Microwave ovens that include convection as an option are becoming more and more the norm, especially among countertop units. The Sharp R-1874 won our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award because it is one of the few over-the-range microwave ovens in the moderate price range to offer convection and we think it is a pretty good investment. This feature does add considerably to the bottom line, but it may be worth it for some consumers, especially those with a smaller kitchen, because this microwave can essentially act as a traditional oven, too.
In the simplest of terms, convection means adding airflow to the cooking process. Fans are placed strategically to circulate air better than in a traditional microwave. It generally leads to more even heating, and it can cut down on cooking times. You will lose some cubic footage with the Sharp R-1874 compared to other over-the-range microwaves in our review, but you will gain the convection style of heating. For anyone that has a small kitchen or a smaller household, it may be worth the trade off. Though it seems counterintuitive at first, you can actually bake with this type of microwave oven. Once it is installed you may forget any reason you once had for firing up the big oven and heating up your whole house just to bake a cake. You may even forget any reason you had for heating up your whole house to broil things like chicken or steak, or to roast things like chicken, turkey or pork.
For smaller tasks this over-the-range microwave oven offers sensor cooking programs. Items like baked potatoes, frozen vegetables, frozen entrees, hot dogs, bacon and seafood can be cooked in just the right way thanks to sensors that monitor humidity levels and adjust cooking temperatures accordingly. There is even a sensor reheat option, so it's virtually impossible to ruin your leftovers plate by overcooking, even if you ignore it completely. With the Keep Warm feature you can also heat items to the desired temperature and then program the microwave to keep it warm and ready to eat until you get back to the kitchen.
Another nice feature is the turntable that can be switched on or off, which will be a welcome sight for anyone who has ever tried to heat an extra large dish of anything as a microwave turntable struggles to turn under the weight.
As mentioned, this over-the-range microwave is a little bit smaller than many others in our reviews. It also has less overall power, with only 850 watts. The convection capabilities should make this less noticeable. Also, not every household needs a large-capacity over-the-range microwave.
The Sharp R-1874 is at your service 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. You can 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 to reprogram.
The list of ways in which this over-the-range microwave can replace your other appliances continues with a built-in kitchen timer, which can be used independently of any microwave functions. Use the Minute Plus feature when you want to cook for one minute at 100 percent of power. All you need to do to extend that time is hit the Minute Plus button again. Another convenient feature is the Auto Start, which 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.
Each Sharp R-1874 over-the-range microwave comes with two racks, which make it easier to expand capacity with two cooking levels. This feature also allows you to broil or roast certain dishes.
This unit includes a powerful fan that can work at multiple speeds to dispel a variety of cooking odors from the stovetop. The included cooktop light has multiple settings as well to illuminate each task perfectly.
This Sharp over-the-range microwave can be configured to recirculate air or vent it to the outdoors, depending on your kitchen. If you do vent it outside, the ductwork can be arranged to exit horizontally through a wall or vertically through the ceiling.
The look of this over-the-range microwave is sleek and streamlined in all of its finishes. You can buy it in black, white or stainless steel. The multi-color display is designed to be especially easy to read. The smooth surface controls are easy to understand and will be easy to keep clean. The vent is exposed in this over-the-range microwave oven design, but it is still sophisticated looking and does not protrude in an unattractive way.
The Sharp website is fairly informative and well organized. Customer service options include telephone, email contacts and live chat. We wish every manufacturer would offer live chat, even if it is not available 100 percent of the time. It just makes customer service so much easier in so many ways.
The user manual for this over-the-range microwave puts others to shame. It is packed with useful information and some extras that we would like to see from more manufacturers. There are even a few recipes to try if you have run out of creative ideas.
This over-the-range microwave offers an inexpensive way to get convection features without an extra high price. The Sharp R-1874 is relatively compact but that may be just the right fit for a smaller household or for anyone who does not really want to heat up their larger oven to bake a few simple cookies.
The convection feature will come in handy for some households.
A smaller capacity may cut down on the variety of things you can prepare.
This will be a good fit for small households looking for a convection feature.