No modern kitchen is complete without a good old microwave. From warming up food or to making a bag of popcorn to go with your movie night - this basic appliance is simply indispensable for the modern man.
Over the range microwaves are both a luxury and a necessity since they not only enhance the aesthetics of your kitchen but occupy little space as well. So, it’s a win-win situation!
So, how do these over the range help you save space in the kitchen?
As the name implies, over the range microwaves can be mounted on the wall right above your cooking range. This helps you utilize space smartly, especially if you have a small kitchen. It also frees up precious room on the counter, so you do not feel cramped when rolling out your dough or chopping up your veggies. Even with a moderate sized cooking space, you can opt for an over the range model instead of a countertop microwave to give your kitchen a neater, more organized look.
However, not all over the range microwaves can make your kitchen look great (Sentence uses poor English). Some of these OTR (what is OTR?) models can actually take up more room than a simple countertop microwave would. They can feel bulky, create smoke and steam in the kitchen, and fill it up with various cooking smells - not all of them delicious. To avoid all of these problems, it is important that you install the best over the range microwave in your kitchen.
This article will help you do just that. By the time you reach the end, you will know what to look for in an OTR microwave, which ones are worth considering for your kitchen, and what are the unique features that make them so good. Let’s go!
In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best
Got your food reheating on the stove and need an answer before it’s burnt to crisp? We will get right to it. Here is a quick little review of our winning over the range microwave.
The perfect cooking is all about temperature control - something that is guaranteed with the Nuwave Bravo XL 30 Quart Convection Oven. This over the range microwave combines conduction, convection, and radiation for the heat to circulate and penetrate the food and cook it evenly.
Other than total control over what’s cooking, the Nuwave Bravo XL 30 Quart Convection Oven has countless other features which make it stand out among all the best over the range microwaves out there.
- It is available at a bargain price
- The Flavor Infusion Technology ensures that the last bite of your meal is just as delicious as the first one
- It is super easy to clean after each use
The Five Best Over The Range Microwaves At A Glance
OUR TOP PICK
Measuring 29.87 inches by 15.62 inches by 15.75 inches, the Frigidaire FFMV 1846VS is a beautiful solution to all your heating needs. Its elegant design and touch control make it undeniably the most elegant microwave.
With a non-ducted venting type, the microwave brings auto defrost and 2-speed functionality to your kitchen. It offers up to 10 power levels for you to really get the flavor out of your food. With enough space to store all your edibles, the Frigidaire offers smart heating and does not burden your pocket any more than a microwave should.
And if you want some extra help with your heating, you can even get a recirculating kit for the microwave.
- The beautiful design and colors of the microwave blend in well with most kitchen designs and add a luxurious touch to your kitchen.
- Easy to install and operate even for those that are not adept with technology.
- Comes with a child lock to ensure extra safety.
- The body of the microwave dents easily, making installation difficult.
- The ventilation system is not very reliable.
Measuring 20.5 inches by 15.9 inches by 12.8 inches, the Toshiba EM131A5C is an affordable yet sturdy device for all your heating needs. Made with stainless steel and colored in plush black, this microwave blends in with most kitchen designs.
It also offers 10 power settings with its 1100 watts and a power-saving mode to keep your electricity bill low.
The pre-programmed cooking times help easily heat and cook dishes. But even if a dish is not available on the pre-programmed menu, you can use the sensor cooking option to start heating with one touch! The sensor will measure the humidity inside and set an adequate heating time on its own.
- Easy to clean cavity that is scratch resistant.
- Convenient heating and cooking with smart sensor technology that does everything on its own.
- Melting or softening feature makes baking endeavors easier.
- The microwave is rather loud when opening and closing the door.
- The heating options may be somewhat difficult to control.
We will wrap these reviews up with one of the most beautiful and sleek-looking microwaves we could find - the GE JVM3160RFSS 30 inch Over The Range Microwave Oven. With a huge capacity of 1.6 cubic feet, this microwave is large enough for all your cooking needs.
The GE JVM3160RFSS 30 inch Over The Range Microwave Oven features both, auto and time defrost options. This lets you choose between a quick, pre-set control and a manual setting for the best results. The rotating glass turntable can also be switched on or off according to your requirements and preference.
- Smooth, sleek look that will spark up any kitchen’s interior
- Two speed, 3000 CFM venting system to remove smoke, steam, and cooking odors
- Large capacity to easily cook a whole chicken or a small turkey
- Delicious and evenly cooked food guaranteed every time
- Great value for money
- Weighing at about 63 pounds, it is one of the heavier options on this list
- No backlighting on the keypad makes it tricky to operate in dim lights
- The vent fan does not feature a quiet operation
Next, we have the Frigidaire 1.4 cubic feet microwave in black stainless steel. This intelligent kitchen appliance adjusts the power levels and cooking times on its own, so you do not have to do much. Between its 10 power cooking levels, you can get all your cravings satisfied whenever you want - be it a frozen pizza or a pot roast!
