, and price.  We will also weigh the pros and cons of counter and standard-depth refrigerators so you can decide which one is best suited to your kitchen.

What Are Counter Depth Refrigerators?

What Are Counter Depth Refrigerators

Counter-depth refrigerators offer a cleaner look. They are designed to be virtually flush with your counters or kitchen cabinets. With a depth ranging from 24 to 30 inches, they are typically shallower than standard depth fridges. Their size makes them ideal for small or skinny kitchens.

Since they sit flush with your counters, such fridges offer a sleeker and more customized look. However, while they are supposed to be seamlessly integrated with your kitchen, a counter-depth refrigerator still requires some leeway for you to open its doors.

This means that you don’t have to stick to the exact measurement of your countertops. There should still be enough protrusion or the refrigerator door needs to stick out. This allows you to open the refrigerator doors easily, making sure they don’t rub against the adjacent counters.

But keep in mind that the depth of the fridge doesn’t include its doors or handles. Still, they need enough clearance around the hinge so the door can swing open.

Counter-depth refrigerators are available in different configurations and styles. You can choose from a French door fridge, top freezer and bottom freezer refrigerator, side-by-side, and mini fridge. Depending on its configuration, the fridge’s capacity and dimensions vary.


  • Modern and sleek; offers seamless integration
  • Saves space, making it a great choice for narrow or small kitchens
  • Items won’t get lost in the back


  • Less capacity
  • Expensive

What Are Standard Depth Refrigerators?

What Are Standard Depth Refrigerators

Standard-depth refrigerators are significantly deeper than counter-depth fridges, typically 30 to 36 inches. The measurement of their depths doesn’t include their doors and knobs, so you can expect a standard-depth fridge to protrude more into your space.

A deeper fridge means more food to store. Standard depth refrigerators offer ample storage room for all your fresh produce, meat, and poultry, and are ideal for large households. Besides the depth, they are also tall and wide.

So, overall, it’s a top-notch choice for maximizing storage.

They are pretty versatile, too. A standard depth fridge can be installed as a stand-alone on any part of your where there is ample square foot to accommodate one. You can also have it built into or go along with the wall in your kitchen for a more integrated look.


  • Offers ample storage space
  • Versatile installation
  • Great for larger kitchens
  • Less expensive


  • Takes up space
  • The protrusion can be an eyesore

Comparison: Counter Depth vs Standard Depth Refrigerator

Now that you know the pros and cons of a counter-depth refrigerator and a standard-depth refrigerator, let’s compare the two.

Depth Requirements

A counter-depth fridge is designed to align with your counters’ depth. The standard depth of a kitchen counter is 24 inches. But if your kitchen is large enough to accommodate a larger double French door refrigerator, you might want to up your counter size. Remember to allow a leeway for the hinges to swing open.

Meanwhile, there’s not a lot of adjustment with a standard depth fridge. These refrigerators are meant to stick out from your surrounding counters and cabinets. You can be a freestanding appliance.

Fridge Dimensions

Counter-depth refrigerators can go up to 30 inches deep. However, they are also generally wide (about 36 inches) and tall (66 to 72 inches), which compensates for their reduced depth. Great place to stuff platters and pizza boxes!

Standard depth fridges, on the other hand, are on the bulky side. These refrigerators have a depth of 30 to 36 inches. They are also tall (62 to 72 inches) and wide (24 to 40 inches).

Read more below to compare their storage space.

Capacity/Storage Space

The average capacity of a counter-depth refrigerator can sit anywhere from 15 to 25 cubic feet. Standard-depth fridges, on the other hand, have an average capacity of between 22 and 31 cubic feet.

Although a counter-depth fridge is wide and tall, it lacks the ample capacity that its standard-depth counterparts offer. The 6-inch difference in depth between the two may not seem like a big deal, but it affects how many food items you can stuff in them.

When considering the entire dimension of a counter-depth refrigerator, the extra depth of the missing area could amount to almost 8.75 cubic feet. And that excludes dividers between each compartment.

But all that being said, their shallower depth also means it will be easier to access what’s on the inside. You can reach your Brussels sprouts from the back in no time.

