Over-the-range microwave ovens are an interesting option in microwave units because they not only perform all the basic functions of a microwave oven but they also function as a range hood as well. This means the oven is designed to be mounted above your stove replacing your need for a range hood completely. The design of an over the range microwave includes a range light as well as exhaust fans situated underneath the unit, and a vent which is most often situated across the top and front of the unit. On some models this vent is hidden from view, giving the unit a sleek and smart look for your kitchen.
The features, functions, size, quality and appearance of the oven will differ from unit to unit. Have a read through our over-the-range microwave oven reviews to find the best particular model for you.
The Best Over-the-Range Microwave Ovens:
The Amana Over-the-Range Microwave
|The Amana Over-the-Range Microwave is an elegant and sophisticated over the range microwave as its design hides the front vent from view. It is a very powerful oven and has a large and deep interior.
Stand out features include auto cook functions, a touchmatic control panel, defrost function, and a scrolling word prompt display. This unit offers exceptional value, is easy to use and cook and heats foods evenly. Check out our full detailed review of the Amana and have a look at the 3 different finish choices.
The Frigidaire Over-The-Range Microwave
|The Frigidaire Over-The-Range Microwave is a large family-sized microwave oven with all of the basic features and functions you could want in an over-the-range model.
Features include a large turntable, auto reheating, defrosting and quick buttons: popcorn, baked potato and beverage. Foods are cooked evenly and the microwave runs quietly. It works great as a range too! And it is still very affordable. Read our full review of the stylish Frigidaire Over-Range here.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of an Over the Range Microwave Oven:
Compared to a countertop microwave, an over the range microwave certainly has its advantages. It provides your stove with a range light and also an exhaust fan for ventilation. The purpose of this is to enable you to use your over-the-range microwave not only as a microwave but also as a range hood. This is handy as it saves you quite a bit of space in the kitchen. Those wanting more counter space in their kitchen, or those where space is a concern may want to take a look at this type of microwave unit.
Over the range microwave ovens can certainly be handy in the kitchen, and not only because they save on space freeing up your counter. Whilst cooking on the stove, you have a close proximity to your microwave unit. You barely have to move! The oven is right there above your range for quick access. An over range microwave also offers all of the basic functions and features found in countertop models. Whether you want to cook side dishes such as baked potato, main meals or beverages such as a hot cup of tea, you can find an over-the-range microwave which covers all of your basic microwave needs.
There are also a couple of disadvantages that come with this style however. Over-the-range units cannot be easily converted to work as a countertop oven, so just be sure it will be used on top of your range. The design of over range models cannot be placed on counters easily (not without massive conversions), as the light for your range as well as the exhaust fans are situated underneath the unit.
The height of an over the range microwave oven can be preferred or not preferred depending upon the person using it. Some may find it a little inconvenient to have a microwave that high up. Shorter people in particular as well as kids may struggle to lift dishes up that high. While others may feel a little uncomfortable lifting hot or full dishes above their heads. It may seem that an over the range microwave would be ideal for taller people, and being tall myself I completely understand the appeal. But it can be that some of the bulkier models get in the way a little when you are using the back hot plates on your stove.
Over range models are also not the best design for peering eyes. Those who like to watch as their meals cook will find that they cannot see into the unit very easily.
For large families or busy households an over-the-range can be a little inconvenient if one person is using the stove, but another wants to quickly use the microwave. Even if just for heating up a cup of tea, you have to ask the person to move aside so you can get to the microwave to use it.
For those where space-saving is a main concern, the over-the-range microwave is a good way to go. Otherwise countertop microwave ovens are often more convenient as they can be placed on any counter, at a more comfortable height, and are often a lot cheaper too.
What to Look for in an Over Range Microwave:
- Size – An extremely important point in over-the-range units. Be sure to check the dimensions of the microwave as well as the dimensions above your stove before deciding on a unit.
- Interior Capacity – Many over the range microwave ovens have quite a large interior capacity usually anywhere from 1.5 to 2.0 Cubic Feet, but make sure to check the interior size on the model in question. Units with an interior of at least a 1.5 Cubic Foot capacity can usually fit most dishes. Those wanting to cook large casseroles, pizzas and other large items should pay particular interest to this point.
- Features – You many find sometimes that with over the range microwave ovens you may not get as many features as you would in a similarly sized and similarly priced countertop microwave oven. But you will find that the units we show here in our over the range microwave reviews have all of the necessary functions and features. They may be a bit more basic than some of the more fully featured countertop models, but they provide you with everything you need for most uses of cooking in a microwave oven. Keep an eye out for auto cook functions, auto reheat, defrosting, quick buttons, display and interface, as well as the interior capacity, to decide whether the oven you are looking at will be able to cook all of your preferred meals.
- Quick Buttons – How many quick buttons does the oven have? But keep in mind it is often not that important how many buttons it has, but how many of them are actually useful to you. Quick buttons popcorn, baked potato and beverage can be found on many models and are very handy if you cook those items often. Auto Reheat as well as “Add 30 Seconds” or “One Minute” are also desirable to have.
- Power – Power is always important when shopping for a new microwave oven. (Even those hunting down low power units!). But in most cases a high wattage is desirable as a strong powerful oven will deliver fast cooking times. Many of the larger models, and over the range units which tend to be quite large, usually have good high power and fast cooking speeds.
- Interface – Many over the range microwave ovens have electronic touch controls as an interface. Check our reviews as well as any reviews you can find on the product page to see how easy and intuitive the controls are to use.
- Use as a Range Hood – Seek out customer reviews to find out how well the over the range unit works, “over the range”. Are the stove lights bright enough, and do they perform well? How about the exhaust fans? Are they strong and powerful? How noisy are they? You can get a good idea with the function of the unit by reading the experiences other owners have had using it.
- Quality – Finding an over-the-range microwave oven which is high quality should be on the top of your list. As I am sure some of you know, replacing over-the-range units is a pain in the neck. As installation is a lot harder than countertop models, pay extra attention to finding a unit which has a high build quality, is strong and sturdy and will last. See what other customers have to say about the reliability of the unit.
- Value for Money – Over the range microwave ovens can get quite expensive so making sure you are getting good value for money is a very important step. More expensive does not always mean better, nor does it always mean higher quality. The over-the-range microwave reviews we have here on this website are chosen because we believe them to be good value for money. But don’t take my word for it, check them out for yourself!