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Standard Height for Kitchen Cabinets

Standard Height for Kitchen Cabinets


When planning a new kitchen or a kitchen remodel, you will need to make a lot of decisions. One question you may encounter that you might not be expecting is, “How tall should my kitchen cabinets be?” You may have never thought about kitchen cabinet height, especially if you are new to cabinetry or the DIY world. In this guide, we are going to cover the standard height for kitchen cabinets, why this is the standard, and what to do if you need to stray from the standard.

What is the Standard Height for Kitchen Cabinets?

When sizing the height for your  kitchen cabinets, you will need to remember to add in the thickness of your kitchen countertop. The average countertop thickness is typically 1.5”. For the cabinet box, the standard height is 34.5”. When combined with the countertop, the standard kitchen cabinet is 36” in height.

Interesting Fact: Despite the average height for kitchen cabinets being 36”, the standard height for bathroom vanities is typically a bit lower at around 32”. The allows a wider range of individuals to comfortably use the vanity.

Why 36” Standard Height for Kitchen Cabinets?

It is one thing to just know the fact about kitchen cabinet height. However, the more interesting part, we think, is why it is 36” and not another height. As you might have guessed, the standard height for kitchen cabinets was decided like most standards by investigating what will work for the majority of people.

And so, to create the standard height for kitchen cabinets, cabinetry designers and home improvement specialists looked at the average height of those who would be using the kitchen work surfaces. The  average height of Americans is between 5’ 4” for women and 5’ 9” for men. Typically, you will want the countertop to be 3-8” below your elbows depending on what task is performed on the countertop, but we will cover this in the following section.

Other Kitchen Cabinet Heights

As with any standard or stock-sized item, there will be times when the standard height will not fit your needs. However, when it comes to kitchen cabinets, it is not only a personal preference that might change the cabinet height but also what task is being performed on the work surface.

Kitchen ergonomics has been around for a long time, and kitchen designers have done a lot of research into making kitchens as user-friendly and effective as possible.

  • For most prep surfaces, you will only need a minimum distance between your elbows and the countertop, around 3” or 4”.
  • For cooking surfaces, you will need a bit of extra space to help avoid getting accidentally burned by the surface for something like hot oil.
  • For those who love baking, you will actually need the most space. Around 8” of distance from the countertop to your elbows will help you extra leverage for kneading and rolling dough.

As you can see, how your kitchen is used will also help determine what height your kitchen cabinets should be.

Custom Kitchen Cabinets

If you are an aspiring chef or someone who loves to cook a lot, you may have started thinking of all the different tasks you do in your kitchen and how that might mean a lot of different heights. Or, you may not fall within the average height range listed above, and therefore need to increase or decrease the height of your cabinets.

At CabinetNow, we offer custom sizing for our  cabinet boxes so that you are able to design for the exact specifications for your space. Choosing the custom route will increase your bottom line, but the freedom that comes with creating a kitchen design that is truly unique may be worth it.

Finishing Up

No one likes standing on their toes or hunching over for extended periods of time. Order your kitchen cabinets at the correct height for you and your kitchen is key to making sure your new  kitchen cabinets are comfortable to use. Plus, when your kitchen is easy, and maybe even fun, to use, you may very well find yourself exploring your inner chef more!

If you are ready to start ordering or if you need assistance, please feel free to call us at 1-855-669-5222 or send us an email at Our team of cabinet experts is here to help with everything from measuring to ordering.