Refrigerators have gotten a lot bigger in recent years. That’s good for food storage but not so much for space efficiency, especially in smaller kitchens, where a mammoth fridge might jut out 10 inches or more past the countertop. Counter-depth (also referred to as cabinet depth) refrigerators are a slimmer option that provides a more streamlined look. And thanks to improvements in refrigerator design, some of the best examples in our latest refrigerator ratings can hold a lot more food than previous generations.

One point of clarification: Though they’re called counter depth, most models in this category are around 28 inches deep, so they do protrude a bit past the edge of the countertop. That’s unlike true built-ins, from the likes of Thermador and Sub-Zero, which typically measure 25 inches deep, the standard depth of a kitchen countertop (there are also some 24-inch and 26-inch models in our built-in refrigerator ratings).

We should also explain why not many counter-depth refrigerators make our recommended list. In a lot of cases, this is the result of less-than-stellar energy efficiency, which reflects electricity consumption (based on our tests) per cubic foot of measured usable storage space. The fact that a counter-depth refrigerator is, on the whole, less spacious can drive down its efficiency and, in turn, its overall score. But that may be a worthwhile compromise if space efficiency is your top priority. 

Here are several strong picks to consider from the various configurations we test:

Best French-Door Counter-Depth Refrigerators
It used to be hard to find a counter-depth refrigerator with French-door styling, but manufacturers have made more of an investment in the option. Best in class in our current ratings is the GE Café CYE22USHSS, $3,100, which is the first coffee-dispensing counter-depth refrigerator, thanks to its built-in Keurig brewing system. A second model from the same brand, the GE Profile PWE23KMDES, $2,600, delivers excellent temperature control and is also surprisingly energy efficient, given the challenges described above.  

Though it missed the winners podium, the Samsung RF18HFENBSR counter-depth refrigerator is well-priced at $1,100 and performed very well overall. The Kenmore Elite 74053, $2,750, is another impressive option.  

To find other counter-depth refrigerators from our tests, check our refrigerator ratings and compare the models using the sort feature at the top of the column that reads cabinet-depth (another name for these models).

Inside one of Fisher & Paykel's counter-depth refrigerators.
Inside a cabinet-depth Fisher & Paykel ActiveSmart refrigerator.

Best Bottom-Freezer Counter-Depth Refrigerators
The traditional bottom-freezer category in general has gotten smaller in recent years, which has meant fewer counter-depth models coming through our labs and into the ratings. If you have your heart set on this configuration, consider the Fisher & Paykel ActiveSmart E522BRX5, $1,800. Temperature control, energy efficiency, and noise are all solid, though it’s lacking in convenience features—no ice maker, no water dispenser, no temperature-controlled meat/deli bin. Paying $500 more for the Fisher & Paykel ActiveSmart RF170WDRUX5 counter-depth refrigerator gets you similar performance, plus an ice maker and an external water dispenser.

The Liebherr CS1660, $4,500, took the top spot by a nose but costs considerably more.

Best Side-by-Side Counter-Depth Refrigerators
Two counter-depth refrigerators make our current recommended list in this configuration: the Fagor FQ9925XUS, $2,300, and the LG LSC22991ST, $2,700. The Fagor got excellent scores for temperature performance, energy efficiency, and quietness. At 28 inches deep, the Fagor is 2 inches shallower than the LG, which you’ll appreciate if space is super-tight in your kitchen. The GE Café CZS25TSESS, $2,610, is another 28-inch-deep side-by-side that earned solid marks in our tests, though not enough to be considered a top pick.