What is a Countertop Microwave?

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Updated August 17, 2022

If you are shopping for a new kitchen appliance, you may be wondering what is a countertop microwave. The best microwaves, after all, often feature countertop designs. Keep reading to learn all about countertop microwave ovens.


  • A countertop microwave, as the name suggests, is a microwave that is designed to be placed on a standard kitchen counter.
  • Countertop models come in a wide variety of types, from standard microwaves to convection microwaves and more.
  • Counter microwaves also come in a wide range of sizes, from small to ultra-large.

Types of Microwaves

Generally speaking, microwave ovens fall into one of two types. There are countertop ovens, that rest on a kitchen counter, and there are built-in microwaves, otherwise known as a range microwaves, that get placed inside of a physical enclosure and may require a special installation.

Insider Tip

Measure your counter space before purchasing a countertop microwave in order to ensure it will fit.

What are Countertop Microwaves?

As the name suggests, countertop microwaves are microwave ovens designed to be placed on a standard kitchen countertop. These microwave ovens can include a single functionality, microwave-only, or multiple functionalities in the case of a combination microwave.

Types of Countertop Microwaves

There are plenty of different types of countertop microwaves out there, each with its own feature sets, advantages, and even disadvantages. For instance, some advanced models can block Wi-Fi signals, so it may be useful to learn how to keep a microwave from interfering with Wi-Fi.

Here are some types of countertop microwaves.

Standard Microwaves

Traditional microwaves are the kind of unit you probably already own and have installed in your kitchen. They use electromagnetic waves to quickly heat up ingredients. They are known for their efficiency, relatively low energy consumption, low cook time, and multiple power settings. There are also plenty of accessories and attachments available for modern microwave ovens if you are wondering about microwave steamers and related accessories.

Combination Microwaves

Combination microwaves, otherwise known as combi microwaves or hybrid microwaves, include multiple features and functionalities, allowing a single kitchen appliance to service just about any cooking style. Popular combination microwaves include convection microwave ovens, which open up the world of air frying and related cooking methods, and steamer microwave ovens, which include a boiler for steaming proteins and veggies.

Small, Medium, and Large Microwaves

Countertop microwaves don’t have to fit inside of an enclosure, so they come in a wide range of sizes to suit many different consumers. There are small microwaves, which are perfect for college dorm rooms, medium-sized microwaves that are great for smaller families, and large microwaves that should be a great match for even the biggest and hungriest of families. But, keep in mind when you’re ready to upgrade, you’ll want to donate your microwave so another family can use it.


Be sure you have an extension cord on hand, just in case your preferred counter location is far from a power source.


What is a built-in microwave?

A built-in microwave, otherwise known as a range microwave, is placed inside of a special enclosure above the oven range. This helps to preserve counter space, as range models need none whatsoever.

What to consider when shopping for a microwave?

You may want to opt for an aesthetically pleasing model, such as one with a stainless steel finish, or you may want to consider compact microwave options if space is at a premium. Considering the wattage in a microwave can help reduce power problems.

What to make in your microwave?

You can make anything you like in your microwave, from heating up leftovers to making popcorn from scratch. You’ll have access to features to cook whatever you like, within reason.

STAT: Revenue in the microwave ovens segment amounts to US$9,746m in 2021. The market is expected to grow annually by 1.32%. (source)

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