Counter depth refrigerators give a more built-in look to your kitchen. They protrude less than 3 inches beyond the counter edge, and often have inset pocket doors. Selecting the best counter depth refrigerator depends on your available space, especially the width. You can choose between a French door counter depth refrigerator, a side-by-side, or a smaller standard bottom or top freezer refrigerator.
What Is a Counter Depth Refrigerator
A counter depth refrigerator is designed to perfectly fit a standard cabinet space. The depth of a typical kitchen is 24 inches, and the counter overhang or edge may increase this to 25 or 26 inches.
Therefore, most counterdepth refrigerators are between 23 to 25 inches deep without the doors. The refrigerator doors still need to protrude a couple of inches in front of the counter in order to open, so they aren’t the same as built-in refrigerators.
Counterdepth refrigerators have less capacity for their class, but also tend to cost more. Apart from the built-in look, they are a good choice for smaller kitchens, narrow spaces in apartments, or people who don’t require a lot of refrigeration space.
Some are also sold as apartment sized refrigerators because they fit through small entrances and doorways.
Types of Counter Depth Refrigerators
Counterdepth refrigerators are a refrigerator subcategory. This means you’ll find them in all of the following designs:
- French door refrigerators
- Side-by-side refrigerators
- Bottom freezer refrigerators
- Top freezer refrigerators
- Column refrigerators
- Quad door refrigerators
- Compact refrigerators
The features you can expect on a counterdepth refrigerator vary a lot according to class and size.
French doors and side-by-sides tend to have more high spec features and extras like ice makers and through door dispensers. If you want more storage space for the size, it’s better to choose a refrigerator without these conveniences.
Counter Depth Refrigerator Sizes
Counter depth refrigerators already have a defined depth. The average height ranges from 65 to 70 inches. Dimensions can vary somewhat according to the category, but these are the most popular or easily obtainable widths:
- French door counter depth: 32, 33 and 36 inches
- Side-by-side counter depth: 36 inches
- Bottom freezer counter depth: 24, 28, 30 and 32 inches
- Top freezer counter depth: 24 and 28 inches
36 inch counterdepth refrigerators are mostly French door or side-by-side.
Column refrigerators are usually counterdepth, around 24 inches wide, and between 80 to 85 inches tall. They often stand at the edge of a counter because they don’t usually fit spaces with overhead cabinetry.
Compact refrigerators or mini fridges are all counter-depth and the most popular widths are 20 and 24 inches. Their height varies between 32 and 34 inches, so many of them are also under-the-counter refrigerators.
Reviews of The Best Counter Depth Refrigerators in 2021
Our top selections include a large and small French door counterdepth refrigerator. We also review the best side-by-side, a unique pro fridge and freezer combo, and an affordable apartment sized refrigerator.
- Frigidaire FFHD2250 36-inch French Door – Best Counter Depth to Buy
- Fisher Paykel RF172GDUX1 32-inc – Best Small Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator
- Frigidaire Professional Refrigerator Freezer Combo – Best Rated Counterdepth
- GE GZS22IYNFS 36-inch – Best Side-by-Side Counterdepth Refrigerator
- Danby 24 Inch Apartment Refrigerator – Best Bottom Freezer Counterdepth
Here are our top picks for the best counter depth refrigerators in 2021:
1. Frigidaire FFHD2250 36-inch French Door — Best Counter Depth to Buy
This Energy Star 36 inch French door is the best choice for a more spacious counter depth refrigerator. It has an uniquely adaptable interior and several worthwhile performance features.
- Energy Star
- Fast cooling
- Air filtration
- Stackable crispers
- 4 split shelves
- Three tier water filtration
- Large ice maker
|Depth: w/door||28.5||Depth: w/o door||23.875|
Maximized Storage Space
Going counterdepth is usually a compromise on storage space. To this regard, the only real flaw on this refrigerator is the bulky ice maker that takes up a fair bit of refrigerator door space.
On the other hand, the two unique crisper drawers are stackable and humidity controlled. They can rest side by side or you can put them on top of one other. There are also four adjustable split half shelves, so you can arrange the interior as you like.
For door space, only one of the top three adjustable shelves will take a gallon container, and there is no door hatch or dairy box. The bottom level of the main interior has a large pantry drawer, but there are no thermostat controls.
Apart from being Energy Star rated, there are some other nice technical features. One is turbo freeze and cool for stabilizing the temperature faster. Another is an air filter to keep smells to a minimum, and a thermostat alert control. If the internal temperature reaches 55℉ or above, an alert will sound.
The refrigerator water filter is certified to NSF levels 42, 53 and 401 so it will eliminate most metals and pharmaceutical contaminants. It’s a bit pricey and unfortunately there’s no cheaper generic alternative.