If you prefer more rooms, though, standard-depth refrigerators are the way to go. These fridges have more compartments such as drawers, wine racks, LED lighting, and adjustable shelves. So, if you’re the type to stuff your fridges with large grocery hauls to cover your family’s needs for the week, a standard depth refrigerator is for you.


Both counter depth and standard fridges come with features designed for modern homes. However, there are some features in counter-depth refrigerators that you may not find in standard depth models and vice versa. It all boils down to the brand and model.

In general, you’ll find basic features like ice and water dispensers, customizable shelves and drawers, air filters, and their respective patented cooling systems.

Always read product specifications when shopping for a new fridge.

Aesthetic Appeal

Unlike standard-depth fridges, counter-depth refrigerators offer a sleek and seamless look. They don’t protrude into your kitchen space as much. So they are a great option for smaller households or if you prefer a seamless integration.

But with standard depth refrigerators, have more storage room for your watermelon, pumpkins, turkey, and roast. But are you willing to give up extra square footage of your kitchen space?

Not only do standard-depth refrigerators take up more space, but they also tend to be an eyesore. They are bulkier than counter-depth fridges so they will stick out from the surrounding cabinets and counters. However, this shouldn’t be an issue if you follow our installation tips below.

Installation tips: Although it sticks out more into your kitchen space, you could actually make it look like a built-in fridge for a cleaner look. One way to do it is to install a deeper counter or cabinets so you can conceal the fridge for a flush look.

If you have pre-existing cabinets and counters, you may ask a contractor to cut into a wall so you can move the fridge far enough that it doesn’t protrude so much.


Another thing that keeps homeowners on the fence about counter-depth fridges is the higher price. They cost about 15 to 20 percent more than standard-depth models.

Paying a hefty price for a smaller fridge with less capacity doesn’t seem to be logical, but these fridges are more like niche-based products. They are designed to go with the rest of your cabinetry and counters. If you don’t mind splurging to have a more integrated kitchen design, counter-depth fridges could be a great choice.

If you want a more affordable option that can give you a lot of room, opt for a standard-depth refrigerator. Don’t worry, they come in cool designs, too. You can easily find one that complements the rest of your kitchen appliances and cabinets.


What Is the Difference Between a Counter-Depth Refrigerator and a Built-in Refrigerator?

The main difference is the way they are installed. While a counter-depth fridge can be fitted into your kitchen cabinets and is virtually flush with the counters, it can be installed as freestanding. But that’s not the case with built-in refrigerators.

Built-in fridges must be secured to a wall within the kitchen cabinets. It’s a more permanent installation. A built-in fridge can also come in a range of sizes, while a counter-depth refrigerator has to conform to your cabinet and counter’s depth.

Why Counter-Depth Refrigerators Are More Expensive Than Standard-Depth Fridges?

Counter-depth fridges are designed to be flush with your kitchen cabinets and counters. To install one, the measurements need to be more precise. Also, most counter depth refrigerators tend to require a more personalized production process because they need to match your cabinets.

In addition, they are less common and are manufactured in limited quantities. All of these factors can quickly add up to the cost of these fridges.

How Much Deeper Is a Counter Depth Refrigerator?

It is usually 24 to 30 inches deep, or the same as your kitchen counters. They are shallower in depth, but they are more space-saving than standard-depth refrigerators.

Do Counter Depth Refrigerators Have Enough Space?

Counter-depth refrigerators are wide but they are shallower than standard-depth fridges. Due to their reduced size, you’ll have less storage space. However, they have enough space to accommodate the needs of a small household, but we’re talking about one or two people.

The Verdict: Which Is Better Counter-Depth or Standard Refrigerator?

It depends on your priorities. If you want a more seamless look, go for counter-depth fridges. They are more expensive but might be worth the investment if you love the look of a sleek and modern kitchen.

But because counter-depth fridges lack ample storage space, you can opt for standard depth models instead (only if your kitchen has enough room to accommodate one).

Whichever you pick, remember to pick a refrigerator that will suit your needs. Nothing like a fridge that goes with your lifestyle!

If you have more questions about counter and standard-depth refrigerators, let us know and we will be happy to help. Thanks for reading!