The Best Counter-Depth Refrigerators for a Sleek Kitchen
If you’re short on space, these models are a lifesaver.
Updated Jun 10, 2022 9:01 AM
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Picture this: You’re renovating your kitchen and finally at the stage when you’re shopping for refrigerators The first—and arguably biggest—decision you’ll need to make is whether you want a counter-depth or a full-depth model. As the name implies, the former is shallower (24 inches deep, minus the door and handles), which means the front of the fridge itself will be flush with your countertops for an extra sleek look. This model’s slim footprint is also ideal for smaller kitchens since it doesn’t jut out past your counters and into the walk space.
Luckily, if you opt for a counter-depth model, your choices are far from limited. Whether you’re looking for a top-tier brand or one with more retro appeal, our list of the best counter-depth refrigerators includes models that suit nearly every budget, size, need, and style. Read on for eight counter-depth fridges of which we wholeheartedly approve.
- Best overall: Sub-Zero 48-Inch Counter-Depth Refrigerator
- Best panel-ready: Fisher & Paykel Professional Series Panel Ready French Door Refrigerator
- Best for entertaining: Bosch 800 Series 4 French Door Smart Refrigerator
- Best for small spaces: Smeg ’50s Retro Design Refrigerator
- Best smart: Miele MasterCool French Door Refrigerator
- Best four-door: Dacor Counter-Depth Four-Door Refrigerator
- Best built-in organization: Samsung Bespoke Counter-Depth Refrigerator
- Best customizable: Café Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator
Best Overall: Sub-Zero 48-Inch Counter-Depth Refrigerator
Dimensions: 48-by-84-by-24 inches | Water dispenser: No | Ice maker: Yes | Energy Star qualified: No
What we like:
- Two separate cooling systems for fridge and freezer
- NASA-inspired air purification
- Magnetic door seals
- No water dispenser
Why we chose it: Professional-quality model in an extra-roomy size.
As you might know from late-night Zillow searches, when a kitchen has a Sub-Zero, it warrants a mention in the listing. And for good reason: These fridges have been the gold standard for interior designers and savvy homeowners for decades. We love Sub-Zero’s counter-depth model not only for its size (a 48-inch width more than makes up for the loss of depth) but for the high performance for which the brand is known. It boasts dual refrigeration, which means the fridge stays humid and the freezer dry; an air-purification system that keeps produce fresher longer; and a very secure seal on the door that prevents air leaks. And while this brand is also known for its steep price tag, these fridges can last a minimum of 20 years with proper maintenance. Think of them as true investment pieces.
Best Panel-Ready: Fisher & Paykel Professional Series Panel-Ready French Door Refrigerator
Dimensions: 36-by-72-by-24 inches | Water dispenser: No | Ice maker: Yes | Energy Star qualified: Yes
What we like:
- ActiveSmart technology adjusts temperature, airflow, and humidity to keep food fresher
- Flexible shelving options
- Equipped with fast-freeze mode
- No water dispenser
Why we chose it: A professional-quality machine that can be customized to match your cabinets.
“This model is one of the only counter-depth, panel-ready refrigerators that can be built into cabinetry at an affordable price,” says Jessica Petrino of AJ Madison. “Plus, with the optional stainless steel panel and handle accessories available, you can use this fridge now and then remove the stainless panels and build it in after your remodel is complete.” We also love the brand’s ActiveSmart technology, which learns how you use your fridge and then adjusts the temperature, airflow, and humidity to keep your food fresh and energy costs low. Finally, the adjustable shelving in this model is equipped with spill-safe glass, so if you tip over an iced coffee, most of the drippage will be contained on the shelf. Genius.
Best for Entertaining: Bosch 800 Series 4 French Door Smart Refrigerator
Dimensions: 36-by-72-by-24 inches | Water dispenser: Yes | Ice maker: Yes | Energy Star qualified: Yes
What we like:
- Flex bar for customized storage
- Door bins can hold gallon containers
- Home Connect allows you to monitor and control fridge from your phone
- Does not accept custom panels
Why we chose it: A unique model that’s perfect for stashing multiple bottles of wine or large platters.
Frequent host? Consider this Bosch refrigerator, our pick for the best counter-depth French door refrigerator. “This refrigerator features a one-of-a-kind glass drawer for beverage storage, providing a sleek display for up to 17 bottles of wine,” explains Petrino. In addition, there is also a full-width shelf in the fridge section, perfect for keeping fruit platters or charcuterie boards chilled until you’re ready to serve. Aside from its dinner party capabilities, this is a very powerful fridge: It’s equipped with dual compressors and evaporators for precise temperature and humidity control, MultiAirFlow to maintain circulation, and even drawers that can be calibrated to specific temperatures. We’re also huge fans of the three-tiered freezer drawer, which ensures your favorite ice cream pint never gets lost underneath the frozen peas.
