Does Refrigerator Depth Include Doors And Handles?

Few upgrades improve the look of your kitchen more than buying a new refrigerator. Finding the right one to fit in your kitchen can be confusing. Getting the correct measurements makes all the difference. We researched just what parts of the appliance are included in each measurement, so you know how to tell if it will suit your needs.

Appliance manufacturers have not standardized how you measure the depth of a refrigerator. The refrigerator's height and width are measured the same, but manufacturers have three ways to do depth measurements:

  1. Depth from the back of the fridge to the front of the cooling box - without the door and handles
  2. The depth from the back of the refrigerator to the front of the door - without the handles
  3. Depth from the back of the refrigerator to the front of the handles

The research is ready for you to see how to measure a refrigerator's dimensions. Refrigerators come in various dimensions, so you can balance your food storage needs with your kitchen's design aesthetics. Keep reading to see how to measure your kitchen space and the refrigerators you might consider.

A blue wooden cabinet styled kitchen with a marble backsplash, Does Refrigerator Depth Include Doors And Handles?

How is a Refrigerator Depth Measured?

Appliance manufacturers design refrigerators as a cooling box with a refrigerator section and a frozen section. They may measure the depth of the fridge from the back of the cooling box to the front of the box. Others include the measurement of the door's depth. Some measure depth from the back out to include the door handles.

You will want to know which way the refrigerator's depth is measured. Also, be aware of whether the measurement is in inches or millimeters. Most should have both measurements listed.

Refrigerator Standard Measurements

Some appliance stores may suggest that there is a standard way to measure a refrigerator's depth. This is often from the back to the front of the door. Stores may do this when they only sell from one appliance manufacturer. This can be confusing to consumers when they shop in other stores.

What Measurements Do They Use for a Refrigerator?

In the appliance store, the cover sheet on a refrigerator will often give you the refrigerator's measurements of Height, Width, and Depth. You may have to dig to determine what the depth number is measuring. To get the total measurements, you will need the Specification Guide, which should be in the refrigerator's manual.

The refrigerator's manual is often in the freezer or on a top shelf in the cooling section on the showroom floor. The Spec Guide is also available online.

Understanding a Refrigerator's Spec Guide Measurements

Many appliance manufacturers will give you all of a refrigerator's measurements in the Spec Guide. For example, Whirlpool offers a French Door with Ice Dispenser with the following dimensions:

  • Height Overall - 70 1/4 inches
  • Height Cabinet [box] - 68 588 inches
  • Width - 35 5/8 inches
  • Depth Cabinet only - 29 inches
  • The Depth with Doors - 32 7/8 inches
  • Depth with Doors and Handles - 35 1/4 inches
  • The Depth with Door Open to 90-degrees - 48 inches
  • Model Size - 24.7 cubic feet

A classy and stylish modern kitchen with laminated flooring, white cupboards and cabinets with gray backsplash

How Do You Measure the Kitchen Space for a Refrigerator?

Measure the space in your kitchen from the edge of the counter to the wall to get the refrigerator's width. Make sure you have 1-2 extra inches of space so the refrigerator can slide into place. You should measure the height from the floor to the bottom of any cabinets above the fridge.

Countertops are standardized to 25 1/2 inches deep [24 inches over the base cabinet with a 1-2 inch overhang]. Upscale kitchens may have larger countertops up to 29 inches deep. Measure yours to get the exact depth of the space.

How Deep are Standard-depth Refrigerators?

Standard-depth refrigerators are usually 30-34 inches wide, 70 inches high, and  32-36 inches deep from the front of the door to the back of the box. With 25 1/2 inch countertops, standard-depth refrigerators can extend 5-9 inches out into the kitchen. These refrigerators have good storage capacity.

What are Counter-depth Refrigerators?

An opened refrigerator in the kitchen

For modern kitchen designs, some homeowners like the clean lines in the kitchen. A counter-depth refrigerator is shallow with less depth so that the front of the refrigerator door is in line with the edge of the countertop. The door handles usually stick out, so the measurement is from the front of the door to the back wall.

How Deep are Counter-depth Refrigerators?

Counter-depth refrigerators are usually 24-27 inches deep so that with the door, they are flush across with the edge of the countertops. These refrigerators may have less storage capacity than standard-depth refrigerators.

