What are the features that make the best microwave drawer? These handy kitchen appliances are some of the best microwaves available today, thanks to convenient features like hands-free operation, waist-high configuration for better accessibility, and a larger heating cavity.
Additional features include things like various cooking modes, variable power settings, and stainless steel designs for long-lasting quality. All in all, these are flexible microwave ovens that can transform your kitchen while saving on counter space.
Keep reading to learn more about the best microwave drawer and the key factors you should consider when purchasing a new one for your kitchen.
Top Microwave Drawers
#1 Sharp SMD2470AS 24-Inch Microwave
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This microwave has a spacious interior that will appeal to families that entertain regularly. It has hidden controls, sensor cooking, and automatic defrost functions.
- Convenient sensor cooking
- Large 1.2 cu. ft. interior space
- One-touch opening
- Doesn’t come with all mounting hardware
The Sharp SMD2470AS 24-inch microwave features 1.2 cu. ft. of internal space. It runs on a 950W heating element, heating and thawing food fast. This microwave works with a flush mounting kit (sold separately) that enables seamless installation as a drawer. It has an Easy Touch Automatic Drawer system that opens the microwave without a hassle and supports hands-free closing. With a stainless steel finish, this Sharp microwave drawer blends in with kitchen cabinets. However, this unit doesn’t come with all the needed mounting hardware.
This microwave oven boasts a concealed control panel, providing a seamlessly built-in look. The controls sit at a 45-degree angle for simple operation, and the oven has presets for popcorn, heating, potatoes, and vegetables. It has all-metal parts that resist rusting, providing durability. Presets such as Automatic Defrost offer convenient one-touch operation. This device has an interior light that enhances visibility and has a sensor cooking function that supports the effortless operation.
#2 Bosch HMD 8451UC 24-Inch Microwave
Award: BEST CONTROLS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This microwave has a number of handy presets that allow users to reheat, defrost, and prepare popcorn. It has touch controls for opening and closing, simplifying operating this appliance.
- Intuitive touch controls
- Useful preset programs
- Keep warm function
- Complicated installation
This Bosch HMD8451UC 24-inch microwave features a stunning stainless steel finish that complements the decor and other kitchen appliances. This device is powered by a 950W cooking element and boasts an incredible 10 power levels, enabling users to precisely customize cooking. With a touch control for opening and closing, the oven supports effortless operation. It has an LCD display with touch controls for convenience. However, this unit is complicated to install and may require hiring an expert.
Featuring premium metal parts, this microwave is corrosion-resistant and stands up to the daily operation. It has a semi-transparent window that enables monitoring cooking easily. With 1.2 cu. ft. of interior space, this microwave accommodates entire chickens and large cookware easily. It has an automatic defrost function and sensor reheating preset for convenient operation and it can be mounted flush for a neat appearance. This oven also has presets for popcorn, sensor cooking, and it has a keep warm function.
#3 Cosmo COS-12MWDSS 24-Inch Microwave
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This microwave’s spacious interior will appeal to families that rely heavily on microwave cooking. It has a touchpad with programs for popcorn, melting, softening, and beverages.
- Stylish metal gray finish
- Comes with an installation kit
- Large 1.2 cu. ft. capacity
- Lacks reheating function
Featuring a spacious interior, the Cosmo COS-12MWDSS 24-inch microwave oven is ideal for families. This device has a 1.2 cu. ft. interior, offering plenty of space for food. The fine stainless steel microwave has a design that supports hassle-free cleaning and fits in most kitchen design schemes. With a 1000W heating element, this microwave cooks fast, and boasts 11 different power levels, supporting fast boiling and slow simmering recipes. However, this model lacks a reheating function.
Preset options for melting, softening, popcorn, and beverages support one-touch operation. This device has an excellent defrosting function that supports both timed and weight-based defrosting. The device has an intuitive digital control panel for intuitive operation. We like the fact that it comes with an installation kit, allowing hassle-free mounting in the kitchen. With controls for opening and closing, this drawer microwave is simple to operate. This model also has a child lock for safety.