- For a wider selection of counterdepth French door refrigerators, see our guide and reviews for the Best French Door Refrigerators.
2. Fisher Paykel RF172GDUX1 32-inch — Best Small Counter Depth French Door Refrigerator
This Fisher Paykel counterdepth French door refrigerator has a perfectly neat contour. It’s a high performance refrigerator with a simple through-door water dispenser and an ice maker in the freezer compartment.
- Smart adaptability
- 2 half cantilever shelves
- 4 bottle holders
- Frost free
- Bottle chill
- Ice boost
- Water filter
- Door alarms
- 2-year warranty
- No deli or snack drawer
- Crispers not humidity controlled
|Depth: w/door||27.0625 in||Depth: w/o door||27.0625 in|
|Height||70.5 in||Width||31.125 in|
Key Performance Features
A counter depth refrigerator is less bulky and can actually make your kitchen appear more spacious. Fisher Paykel’s polished design does just that, and the 10.6 cu.ft. in the refrigerator is enough for three or maybe four people.
The key performance feature is constant monitoring of door behaviour, temperature, airflow, and humidity in order to maintain an optimal environment.
It has turbo freeze to stabilize the temperature faster. The bottle chill is a 15 min alarm feature with bottle holders included in the freezer compartment.
Handy Ice Maker and Dispenser
The ice maker is in the freezer, so there is no door space lost and fewer problems to be had with the dispenser. A press of a button will switch it off, or you can remove it when not needed. The ice boost function will increase ice production by 30% on hot days.
The through door water dispenser is easy to use for all bottle types. There’s an internal filter and replacements are available on their homepage. Alternatively, you can get cheaper and fully certified generic water filters too.
Storage and Shelving
Shelving gives two full-length fixed shelves just above the crispers. If you choose to use the bottle holders, you can place them on either of these two levels. The adjustable shelving levels work on a cantilever system. One shelf is full length and the other two half length.
Unlike many other French door refrigerators, there is no snack or deli tray, but there are two large dairy boxes in the doors. The middle door bins are adjustable for tall bottles, but they are not gallon-sized.
At the end of the day, this is a smaller and more designer type of French door refrigerator. If you can do without gallon doors and a pull out snack tray, you get good value for the space. The tech features are good, and the two year warranty is better than most.
Three Tier Freezer Storage
A pull out drawer is pretty standard for most French door refrigerators, but Fisher Paykel does things a little differently. The freezer drawer opens up with three fully extendable drawers instead of the usual two — so organizing food is much easier. The drawers also have a quality that matches the rest of the refrigerator.
- See our review of Fisher Paykel counterdepth bottom freezer refrigerator.
3. Frigidaire Professional Refrigerator Freezer Combo — Best Rated Counterdepth
If you never want to worry about having too little storage space, this refrigerator freezer combo could be the way to go. These 19 cubic foot independent units can be installed side-by-side, each with 26 inch wide shelves and handy pull out drawers.
- 19 cu.ft. fridge and freezer
- Separate or side-by-side installation
- Humidity crisper with 3 dividers
- Deli drawers
- Soft freeze compartment
- Ice maker & Air filter
- Adjustable legs
- No inbuilt water filter
- Taller than average
|These dimensions apply to each unit separately:|
|Cut-out depth:||25.25 inches minimum|
|Cut-out height:||72 inches|
|Cut-out width:||33 inches|
This popular and well-reviewed Frigidaire deal ships with three components: a 19 cu.ft. and 32 inch refrigerator unit, a same sized freezer unit, and a trim kit. These units can actually be installed apart, or they can be placed side-by-side using the trim kit.
The interior of both units is very similar. The lower pull out drawer in the fridge is a humidity controlled crisper with three adjustable slot dividers. The humidity can be optimized for fruits, vegetables, or in between. The mid section deli or meat drawer doesn’t have separate thermostat control, but in the freezer there’s a special soft freeze zone for icecreams, butters and bread.
There are two adjustable shelves in each unit creating three storage levels above the drawers, and these full-length shelves can hold a 26 inch wide tray. The freezer has four adjustable bins in the upper level, and the fridge five including a dairy box. The staggered arrangement is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
Other extras for the price include an open door and temperature alarm, bright LED lighting, a customer PureAir Ultra filter with a change alert, four adjustable legs, a smudge proof exterior, and not to forget an ice maker in the freezer which isn’t too bulky. There’s no water filter, so you may need to install your own inline water filter.
