How to Place a Microwave

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Updated February 13, 2023

If you are thinking of purchasing new cooking appliances, you may wonder how to place a microwave. The best microwaves, after all, come in a variety of designs and sizes, each of which demands specific placement needs. Keep reading to learn more.


  • Countertop microwaves should be placed on a kitchen counter in a convenient location, so long as you have the counter space.
  • Over-the-range microwaves must be placed in a dedicated enclosure above the oven range.
  • Drawer-style microwaves must be placed in a dedicated enclosure in a kitchen drawer. This drawer is typically built in a cabinet space to specifically accommodate the microwave oven.

Successfully Placing a Microwave

You can put a microwave just about anywhere, even if you cannot put certain items inside of one. Putting a microwave oven in the right space will depend on the design of the microwave itself, its size, and its overall shape, as well as the space available on your kitchen counters or in a microwave-specific enclosure.

Insider Tip

If you are seriously lacking in kitchen space, you can store the microwave and only use it when necessary.

Placing Countertop Microwaves

Countertop microwaves are the easiest type to place, as they are designed to simply rest on a kitchen counter. They’re not microwaves that need to be installed like drawer microwaves or microhood combination microwave ovens.


Take a look at your kitchen and decide where the microwave should be placed. Make sure there is easy throughway access and that there is a power outlet nearby.


Make sure you can readily access the microwave’s interior without too much fuss, as you will eventually have to learn how to use steam to clean the inside of a microwave.


Simply lay the microwave down and plug it in.


If you have the room, you can put a countertop microwave on a high or low shelf. Just make sure there is an open hole in the back for the power cord.

Range Microwave Placement

Range microwaves, otherwise known as built-in microwaves, rest in a dedicated enclosure located above the oven range.


Over-the-range microwaves need a dedicated enclosure, which will have to already exist or be built by a professional.


Once the enclosure has been built to specifications, place the microwave inside.


Ensure that the microwave does not block any of the oven vents, so as to not obstruct airflow as you cook with the oven.

Drawer Microwave Placement

Drawer microwaves rest inside a dedicated drawer. These are similar to range microwaves but are typically placed much lower to the ground.


Drawer microwaves need a pre-existing enclosure inside of a drawer. If one does not already exist, hire a professional to build one.


Once the drawer has been built to specifications, gently place the microwave inside of it.


Make sure there is plenty of room to open the microwave door when necessary.

That said, if you need to uninstall a microwave to install a new one, then our other guide can help you.


Where to put a microwave in a small kitchen?

If you have a small kitchen, try one of the upper cabinets, as they are a popular choice. Depending on your kitchen layout, you could also go over the refrigerator.

Can you put the microwave on top of the fridge?

So long as you adhere to weight regulations regarding your refrigerator, it should be fine to place a microwave on top, as it will save kitchen space.

How to dispose of an old or broken microwave?

If your microwave has bit the dust as part of a kitchen remodel or just due to malfunction, donate it to a dedicated electronics recycling center.

STAT: 90% of Americans have a microwave in their household, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (source)

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