#4 ZLINE MWD-1 24-Inch Microwave
Award: BEST ONE-TOUCH PRESETS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This microwave oven has a gray finish that blends in with kitchen cabinets easily. It has defrost, popcorn, melt, and beverage presets for one-touch operation and boasts an Add 30 Sec function.
- Exceptional customization with 11 power levels
- Opening handle
- Add 30 Sec function
- Lacks child lock
With 11 different power levels, these ZLINE MWD-1 24-inch microwave offers flexibility, allowing users to prepare a variety of recipes. This microwave has an intuitive digital control panel, providing intuitive management. With a melting function, this oven allows the melting of butter, marshmallows, and chocolates fast. This microwave oven has a convenient Add 30 Sec function, allowing users to complete cooking without digging into the settings. However, this model doesn’t have a child lock.
A popcorn preset enables preparing snacks fast, while a program for beverages allows heating up drinks seamlessly. This model has open and close controls for engaging the drawer with a single touch. A handle on this device simplifies opening and closing. This microwave oven has a stainless steel finish and is also available in black to provide visual appeal and hassle-free cleaning. With multiple defrosting settings, this model allows thawing of food easily.
#5 Kucht KMD24S 24-Inch Microwave
Award: BEST KEEP WARM FUNCTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model has a rich collection of present programs, including six different defrosting functions. The microwave has a keep warm that maintains food and serving temperature.
- Useful keep warm function
- Advanced defrosting
- Stainless steel finish
- Lacks child lock
- Small window
The Kucht KMD24S 24-inch microwave is a built-in model with an innovative drawer design. This device has a touchscreen control panel for managing settings easel. With 10 different power levels, this microwave supports customizing the level of heating. It has 1.2 cu. ft. of interior space, accommodating plenty of food in one go, and a number of presets allow one-touch operation. However, it doesn’t have any child lock function.
This microwave oven has a 1000W heating element that balances fast heating with efficient operation. Six auto defrost settings enable thawing of everything from meats to vegetables. This device also has melt and soften functions for butter, cheese, and similar foods. A keep warm function maintains cooked food at serving temperature, while convenient controls enable hassle-free opening and closing. This microwave oven has a stainless steel design that will add a flair of sophistication to any kitchen.
#6 Thermador MicroDrawer 24-Inch Microwave
Award: BEST FOR DEFROSTER
WHY WE LIKE IT: This microwave oven has intuitive controls and a number of presets for easy operation. It features a design that can have a perfectly flush installation with standard depth cabinets.
- Flush design
- 1.2 cubic feet capacity
- Sensor cooking
Big enough to fit a 9′ by 13′ casserole dish or tall enough to fit a 20-ounce cup, the Thermador MicroDrawer 24-inch is an excellent microwave for most family needs. It uses a digital control panel that allows changing settings easily as well as opening and closing the drawer. There is no handle, the microwave opens and closes with a touch button. With 950W of maximum power, this device isn’t the most powerful on our list but has 10 preset programs to help with cooking.
Time and weight defrost functions on this device allow the thawing of frozen foods fast and conveniently. This device also has melting and softening functions for butter, chocolate, and even ice cream. With premium build quality, this microwave oven offers reliable performance. This is a stainless steel microwave drawer with a specially crafted gray glass window to offer a luxurious visual appeal. This microwave also comes with a 2-year warranty should anything happen to it. However, the light gray color may not be an ideal option for every kitchen theme, and it is the most expensive option on our list and will not be in everyone’s price range.
What Are Microwave Drawers?
A microwave drawer oven, also sometimes called a built-in microwave oven, is a small kitchen cooking appliance used specifically for cooking and heating food using microwave radiation. Since microwave ovens cook your food from the inside out, they are much quicker and more efficient than conventional heating methods. It is features like this that make some of the leading microwaves perfect for seniors.
Microwave drawers are installed in the cabinet space below your countertops. As their name suggests, these microwave ovens function as a drawer that slides open and closed instead of being a box with a hinged door that sits on the countertop. They typically save you on kitchen counter space and have a sleek, low-profile design, compared to chunky countertop microwaves, and often offer a wider variety of different functions and features.
