PROS / The sensor and convection cooking options increase the variety of food you can cook in your microwave.
CONS / The interior capacity is relatively small.
VERDICT / This convection oven has less space and less power than similar models, but it still boasts impressive features.
While the Sharp R-1874 over-the-stove microwave includes sensor and convection cooking, this microwave has considerably less cooking and venting power and less interior capacity than the best over-the-range microwaves. However, it does offer great functionality as a microwave, hood vent and convection oven.
The Sharp R-1874 provides convection cooking, which allows you to bake cookies or a cake and roast a chicken or veggies. The circulating hot air cooks and browns food evenly and quickly. The best part is that you don't have to heat up your traditional oven and increase the temperature in your entire house, especially for smaller portions. This model even has 12 programmed convection settings, which is more than any of the other microwaves we reviewed.
The sensor-cooking feature takes the guessing out of microwaving. Sensors in the microwave can detect the amount of moisture in your food to determine how much cooking time it needs to reach the perfect temperature. The Sharp R-1874 offers eight sensor-cooking options for items like vegetables, seafood, bacon and, of course, popcorn. The sensor reheat warms your leftovers without drying them out.
At 1.1 cubic feet, this over-range microwave has a smaller capacity than many others we reviewed, yet it has an average-sized exterior, so the smaller interior won't save any additional space in your kitchen. It also has less overall power at only 850 watts. The unit does include a high rack and a low rack, and the high rack allows double-level baking, which increases your cooking area and options.
There is a built-in kitchen timer, which works independently of any microwave functions. The Minute Plus feature is handy when you want to cook for one minute at 100 percent power. All you need to do to extend that time is hit the Minute Plus button again. The auto start allows you to program the oven to turn itself on at a certain time.
The unit includes a ventilation fan that can work at multiple speeds to dispel a variety of cooking odors from the stovetop. Unfortunately, the fan is the lowest performer on our lineup, with a capacity of only 240 cubic feet per minute. The included cooktop light has two settings to illuminate your tasks, and the low setting also serves as a night light.
You can configure this over-the-range microwave to filter and recirculate air or vent it to the outdoors, depending on your kitchen's design. If you do vent it outside, you can arrange the ductwork to vent air horizontally through a wall or vertically through the ceiling.
The Sharp R-1874's multicolored display is especially easy to read, and the smooth surface controls also are easy to understand as well as keep clean. The vent is exposed in this over-the-range microwave oven.
In addition to the normal limited one-year warranty on parts and labor, the manufacturer offers a seven-year warranty on the magnetron, the main cooking component in your microwave. The Sharp website is informative and well organized. Customer service options include telephone, email and live chat.
The Sharp R-1874 over-the-range microwave offers convection cooking, sensor cooking and ventilation for a price comparable to similar models. However, it has less interior capacity, less cooking power and less venting power than the best microwave ovens.