The average kitchen counter height is 36 inches. Homeowners designing a kitchen to be wheelchair-accessible, however, must build counters shorter than this average, and the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recommends installing counters in at least two different heights for different functions.
An average kitchen-counter height of 36 inches best accommodates users between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall. Homeowners who fall dramatically outside of this height range may have to have custom cabinets built if they find their kitchen counters are too high or too low.
Counters on kitchen islands or bars that serve as eating surfaces may be as high as 42 inches. Cabinets as low as 28 inches may be better for cooking activities that require full arm extension, such as rolling dough.
Wright State University's Rehabilitation Engineering Accessible Kitchen project recommends counter heights of 30, 32 or 34 inches for wheelchair users.
Multiple Counter Heights
The NKBA recommends that homeowners install counters in at least two different heights for visual interest and increased functionality: One counter should be 28 inches to 36 inches high and the other 36 inches to 45 inches high. The average kitchen-counter height required for appliances such as dishwashers and stoves is 36 inches.
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