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Is a Counter-Depth Refrigerator the Same as a Built-In Refrigerator?

Posted on 11/09/2023

When it comes to kitchen appliances, refrigerators play a crucial role in our daily lives. They come in various types and styles, with two popular options being the counter-depth refrigerator and the built-in refrigerator. You might be wondering, "Is a counter-depth refrigerator the same as a built-in refrigerator?". Let’s find out as we explore these two models, highlighting their distinctions and similarities.

beko fridge

What is a Counter-Depth Refrigerator?

Counter-depth refrigerators have gained popularity for their sleek and integrated appearance. They are a type of refrigerator designed to align with your kitchen's cabinetry and countertops, creating a seamless and flushed look. Because they are not fully integrated like a built-in model, a counter-depth fridge still slightly sticks out from the surrounding cabinetry.

Streamlined Design

Counter-depth refrigerators are designed to align with your kitchen cabinetry, creating a streamlined look. This design choice makes them an attractive option for those seeking a cohesive kitchen aesthetic.

Limited Depth

The defining feature of counter-depth refrigerators is their reduced depth. While standard refrigerators are deeper, counter-depth models are shallower, ensuring they don't protrude significantly beyond the kitchen counters. This space-saving design can be a game-changer in smaller kitchens.


Counter-depth refrigerators are typically more affordable, making them a more accessible option for those who want a high-end look without the price tag.

What is a Built-In Refrigerator?

A built-in refrigerator is a type of refrigerator designed for seamless integration into your kitchen's cabinetry and layout. Unlike standard freestanding refrigerators, built-in models are customized to fit perfectly within your kitchen's design. As the name suggests, these models are built into your kitchen, offering a highly sought-after and luxurious look.

Custom Integration

Built-in refrigerators are all about custom integration. They are designed to seamlessly blend into your kitchen's cabinetry, making them almost indistinguishable from the surrounding cabinets.

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Spacious Interior

While counter-depth refrigerators focus on space-saving, built-in refrigerators offer a more spacious interior. This extra space can be a blessing for those who need ample room for groceries and storage.

Luxury Appliance

Built-in refrigerators are often considered a premium option, and their price tag reflects this. They are a pricier investment, but the seamless integration and upscale look of these appliances significantly add value to your home’s overall worth.

Is a Counter-Depth Refrigerator the Same as a Built-In Refrigerator?

So, is a counter-depth refrigerator the same as a built-in refrigerator? The short answer is no. While both share some similarities, they cater to different needs and budgets. Here's a quick side-by-side comparison:

  • Design: While a counter-depth refrigerator offers a streamlined appearance, built-in refrigerators are actually custom-integrated into your kitchen.
  • Depth:Counter-depth models are shallower and can help you save space, while built-in models are deeper and more spacious.
  • Cost:Counter-depth refrigerators are more budget-friendly while built-in refrigerators are more expensive.

Which is Right For You?

The choice between a counter-depth refrigerator and a built-in refrigerator depends on your kitchen's layout, budget, and personal preferences. Both options have unique advantages, and you should choose the model that best suits your needs and style.

Affordable Refrigerators Near You

At Cullen’s, we take pride in offering an extensive selection of refrigerator styles, including French door, side-by-side, bottom freezer, built-in, counter-depth, top mount, and more. Whether you're looking for the space-saving benefits of a counter-depth refrigerator, the style of a French door model, or the versatility of a side-by-side design, we have it all.

We take pride in providing high-quality products, outstanding customer service, and a hassle-free shopping experience. Stop by our kitchen appliance store located in Alexandria, MN, to browse our selection of refrigerators for sale today!

Related Readings:

Kitchen Remodeling: How To Build a Modern Kitchen

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Commonly Asked Questions

Do counter-depth refrigerators offer the same storage capacity as standard models?

No, counter-depth refrigerators typically have less storage capacity due to their reduced depth. If storage space is a priority, you might want to consider a standard refrigerator.

Can I retrofit a standard refrigerator to look like a built-in model?

While it is possible to retrofit a standard refrigerator to achieve a built-in appearance, it can be a complex and expensive process. It's usually more cost-effective to purchase a built-in refrigerator if that's the look you desire.

Are there any energy efficiency differences between counter-depth and built-in refrigerators?

Energy efficiency can vary between models, but the refrigerator's design (counter-depth or built-in) doesn't impact energy efficiency. It's essential to check the energy rating of the specific model you're interested in.

Can I install a counter-depth refrigerator in an existing kitchen?

Yes, counter-depth refrigerators are designed to fit into standard kitchen spaces. They are a practical choice for both new and existing kitchens.

Are there any noise differences between the two types of refrigerators?

Noise levels can vary between brands and models, rather than the design itself. Check the product specifications and user reviews for information on noise levels.

What are some popular brands known for their counter-depth and built-in refrigerators?

We carry a wide variety of brands that are known for their built-in and counter-depth refrigerators. A few of the most popular brands are Samsung, LG, KitchenAid, Sub-Zero, and Thermador.

Is a counter-depth refrigerator the same as a cabinet-depth refrigerator?

Yes, counter-depth is another word for cabinet-depth refrigerators. These two terms mean the same thing and are used interchangeably.

Are built-in refrigerators worth it?

Yes, built-in refrigerators are worth it. Apart from looking great, these models are known for their durability. If you view your refrigerator as a long-term investment, the higher upfront cost can be justified by its longevity and reliability. If you plan to sell your home in the future, a built-in refrigerator can also enhance the resale value. Homebuyers often appreciate the integrated look and high-end features.

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