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Medicine cabinets sizes may seem to be all over the place. However, if you look beneath the surface you will see that there is a clear consensus on what the standard sizes should be among the most reputable brands.
16×30, 20×30 & 24×30 are the standard sizes used by all the major mid-level to high end manufacturers. Keep in mind that these sizes only apply to recessed & dual mount medicine cabinets. Since surface mounted cabinets have a frame, their sizes can be all over the place.
With that being said, those sizes are not the only one available for medicine cabinets. There are standard heights, widths even depths being used by most medicine cabinet manufacturers. Understanding them can help you make the right choice. As always we always recommend sticking with what the popular manufacturers to future proof your fixtures.
Standard Widths for Medicine Cabinets
The Standard width for medicine cabinets start at 16″ (give or take 1 inch) and increases in in increments of 4″ up to 24″ for single door versions. For double doors, the standard dimensions are 30″ & 40″ wide.
Above numbers are for finished dimensions of recessed and dual mounted cabinets. Finished dimensions are measured from corner to corner of a frameless mirror. In other words, it’s the dimensions of what you see when facing the cabinet.
The cutout dimensions are slightly different. The cutout size is the size of the box that fits inside the wall. For a recessed cabinet, these dimensions are critical for installation purposes. A typical cutout dimensions is about 1.5″ less than the finished size. When shopping for a medicine cabinets, be mindful of both your cutout and finished dimensions to avoid any installation issues down the line.
Standard Heights for Medicine Cabinets
Standard height for a medicine cabinet is not as clear cut but the general consensus among top manufacturers are 20″, 26″ , 30″ & 40″ high.
- 30″ high is by far the most common height as it makes sense for most rooms with a standard ceiling height
- 26″ would be the second most popular, if you’re looking for a medicine cabinet with less of a presence. It’s also an ideal height when you plan to install a light fixture above the cabinet instead of side sconces.
- 20″ are for entry level small half baths. It’s only used with medicine cabinets 16″ wide or narrower.
- 40″ is perfect for larger master & loft style bathrooms.
In order to make the right selection for your bathroom, consider the overall size of the room, the location of the light fixtures (over the cabinet or side sconces) and the height of the faucet below.
- Consider the location of the light fixtures
- Make sure there is enough clearance for the faucet below
- Consider the overall height of the bathroom ceiling in relation to your cabinet’s footprint.
Cutout dimensions are also about 1.5 inches less than the finished height.
Standard Depth Size for Medicine Cabinets
The standard depth size for medicine cabinet is 4″ (give or take 1/2 inch or so). The depth of the medicine is the measurements from the back wall to the opening of the cabinet, not including the door.
In other words, the depth allow you to estimate how much space you have to place your items on the cabinet shelves. Ideally, the deeper the cabinet the better. However, there is typically not enough space behind the wall to make it happen.
- 4″ is by far the most common depth size
- 6″ & 8″ Depth are also available among high end manufacturers like Robern & Century Bathworks
- These companies also make 6″ & 8″ side kits to convert them into Surface Mounts.
6″ & 8″ depths are also available as an upgrade from higher end manufacturers like Rober or Century Bathworks. These cabinets are typically only available via special order and are ideal for new construction or “Complete Gut” remodels.
Keep in mind that these sizes are only available for recessed & dual mounted cabinets as a 6 or 8″ surface mounted cabinet would protrude out too much. For this reason, manufacturers don’t even bother making them. With that being said, if that’s something you want, you could just purchase a side kit for your dual mount cabinet and convert it into a surface mounted without much of an issue.
Common Combination Sizes for Medicine Cabinets.
Not all standard heights & widths are always comboed together. Below is a list of all the common combos for each width size.
|20″ High||26″ High||30″ High||40″ High|
|16″ Wide||Common||Common||Very Common||Rare|
|20″ Wide||n/a||Common||Very Common||Common|
|24″ Wide||n/a||Rare||Very Common||Common|
As you can see in the chart below, 30″ high medicine cabinets is by far the most preferred height. The preferred width has a lot more to do with the size of the vanity chosen and the available space on the wall. You would want to make sure that the mirror has enough clearance around it and that it doesn’t look too small or large for the vanity it’s paired with. Additionally, you’d want to take the overall size of the bathroom into consideration as well.