The Easy-Set start and Ready-Select controls make working in the kitchen absolutely effortless. The pre-programmed settings take out the guesswork from cooking and result in the most tantalizing meal every time.
- Easily fits large items on the glass turntable measuring 12.8 inches in diameter
- A light on the interior illuminates the contents so you can see your food being cooked
- The defrost option allows quick and easy preparation of frozen items
- The control lock option creates a tight seal and prevents heat or radiation from escaping
- Works as both, an OTR microwave and a countertop one
- The microwave needs to stick out at least 2 inches to clear the hinge side of the door
Measuring 13 inches by 13.5 inches by 11 inches, the Nuwave Bravo XL is a beast when it comes to temperature control. It combines convection, conduction, and radiant heating mechanisms to heat up your food inside out from 100°F to 450°F, using its heating elements present both at the top and the bottom.
At the same time, the Nuwave Bravo XL does not overwhelm you with its heating options. It offers 12 presets for cooking and sets up individual cooking stages with the Stage function. While cooking, the digital temperature probe can give you accurate measures of the inside of your food. Undercooking is not an option with the Nuwave Bravo XL.
Moreover, you can easily clean the removable trays in a dishwasher once you are done cooking!
- Convenient cleaning
- Added safety with heat-resistant door and handle.
- Energy efficient with smart heat control even when the door is opened.
- Considerably more expensive than competing products.
- The top of the oven is not insulated and can cause severe burns.
Best Over The Range Microwaves - Buying Guide
As you must have noticed by now, not all over the range microwaves are created equal. There are tons of different options to choose from - and all of them might have some super cool features too - but not all of them will serve you the way you want them to.
Therefore, to find the right pick for yourself, you must do your research and see which of the best over the range microwaves have qualities that fall in line with your requirements.
What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Over The Range Microwave?
Most over the range microwaves follow a standard sizing and will fit into a 30-inch wide space. What you really should be looking at is the capacity - this will tell you if the microwave you are looking to buy can fit in your tall coffee cup or the whole chicken you want to cook for dinner.
There are three standard sizes that you can choose from according to your needs. A compact OTR microwave will have a capacity of 0.5 - 0.8 cubic feet, a midsized one will range between 0.9 and 1.3, while a full-size over the range microwave can go from 1.4 to over 2 cubic feet in capacity.
The next thing to consider about the microwave that interests you is its wattage. The higher the wattage is, the greater is the cooking power. This directly corresponds to how quick it will be to heat up your dinner, and how much time you can save with it. A good quality OTR microwave should have about 900-1000 wattage.
Ease of use
Usually, it doesn’t take much time to figure out how to work a particular microwave. Most of these models are designed to be user friendly and easy to use. But in addition to having a simple control panel with pre-programmed settings, the best over the range microwave is also easy to clean and maintain.
The price point
Finally, the price point of the OTR microwave you pick should fall well within your budget. Though OTR microwaves tend to cost more than a countertop model on average, it shouldn’t be so expensive that you have to sacrifice getting other basic necessities for your kitchen.
Work out how much you are willing to spend on your microwave beforehand to save precious time when shopping.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can an over the range microwave be removed and relocated?
A. Over the range microwaves are designed to be bolted to the wall above your cooking range. Therefore, unlike their countertop counterparts, they are not very portable. Though they can be uninstalled from one place and reinstalled to another in theory, the process is not very convenient.
Q. How much does it cost to install an over the range microwave?
A. Installing an over the range microwave in your kitchen is not an easy job. If you frequently work with electronics and are good with maintenance and repairs around the house, you might be tempted to DIY the microwave installation to cut down costs. However, this is not something we would recommend - as things can quickly take a southern turn during the process and end up costing you a lot more.
A professional who knows what he is doing is likely to charge you between $100 to $300 for the job.
Q. How long does an average over the range microwave last?
A. The life of your over the range microwave really depends on how well you take care of it and how up to date you are with its maintenance. If you are reckless with your OTR microwave and do not stick to the user guide, even the best over the range microwaves are likely to conk out in a couple of years. On the contrary, an average over the range microwave that has been well cared for can easily last you a decade before needing any repairs or replacements.
Q. How can you tell that your microwave is going bad?
A. There are three obvious signs of any electronic appliance going bad - smoke, sparks, and a smell that suggests something is burning. In addition to these, you must look out for the following telltale signs if you suspect that your microwave needs a repair or replacement:
- It makes unusual sounds as it works
- It is unable to heat up your food
- The keys on the control panel have stopped functioning
- Heat and radiation escape the microwave when it is working
- You have had it for more than one decade
Over the range microwaves are equally great for saving space in home and commercial kitchens. Whether you run a restaurant and have to keep things hot every minute, or simply want to quickly reheat last night’s dinner for lunch - an microwave can make your life a whole lot easier. Saving precious countertop space and time, these kitchen appliances have become an absolute necessity for all of us today.
But to get the best of the best, you must be aware of what to look for and which things to avoid. We hope that reading this review and buying guide made shopping for the best over the range microwave a tad bit easier for you.