If you want the convenience of a microwave but don’t want it taking up space on your countertop, you should really consider investing in an over the range microwave.
Over the range microwaves fit above the cooking top for convenient access and double as a ventilation system for your kitchen. This allows quick access to cooking and reheating in the microwave, especially if you choose to buy one with convection heating as well.
Best Over the Range Microwaves Reviewed
An over the range microwave will cost you anywhere from $120 all the way up to a thousand, depending on the features you want. Some will have convection features, others will have very powerful fans. Regardless, it’s a difficult choice for anyone buying as they have to look at the size, the performance, warranty, reliability, and food options.
We’ve handpicked the 5 best over the range microwaves you can buy right now. There’s also a buyer’s guide after the reviews to help you consider what’s important in your purchase decision.
Our Top Pick
Great Performance at a Great Price
The GE JVM3160RFSS is an 1100-watt over the range microwave and comes with forty-four programmed food options. It has a powerful ventilation system with three-speed controls and can also steam cook food.
The GE JVM3160RFSS won’t set you back as much as some other over-the-range microwaves, and it provides quick one-touch settings and features that everyone looks for when buying one.
A Great Convection Microwave
The Sharp R1874T is a powerful convection microwave allowing you to use it as a conventional microwave as well as do oven-based cooking like grilling, baking, and roasting.
The Sharp R1874T is our favorite convection/conventional hybrid microwave, and it’s a great option for anyone who wants to make full meals in their over the range oven.
General Electrics is a big name in electrical and power appliances, so you know you’re getting an incredible product when you purchase anything they’ve manufactured. Such is the case with the GE JVM3160RFSS over the range microwave oven.
This is a 1,100 watts oven, putting it at the higher end of the power range. There are a whopping forty-four programmed food options to take use of with one-touch programmable features. A steam cook option is also present, and there’s a control lock as well.
You also get a power save mode if you want to keep the electricity bills low. A heat sensor detects when food is ready in the over the range oven, adjusting the timer accordingly for efficient function
This GE OTR microwave has a powerful ventilation fan as well which is excellent at keeping away strong odor and smoke. This is a three-speed venting system and is manually adjustable for noise and power, and even at its highest setting doesn’t produce a lot of noise.
- Great ventilation
- Powerful and efficient
- Packed with high-end features
- Installation can be tricky and manual is hard to follow
The LG LMV2031ST has a huge capacity of 2.0 cubic feet. If you’re looking for a large OTR microwave that packs a lot of space and a powerful exhaust fan, then this is the product for you.
You won’t be able to cook small food in this easily due to uneven heating, but you can cook large platters and utilize larger plates for some small-sized pizzas. It’s a great option for cooking for families.
The other standout feature is the ventilation system of this LG over the counter microwave oven. It uses a charcoal filter to reduce smells and features a powerful 400 CFM airflow fan with three-speed options. Its operation is also quiet even on the highest level when compared to competitors.
Like the GE model reviewed above, this LG microwave also has a heat sensor that will automatically sense and adjust the times for your food. Food preparation is thus delicious.
Do note though that some users have reported this over the counter microwave malfunctioning after a few months or a year of function. It is thus highly recommended you acquire some form of extended warranty.
- Great ventilation system
- Huge capacity
- Powerful performance
- No convection system despite its size
- Quality control issues can cause failure, so extended warranty is important
The Insignia NS-OTR16SS8 is an elegant looking over-the-counter microwave that has some great little features at a wonderful price. It’s not the most powerful not the most spacious, but for what you’re paying, you get a great OTR microwave.
There are plenty of preset buttons available on the Insignia, so it will speed up the cooking process for most commonly loved foods. You also have plenty of neat little features in this microwave such as the ability to switch off the turntable. Additionally, you can adjust cooktop light settings, adjust the ventilation fan speed, and more.
It doesn’t come with any sensor for humidity or heat to see if the food is fully cooked, but given the price, it’s hard to expect such a feature in it.
