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Non-USA Kitchen counters

  1. Jul 6, 2017 #1

    Stephen Tashi

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    The standard height for kitchen counters in the USA is 36" inches. (A standard criticized by the article: https://qz.com/509501/why-kitchens-arent-designed-for-real-women/ ).

    Do other countries have a similar standard?

    Another good question is why people want to have kitchen counters instead of the more versatile option of standalone furniture with counter tops ? In the USA, built-in kitchen counters are the de-facto standard in homes.
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  3. Jul 6, 2017 #2


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    The article tries reeeealy hard to find sexism, but doesn't. It isn't exactly wrong, just logically empty.

    Making things standardized isn't inherrently sexist and she's simultaneously criticizing the height being too tall (splitting the difference between men and women's sizes) and the fact that women still do most kitchen work. Pick one!

    Standardization makes products cheaper and more compatible and makes it easier to sell houses where you don't know the size of the people who are going to inhabit them (and in modern times, people don't live in one house forever). That's a good thing, not a bad thing.
    It's probably because many of the components (sink, range/oven, fridge) are required by their utility connections or size to be built-in/permanent and just about everything else is both designed around those built-in devices and too heavy to easily move anyway. It isn't like your living room, where if you feel like flipping your couch and end table, you easily can.

    In offices, adjustable height workstations are rapidly becoming the standard, but that would be difficult in kitchens (and labs, which are what I design and have similar equipment/constraints). I could envision a benchtop with an adjustable height of, say, 30-40", but that would take away storage space for the mechanism below and be extremely expensive.

    Google tells me 90cm, which is a little over 35".
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  4. Jul 6, 2017 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    As far as I can see, there are standards (DIN EN 527) for desks and workbenches, depending on whether height can be adjusted or not and how hard intended work will be (expected forces). Not sure whether there is a norm for kitchen.
    "The majority of kitchen are in the range of 91-93 cm, whereas some 20 years ago it has been 86-89 cm."
    I think you get the best result with a built-in kitchen, if you want to optimize
    • working area as big as possible
    • no different heights
    • no slits where materials (food, tools) can fall into
    • as few as possible vertices and edges
    • no design related distraction when working with sharp knives
    • as easy to clean as possible
    All these qualities are met less by stand alone furniture.
  5. Jul 6, 2017 #4

    Stephen Tashi

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    I disagree, somewhat. In fact some articles recommend that there be a variety of levels in kitchen work surfaces.

    But you haven't included the factor of being versatile - in the sense of being movable and in the sense of being simpler to adjust in height. I'm not saying person would rearrange their kitchen every month, but a person moving into a house might prefer to customize the arrangement. (Of course, from a land lord's point of view, the renters aren't likely to carry off built-in kitchen counters with them when they leave. Maybe that's a big consideration.)
  6. Jul 6, 2017 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Different heights would turn out to be nightmare for your back on the long run.
  7. Jul 6, 2017 #6


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    Not if you're an expert in body mechanics!
    Always use your knees to adjust your height, never your back.

    ps. I think this thread should be appended into the "lame jokes" thread.
    Q: Why do women complain so much?
    A: Because they are not allowed to fart. So if they didn't complain, they would explode.​

    pps. I'm only 1 inch taller than the average american woman, according to google, and I've never had a problem with my 36" counters. I'm more concerned with the upper shelves in my kitchen. What sort of human can reach those things without a ladder?
  8. Jul 6, 2017 #7


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    Normal to tall people and giraffe-human hybrids.
  9. Jul 6, 2017 #8


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    Re the knives thing, I kind of cringe when I see these extra-sharp knives advertised: " cuts through anything, as if it was butter"....cuts through anything ( including your fingers, if you screw up), they don't mention.
  10. Jul 6, 2017 #9

    Stephen Tashi

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    The TV add type of sharp knife with a wavy blade doesn't scare me, but an ordinary knife that is actually sharp - that's dangerous. However, on that trip to the emergency room, I did learn about "wound glue" when the nurse super-glued my finger shut. I wonder if one can get wound glue for the home medicine chest.

    But we digress - although this did happen on a 36" high counter.
  11. Jul 7, 2017 #10
    Any hardware store should have superglue, and a lot of other stores do too.
    And that would work to join the wound edges together.

    A bit different than the medical version though.
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