How to Choose an Over-the-Range Microwave

Over-the-range microwave ovens have become increasingly popular in home kitchens. Not only are they an attractive and convenient way to cook food, they can free up your countertops for more cooking space or for displaying other helpful kitchen gadgets. However, not all microwaves are built the same. With so many choices available it can be hard to pick the right one for you. Regardless of your budget or color preference, you are sure to find a microwave that will suit your needs.

Installing microwaves over the range can free up your counter space.
  1. Measure the space where you intend to install your microwave. The size you have available will determine whether you want a large or mid-sized microwave. For larger families and frequent use, large microwaves are recommended. For families of three to four, mid-sized microwaves will work. Compact microwaves are designed for smaller households, but they are not recommended for installing over the range.

  2. Consider your budget. It is not always necessary to buy the most expensive machine, especially if you do not plan on using the microwave too frequently. It is possible to find the microwave that will suit your size and wattage needs without breaking the bank. Do not feel pressured to buy the model with excessive features that you will not ordinarily use, especially if they put you over budget.

  3. Choose the amount of wattage for your microwaving needs. Small microwaves will feature around 500 watts, but this is generally not recommended for an over-the-range installation. Larger microwaves can feature up to 1400 watts of power, making them powerful machines but might increase your electricity bill.

  4. Compare the features you need in a microwave. A basic microwave will heat and defrost, but many feature a variety of different functions. Your microwave could feature a popcorn setting or other shortcut keys, a variety of different power settings or even a convection cooking setting. While these features are nice, consider whether they are necessary for your cooking needs before going over budget.

  5. Look underneath the microwave. Because the microwave will be hung above the range, the bottom will be visible. It is useful to select a microwave that features a vent fan underneath the machine if it is going to be installed over the range. Also, look for microwaves that have cords at the back of the machine as opposed to underneath.

About the Author

Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including USAToday.com. Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.