Built-in microwaves – key considerations
There are several things you need to consider before purchasing an under cabinet microwave oven. Keep these factors in mind and you’ll be sure to find the perfect model for your kitchen.
The first thing you need to consider is the size of your kitchen and the available space for the microwave. Built-in microwaves are generally smaller than countertop models, though there are exceptions. If you have a very small kitchen, you might want to opt for a compact or mini microwave. These models are usually less than 24 inches wide and 12 inches tall. If you have a bit more space to work with, you can go for a full-size under cabinet microwave. The standard dimensions of the full-size models are 30 inches wide and 17 inches tall and 15-17 inches deep. Just make sure you measure the available space before making your final decision.
The capacity of a microwave is expressed in cubic feet. The most common sizes are 1.2, 1.4, and 1.6 cubic feet. If you have a large family or entertain often, you might want to opt for a larger capacity model. But if you’re only using it for reheating and defrosting, a smaller model will do just fine.
The power output of a microwave is measured in watts. The higher the wattage, the faster the food will be cooked. Most microwaves on the market have power output between 600 and 1,200 watts. Have in mind that though they heat faster, higher power ovens use more energy. From our experience, 700 to 800 watts is more than enough for most people. If you need all the power you can get, some models go up to 1500W.
Microwaves come with different control options. The most common are push-button and dial controls. If you want a more user-friendly option, opt for a model with digital controls. These models usually have a LED display that shows the time, power level, and other relevant information. The digital controls are generally more user-friendly and easier to use than the other two options.
The built-in microwave should fit your kitchen not only in terms of size but also in terms of design. These appliances come in different designs and styles, so you should be able to find one that matches the rest of your kitchen.
Stainless steel microwaves are very popular as they have a modern look and they are easy to clean. But if you want something that will blend in with the rest of your kitchen, you can opt for a white or black built-in microwave. There are also different trims and finishes to choose from, so you can really customize the look of your appliance.
For the ultimate seamless look, opt for a model that can be installed flush with your cabinets, without a handle, and with touch-screen controls.
If you’re opting for an over the range microwave, make sure that the model you choose has proper ventilation. Most models come with an exhaust fan that removes smoke and odors from the kitchen. If your kitchen doesn’t have good ventilation, opt for a model that can be vented to the outside.
Ducted microwaves are more efficient at removing smoke and odors completely from the kitchen. But if you can’t or don’t want to vent the microwave to the outside, recirculating microwaves are a good option too. These models come with a charcoal filter that cleans the air before recirculating it back into the kitchen.
Another important factor to consider is the installation process. Built-in microwaves need to be installed by a professional. So, if you’re not comfortable with doing it yourself, be sure to factor in the cost of installation when considering your budget.
Some built-in microwaves come with additional features that might be useful to you. One of the most popular extra features is sensor cooking. This feature adjusts the cooking time and power level automatically so that your food. Some microwaves have the convection cooking option which can be great if you want to use your appliance for cooking and not just reheating.
Another feature that is becoming more and more popular is Wireless connectivity. This feature allows you to control the microwave with your smartphone or tablet. You can start, stop, or pause the cooking process, set timers, and even check the cooking progress from another room.
Prices of the under cabinet microwaves vary greatly. You can find models under $200, and you can find models that cost over $1000. The price depends on the brand, the features, the size, and the power output. Most of us are not willing to spend too much on a microwave since it’s not the most used appliance in our kitchen. But if you want a top of the line model with all the bells and whistles, be prepared to spend a bit more. Also, make sure to consider the cost of installation and trims for the built-in microwave when setting your budget.