The Best Over-the-range Microwave for Your Kitchen Hood

Photo by Curtis Adams

Microwaves are a kitchen must-have. And yes, you have the option to install one right over your stove instead of doing it the conventional way, with a countertop microwave. The best over-the-range microwave (OTR microwave) takes the place of the range hood giving your kitchen a minimalistic, neat, and streamlined look.

OTR microwaves not only free up your counter space but also have an in-built exhaust fan that serves as a cooktop ventilation system to help eliminate the smoke, steam, or cooking odour. Most buildings require tenants to install a ventilation system over their stove, and over-the-range microwaves are a great alternative to range hoods.

Note that even the best over-the-range microwave ventilation system will generally not vent as well as a range hood. However, an OTR microwave ventilation is ideal for small apartments, kitchens with limited counter space, people who don't cook much or prefer in-built kitchen appliances to match the rest of the kitchen appliance suite.

The Best Over-the-range Microwave for Your Perfect Kitchen

1.Whirlpool WMH53521HV 2.1 Cu. Ft. Black Stainless Over-the-range Microwave Oven

The Whirlpool WMH53521HV over-the-range microwave is another top performer with numerous positive user reviews and an excellent heating evenness rating. This means no more cold spots on your mashed potatoes after microwaving. The microwave oven has a cooking sensor feature that automatically stops when cooking is done.

This takes out the guesswork in cooking since the sensors automatically track the cooking progress of food. Now you can comfortably cook without having to hover around your food, checking whether it's cooked.

It comes with a 2.1 cubic feet capacity that can fit most microwave food container sizes. A 9x15-inch dish can easily fit, allowing you to cook lots of casseroles.

The Whirlpool over-the-range microwave has a CleanRelease® non-stick interior that allows you to clean up spills in a clean swoop quickly. The steam accessory that is available separately gives you the option of steam cooking which not only helps clear up your cooktop space but allows you to steam foods such as rice, fish, and vegetables for healthy and tasty meals.

The Whirlpool WMH53521HV over-the-range microwave comes with a 4-speed, 400 CFM motor class that gives just the right amount of ventilation in your kitchen as you cook and quickly gets rid of cooking odours thanks to the four different fan speed settings.

It also has a turntable on/off option, which lets you choose whether the turntable should rotate or not. This feature is useful, especially when you need to accommodate wide dish sizes.

This over-the-range microwave has preset options that let you set and save just the right amount of heat and cooking time, either as you're defrosting or cooking. It has a 90º hinge door that gives you the option to install your microwave hood right next to the wall if you need to. The 90º hinged door allows you to still be able to open it.

The turntable plate is dishwasher-safe, so you can easily clean up any spills on the turntable by simply tossing it in your dishwasher. Unlike many conventional and OTR microwave ovens that always have the meat come out only cooked around the edges or still frozen at the centre, the Whirlpool WMH53521HV over-the-range microwave has a defrost feature that perfectly defrosts meat.

  • It is fingerprint resistant.
  • It comes in a black stainless steel construction with a classy design.
  • It has a turntable on/off option.
  • The turntable plate is dishwasher-safe.
  • It has microwave presets.
  • It has a CleanRelease® non-stick interior .
  • It has a sensor cooking.
  • It has a 4-speed and a 400 CFM motor class.
  • It has a 90º hinged door that allows you to install the microwave hood next to a wall.
  • It has a large 2.1 cu. ft. capacity.
  • It gives you the option to add 30 seconds of cook time.
  • It has an auto adapt fan.
  • It has a 1,000-watts cooking power.
  • It has a kosher consumer-friendly mode
  • The steam accessory comes separately.

2. FRIGIDAIRE FFMV1645TS Over-the-range Microwave 

FRIGIDAIRE FFMV1645TS 30" Over the Range Microwave with 1.6 cu. ft. in...
  • Over the range
  • 1000 watts/ 10 Power levels
  • 2 speed ventilation/ 220 cfm/ cooktop LED lighting
  • Dimensions (WHD): 29-7/8 x 16-13/32 x 15-1/4"

This 30-inch large OTR microwave gives you 1.6 cubic feet of cooking space, has sensor cooking with a whole 30 preset options and 10 power levels for convenience. The functions on the control panel give you the option to set and adjust power levels that work automatically at your preferred settings. You can also set the cooking time for your usual snacks, from chicken wings to your BBQ chicken nachos, making it extremely easy to use.

