Microwave ovens come in a few different types- countertop, built-in, and over-the-range designs, so if you’re shopping for one, you may be asking the question “what is an over-the-range microwave?”
Over-the-range microwaves are a great option for several reasons, depending on your kitchen needs and the look you’d like your kitchen to have, and some of the best microwave ovens available are range types, so understanding what they are and what benefits they have can help you make the right purchase decision. You may also want to take a look at how to use microwaves properly before making that decision.
Range microwaves tend to be more powerful and have larger useable cooking areas than countertop models. Higher potential power levels mean less cook time for most meals.
Microwave ovens come in three basic styles, though all still heat food the same way. Countertop microwaves are standalone units that can be placed anywhere near a grounded outlet into an appropriately sized circuit breaker and don’t require any special installation. These are the most common types found in homes.
Built-in microwave ovens can refer to both over-the-range microwaves and drawer microwaves since they’re both installed into cabinets or walls, but built-in microwaves are sometimes what drawer microwaves are called specifically.
Drop-down drawer microwave ovens are the least common type and require the most complicated installation. Range microwaves are those that are installed below an upper drawer or attached to the wall specifically above a standard oven.
Range model or over-the-range microwaves are microwave ovens that are installed either underneath an upper kitchen cabinet or in the wall directly above a standard oven range.
They tend to be larger than the average countertop models and often require a professional installation, though many people will choose self-installation regardless. Their sleek design also makes them attractive to aesthetic-minded home cooks.
There are a few key benefits to over-the-range microwaves:
Range microwaves also have a few drawbacks compared to other designs.
Whether a range microwave is the right choice for your kitchen or not will be up to several factors, including cost, how often you’re going to be using it (and for what), and who’s in your household. Weighing the pros and cons will help you make the right choice.
Though most models can be installed by the user, manufacturers usually recommend professional installation for safety and efficiency reasons.
Can you use a countertop or regular microwave over the range?
No, countertop models are not designed to be installed with the enclosures or range hood of range microwaves, and additionally don’t feature the kind of venting that range microwaves have built-in.
How long does an over-the-range microwave with a stainless steel interior last?
While stainless steel bodies can increase the cooking efficiency of your oven among other benefits, they still have the average life expectancy of normal microwaves- around 7 years.
How long does it take to install a range microwave?
Installing a range microwave yourself should take a little over 2 hours with the proper tools, though a professional will probably take less time, and manufacturers tend to recommend a professional installation.
STAT: Range microwaves tend to have higher power ratings than comparable countertop models, with many being rated at 1100 watts instead of the standard 700. (source)
STAT: The first wall-mounted range microwave was introduced in 1955 and cost the equivalent of $11,000. (source)
STAT: The average lifespan of a microwave oven is 7 years, though they’re usually built for about 10 years of use. (source)