Best for Small Spaces: Smeg ’50s Retro Design Refrigerator
Dimensions: 24-by-59-by-24 inches| Water dispenser: No | Ice maker: No | Energy Star qualified: Yes
What we like:
- Comes in a rainbow of colors
- Adjustable shelves
- Smart use of space for a small appliance
- No ice maker or water dispenser
- Only one door
Why we chose it: Quirky design that’s also perfect for a petite kitchen.
If mid-century modern is your vibe, we can’t think of a more perfect fridge than this retro design from Smeg. And if you’re also living with a teensy kitchen, then this is definitely the model for you. What the Smeg lacks in size it makes up for in style. And while it’s all 1950s-diner flair on the outside, the inside is updated for life in 2022: Features include a storage shelf just for bottles, separate compartments for produce and dairy, and three adjustable glass shelves.
Best Smart Fridge: Miele MasterCool French Door Refrigerator
Dimensions: 36-by-84-by-24 inches| Water dispenser: No | Ice maker: Yes | Energy Star qualified: Yes
What we like:
- Powerful ice maker
- Touch-display to change temperature and lighting
- Automatically defrosts the evaporator unit
- No water dispenser
Why we chose it: A classic design with tons of techy bells and whistles.
Miele is one of the most recognizable names in kitchen appliances, and for good reason: Its products are long-lasting, high quality, and beautiful. And if you’re looking for the best counter-depth fridge with loads of high-tech elements, then its MasterCool line checks all the boxes. Standout features include an ice maker that can produce up to 150 cubes a day; the proprietary MasterFresh system, which helps maintain an ideal climate in the fridge; LED strip lights on the side panels to illuminate your food; and a high-resolution touch display to easily adjust temperature or lighting. Plus the fridge is Wi-Fi-enabled, which means you can monitor it right from your phone.
Best Four-Door: Dacor Counter-Depth Four-Door Refrigerator
Dimensions: 42-by-84-by-24 inches | Water dispenser: Yes | Ice maker: Yes | Energy Star qualified: Yes
What we like:
- Convertible fridge-to-freezer section
- Triple cameras for remote viewing
- Limited color options
Why we chose it: Convertible fridge-to-freezer space for the ultimate in customization.
Albert Fouerti, founder and CEO of Appliances Connection, loves the Dacor for its versatility and beauty. “Not only does it have a compartment that converts from a freezer to more refrigerator space, but the stainless steel and glass interior is a wow,” he says. And while the main draw of a four-door fridge might be its ability to toggle between fridge and freezer settings, there’s a lot to love here. It’s a powerful fridge, thanks to its two compressors, and it also has high-tech features like Wi-Fi-enabled cameras on the interior (so you can check if you’re really out of milk before you buy another gallon). From an aesthetic standpoint, the double freezer doors are also very clever. They’re taller than most, so if you panel them, they’ll line up exactly with your bottom cabinets, allowing your fridge to truly blend into the woodwork.
Best Built-In Organization: Samsung Bespoke Counter-Depth Refrigerator
Dimensions: 36-by-73-by-24 inches | Water dispenser: Yes | Ice maker: Yes | Energy Star qualified: Yes
What we like:
- Incredibly customizable
- Makes two types of ice
- Fingerprint-resistant finish
- No handles
Why we chose it: A very customizable model with plenty of bins and shelves for everything.
Since four-door models have more compartments, they are excellent for organization. But Samsung’s design-forward Bespoke collection is a notch above the rest. All four doors boast sturdy and deep shelves (including one with a built-in water pitcher); the fridge has dual crisper drawers with customizable temperature settings; and the freezer is equipped with six bins, all of which pull out for easy access. And as the name implies, the exterior can be outfitted in a variety of materials and colors, ranging from champagne rose to navy.
Best Customizable: Café Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator
Dimensions: 36-by-71-by-24 inches | Water dispenser: Yes | Ice maker: Yes | Energy Star qualified: Yes
What we like:
- Unique hardware options
- Has a hot-water dispenser
- Wi-Fi enabled
- External water dispenser
Why we chose it: A chic design with many options for material and hardware.
