Whether you have limited counter space in your kitchen, or just looking to free up countertops by moving a microwave somewhere else, a microwave that can be fitted under the cabinets seems like an ideal solution. Under cabinet microwaves are a great option for small kitchens or for people who don’t want their microwave to be a focal point in their kitchen.

under cabinet over the range microwave ovens

What is an Under Cabinet Microwave oven?

The name is pretty descriptive: an under cabinet microwave oven is a microwave that is designed to be installed under a kitchen cabinet or over the range. Most of the microwaves that can be installed above counter are small and compact to save space. However, not all of them are created equal. There are several types of under counter microwaves on the market, as well as some important considerations to keep in mind. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know before fitting a microwave oven under your cabinets, and highlight a couple of our favorite brands and models.

Types of under-cabinet microwaves

Based on the unique features we’ve classified them into three main types: built-in, over the range, and non-vented. They may share many similarities, but each has its own distinguishing feature, or set of features.

Built-in microwaves

A built-in microwave is designed to be installed flush with your cabinets, creating a seamless look in your kitchen. These models are usually more expensive than other types of under cabinet microwaves, and usually need to be installed by a professional.

If you are after a sleek and elegant look for your kitchen, there is no better option than a built-in microwave oven. Most built-in microwaves are also ventless, meaning they don’t require a separate hood or ventilation system.

ge 24 inch under cabinet microwave

Over the range vented microwaves

An over-the-range microwave is designed to be installed above your stovetop, freeing up counter space in your kitchen. This type of microwave is part of a matching set with the range and provides ventilation while cooking, so it doubles as a range hood. Vented, also called ducted microwaves, feature exhaust fans that vent air outside of the house.

Besides the ventilation system, OTR microwaves have other useful features, like lights to illuminate the cooktop below. But they also have some drawbacks – they do not vent as well as a separate range hood, and they might be inconvenient for shorter people, as they need to be mounted at least 13 inches above the range. Just imagine having to get a bowl of boiling hot soup while standing on your tip toes.

Non-vented or Ventless

As the name suggests, a non-vented or ventless microwave doesn’t need to be vented to the outside. These microwaves come with special filters that remove smoke and odors from the air and fans that circulate the air back into the kitchen. While this might sound like the perfect solution, these filters need to be regularly replaced, and the fan can be noisy.

Non-vented models don’t require any special installation, but they might not be ideal for cooking foods that produce a lot of smoke or odor. Microwaves without a vent are the most convenient option, as they don’t require any special installation.

5 Top Over the Range and Under Cabinet Microwaves

1. GE 30″ Over the Range Stainless Steel Microwave

If you are looking for an over-the-range microwave with a sleek design and powerful performance, the GE 30″ Over the Range Microwave is a great option. This model features 1.6 cu. ft. of cooking space and 1000 watts of power, making it ideal for cooking larger meals. The GE 30″ also has a beautiful stainless steel finish that will complement any kitchen.

One of the best features of this microwave is the built-in exhaust fan. This ensures that your kitchen will be free of smoke and odors while cooking. It does not vent to the outside, the air is coming from the top, so you will have to replace filters from time to time. You can connect this unit to the external vent, but it is a bit tricky and requires repositioning the fan motor. The instructions are pretty clear though, so it is doable.

Bottom Line: The GE 30″ Over the Range Microwave is a great option if you are looking for a powerful and versatile over-the-range microwave that saves space and can handle any meal you throw at it.


  • Sleek design
  • Powerful performance
  • Built-in exhaust fan


  • Can be tricky to connect to the external vent.
ge 30 inch over the range microwave oven

2. Galanz 1.9 cu. ft. Over the Range

If you need a microwave oven that will not take up any counter space, but is still large enough to fit a family meal, you might want to consider this 1.9 Cu. ft. Galanz OTR model. It is spacious, well-built, and has some very sweet options for its price range.

One of the best features is the sensor cooking, which is an incredibly useful feature, especially for reheating. Another one that might come in handy is the steam option that you can use for cooking rice, steaming vegetables, or just reheating food without drying it out.

It has both round and square exterior vent options, which is not that common even on the more expensive models. The vent fan could be bigger though, as it does not move a ton of air, which can be a problem if there is a lot of steam or oil smoke. The underside gets pretty greasy fast because the filters have small surface area. Also, the interior is just too dark, and even with the brightest light bulb, you can hardly see what’s inside.


  • Very spacious
  • Sensor cooking feature
  • Steam cooking options
  • Comes with a steam kit


  • Interior is pretty dark.
galanz over the range microwave

3. Frigidaire 30″ Stainless Steel Microwave

Sticking to the theme of family-size microwaves, here is another option that might be interesting. It is from Frigidaire and it is a bit more expensive than the Galanz model. This one has 1.8 cubic feet of interior space and 1000 watts of cooking power. It also comes with 10 power levels, which give you more control over the cooking process. The Frigidaire FFMV1846VS also has a few neat features, such as the Add 30 Seconds button, which is great for those quick reheats.

This model also has an exhaust fan, although it is not as powerful as the one on the GE microwave. The fan moves up to 400 CFM of air, which should be enough for most cooking needs. It is worth mentioning that this unit is quite loud, so it might not be the best choice if you are looking for a quiet microwave.

All in all, the Frigidaire FFMV1846VS is a great option if you need a large, powerful and reliable over-the-range microwave. It has all the features you need, plus a few extras that might come in handy.


