Pulling double-duty as both a range hood and a microwave oven, the appliances in this product category are a great investment for anyone looking for a built-in microwave with maximum utility. Whether you’re remodelling your kitchen or simply looking for ways to make the space more efficient, an over-the-range microwave is a great option to consider for the area above your stove. Explore the possibilities on offer with this class of microwaves and learn our picks for the best of the bunch in this category. Whether you choose to get one of our chosen models or not, you should have enough information to make an informed decision by the time you finish reading this handy guide.
Best Over The Range Microwave 2018
What to Look For in an Over-the-Range Microwave
In addition to all the factors, you should consider when shopping for any microwave oven, including cubic feet capacity, overall dimensions, features and brand, over-the-range microwave ovens require some special consideration. Take these criteria into account as you examine our best-of picks below. Knowing exactly what you’re looking for before you start making your final selection can be helpful too, so don’t hesitate to start taking measurements and looking at design plans now.
Range Hood Features
What do you need from a range hood? Even if you don’t cook much, you’ll want to make sure the over-the-range microwave you purchase includes a full set of features. This includes an overhead light and an exhaust fan that either attaches to an exterior vent duct or operates on a recirculating basis with no need for exterior venting. Bare-bones models may simply offer on-off switches for both features, but more advanced options usually offer settings to control the intensity of the light and the fan.
Door Open Direction
The direction in which your microwave door opens—left to right, right to left or drop down—may be a particularly important concern if you’re installing the over the range appliance in a small kitchen or in a crowded space with a lot of cabinets. If the microwave and range are at the end of your counter next to a wall, for example, you could do yourself a disservice by getting a microwave with a door that opens toward the wall. Sure, the appliance may still work just fine, but it’s going to get pretty annoying not being able to open your microwave door all the way and having to worry about damaging the drywall with the microwave’s handle. Consider the layout of the kitchen before choosing to avoid issues like this.
While color isn’t always an important feature to consider while shopping for a microwave, things change quite a bit when you’re considering a permanent addition to your kitchen. That’s especially true when considering the proximity between your stove/oven range combo and the microwave overhead. The colors should match exactly or at least coordinate to avoid poor design flow. For example, if your range is black, choose a black microwave. There is some room for deviation from the matchy-matchy look, but not much. That black range, for example, may look nice underneath to an over-the-range microwave in stainless steel with black accents. A white or bisque range, however, might not look so great with a black-and-metallic microwave overhead.
If you’re looking for a big, powerful over-the-range microwave oven with a lot of great features, this 2.2 cubic foot model from LG is just what you need. That interior capacity alone bests just about every other competitor in this category. There’s room for a rack inside the microwave, meaning you can double the capacity of what you ordinarily heat up or cook with no problems. Homeowners with busy kitchens or large families are likely to appreciate this and choose the LMHM2237BD based on this information alone.Luckily, that’s not all this capable microwave can do. It’s got a sleek exterior design with smudge-resistant coating for easy cleaning and the interior of the microwave features EasyClean technology to make regular tidying up a breeze. The range hood features are also impressive, with an internal charcoal filter ensuring that all the air recirculated into the kitchen actually smells good.
Measuring in at 2.0 cubic feet capacity and an interior rack, this KitchenAid microwave is only slightly smaller than its biggest competitors, but its legions of admiring fans don’t seem to mind. KitchenAid is a trusted brand in culinary appliances, making this over the range microwave an easy sell for those who already love the brand’s mixers and other culinary electronics. But they aren’t just resting on their laurels with this microwave. Thoughtful features such as an easy-clean interior and a stoppable turntable allow for stress-free, customizable operation. This microwave also features charcoal air filtering and a powerful vent to suction steam and smoke out of the kitchen when you need it. Beyond these basic features, the KMHS120ESS is an excellent option if you want to actually use your microwave for cooking. Settings that allow for sensor-monitored simmering and steaming can free up room on the stove as you cook vegetables and other side dishes in the microwave instead. You can even take food out of the oven and use the microwave’s low-power Keep Warm setting as a warming tray!
Though it’s smaller than the other two models discussed here, the 1.7 cubic feet this microwave features is more than enough for most people. Available in multiple colors and featuring a multi-speed vent fan, this over the range microwave from Whirlpool is a great buy if you don’t need something super fancy but still care about functionality and reliability. Cleanup is a breeze with this model too thanks to the dishwasher-safe turntable plate and all the basics, including easy-to-use controls, are in place. Overall, this is a solid basic microwave for over the range use, presenting the best budget-friendly option in its class.