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Is your counter height right for you?

My knife handle kept bumping into the bottom of my arm, or sliding into my sleeve. I thought it was the knife, as I moved into a new place around the same time that I bought the knife.

It turns out that my counter is just too high for me.

I never thought that it was something I had to check for!

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  1. Yes, counter height makes a big difference. If I am doing any real cooking I always wear clogs. The extra height helps.

    1. My counter is too high, and my new cooktop is even higher. Sometimes, when I'm cooking something in a tall pot, or cooking on the back burners, I bring a step stool over.

      1 Reply
      1. re: CindyJ

        I would hate to use a step stool while leaning over the stove. There has to be a better way.

      2. I'm very short (5'2"). When we just redid our kitchen I had an opportunity to have the cabinet height adjusted. I didn't want to go too low in the kitchen proper 'cause we're nearing retirement and will want the house/kitchen to be resaleable in a few years but I was able to shave some off the working counters.

        The good/great news tho, is that we set aside an area in the pantry for baking and did a counter at baking height and it's fabulous!

        If you can have one spot scaled down to a height that's actually comfortable for you, you'll find that you really enjoy it. Failing that, I always found working on a table more comfortable than working at my counters for a long time.

        1. I have found the opposite problem. Standard height counters are just a touch too low for me and I have to slightly stoop over. It doesn't take long before my back starts to ache. A 2" thick maple cutting board solved the problem.

          1 Reply
            1. Ergonomics isn't just for people sitting in fancy office chairs with 13 buttons and levers. ;-)

              Your experience is not uncommon at all. In fact I would go as far as saying it's common place because so many people over look it.

              1. I have the same problem. My counter should be lower.

                1. the "standard" counter height of 3 feet is close to the right height for most people, but taller people find it too low, shorter people find it too high. Changing the counter height is not a big deal, till you start dealing with appliances. Stoves, dishwashers, undercounter fridge drawers, etc are all designed to work with 36" high counters.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    and it's one thing to have an adjustable lever on your office chair, another to redo a custom kitchen as the new buyer of a house. I'd be very careful in doing a complete kitchen in a non-standard height (a dedicated lower height work surface seems like a reasonable idea for most people). I guess I'm lucky; I'm a pretty average height woman so standard seems ok to me.

                  2. When we remodeled our kitchen 10 years ago, we had the counters raised 3". My husband and I are both tall, so this has worked great for us. We had platforms built to go under the range and the dishwasher.

                    1. No, it's too high. I can't knead dough properly on it. In my dream world, I'd have a baking section where I'd have lower marble countertops and room for my kitchenaid and pull out pasta hanger, cookbook holder. In reality, I use a BOSU to knead or do anything that requires pressure from above. Cooking and core work. Can't beat it.

                      1. I believe counter heights were set during the Victorian period and were for people who were on average shorter than today. I installed an Ikea kitchen because you can pick different height legs. We went for a higher counter.

                        IMHO the ideal height for a counter would have the top of your chopping board about 1 inch below the level of a bent elbow. Unfortunately there is usually more than one person that uses the same kitchen

                        1. I'm not really that tall - I'm only 5'8" - but the counters in my 100-year-old house (with a 40-year-old kitchen) are way too low for me. And the sink is even worse - I get instant backaches when I try to do dishes. There's something about the angle of stooping that causes so much pain! I can't even get through a pan of dishes.

                          I wish my sink was too high, so I could buy a stepstool. I can't think of anything to fix the too-low sink. (Except remodeling the kitchen, which we can't do right now...)

                          I shouldn't whine - my 6' husband has it even worse.


                          2 Replies
                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            AnneInMpls, when I have to use a sink that's too low, I find that putting something under a dishpan helps a lot by raising the bottom of the washing area. Does that make sense? I've used a muffin tin, a rectangular cake pan & once even a dutch oven in a very deep sink at a PA farmhouse. Then I use a dishpan on top of that for washing dishes. It makes a big difference. Hope this helps. Washing dishes should be a pleasure (all that hot soapy water!), not a pain.

                            1. re: Jo_C

                              Jo, you are BRILLIANT! And I think I have a beat-up a cake pan somewhere in the basement. Thanks!!!!!