- Great value
- Turntable can be switched off
- Plenty of preset buttons
- Rudimentary functionality for an OTR microwave
- Food can get cold quickly inside if you wait too long
The Sharp R1874T is a conventional/convection hybrid microwave. This means that with this microwave, you can perform oven functions like baking, browning, grilling, and roasting. This makes it an excellent option for anyone who wants an OTR microwave and lack a dedicated oven.
The convection option can be turned on or off as desired. When off, this Sharp over-the-range microwave behaves like as it should. It has a 1.1 cubic feet volume, which is a little less than what you’ll find for others in this price range. However, it is a well-designed microwave that is narrow and taller than most others.
One advantage smaller spaced microwave ovens have is they provide even cooking. The same is true for this Sharp over the counter oven. Cooking is even and food turns out delicious as a result. Combine this with its convection abilities and you have an all-round great OTR oven.
- Great warranty
- Convection system
- Great design
- A little small in capacity
- Weighs a lot and will require two people to install
KitchenAid is well known for making high-quality products and also demanding a premium price for them. The same is true for the KMHC319ESS. In return, you get a beautiful, elegantly designed over the range microwave that offers 1.9 cubic feet of space with a big 14-inch turntable.
Utilizing a maximum 1000 watts, this sleek stainless steel appliance comes with six microwave presets and also features convection settings like the Sharp model we reviewed above. This allows users to use it both as a conventional microwave as well as an oven for baking, grilling, and more.
There is also a steam setting that works using a sensor, steaming food perfectly, just as you’d want it to. The ventilation system comes with two fan speed controls. It also features a delayed start system whenever you need it.
The installation of the KitchenAid KMHC319ESS can be challenging though since it weighs 77 pounds. You should also acquire extended warranty if possible as there have been reports of it breaking down after 16 odd months, though such complaints are far and few.
- Beautiful design
- Convection system
- Lots of space and packed with features
- Difficult to install
Size is an underrated consideration when buying an over the range microwave. It’s not the most important factor overall, but it is a constraint that will greatly limit your choice. Your space above the range is fixed, so you can’t fit any microwave there.
Measure the space above the range as well as its depth. Make sure you factor in the surrounding cupboards as opening and closing the door of the OTR microwave will also be important.
Over-the-range microwaves are different from regular ones as they have dedicated fans to remove heat, smoke, and odor from the range. This not only helps the kitchen environment but also ensures the microwave itself performs properly.
For this reason, looking at the fan design, its performance, speed, and rating is important when purchasing an over the range microwave oven. Many fans turn on automatically when heat is detected while others can only be turned on manually. It’s important to get an OTR microwave with a good ventilation system for this reason.
Convection mode allows some OTR microwaves to behave like ovens. You can bake, grill, and roast in these microwaves by turning on the convection system. You can even use metallic utensils in the microwave when it is in convection-only mode.
Whether you need convection in your microwave is up to you. If you are using a microwave only for reheating, ignore convection. If you want more versatility though, consider paying a little extra for a convection microwave.
Electronic features include clocks, timers, lighting, presets, and more. It’s difficult to gauge each one as the choices and preferences vary from user to user. Clocks and timers with bright LEDs and proper function are important as viewing lights from the kitchen counter or range can be difficult while you’re cooking. You need ones that pop out and are easy to read. Some OTR microwaves also feature lighting options that illuminate your range.
No, it doesn’t. It only makes it more complicated. If you’re not going to use all the controls and presets, then you don’t need those additional buttons and should avoid getting one with them.
Should I buy an extended warranty for my OTR microwave?
Absolutely. In fact, we highly recommend it. Even the most expensive, best, and highest quality over-the-range microwaves have been known to malfunction or outright fail after 12-16 months of use. For this reason, we cannot stress enough how important it is for you to buy an extended warranty for your appliance in case a failure occurs after the warranty period expires.
What’s the minimum mounting height for OTR microwaves?
Over the range microwaves require a minimum mounting height of 66 inches from the floor to the top of the microwave. This will allow for a difference of 13-16 inches between the cooktop and the bottom of the microwave.