These one-touch options are easy to use, giving you so many ways to cook baked potatoes and make things like popcorn super-fast. Alternatively, if you prefer to have your meal fully cooked, you can add an extra 30 seconds, all with the dedicated Reheat button.

The 1000- watts model also comes with a signature 'space-wise rack,' a two-level rack cooking system that lets you warm or cook multiple dishes all at the same time. That and the fact that it has a (29-7/8 x 16-13/32 x 15-1/4) inches dimension means it is large enough to hold a large-sized dish, even a 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish.

The FRIGIDAIRE over-the-range microwave has a 2-speed ventilation system with 220 CFM to make sure the steam or smoke doesn't go to the rest of the house as you cook. It has interior LED lighting and a cooktop LED light to give you a clear view of the cooktop so you won't have to switch on the kitchen lights while on a mission to get that midnight snack or as you're cooking. The LED interior light in the microwave stays on as your dish cooks, so you can easily monitor it.

And all these functionalities come packed in a sturdy black stainless steel trendy construction that you'd want in a premium over-the-range microwave. Another standout feature you're definitely going to like even more is its easy-to-clean interior. It has a smooth surface that you can glide over as you clean any spills making cleanups breezy.

Powerful LEDs light up the cooking area, making it easy to see the dishes while they’re being warmed. The FRIGIDAIRE over-the-range microwave is so easy to program straight out of the box; you might not even need to consult the user's manual. You might find the installation part a little tricky, though.

Overall, this is the best over-the-range microwave in the multi-level section.

  • The Space-wise rack feature lets you warm and cook multiple dishes simultaneously.
  • It has a spacious 1.6 cu. ft. capacity.
  • It has simple, user-friendly controls for easy operation.
  • It has a stainless steel construction.
  • It has a trendy modern look.
  • It has a powerful cooktop LED lighting.
  • It has an intuitive sensor cooking
  • It gives users 30 cooking options and 10 different power levels for convenience.
  • FRIGIDAIRE is one of the most reliable OTR microwave brands popularly known.
  • The installation can be a bit tricky.
  • It works best on multiple little amounts of food, its ability to heat large amounts of food is a little limited

3. Profile Advantium 120 Over-the-range Convection Microwave Oven

It's hard to come by an OTR microwave with custom features than the GE Profile Advantium 120 over-the-range microwave oven. It combines microwave energy and halogen cooktop light for an exceptional over-the-range convection microwave oven. These features provide the exact level and type of heat your food needs to cook, which is faster than the conventional oven. 

The 1.7-cubic foot microwave has 175 preset menu selections and can save up to 30 of your recipe-specific cooking times. Other than the convection cooking, many users have expressed the fact they loved that the control panel is backlit and it has two removable convection cooking racks that let you cook more than one meal simultaneously. 

Like other OTR microwaves, this convection microwave has sensor cooking controls that automatically adjust the cooking time and cooking power for convenience as you cook. However, unlike the others, it additionally comes with a speedcook technology to deliver oven-quality food that cooks up to four times faster than a conventional oven

Additionally, it comes with multiple cooking modes on the control panels; think of it as having four different cook options combined in one; the manual cook, speedcook, sensor microwave and the warming options for an incredible microwave oven experience. It even has a help and demo mode just in case you're stuck

This 1.7 cubic foot over-the-range convection microwave has a stainless steel interior that is both easy to clean and stylish with a 2-speed, 300-CFM exhaust fan ventilation system to vent out the smoke, steam and odours as you cook.

Overall, it is the best over-the-range microwave in the smart microwave section you can get.

  • It comes with a cookbook.
  • It is a convection over-the-range microwave that uses Advantium technology.
  • It has 4 different cooking modes.
  • It has 175 pre-programmed menu items options with a recipe saver.
  • It has a 2-speed, 300-CFM exhaust fan ventilation system.
  • It has a help and demo mode.
  • It has a 1.7-cubic foot 16 13/32(Height) x 29 7/8 (Width) x 15 3/8 (Depth) dimension.
  • It has a halogen cooktop lighting.
  • It doesn't have the best knob.

