Refrigerator Dimensions and Counter Depth

Do you remember the last time you bought a pair of shoes or new outfits online, eagerly tried to slip into them and found out they didn’t fit? You sent them back, right? Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to send back a fridge. That’s why making sure you have the right dimensions is so important before you buy.

The size of your kitchen will influence the type of model you purchase. Fridges come in traditional top- or bottom-freezer shapes which look like long, skinny rectangles. They also come in side-by-side models, which look like fat rectangles. A more expensive type of fridge gaining popularity is a counter-depth fridge. These are shallower than traditional fridges but wider to compensate. They come in top-freezer, bottom-freezer and side-by-side models. They look more “built-in” to your cabinets than the regular ones but have less capacity. You basically trade functionality for beauty.


Before you start measuring, check a couple of refrigerator-model installation guides. This tells you if your kitchen fits the right power requirements for the type of fridge you want. But don’t add that fridge to your online shopping cart just yet. There’s still measuring to do, as we’ll see on the next page.

How to Measure for a Refrigerator

A rule of thumb is measure twice and buy once. Measure the depth, width and height of the space where you want to install your fridge, then measure again. Finally, have someone else measure, for good measure (pardon the pun). Here’s the step-by-step:

Height: Measure from floor to ceiling (or whatever the fridge will hit on the top). Add .5 to 1 inch (1.27 to 2.5 centimeters) just to be safe.

Width: Leave wiggle room so you can slide your fridge in without a struggle. And add a couple inches on both sides, so your doors can have room to open.

Depth: Measure from the wall to the front of your cabinets. This lets you know if the fridge will stick out beyond them, be level or sink in behind them. If your kitchen is narrow, you might want to measure the space across too, so you know if you’ll have room for wide doors to open.

Don’t forget to measure your front door. In fact, measure any place your fridge is likely to pass through before it’s home: truck doors, garage doors, front doors, or hallways. That way, you won’t have to return your perfectly sized fridge that’s stuck in your front doorway.


For more neat kitchen ideas, see the next page.


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ABT. “Shallow Depth Refrigerators.” (Sept. 28, 2011).

AJ Madison. “Counter Depth Refrigerators.” 2011. (Sept. 28, 2011)

California Energy Commission. “Refrigerators and Freezers.” 2011. (Sept. 28, 2011).

CNet. “Refrigerator buying guide.” Cnet reviews. Updated Dec. 8, 2009. (Sept. 28, 2011).

Home Depot. “Refrigerators.” The Home Depot U.S.A. (Sept. 28, 2011).

Major Appliance Pro. “How to measure dimensions of a refrigerator for your space.” (Oct. 3, 2011).

Rekitchen. “How to measure your kitchen for a new refrigerator.” (Oct. 3, 2011).

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