  • Easy to install
  • 10 power levels
  • Add 30 Seconds button


  • The fan is quite loud.
  • No inside light
frigidaire 30 inch otr microwave

4. Cosmo Compact 24″ Microwave

This Cosmo 1.34 Cu. Ft. is a small microwave, but it’s a whole package. It is a stainless steel, under cabinet unit that will look amazing in any kitchen. The design is pretty sleek and modern, which is always a plus. This unit gives you 1000W of power, 10 power levels, the Sensor Reheat and Cook mode, and several touch presets.

The 24″ microwave oven is hard to come by, but this one’s got it. The interior is pretty spacious, considering the size of the unit, and interior light and removable glass turntable are included. We loved that the interior is white because it makes it easier to see what’s cooking. You will need to wipe it down almost after every use, to keep it looking clean.

Installation is easy, but you have to leave 1″ clearance space for the door to open. This might be a problem if you are after a seamless kitchen design. The overall design and performance of this unit are amazing, especially for the price. If you need a small and compact over the range microwave that is equipped with venting, this is the one you want.


  • Compact size with 1.34 Cu. Ft. of interior space
  • Sleek design
  • Sensor Reheat and Cook mode


  • You need to leave clearance for the door to open properly.
24 inch microwave oven

5. Sharp R-1214 1 and a half Cubic Feet 1100-Watt

Sharp is appliance manufacturer that has been around for years, and their microwaves are some of the best on the market The R-1214 is a mid-sized unit with 1.5 cubic feet of interior space and 1100 watts of cooking power.

This Over-the-Counter microwave oven from Sharp features a stylish stainless steel finish to match a modern kitchen. Its convenient Auto-Touch Control Panel is located underneath the oven door, so it’s easy to reach and nicely integrated into design.

This microwave oven has clean lines, a large 1.5 cu. ft. cooking capacity, and a 14 1/8″ turntable – the largest turntable of ANY microwave oven in its class. It has a built-in countertop light but it is a tiny LED that barely illuminates the work area, so you might want to supplement it with additional light.


  • Robust, feature-packed unit
  • A lot of cooking and reheating options for different food.


  • There are lots of button combinations for different reheating settings, which can be slightly complicated to use and hard to remember.
sharp carousel microwave

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.

Extra features

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.

How to install a microwave under cabinets

Installing an under the cabinet microwave is not as difficult as it might seem. In most cases, it’s a pretty straightforward process. Assuming that you have all the necessary tools and materials, the installation process should take less than an hour. But of course, it will depend on your experience and comfort level. This is what it generally looks like, but of course, the process will vary with different models:

  • Most under cabinet and over the range microwaves come with a wall bracket that needs to be installed first. The wall bracket will support the weight of the microwave and it needs to be properly secured to the wall.
  • Be sure to follow the instructions that come with the microwave carefully. Each model is different, and the installation process might vary slightly.
  • If the microwave is vented you will probably need to remove the cover on the blower assembly and attach the venting kit to the microwave.
  • Make sure that the area where you’re going to install the microwave is clear and free of clutter. You need to have enough space to work, and you need to be able to access the back of the cabinet easily.
  • To install the microwave you will need to drill some holes in the cabinets. Be sure to measure twice and drill once to avoid any mistakes.
  • Once the holes are drilled, you can start installing the brackets that came with the microwave. In most cases, you will need to use screws and wall plugs to secure the brackets to the wall.
  • Once the brackets are in place, you can put the microwave on them and secure it with the provided screws.

If you’re not comfortable with doing the installation yourself, it’s best to hire a professional. The last thing you want is for the microwave to fall and break because it wasn’t installed properly.

This video can also serve as a great guide:

Can you put a countertop microwave under the cabinet?

You can put a countertop microwave on a shelf or in a cabinet, to free up your kitchen counter space, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, make sure that the cabinet is big enough to accommodate the microwave. The dimensions of the microwave should be listed in the product description, so you can easily check if it will fit in your chosen cabinet.

Another thing to keep in mind is ventilation. Countertop microwaves need proper ventilation to prevent them from overheating. Most models come with a vent that can be attached to the back of the microwave and routed through the cabinet to the outside. But if your cabinet doesn’t have good ventilation, it’s best to opt for a built-in microwave instead.

Finally, keep in mind that you’ll need to have access to the electrical outlet where the microwave will be plugged in. So, make sure that the cabinet door can be opened wide enough to reach the outlet.

Can OTR microwaves be mounted above a gas range?

Yes, OTR microwaves can be mounted above a gas range, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, make sure that the microwave is properly ventilated. Most models come with a venting kit that needs to be installed.

Second, keep in mind that the heat from the gas range can damage the microwave and cause it to malfunction. If you absolutely need to have an OTR microwave in your kitchen, make sure to install it so that the top of the microwave is at least 30 inches above the stovetop.

How to hide a microwave inside a cabinet?

One way to hide a microwave inside a cabinet is to install it on a shelf inside the cabinet. This way, the microwave will be completely hidden and out of sight. There are also plenty of amazing built-in microwave kits that can make your appliance look very discreet. These kits come with all the necessary hardware and instructions on how to install them.

Another way to hide your over the range microwave is to use a fake hood cover. This is not an out-of-the-box solution and might require some DIYing, but the end result will be worth it.

Shopping for a Built-in Microwave: Final Thoughts

When shopping for a built-in microwave, it’s important to keep in mind the size of your kitchen and the layout of your cabinets. You also need to make sure that the microwave is properly ventilated and that it’s not too close to the stovetop. And finally, if you’re not absolutely confident with doing the installation yourself, it’s best to hire a professional.

So, there you have it! Everything you need to know about shopping for a built-in microwave. Do you have any other tips or advice? Feel free to reach out and share them with us!