What the heck is a counter depth refrigerator, and why would you want one?

Here's what you should know before you buy a counter depth fridge

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If you want a small kitchen to feel more open or prefer your appliances to blend in, you should consider a counter depth refrigerator.

Counter depth refrigerators:

• Are usually a little more than 24 inches deep, not including the doors and handles
• Cannot be truly flush mounted
• Don’t hold as much food as a standard depth model
• Free up space in small kitchens
• Tend to cost more than a standard depth fridge

Counter Depth Refrigerator
Credit: Getty Images
This counter depth refrigerator stands proud, but it still blends in with cabinetry. The overall effect is a streamlined, open kitchen.

A standard countertop is 24 inches deep, and the body of a counter depth refrigerator—not counting the doors or handles—is usually close to that depth. By comparison, the body of a standard refrigerator is usually the same width and height, but closer to 30 inches deep. There is no standard for what defines “counter depth”— but if you don’t want your fridge to stand out six inches from your counters, a counter depth model is your best bet.

There is no standard for what defines “counter depth” Tweet It

That doesn’t mean a counter depth fridge will sit perfectly flush with your cabinets. First of all, a fridge’s doors can’t open if they’re pushed right up to cabinetry or counters. In addition, a counter depth fridge still needs the same breathing room as a standard depth model, so the back of the fridge should be at least an inch from the wall.

That means most counter depth fridges will stick out—“proud” in designer lingo—at least three or four inches. If you want a truly flush fridge, you’ll have to spring for a built-in model,but you’ll also have to pay at least $4,000 for the privilege, not including professional installation.

Standard depth fridge, cramped kitchen
Credit: Getty Images
This is a standard depth fridge, and it's the unintentional focal point of this small kitchen. A counter depth fridge would really open up the space.

Even so, a counter depth fridge can save considerable space and make a house feel more open, especially in a galley kitchen.

Consider two otherwise identical fridges, the counter depth LG LFXC24796D and the standard depth LG LFXS30796D. Including doors and handles, the counter depth model is 30.875 inches deep, while the standard depth model is 36.25 inches deep. That’s almost half a foot of floor space saved—and more clearance with the fridge doors open, too.

Standard depth fridge, side view
Credit: Getty Images
This man looks a lot like Robert De Niro — and the body of his standard depth fridge is sticking out at least six inches from the cabinetry in his kitchen.

The tradeoff? Less space in your fridge. Most standard depth refrigerators can hold between 26 and 32 cubic feet of groceries, while the majority of counter depth fridges can only hold between 20 and 24 cubic feet. In addition, they tend to cost between 5 and 20 percent more than a comparable standard depth fridge.

Interested in a counter depth fridge? Check out our top lab-tested picks for the best counter depth fridges you can buy in 2017.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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