The Savvy Shopper Issue #1: Built-In vs. Over-The-Range Microwave Ovens: Which one is best for you?

December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day — Yes, that is a real holiday!

Microwaves are a must-have for any kitchen. They truly make life so much easier because of the convenience they provide. Buying a microwave means selecting from many types including countertop, over-the-range, built-in and drawer model. Here, we’ll focus on two types: built-in and over-the-range.

Over-The-Range Microwave Ovens

Over-the-range microwaves install above your range or cooktop in place of a range hood. They function like countertop microwaves, but also eliminate smoke, steam and cooking odors through a built-in ventilation system. Additional considerations include:

  Select models have a sensor cook feature for easy reheating or a convection feature for enhanced cooking capabilities.

  Built-in light that brightens the cooking surface.

 Available in a range of sizes and wattage; usually over 800 watts.

  Different venting options: External venting sends the smoke through an outside exhaust vent, whereas a recirculating venting microwave pulls air through a charcoal filter then vents it back into the house.

  Low profile microwaves are slightly shorter and much wider than conventional microwaves, allowing them to fit in the same space as an under-cabinet range hood. (Based on a 24” minimum install height.) Despite their compact size, they are still large enough to fit tall glasses and wide dishware.

  Sizes for most over-the-range models have a width of between 29 to 30 inches, a height between 16 to 18 inches and a depth of between 15 and 16 inches.

We like this GE 1.6 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave Oven. It features 10 power levels and 1,000 cooking watts, and the two-speed, 300-CFM venting system removes smoke, steam, and odors from your range while you cook.

Built-In Microwave Ovens

Built-in microwaves can be installed into a wall or cabinet for convenient operation. With a similar capacity to other microwave styles, the built-in design has the advantages of saving counter space and being able to be installed away from the range, allowing multiple people more space to cook together. Additional considerations include:

Requires larger upfront investment.

 Professional installation is recommended.

 Available in a range of sizes and wattage, usually over 800 watts.

 The exterior dimensions for built-in models are similar to that of countertop models with comparable capacities.

We like this GE Profile Built-In Microwave/Convection Oven. It features convection cooking, 1500 watts of power and 10 power levels.

Call, Chat or Visit us today and speak to a microwave appliance expert. Let’s choose a microwave that will best meet your needs.