While the microwaves in the Sharp R-18 series include sensor and convection cooking, these microwaves have considerably less cooking and venting power and less interior capacity than the best over-the-range microwaves. However, they offer great functionality as a microwave, hood vent and convection oven. The Sharp R-1874 has all of these features in an attractive design.

The Sharp R-1874 offers convection cooking, which allows you to bake cookies or a cake and roast a chicken or eggplant. The circulating hot air in your oven will cook and brown food evenly and quickly. The best part is that you don't have to heat up your traditional oven and unnecessarily increase the temperature in your entire house, especially for smaller portions. This model even has 12 pre-programmed convection settings.

The sensor-cooking feature takes the guessing out of normal 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. Sensor reheat will warm your leftovers without drying them out.

Another nice feature is the turntable that can be switched on or off, so the microwave turntable won't have to struggle to turn under the weight of an extra-large dish.

This 1.1-cubic-foot built-in 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 for double-level baking, increasing your cooking area.

The Sharp R-1874 can handle it when cooking directions call for one power level followed by another. This over-the-range microwave can make that change automatically, so you do not have to keep a close eye on the process. For example, you can program it to cook a dish at 90 percent of cooking power for a set amount of time and then at 50 percent, or vice versa, all without stopping.

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 feature will allow you to program the oven to turn itself on at a certain time. You could put something together in advance and have someone transfer it from the refrigerator to the microwave without any need for further instructions. The microwave will turn itself on at the right time and at the right temperature.

This 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.

This Sharp over-the-range microwave can be configured to filter and recirculate air or vent it to the outdoors, depending on your kitchen's design. If you do vent it outside, the ductwork can be arranged to vent air horizontally through a wall or vertically through the ceiling.

The look of the R-18 over-the-range microwaves is sleek and streamlined in all of its finishes – black, white or stainless steel. The multi-color display is designed to be especially easy to read, and the smooth surface controls are easy to understand and keep clean. The vent is exposed in these over-the-range microwave ovens, but they still look sophisticated and do not protrude in an unattractive way.

In addition to the normal limited one-year warranty on parts and labor, the manufacturer also 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 contacts and live chat.

Sharp R-18 Summary:

The Sharp R-1874 over-the-range microwave offers convection cooking, sensor cooking and over-the-range ventilation in a price comparable to similar models. However, the entire series has less interior capacity, less cooking power and less venting power than other models we reviewed. However, they would be a good fit smaller households.


Sharp R-18 74

The sensor and convection cooking options increase the variety of food you can cook in your microwave.

A smaller interior capacity will limit the amount of food you can prepare.

The Verdict:

This convection oven has less space and less power than similar models but still boasts impressive features.