Low Profile Microwave vs Regular Microwave

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image

Written by:

Updated August 19, 2022

A kitchen without a microwave is a kitchen with unmet potential. And determining the best microwave often hinges on available counter space or overhead space. If you find yourself short on countertop real estate but need a new microwave, read on as we compare a low-profile microwave vs a regular microwave. You can also check out our articles on halogen ovens vs microwave ovens, and commercial microwave vs regular microwaves here if you want to do further research into other models.


  • Low-profile microwaves have a slimmer design but come with many of the same features as standard models.
  • The preferred microwave type depends significantly on your counter space and the height of your cabinets.
  • Low-profile microwaves are newer and often have many modern functions unavailable in standard models.

Is a Low Profile Microwave Worth the Money vs a Regular Over the Range Model

What makes a microwave low-profile is its reduced height. Generally speaking, regular microwaves are larger overall and can be placed on the countertop or above the stove, while the low profile model is slimmer and fits better in a kitchen with low-hung cabinets. Your typical over-the-range (OTR) microwave is 16-17″ tall, while a low-profile microwave is about 10″ tall. It also doesn’t require a unique cabinet configuration like an over-the-range model. For a look at some models, check out the Panasonic NN-SE785S vs the NN-SD775S.

Insider Tip

Given that low-profile models are newer to the market, most come with as many as 30 Amazon Alexa voice commands.

Is the low profile better than a countertop model or range model, though? To help answer that, let’s examine a few differences in each profile design to help you determine what best suits your needs. And for those looking for other exciting appliance comparisons, you can hop onto our article comparing microwaves vs crockpots.

Comparing Designs

The low-profile microwave, which first hit the market in 2018, prioritizes a sleek and minimal design. Because of the modern design, they typically have fewer preheat functions than your OTR microwave. However, low profiles often come with voice commands and tap-to-open functions.

When it comes to the internal size, a low-profile microwave averages 1.1 cubic feet of interior space, usually enough for most tall glasses and wide plates. Conversely, range microwaves average 1.4-1.8 cubic feet. So unless you’re defrosting a large turkey, the space offered by the slim low profile will fit the average microwave demands.

Performance and Power

Many low-profile microwaves provide excellent performance. For example, Whirlpool’s low-profile model comes with a three-speed, 400 CFM motor. It also has an external venting system that outperforms the standard microwave.

When it comes to cooking time, there is little difference between low-profile and OTR or countertop microwaves. The power of standard microwaves and low profiles are similar, and both offer an equal cook time.


If you’re on a budget, countertop microwaves are more cost-efficient than OTR or low-profile units. Low-profile microwaves begin at around $250, but the average price comes closer to $400. While this isn’t outrageous, it is harder to find a truly budget option. Countertop and OTR models can run anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars.


Don’t buy a low-profile microwave if you plan to use microwavable dishes taller than seven inches, as they won’t fit.


How do you know if a low-profile microwave is good for you?

If you’re looking for a modern, built-in microwave with a smaller design, a low-profile model is a great option.

Is it necessary for a low-profile microwave to have a vent?

These microwaves need to be vented to keep smoke and steam from your cooking area. If they aren’t properly ventilated, this can lead to unwanted odors or excessive smoke.

Are there standard dimensions to low-profile microwaves?

The standard dimensions of a low-profile microwave are 30 inches in width and 10 inches in height, along with 1.1 cubic feet of interior capacity.

STAT: Microwaves can come with anywhere from 1.0 to 2.2 cubic feet of interior space. (source)

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image