What is Cutout Depth for a Microwave?

Updated: Aug 18, 2022 3:53 PM
What is Cutout Depth for a Microwave?

If you are thinking of purchasing a new kitchen appliance, you may wonder what is cutout depth for a microwave. The best microwaves, after all, may require this information in order to complete a successful installation. Keep reading to learn all about cutout depth and how this metric impacts microwave ovens.


  • Cutout depth refers to how much space will be needed in a dedicated enclosure to house a microwave.
  • This metric is primarily used when referring to a built-in microwave, as well as drawer microwaves, and cabinet microwaves.
  • Other important metrics for installing microwaves include the overall dimensions and the overlap dimensions. This information will list cubic feet of room needed and how many inches deep will be required.

What is Cutout Depth?

Cutout depth is a metric primarily reserved for built-in microwaves, such as range microwaves, and drawer microwave ovens. Cutout depth is a data point that alerts users to how much space will be needed in the enclosure in order to successfully house the microwave, including inches of clearance. This information is absolutely crucial when you are learning how to mount a microwave on the wall.

Insider Tip

Make sure to keep the instructions that came with your microwave, as they will include all pertinent dimensions.

Other Dimensions

If you are looking to place an over-the-range microwave or a drawer microwave, you will need to be aware of other dimensions that go above and beyond simple cutout depth. There is a reason range microwaves are considered complicated to install, after all. They can also be complicated to clean, due to their location, if you are wondering how to clean grease off a microwave over a stove.

Overall Dimensions

The documentation provided with the microwave should list the overall dimensions. These data points can be helpful when looking to place an over-the-range microwave, a drawer microwave, or a cabinet microwave. It can also help when trying to figure out which microwave best fits a dinner plate. Generally speaking, an appliance’s overall dimensions include physical height, width, and depth. Jot these numbers down before attempting an installation in an upper cabinet, or above the oven.

Overlap Dimensions

This refers to the required space around the cutout in order to successfully house a microwave oven. Overlap dimensions consist of the oven trim overlap plus a small amount of clearance space. This additional clearance space will make the overlap dimensions slightly larger than the overall dimensions and even the cutout depth. The overlap dimensions are useful because they account for power cables and give a little wiggle room when it comes to opening up the microwave door and moving it around a bit.

What to do With This Information?

Once you have all of these dimensions written down, you can use them to build out an enclosure for the microwave. At the very least, have them handy to give to a professional contractor if you are taking that route, as installing built-in microwaves can be time-consuming for amateur enthusiasts. If you purchased a countertop microwave, you will only have to consider counter space. With that said, if your built-in model installation goes smoothly, you can always donate your countertop microwave.


How to install an over-the-range microwave oven?

This is a fairly complicated process involving cutting out portions of your cabinet or the wall.

What are standard microwave sizes?

Countertop microwaves and range microwaves come in small, medium, and large sizes, though there are variances even in these dimensions. A small built-in microwave, in other words, could be slightly larger than small countertop microwaves. You’ll need to take measurements to know the size of your microwave.

How do I measure my current microwave dimensions?

Check the instructions before attempting to place your oven in a microwave cabinet. You can also use a tape measure to see how many inches wide it is, how many cubic feet it includes, and how many inches deep it is.

STAT: American engineer Percy Spencer is generally credited with inventing the modern microwave oven after World War II from radar technology developed during the war. Named the “Radarange”, it was first sold in 1946. (source)

Lawrence Bonk Avatar

Learn More About Microwaves