Over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed Café appliances popping up on your social media feeds. With their fun finish options (think: matte white or black) and design-forward handles that come in unusual metal colors like brushed copper and bronze, these fridges are the focal point of any kitchen they’re in. But apart from being eye-catching, Café fridges boast details not seen in many other brands, like hot-water and precise-fill settings on the water dispenser and LED lighting in the full-width crisper drawer. We also love that you can match smaller appliances, like a toaster and coffee maker, to your fridge’s finish, thanks to the brand’s suite of coordinating products. Talk about an Instagrammable moment.
How We Chose These Products
To choose the best counter-depth refrigerators, we tapped the deep knowledge of Domino editors as well as appliance experts Jessica Petrino of AJ Madison and Albert Fouerti of Appliances Connection. We examined many models, keeping a special eye on quality, size, durability, brand reputation, and, of course, style. Our winners will not only keep your food fresh and organized, but they’ll look fantastic in your kitchen as well.
Our Shopping Checklist
“When it comes to colors and finishes, the sky’s the limit,” Petrino says of counter-depth fridges. While stainless steel is still the most popular, brands like Café and Samsung are rolling out more unique finishes such as rose pink glass or navy blue steel. “Select counter-depth refrigerators are also panel-ready, meaning they are designed to accept custom cabinet panels to match the rest of your cabinetry,” she adds. But know that many freestanding counter-depth models do not have a panel-ready feature; if that’s a look you definitely want for your kitchen, make sure to check if the fridge you love offers that as an option.
Dimensions and Capacity
“Fortunately, counter-depth fridges come in many different shapes and sizes, so there’s no such thing as a standard-size fridge—even for counter depth,” Petrino says. The most popular width is 36 inches, which generally has a capacity of around 22 cubic feet.
“Look for an Energy Star-rated refrigerator,” Petrino advises. “A typical Energy Star-certified appliance uses less energy than a 60-watt lightbulb.” Likewise, she adds, a freezer with an Energy Star certification uses 10 percent less energy than a brand-new, noncertified model.
Features and Smart Tech
“At a minimum, most fridges today—including counter-depth models—offer LED interior lighting, adjustable shelves, and crisper bins,” says Petrino. Some other features that are becoming more popular are flexible temperature zones (“So you can switch from fridge to freezer, depending on your needs”), internal wine racks, adjustable humidity crisper zones, and specialized beverage storage.
Then there are smart fridges, which can do everything from “helping you to see inside of your fridge from the grocery store, to streaming your favorite playlist, to seeing who is knocking at the door,” says Petrino. But the most useful feature of a Wi-Fi-enabled fridge is probably remote diagnostics. “If your fridge is experiencing a service issue, many smart models can diagnose the problem, which simplifies the service process.”
“Common maintenance tips are to regularly replace the water and air filters and to vacuum the coils behind your fridge,” says Petrino. “And don’t forget to read the use-and-care guide!”
Q: Why would I need a counter-depth refrigerator?
Two main reasons: if you’re short on space or if you want your fridge to be in line, visually, with your countertops. “A counter-depth refrigerator has a shallower depth of 24 inches (excluding the door and handles),” says Petrino. “Freestanding counter-depth models provide a built-in refrigerator look but at a more affordable price.”
Q: What’s the best way to maximize a counter-depth refrigerator’s space?
Since counter-depth fridge shelves are, on average, 6 inches shallower than the shelves in a full-depth fridge, it is certainly important to stay on top of your organization. “Luckily many counter-depth refrigerator models offer fun features to help you stay organized,” says Petrino. “Fridges with the door-in-door design provide easy access to frequently used items. Four-door refrigerators offer multiple compartments that can be set to various temperatures. And adjustable shelves and door bins make it easy to configure your fridge to best fit all your groceries.”
Q: Are counter-depth refrigerators big enough to have ice makers?
“Most counter-depth models offer an optional water line for an ice maker and perhaps a water dispenser,” says Petrino. “While some fridges offer water and ice through the door, many people prefer counter-depth fridges with an internal water dispenser in the fridge and ice in the freezer to save space.”
Q: I’m short on kitchen space: Can I store pantry items or place appliances on top of a counter-depth refrigerator?
“Although many people like to store items on top of their fridge, it’s not recommended,” cautions Petrino. “Freestanding refrigerators need ample air circulation around the top and sides to function properly. It’s important to always reference the product specifications and use-and-care information that comes with your fridge. The specs will tell you exactly how much space is required around the fridge for air circulation.”
The Last Word
If your kitchen dictates that you can only fit a counter-depth fridge, don’t worry: You’re not sacrificing style or space. Nearly every brand, from industry-favorite Sub-Zero to newer labels like Café, is producing beautiful fridges with these slightly smaller specs.