Click here for this counter-depth Frigidaire Refrigerator at

What is the Difference between a Standard-depth and Counter-depth Refrigerator?

The difference between the standard-depth and counter-depth refrigerator is the depth of the cooling box. Standard-depth refrigerators have an extra 8-12 inches of cooling box depth over counter-depth refrigerators. The counter-depth refrigerator will be flush with the edge of the counter's edge. The standard-depth refrigerator extends 6-9 inches out from the edge of your countertops.

Vegetables and tomatoes inside the refrigerator

How much Space Do You Lose with a Counter-depth Refrigerator?

The amount of space you lose with a counter-depth refrigerator is dependent on what the interior measurements are. On average, you lose about 7 cubic feet of storage space. Here are the average capacities:

  • Counter-depth - 15-25 cubic feet of interior space
  • Standard-depth - 18-31 cubic feet of interior space

Do a Counter-depth Refrigerator's Doors Open All the Way?

Yes, they can open to 90-degrees, just like a standard-depth refrigerator's doors. Many are designed so that they are a bit thinner in width. These counter-depth refrigerators are truly flush with the edge of the countertop.

Some counter-depth models may have doors that extend 1-2 inches beyond the countertop. The doors open without touching the countertop edge. These models are not completely flush with the countertop edge.

Counter-depth Refrigerators Can Be Wider and Higher

To make up for the loss of depth, counter-depth refrigerators are often wider and taller than standard-depth refrigerators. Check the measurement to ensure the added width and height will work in your kitchen space.

Why are Counter-depth Refrigerators So Expensive?

The appliance manufacturing industry considers standard-depth refrigerators the bread and butter model. Counter-depth refrigerators are priced higher as a step toward the most expensive style of a built-in refrigerator. They price the counter-depth refrigerator at a higher price point for a more upscale kitchen design customer.

Can Counter-depth Refrigerators Be Energy Star Rated?

Yes, counter-depth refrigerators can be rated as Energy Star. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has set Energy Star standards for energy-efficient appliances. Energy Star-rated refrigerators are at least 15% more energy-efficient.

Click here for this Bottom Freezer LG Refrigerator on

Is the Counter-depth Fridge Worth It?

The counter-depth fridge gives your kitchen a modern style. They look good in line with the countertops. You could get a wider counter-depth refrigerator, so you keep the storage capacity you have with a standard refrigerator.

To decide if any refrigerator is worth it will be a personal one. You have many options to choose from to make the best kitchen you want.

The Different Styles of Refrigerators

A refrigerator with aluminum wooden cabinets

Refrigerators come in many styles regardless of whether they are countertop-depth or standard-depth to give you options in your kitchen organization needs. These styles include:

  • The Built-in Refrigerator
  • The Top Freezer Refrigerator
  • The Bottom Freezer Refrigerator [also called a Bottom-mount]
  • French Door Refrigerator - equal size doors with a bottom drawer freezer
  • The Side by Side Refrigerator [two doors to the bottom and top]
  • The Small Apartment Refrigerator
  • The Mini Refrigerator
  • The Wine Cooler - designed to chill bottles of wine

What Refrigerator has the Smallest Depth?

A full-size counter-depth refrigerator will have the smallest depth. These can be 24-25 inches deep. Remember that a narrow-width refrigerator may have a deep depth. A 24-inch wide refrigerator can have 27-29 inches of depth.

See Amazon for a Mini Fridge like this.

Small Apartment Refrigerator

Some appliance manufacturers offer a Small Apartment Refrigerator which is usually 24 inches wide. A standard-depth refrigerator is 30-36 inches wide. These refrigerators are usually the same 60-75 inch height as the standard-depth refrigerator.


For even smaller options, try a mini-fridge that can have a depth of 17-20 inches. These can have a freezer and cooling sections. They can be a great addition to a game room or office.

In Summary

A blue wooden cabinet styled kitchen with a marble backsplash

You can choose the best refrigerator for your personal needs. The correct measurements will make the refrigerator you choose a great addition to your kitchen. Knowing how to measure the refrigerator's depth will make this choice easier.

To read more about refrigerator options, check out these posts:

Do Refrigerators Have Air Filters? [And Where To Find Them]

Do Refrigerators Have Wheels?

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