4. GE GZS22IYNFS 36-inch — Best Side-by-Side Counterdepth Refrigerator
This 36-inch GE side by side is a refrigerator that tries to give all you’d ever want at a reasonable price. It has full glass shelving throughout, a snack draw, dairy box, and a three-in-one through door dispenser.
- 21.8 cu.ft. in total
- Fridge 14.23 cu.ft.
- Real time temperature display
- Cubed & crushed ice
- Glass freezer shelves
- Showcase lighting
- Plenty of rack slots
- 1 crisper humidity controlled
- Snack drawer & dairy box
- Dispenser light not automatic
- Dispenser made of plastic
- Freezer drawers lower quality
|Depth: w/door||30.75 in||Depth: w/o door||24.25 in|
|Height||69.5 in||Width||35.75 in|
Side by side refrigerators are limited in shelving options. However, this GE has plenty of rack slots and adjustable door bins. There are 4 shelving levels in the fridge. Three of them are edge to edge adjustable shelves for maximizing every inch. Two of the door bins can take gallon containers.
The snack drawer, although not temperature controlled on this model, is a nice bonus. Additionally, one of the two crispers is humidity controlled. In the freezer, there’s a top shelf above the ice maker for keeping snacks out of reach of small children.
For the most part this is a well received refrigerator. The ice maker works fast, but the dispenser is not metal, but a cheaper plastic. Sometimes it doesn’t dispense so well, and it’s not suited to tall water bottles. Also, users report this refrigerator is somewhat noisier compared to similar models in the past.
The included refrigerator water filter is a WXFE filter and it comes with a bypass plug.
5. Danby 24 Inch Apartment Refrigerator – Best Bottom Freezer Counterdepth
This Danby is easy to clean with a smudge proof body and it’s cheap to run. The shelves are nicely adjustable, and there’s enough space in the freezer.
- Energy Star
- Smudge proof
- Reversible door hinge
- 2-liter gallon bin
- Frost free
- Can roller not for all
- Door bins limiting
- Controls at the back
|Depth: w/door||26.43||Depth: w/o door||—|
|Depth: door 90°||48.24|
This Danby is not a bad deal, especially for the exterior and the performance features. The outside body is smudge proof, and the easily reversible doors have pocket handles. The freezer is frost free with little maintenance needed, and it comes with an Energy Star rating so it’s cheap to run.
The interior 9.2 cu.ft. interior is spacious enough for two people, but there are a number of pros and cons. It’s nice to have two crispers (interior: 8.5Wx12Dx6.5H inches) but they aren’t the best quality and could be a little larger for the space inbetween. The two shelves, however, are good quality with a wide adjustable range.
If you do soda and beer cans, the door bins will suit you. If not, the can roller will be a waste of space. The lower bin is good for a 2-liter bottle and a gallon jug, but the bins above are not adjustable and if you don’t have taller bottles, the space is also wasted.
The wire freezer shelf is slightly adjustable, but there are no door bins and no light. The top freezer shelf area has 18Wx13Dx7H inches of space available, and the basket has 16.5Wx10Dx12.5H. One drawback is the controls which, like the refrigerator, are at the back and difficult to access once the unit is fully loaded.
Comparison Table for the Best Counter Depth Refrigerators
|Product||Width / Capacity||Best Three Features|
15.1 / 6.8 cu.ft.
|Energy Star, air filter, stackable crispers.|
10.6 / 6.2 cu.ft.
|Sensor monitoring, ice booster, freezer drawers.|
|Frigidaire Professional||32 inch x 2 |
19 cu.ft. x 2
|Large freezer, large snack drawer, 3 tier filtration.|
Side by Side
|36 inch |
14.23 / 7.56
|Lighting, snack draw, rack slots.|
6.37 / 2.82
|Energy Star, smudge proof, 7 shelf slots.|
Tips for Installing a Counter Depth Refrigerator
To know exactly how far your refrigerator will protrude beyond the counter overhang, you need to know how much space you actually have from the back of the wall. Also, you have to measure the refrigerator depth with and without the doors.
- The standard depth of a kitchen counter is 24 inches, but depending on the type of overhang, the total depth can be 25 to 26 inches.
- Sometimes there’s a built-in backsplash on the wall behind your refrigerator, so this could reduce the depth by up to an inch.
- An inch or so needs to be kept free at the back of the refrigerator for air circulation, cabling, or piping.
- Without the doors, counter depth refrigerators are usually 23 to 25 inches deep.
- Depth including the doors and handles is usually between 27 to 31 inches or a little more.
Our comprehensive guide and selection of the 5 best counter depth refrigerators include two popular 24 inch and 28 inch models, and our best to buy offers more space with convenient features all at an affordable price. If you have anything to add or would like to ask a question, feel free to use the comment feature below. We are always here for you.