Outdoor Kitchen Counter: What Height and Depth are The Best?

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outdoor kitchen counter height
Outdoor kitchen counter height

Building an outdoor kitchen with perfect dimensions is crucial for comfort. Having a luxurious indoor-outdoor experience will not be possible without that feeling of ease that only good design brings. Dimensions are key to success.

The standard outdoor kitchen counter height is 36″, but it can vary from 30″ – 42″ depending on chosen appliances and users’ height. To accommodate the built-in refrigerator countertops need to be raised to 38″. A countertop cannot be higher than the distance between the ground and the bent elbow.

This is a standard for all people, but not all women are 4,6 to 5,2, and men 5,2 – 5,8. How to figure out the best height and depth of outdoor kitchen countertops for you and your family?

What is the best height of an outdoor kitchen counter?

best hight for an outdoor kitchen depends on owners hight

Standardized countertop height might be a great help when you start the process of designing your outdoor kitchen. Even though most contractors will use them as default, standard numbers might not suit every family. What matters are your and your loved ones’ needs and height?

Wherefrom the standard outdoor countertop comes from? Average human dimensions were taken into consideration. Below I prepared a table of countertop height that helps a lot with picking a perfect number.

1234
Person’s height 4′6″ – 5′2″ 5′2″ – 5′8″ 5′8″ – 6′1″ 6′1″ – 6′6″
Countertop’s height30 – 33″33 – 36″36 – 39″39 – 42″

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average age-adjusted height for American men (20 years old and up) is 5′9″. Women’s average height is 5′4″. Therefore 36″ seems to be a perfect height for a countertop. But only for those who have an average height.

Advice

How to figure what the perfect height of a countertop for your family is?
1. Look for a perfect counter hight for adult users of your outdoor kitchen. Do you have a match? Perfect! If not, go to step
2. Measure the distance from a lower person’s bent elbow to the ground. Now you have the max height of the countertop.
3. Remember that standard height(36″, 38″) is always better priced than unique solutions. So if you can choose the standard.

So how did the process look for my family? I’m 5′5″, my husband is 6′2″. We do not share a specific number on the table. I didn’t want my husband to slouch each time he cooks (I rather want to encourage his activities in this area). I wanted to be comfortable while cooking, as well.

First of all, we figured we have to pick numbers neither from my or my husbands’ columns (2, 4), but go with 36 – 39″ (3). To figure out how high the countertop can be, it’s necessary to measure the distance between a shorter person’s bent elbow and the ground. A countertop cannot be higher than this measurement.

There are also two extra factors:

  1. Outdoor kitchen countertops are often 38″, as this is the minimum height for a built-in fridge.
  2. Standard heights are less expensive.

So to sum up, the best choice for a working outdoor kitchen countertop for us is 38″.

I created a full outdoor kitchen dimensions guide available here (blog post), so if you need more numbers, you have a place to find them.

What is the standard height for an outdoor bar?

Outdoor bar height
Outdoor bar height

The standard height for an outdoor kitchen bar serve counter is 42″. This value can usually vary between 40 – 42″. The height of the bar serve counter depends vastly on the height of bar stools. Bar stools are typically 28 – 30″. Between the top of the stool, and top of the bar serve counter should be a distance of 15″.

I have no doubt the main counter of the outdoor kitchen needs to fit specific needs. Especially when you’re higher or lower than average. But how does it work with the bar counter? Does an outdoor kitchen bar serve counter need customization as well?

You can customize it on your own by picking perfect sized bar stools. To feel comfortable while sitting, you’ll need 9 – 13″ of space between the bar top and the chair. Even though bar chairs also have the standard height, it’s possible to find a little higher or a little lower to suit your needs.

Of course, if you feel like highering on lowering bar countertop go for it. I personally tend to pick solutions that help me use my budget carefully to spend on extras.

Advice

It’s worth buying bar stools before the bar serve counter is built to make sure they’ll fit well.

What is the height of an outdoor kitchen tabletop counter?

Outdoor kitchen tabletop counter height
Outdoor kitchen tabletop counter height

The tabletop counter standard height for an outdoor kitchen is 30″. It can vary from 28″ to 31″, and depend on used chairs. Chair height may vary from 17″ to 19″. Between chair and tabletop should be a distance of at least 9″ and up to 13″. It’s worth buying chairs before building this counter.