4. Samsung ME18H704SFS 1.8 cu. ft. Over-the-range Fingerprint Resistant Microwave

Samsung ME18H704SFS 1.8 Cu. Ft. 1000W Over-the-Range Microwave,...
  • 1.8 cu. ft. capacity with 14.2 in. glass turntable and ceramic enamel interior
  • 400 CFM ventilation system with simple clean filter
  • Halogen cooktop light with high/low/off options
  • Sensor cooking with 1000 watts of power and 10 power levels
  • Auto defrost, auto cook, sensor reheat and two-stage programmable cooking

Like all Samsung over-the-range microwaves, the Samsung ME18H704SFS 1.8 cubic feet over-the-range microwave also comes in a fingerprint-resistant exterior finish with a ceramic enamelled scratch-resistant that is easy to clean.

This microwave gives you 1.8 cubic feet of cooking space with sensor cooking and 9 pre-programmed cook modes, all for your cooking convenience. It allows you to both enable and disable the glass turntable.

This means you get to make room for different size microwave food containers. The Samsung ME18H704SFS over-the-range microwave also has a child lock for your children's safety.

Many users have rated it as easy to install, unlike many over-the-range microwaves. It has an impressive 10-year limited warranty, packs amazing value and features at such an affordable price tag.

  • It gives the user a 1.8 cu. ft. capacity, a 14.2-inch glass turntable and a ceramic enamelled interior with a 29.87 x 15.56 x 17.06 inches exterior dimension.
  • It has a strong 400 CFM ventilation system with a simple, functional, clean filter.
  • It has a halogen cooktop light which gives you high/low/off options.
  • It has sensor cooking with 1000 watts of cooking power.
  • It has an auto defrost, auto-cook mode and sensor reheat modes.
  • It comes with 10 power levels options and a two-stage programmable cooking.
  • It has an affordable price point.
  • Some people find this 1.8 cubic feet microwave a little too heavy while on installation.

5. Whirlpool WML55011HS 1.1 cu. ft. Over-the-range Low Profile Microwave 

The Whirlpool WML55011HS 1.1 cu. Ft is a low-profile model from Whirlpool, which is only 10 ¼ -inches high. However, the 'low profile' tag shouldn't have you equate it to low performance or lower function power. Low-profile simply means an over-the-range microwave that saves on space without necessarily minimising function.

This low-profile slim over-the-range microwave Whirlpool model perfectly fits perfectly in most kitchen under cabinet exhaust hoods, unlike most over-the-range microwaves, especially for limited kitchen spaces. Even then, the size isn't too small; you can still fit a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish and at least 4 cups inside.

The 1.1 cubic feet microwave has an impressive 1000 watts of cooking power, comes with sensor cooking, an exhaust fan ventilation system that is rated at 400 CFM per minute. The ventilation system works on 4 different fan speeds. It also comes in a sleek non-stick interior for easy cleanups and a modern chic design that hides the control panel behind its door. The clock is still displayed on the outside for easy monitors.

To create space inside this 1.1 cubic feet low profile over-the-range microwave has an on/off turntable feature. Unlike other over-the-range microwaves that only come in black or silver, this low profile 1.1 cubic feet microwave comes in 5 exciting colours and finishes; this includes a chic sunset bronze. Overall, it is the best over-the-range microwave you can get in the low-profile section.

  • It is a low-profile, slim over-the-range microwave that saves on space.
  • It still offers enough cooking space.
  • It comes with an impressive 1000 watts of cooking power.
  • It has a 400 CFM per minute ventilation system rating.
  • It comes in 5 exciting colours and finishes.
  • It has a sleek non-stick interior for easy cleanups.
  • It's a little pricey.

Features to Consider when Buying the Best Over-the-range Microwaves

A. The Size

Like all our top picks, most over-the-range microwaves are built to fit over standard-sized hoods. The smallest is built to fit over a 24-inch range, while the largest can fit over a 30-inch range cabinet.

B. The Wattage

The watts equate to cooking capacity. Always consider a microwave with 900-1000 watts.

C. The Control Panel

 This directly relates to your height. If you are short, you will appreciate having a control panel that is at the bottom of the microwave compared to one that's on the side. Other sleeker models will have control panels that are hidden behind the doors.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Over-the-range Microwave

1. How far does the microwave need to be above the cooktop?

Experts recommend at least 66" mounting height from floor to the top of the over-the-range microwave. This height from the floor allows approximately a 13"-16" space between your cooktop and the bottom of the microwave.

2. How much space is recommended around the microwave?

Typically, the NKBA's officially recommend placing the cabinet that the microwave sits on, well below eye level, at least 24 to 48 inches off the ground.