Over-the-Range Microwave Review

 By
 

Why Buy an Over-the-Range Microwave?

Microwave ovens are a common household appliance, but many are evolving to be more than the simple microwave with which you grew up. Not only are they becoming more powerful and more compact, but many also include features to increase the variety of food you can prepare with a single appliance.

An over-the-range microwave is a nice addition to your kitchen, especially if you want to clear up some counter space. Over-the-range microwave ovens combine the latest microwave technology with the functionality of a ventilation hood for your cooktop range. Installed over your stovetop and off the counter, these built-in microwaves do the work of a high-power microwave and replace a traditional range hood. A two-in-one microwave and ventilation hood will conserve precious space in your kitchen, clear polluted air and provide powerful cooking, defrosting, melting, popping, and, in some models, even baking and roasting.

Ads

Over-the-Range Microwaves: What to Look For

Over-the-range microwaves are handy appliances to have in your kitchen. Much more than simple microwaves, many have sensor-cooking options to take the guesswork out of preparing food in addition to other features to make cooking simpler. The ventilation hood will clear the air while you're cooking on your stove or in your oven, and most models have fans that will start automatically when they sense too much heat or polluted air. While all models in our review outshine basic microwave ovens, the Kenmore Elite, GE Profile and Samsung SMH top our list. Their features and functionality make them the cream of the crop of over-the-range microwaves. Take a look at our learning center for even more information and articles on over-the-range microwave ovens.

We looked at a wide range of over-the-range microwaves for a variety of prices. They can be priced anywhere from $200 to well over $1,000, and the upper range can, in many cases, be justified because of the amazing capabilities of some machines. Many above-range microwave oven models are designed to make you forget all about your oven and stovetop as they bake cakes, steam vegetables and reheat or cook virtually anything. We looked at microwave ovens that will do the traditional duties of a microwave and do them well, while adding a great ventilation system for your stovetop. We looked specifically at the following categories in our research:

Microwave Features
Most modern microwave ovens offer sensor cooking in one form or another. This means the appliance senses moisture to determine if your food is cooking properly and makes temperature adjustments to finish the job. Some newer over-the-range microwaves also perform the functions of a second convection oven, so you can bake, roast and broil right in the microwave. Many also include a shelf and a generous capacity that allow you to reheat a collection of plates at the same time. If leftovers are on the menu for your family, you won’t have to form a line. You can all come to the table at the same time. Some over-the-range microwave ovens allow you to delay start times and lock the controls so children cannot change the settings. We looked for these advanced features, as well as for common items like turntables, cavity lights and power level choices.

Vent Features
The best over-range microwave oven hoods offer quality vent functions in addition to quality microwave features. A good vent will have a strong airflow capacity; the best in our lineup can handle up to 400 cubic feet per minute. A quality vent will offer multiple fan speeds, and many will start automatically when they detect too much heat from the cooktop. A cooktop light is also standard and useful.

Design
The stovetop, oven and built-in microwave really take center stage in your kitchen’s decor. We like the units that come in a variety of colors and feature attractive designs. Certain design elements, like multi-colored displays, can also add to functionality. We also looked for over-the-range microwaves that hid the vents – or at least made them look sleek and attractive.

Help & Support
As with any product, we looked for manufacturers that will stand behind their over-the-range microwave oven with solid warranties and customer service. While it's unlikely you'll purchase a unit the manufacturer itself, if there is any sign of trouble, or even a question, the original maker should be a great source of information and help through its website, customer service representatives and warranties.

An over-the-range microwave oven can save you time, counter space and trouble by taking on the job of two appliances. The ones that do both jobs the best will offer solid features across the board and look gorgeous in your kitchen.

At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™

Ads

 
 
Appliances » Kitchen » Over-the-Range Microwave
LIKE OUR REVIEWS? SUPPORT OUR SITE BY LIKING US ON FACEBOOK OR GOOGLE PLUS
Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Kenmore Elite GE Profile Samsung SMH LG LMH LG LMV18 Electrolux EI30 Sharp R-18 Samsung M Kenmore KitchenAid Pro Line
Kenmore Elite GE Profile Samsung SMH LG LMH LG LMV18 Electrolux EI30 Sharp R-18 Samsung M Kenmore KitchenAid Pro Line
Reviewer Comments Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Read Review
Ratings
9.73
9.15
9.05
8.58
8.50
8.25
8.20
8.00
7.88
7.73
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
10.00
9.38
8.75
9.38
9.38
8.75
8.75
8.75
9.38
8.75
10.00
8.75
8.75
7.50
10.00
8.13
8.75
8.13
10.00
8.75
8.75
6.25
10.00
8.13
6.88
9.38
9.38
7.50
9.38
6.25
10.00
8.13
7.50
8.13
7.50
6.88
7.50
8.75
8.75
 
Ads
Microwave Features
Power (watts) 1050 1000 1100 1100 1100 1000 850 1000 1000 1000
Power levels 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 10 10 10
Capacity (cubic feet) 1.8 1.7 1.8 2 1.8 1.8 1.1 2.1 1.7 1.8
Sensor cook
Sensor cook settings 8 9 8 7 7 5 8 12 8 4
Convection
   
  
Warm hold
Child lock
 
Interior light
Turntable
Turntable on/off
Sound on/off
 
 
Delay start
     
   
Shelves/racks 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 2
Exterior width (inches) 29 7/8 29 7/8 29 7/8 29 7/8 29 7/8 29 8/9 29 15/16 29 13/16 29 7/8 29 7/8
Exterior height (inches) 17 5/9 16 1/4 17 1/3 17 3/4 16 3/4 17 1/9 16 11/32 18 16 13/32 17 1/4
Exterior depth (inches) 16 15 1/2 17 15 7/8 15 3/8 15 15 2/7 16 15/16 15 1/4 16
Vent Features
Airflow 400 300 400 400 400 400 240 400 300 300
Fan speeds 4 3 4 3 3 4 2 4 2 4
Cooktop light settings 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2
Night light
Auto-start vent
Grease filter
Charcoal filter
Design
Color options 2 4 3 3 2 1 4 1 3 3
Internal/external venting
Hidden vent
 
 
 
Help & Support
Warranty (parts) 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year 3 years 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year
Warranty (labor) 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year
Warranty (magnetron) 5 years 5 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 7 years 10 years 5 years 5 years
Telephone
Email
Live chat