When you are researching a new refrigerator, the choice between counter depth and full depth can be an important one. This is especially true if you have a kitchen with a built in cabinet opening for your refrigerator that is finished on one or both sides and has a cabinet above it. When you are looking at refrigerators, you'll want to be sure to notice the difference between counter depth and full depth models.
Basically, counter depth models have a 24" deep case and are designed so that only the doors stick out beyond standard cabinetry and countertop depths. (Before we continue: check out our refrigerator buying guide for more info on choosing a new refrigerator!)
Standard counter depths are 25 inches, but yours may not follow this rule - check to make sure, especially if you have an older home! And double-check the dimensions of any refrigerator you are interested in to make sure that it will fit in the space you have for it. Some refrigerators may have thicker doors that protrude more than others, and if you have cupboards built above the refrigerator cavity, height is another important factor. If you want a panel ready refrigerator, the depth of the custom panels can also impact how much the refrigerator juts out from the cabinetry.
The main drawback is that you will sacrifice capacity versus a full depth refrigerator of equal width and height. A full depth refrigerator installed in a counter depth opening will be less attractive but will provide more overall cubic footage versus a comparable model with the same height and width that is counter depth.
Pictured below: On the left, a full depth refrigerator in a space designed for counter depth. On the right, a counter depth refrigerator in a space designed for counter depth. The difference is clear!
Counter depth refrigerators offer a more seamless look than a full-depth model, but you lose out on capacity.
The doors will still stick out past your countertops but overall the look will be a lot more seamless. (For a totally seamless look, you'll want to consider a built-in style or an integrated refrigerator. Check out our article on built in refrigerators to learn more!)
Counter depth models are typically $100 more than an otherwise identical full-depth model.
French door refrigerators and side by sides are the most common types to see in counter depth styles, and French doors are close to twice the price of a comparable side by side. If you need a 30" wide counter depth refrigerator, you will have to go for a French door or a two-door bottom freezer.
- Don't assume a fridge will fit - MEASURE YOUR SPACE! Keep in mind that many counter depth refrigerators are 36" wide and 70" tall. Shorter and narrower models are available but somewhat less common.
If you're researching counter depth options, check out our reviews of the best counter depth refrigerators of the year!
Have more questions about counter depth models? Please leave us a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!
Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in October of 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy as of the publication date noted above.