Standard Size for Medicine Cabinets with lights
There are a few ways to install wall sconces around your medicine cabinets. You could choose wall sconces on both sides of the cabinet, or go with a 2 or 3 light overhead vanity light. However, one of the trendier picks is to purchase a lighted medicine cabinet.
These medicine cabinets typically come equipped with with two LED light bars on both sides. They are a perfect option for contemporary bathroom styles.
In addition to the medicine cabinet with lights built-in, you could also opt for lighted bars that are compatible with the medicine cabinet of your choosing. These bars are made by the same manufacturer specifically for the same model, they are not interchangeable across different brands.
We have made it clear that it’s important to stick with reputable brands for your standard medicine cabinet, but it’s even more crucial to go with either these brands for medicine cabinets with lights. Brands that have shown a commitment quality cabinets and who offer great customer support.
Since these medicine cabinets are equipped with LED lights, they are not replaceable. Therefore, years down the line, you may need to replace like for like. As of today, there are only two brands that fall within this category, it’s Kohler & Robern. Other brands either don’t offer lighted medicine cabinet or do not have a reliable customer service for these products.
Why it’s important to pick a standard size Medicine Cabinet.
It’s important to stick to standard sizes for a variety of reasons. It all boils down to availability and being able to replace parts or the whole fixture years after the initial purchase. Standard size cabinets offer the following advantages.
- They are readily available for immediate purchase in a variety of retail stores.
- Due to their high sales numbers, manufacturers keep their replacement parts in stock even after they’ve been discontinued
- They can be replaced by another manufacturer’s product since the size is commonly carried by multiple companies.
Let’s face it. We would love to live in a world where different companies stick to one universal standard and do not deviate from it. Unfortunately, this is not the case for medicine cabinets.
While the sizes we have discussed are the most commonly sizes among reputable companies, entry level companies or lesser known brands offer recessed medicine cabinets in a variety of sizes. In addition, even companies like Kohler & Robern introduce new sizes to test if they will evenly catch on.
Kohler has been selling the 26″ & 30″ medicine cabinets for years, but they have recently introduced a 24″ cabinet. As of today, Kohler only carries one model of this height. If this particular cabinet does not sell much, there is a high likelihood it will be discontinued.
Now let’s say you were to buy this 24″ high medicine cabinet today. A few years later, you happen to crack the glass. If the product were not discontinued, you could simply other a new door. However since it’s no longer available, you would need to buy a different cabinet and have it installed in a recessed wall designed for a smaller product.
None of the other companies have a mirrored cabinet that would fit either, so you will have to modify the recessed wall and if you’re not a handy person, you will need to hire a professional to have it done.
All this headache would be a non issue if you stick to the commonly sold products and sizes.
Why Surface Mounted Medicine Cabinets have no standard sizes.
Surface mounted cabinets are installed on the wall and offer little challenge when replacing them down the line. The brackets and screw holes can easily be covered up by the replacement cabinet.
As a result, there is no need for manufacturers to stick to a standard size for surface mounted cabinets. In addition, medicine cabinets that are exclusively surface mounted, tend to have a variety of frames with different designs and sizes.
For this reason, we don’t have any strong objection of buying a surface mount cabinet of your own choosing regardless of its dimensions.
Replacing a Standard Size Medicine Cabinet is a breeze
As we mentioned, the primary reason for picking a standard size mirrored cabinet is to mitigate the challenges of replacing one in the future. If you happen to find yourself in this situation in the future, follow these 5 simple steps and you should be good to go
- Measure the cabinet to make sure your size is currently available.
- Remove your existing medicine cabinet from the wall.
- Measure the existing cutout.
- Pick a new medicine cabinet of the same dimensions
- Review the cutout dimensions of the new medicine chest to make sure it fits.
There you have it, making the right purchasing decision from the start will make your life easier when a problem presents itself.
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