Microwave Drawers vs Traditional Microwaves
In general, a microwave drawer oven and a regular Panasonic microwave offer the same core functionality. Using microwave radiation, both types of microwave cook and reheat your food with a greater level of efficiency. With variable power settings, both appliances can perform additional functions like defrost or specific cooking modes. Microwave drawers do offer a warm feature, though, which isn’t present in most counter microwaves. That said, for a look at traditional countertop units, read our BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 microwave oven review and Breville Quick Touch BMO734XL review.
The main difference between microwave drawers and traditional options is their form factor. Most regular microwave ovens feature a stationary cooking chamber that you access by opening a hinged door. Microwave drawers instead feature a sliding drawer that you can open and close as needed. This sliding drawer is where you’ll place your food.
Once your food is inside, you can use the control buttons to set the cook time and other settings. This makes drawer-style microwaves a great option for busy households that need an efficient way to get their meals cooked quickly.
It’s also important to note that microwave drawers are generally more expensive than standard freestanding microwaves. This is partially because they need to be custom installed, but mostly because they use unique internal components that you won’t find in other kinds of microwaves. Both styles can have useful features like automatic sensor programs and child safety locks.
But many 24-inch microwave drawers come with even more advanced sensors and key features that aren’t available on other microwaves.
How Microwave Drawers Work
When it comes to microwave oven functionality, microwave drawers operate the same way as traditional alternatives. Once plugged in and powered on, your built-in microwave oven’s magnetron will create a specific type of radio wave called a microwave. These microwaves are then directed into the cooking chamber.
Once released into the cooking chamber, the microwaves bounce off the internal walls and pass through whatever food you have placed inside the appliance. Upon passing through your food, the microwaves agitate the food’s water molecules. This generates heat which heats and cooks the food.
Do You Really Need a Microwave Drawer?
Whether you’re looking to save on counter space, increase the safety and ergonomics of your kitchen, or simply get the most seamless appliance experience, a microwave drawer can be an excellent purchase. These appliances give you all of the core functionality you’ve come to expect out of a microwave oven while providing a fresh new user experience that is better in many ways.
You’ll likely also get more internal capacity with a microwave drawer compared to a countertop microwave, as well as a dedicated warming feature and a wider range of different cooking modes and advanced functionality.
Is a Microwave Drawer Worth Buying?
- You Want to Save on Counter Space: Even if you have your dream kitchen design, you may not want to have a powerful microwave taking up precious countertop space. One of the biggest benefits of purchasing a microwave drawer is all of the counter space you can save with it. Since this appliance is installed below your countertops, you’ll be able to use the extra space for more food prep areas or for installing countertop appliances like mixers and toaster ovens.
- You Want an Overall Safer and More Ergonomic User Experience: Microwave drawers offer a better range of additional safety and ergonomic features over traditional alternatives. In terms of safety, all microwave drawers offer a child lock feature to keep small hands from operating the appliance. This is incredibly helpful because microwave drawers are installed at the perfect height for children. Microwave drawers also offer a more ergonomic experience, thanks to their waist-height configuration. At this height, you’ll be able to place and remove food from the microwave more easily, especially when compared to an over-the-range microwave. This makes it easier to handle hot food safely.
- You Want to Simplify Your Kitchen Cleaning Routine: A built-in microwave drawer usually doesn’t feature any kind of turntable or any of the grooves that are so commonly found in countertop and over-the-range options. This makes for a much easier cleaning experience overall. If you want a quicker kitchen cleaning experience, then a microwave drawer can help with that. Additionally, make your routine much easier by using a microwave cleaner like Angry Mama.
- You Need More Internal Capacity: Microwave drawers typically offer a larger capacity than traditional alternatives. If you need to cook, reheat, or warm larger dishes, then the added capacity of a microwave drawer can be a deciding factor for you.
Why a Microwave Drawer May Not Be For You
- You Don’t Want to Eliminate Lower Cabinet Space: While built-in drawer microwaves save counter space, they take up cabinet space below the countertops. If you utilize this lower cabinet space more than your counter space, you may want to consider something like the best over-the-range convection microwave.
- You’re Sticking to a Budget: Microwave drawers often carry a higher price tag than alternative options. If you are looking for an unbeatable price, you may need to consider a different option.