There is actually one more countertop height worth discussing – so-called counter seating, which is 36″ high. While designing, it’s worth knowing this one requires a bit more knee space – 15″.

Advice

Consider a lower chair height if the tabletop is thick or has a hanging counter.

What is the depth of an outdoor kitchen counter?

standard Outdoor kitchen counter depth
Standard outdoor kitchen counter depth

The standard depth of an outdoor kitchen counter is 30″, as an outdoor kitchen countertop has to be deep enough to fit a built-in grill. Bar counter should be at least 12″ deep to accommodate standard plates, which are 9″. Tabletop countertop standard depth is 38″.

All of the countertops should have a cantilever to allow knee movement (12″ for bar height, 18″ for countertop height).

Sometimes a great addition to the outdoor kitchen is going to be a prep table. It’s going to be a much-needed space for smaller structures. The great size for a prep table is 64″ wide, 24″ deep, and 36″ high.

How wide should an outdoor kitchen counter be?

how wide should an outdoor kitchen be

The outdoor kitchen countertop should be 10′ wide. For a grill, an extra 24″ on one side and 12″ on the other should be added. The pizza oven will also take an extra 24″ on one side and 12″ on the other. The sink requires an additional 18″ on both sides. Cooktop needs 12″ on both sides.

How wide should an outdoor kitchen bar counter be? The width of an outdoor kitchen bar counter depends on the amount of people seated. There should be at least 24″ reserved per person. For more comfort, personal space should be increased up to 30″. To have a luxurious experience, go up to 36″.

What are outdoor kitchen sizes?

Usually, an outdoor kitchen is categorized into three groups: small, medium, and large. Size depends on budget, planned appliances, space, and cooks using the space simultaneously. The appliances that might be used are grill, cooktop, sink, smoker, icemaker, burner, pizza oven, and more.

Below you’ll find a list of basic ones that have to be customized to specific needs. This list may help to figure what length your outdoor-kitchen-to-be needs.

NameTotal lengthIncludesCountertop lengthNumber of cooks
Small10′grill, cooktop, sink, storage361
Medium16′grill, cooktop, sink, storage, refrigerator 481
Large20’+grill, cooktop, sink, storage, refrigerator +1561+

To choose a perfect size, it’s always wise to look into the budget first. In my opinion, a smaller one with better finishes and appliances is going to be a better choice than a bigger one with worse quality. For example, you can omit to have a fridge outside and bringing food from the home fridge, but grilling on a poor quality grill will irritate you more and more over time. It’s worth acknowledging better finish increases longevity too.

Advice

Before deciding on the size, figure out a total budget and list of must-haves. Stick to the numbers and basics list.

Additional searches

What size should be an outdoor kitchen? An outdoor kitchen size depends on the budget, appliances, space, and number of cooks. The most common outdoor kitchens are small (10′ long) and medium (16′ long). They both are equipped with a grill, cooktop, sink, and storage, but a medium option also has a built-in refrigerator.

How tall should an outdoor kitchen counter be? The outdoor kitchen counter standard is 36″ tall. For outdoor kitchens with a built-in fridge, the standard size is 38″. The height of outdoor kitchen counters should be adjusted to users’ height. Customized counters’ height varies from 30″ (4’6″ and wheelchair users) to 42″ (6’6″).

How deep are outdoor kitchen cabinets? Standard outdoor kitchen cabinets are 23″ deep. They can be customized and made deeper, as the standard outdoor kitchen countertop is 30″ deep. It’s worth remembering to leave a knee space, though, if the food will be served at the counter. In this matter, keeping a standard depth might work great.

Now it’s your turn

I hope you found this article useful.

Now I’d like to hear from you: which information was the most valuable to you?

Was it method of setting an outdoor kitchen counter height, outdoor kitchen counter depth, or outdoor kitchen size?

And did you already know everything about outdoor kitchen dimensions or some of my tips surprise you?

Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

magdalena-dutkiewicz

Magdalena Dutkiewicz

I like looking for solutions that lead to specific plans. Of course, looking for inspiration for outdoor kitchens is something I really enjoy too. But translating it into an action plan is something that pushes me to act.

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