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Where Do You Place a Microwave in a Kitchen Plan?

Steve Sheinkopf  |  December 15, 2014  |  3 Min. Read

Microwaves  |  Microwave Drawers

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Microwaves were the first, fast “wonder” appliances. They were actually designed in the US by Litton Industries in the 1970s.

They created tons of excitement as if the future was finally here. Flash forward 40 years and tell me: Are you excited about your microwave?

Microwaves can present problems in tight kitchen plans. However, there are new products to help you reconsider placement. We will look at a few options. If you have questions, feel free to comment below. 

Counter Top Microwaves

If we were to follow the history of the microwave (I know, why would we?), the first microwave was placed on the counter. That’s where we had ours when I was a lad. Counter top microwaves are really affordable.

You can also build in some of them into a cabinet with a trim kit. The trim kit allows the microwave to exhaust the heat from the back. It’s the metal strips with louvers on the top and bottom to allow for ventilation. Have a look at the picture below...


Built-In Microwave

Built-in microwaves eliminate louvers and match many wall ovens. They look better, but there is a significant cost difference between a trim kit and built-in unit. KitchenAid, Jenn-Air and Miele all manufacture this type of microwave.


Under Cabinet Microwave

GE is the only company manufacturing a under cabinet microwave. It is 24 inches wide, yet is only 12 inches deep. It can also be built in.


Over-the-Range Microwave

The over-the-range microwave (OTR) is a great product. It incorporates the hood with the microwave and centralizes cooking with the range. It is also surprisingly cheap with prices starting at $190.

However, the CFM (amount of air filtered in a minute) is relatively low at 310 CFM. Even basic gas ranges now have power burners of 15,000 BTU or more. The microwave can efficiently exhaust power burners and is not designed for heavier cooking like woks or grills.


Microwave Drawers

Drawers are the newest microwave iteration. They are manufactured by Sharp and labeled by every other company (look at this article Best Microwave Drawers to understand the subtle differences).

They are similar to the built-in microwave, but they slide out instead of opening down. There is no stooping. Drawers are great for islands and lower cabinets.


Which Would I Choose?

That depends. How much room do you have? How do you cook? These are the two most important questions you need to ask.

If you do not use the microwave that much, buy a simple counter top. My Moms friend has a gourmet kitchen and placed a counter microwave on a shelf almost in another room.

I like the over-the-range microwave, but not if you need the ventilation from the stove. The drawer is great for lower cabinets, but the built-in is better for upper cabinets.

But at least you have plenty of choices. There is also some great technology like speed ovens, but that is covered in other posts.

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Additional Resources

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A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

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