- You Need a Simple Installation Process: We always recommend getting your microwave drawer installed professionally. If you’re looking for a more affordable or simpler installation process, then we recommend considering a different kind of microwave for your kitchen.
How Long Will a Microwave Drawer Last?
So, how long does a microwave oven last? Professionals in the appliance industry, like those employed at Ocean Appliance, state that you should expect an average of seven years of life from your microwave drawer. There are a variety of different factors that can increase or decrease this expected lifespan, including the way it was installed and how often it is used.
However, in the long run, if you are using your microwave drawer in the way it was intended and according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you shouldn’t have to worry about it wearing out faster than usual. Also, avoid using metal in your microwave drawer and clean it regularly to avoid long-term problems and extra wear and tear. If you are curious, check out our page on what happens when you put foil in the microwave to learn the dangers. Additionally, there are some great microwave oven cooking accessories to help keep your microwave clean or make certain dishes easier.
How to Choose the Best Microwave Drawer
When the time comes to choose a specific model of microwave drawer to install in your kitchen, there are a few key considerations to make. Before anything else, you’ll need to select the model that fits your individual needs in terms of power, internal capacity, and safety features. You’ll also want to consider an option with all of the different cooking modes and design features you want. Before clicking the buy button or swiping your credit card, make sure you’ve identified a microwave drawer that fits most, if not all, of your needs.
Microwave Drawer Key Factors to Consider
1. How big do you need your microwave drawer to be?
When it comes to great built-in microwave ovens, you’ll need to consider two aspects of size. First, you’ll need to ensure you know the exact physical dimensions of the appliance so you can determine if it will fit in the space where you want to install it. You can figure out these dimensions simply from the information the manufacturer provides in the product description.
Second, you’ll want to look at the internal capacity your microwave drawer offers. This capacity is measured in cubic feet. These kitchen appliances typically offer around 1.2 to 1.5 cubic feet of internal capacity. However, you can always find more expensive options with more capacity if needed.
Finally, you’ll also want to consider how this internal capacity is spread throughout the microwave’s physical dimensions. Some microwave drawers offer a deeper design, while others offer a wider design. Depending on the dimensions of the dishes you’re placing in your microwave drawer, one configuration may be better for you than the other.
2. What kind of design features and build quality do you want in your microwave drawer?
While all microwave drawer ovens offer the same general form factor, they also provide different individual design features and build qualities, depending on the brand you purchase. These factors are primarily subjective in nature, but they can affect the overall look of your kitchen space.
For example, you may choose a stainless steel exterior and sleek design for a more modern kitchen look. You can also choose between some premium features like glass touch controls or hidden controls when it comes to the control panels and digital display on your microwave. Keep in mind that some of these features may come at a premium price.
3. How powerful do you need your microwave drawer to be?
Your microwave oven’s power is an important factor when it comes to how quickly and efficiently it can cook or reheat your food. Your microwave oven’s power is measured in wattage and can range anywhere from 600 watts to 1,200 watts of cooking power on average. Most microwave drawers offer around 1,000 watts of power.
If you only use your microwave for cooking or reheating smaller dishes, then you’ll be fine purchasing an option with lower power levels. Similarly, if you’re using your microwave to cook larger dishes, you’ll want something with more power.
4. What specific cooking modes and functionalities do you need in your microwave drawer?
When you look at the control panels on microwaves, you’ll notice that they often offer different buttons for specific cooking modes. These modes can vary between different models. You should choose an option that gives you the cooking modes you use most often. Consider these specific cooking modes and essential features:
- Frozen foods
- Baked potato
- Variable power settings
- Child lock function
- Pre-set cooking time
5. What advanced features and functions should you consider for your microwave drawer?
Some microwave ovens include advanced features and functionalities for an added cost. These can greatly increase their overall utility in most kitchens, making them valuable for anyone who spends a lot of time cooking.
Consider some of these advanced extra features:
- Convection cooking technology
- Gentle nudge open and close technology
- Motion sensor function for automatic drawer open and close
- Hidden control panels
- Sensor cooking modes