Over-the-range microwave ovens are kitchen appliances, personal assistants, cooks, ventilation systems and space savers, all at the same time.
An over-the-range microwave is the type of microwave oven that is, as the name suggests, installed above the range (they’re sometimes called ‘above the stove’ or ‘over the counter’). These multi-purpose devices usually incorporate ventilation in the structure of the oven itself.
Over-the-range microwave ovens are perfect for those in need of a modern, all-encompassing kitchen appliance. Thankfully, since these microwaves have become incredibly popular over the last couple of years, there is a wide variety of models to choose from.
No matter what your budget, taste or needs are, finding a good over-the-range microwave shouldn’t be too big of a problem, right? Well, it may seem this way at the first glance, but because the market is currently flooded with these microwaves, picking the right one might be a tad more difficult than one would expect.
Still, no need to worry – we are here to provide our readers with valuable, concise information. If you’re looking for reviews of these handy devices, you have come to the right place.
If you don’t really feel like reading dozens of articles, see options under $250, or the top choice for less than $500. If you’re looking for a comprehensive buying guide, microwave care tips, and a lot more info, scroll down.
Jane @ OTR Microwave Reviews
The Best Over the Range Microwave for the Money in 2019
This table will let you make a quick comparison of some of our favorite over-the-range microwave models – click to read our full review or see what Amazon customers say.
* Affiliate links / Product data and images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- See all our over-the-range microwave tests here.
- Click here for drawer microwave articles.
- Or here for countertop microwaves.
Our Top Picks in Detail
Let’s get straight to the point. You want to buy an over-the-range microwave but you aren’t too sure what the leading brands on the market are? Perhaps you aren’t too sure about how much you’re willing to spend on one either?
No need to worry, we have broken it down even further and picked something for every budget and taste.
The Best Over The Range Microwave Under $250
Certainly a budget-friendly microwaves that stands out, the GE JVM3160DFWW is one of the leading over-the-range models on the market and it doesn’t cost much either.
This microwave is an elegant, yet powerful model that doesn’t take up too much space, but it is certainly big enough to cook pretty much anything you want.
The venting system is also great, performance is incredible and a large number of cooking options ensures a superior user experience. It comes highly recommended by our team.
- Auto and Time Defrost are programmed automatically or manually for optimal results
- Electronic and convenience cooking controls make this microwave quick and easy to operate
- Cooktop lighting provides illumination above the range with an optional nightlight setting
Last update on 2019-06-17 at 23:49 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info
The Best Over The Range Microwave Under $500
If a powerful and well-designed over-the-range microwave oven is what you’re looking for, then the LG LMV2031ST is definitely the right choice. Our reviewers have no doubt it’s one of the cream of the crop. It’s not too big, but it has more capacity than most large microwaves.
The venting system is flawless and incredibly quiet, the entire device is very user-friendly and outperforms every single microwave oven within the price range.
- 1,000 Cooking Watts
- 400 CFM Venting System
- Sensor Cooking
Last update on 2019-06-17 at 23:49 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info
How to Choose an Over The Range Microwave: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide
Even if you:
- do your research,
- plan your budget,
- have a good idea about your cooking needs and style,
- know what color/design will suit your kitchen,
- know what you are looking for in a microwave oven,
- know how many power levels you want,
even THEN, picking the right one might turn out to be a more daunting experience than you’d ever expected!
This is why it’s advisable to have a somewhat strategic approach to shopping. A microwave oven is an investment. Naturally, you want your investment to pay off. This is why it’s important to pay attention to a few universal rules or rather to implement a few simple tactics. Here’s what you should consider when shopping for an over-the-range microwave oven:
Do your homework – There’s a ton of information about over-the-range microwaves online. Our website, for one, is a great resource, pardon the shameless plug. Unbiased reviews like ours will certainly aid in making the right decision. Paying attention to Amazon rating and user feedback is always a great idea too, as is researching a bit about microwave companies – you’d be surprised how many relatively unknown brands produce high quality ovens.
Pay attention to dimensions and technical specifications – This type of information often goes under the radar, but it really shouldn’t. Perhaps this is because most people don’t really care about technicalities. The truth is, this data is fairly easy to digest. Obviously, dimensions are the first thing you should pay attention to – wouldn’t it be horrible to purchase a microwave that doesn’t fit in your kitchen? Make sure to measure the space where you plan to put it. Other specs like capacity, cooking power, number of power levels, and the material it’s made of might turn out to be important too. Sensor cooking controls are a big plus, too.
Decide what you will be using the oven for – A businesswoman who needs to reheat yesterday’s pizza and a dad who cooks for his family have vastly different needs. Usually, a microwave oven is produced to satisfy a certain demographic’s needs. If you have a large family, a big microwave oven with lots of features and rapid cooking time might be an attractive deal, but if you’re living in a condo and don’t need a spectacular device, buying a small, simple microwave is probably the smart thing to do. Basically, decide what you will be using the oven for and who you will be cooking for, before you reach for the wallet.
Set a budget – Most people think they’re getting a great deal if they manage to get their hands on a dirt-cheap microwave that looks nice and has some cool features. If you do this, you will be setting a trap for yourself. Before you set your budget, remember: no one is rich enough to buy cheap things. A good over-the-range microwave oven is a long-term investment and it’s ought to be viewed as such. Even if you go a little over your budget, it will pay off in the long run. Besides, if you do the first step properly (research), finding the right deal won’t be that difficult.
Pay attention to the venting system – Venting is one of our favorite things about over-the-range microwave ovens. However, there are different types of venting systems – some microwaves have more fans, some have more power, others move more air. These are the things to focus on when buying a microwave oven of this type, since the venting system is such a huge part of the entire deal. Don’t settle for less.
Looks aren’t everything, but they matter – It’s all about performance, but looks are important too. Even if you find a microwave that fits everything on the list, if it doesn’t look good you might want to reconsider your options. As you have probably noticed by now, companies are trying their hardest to produce aesthetically pleasing models. Pick one that fits your taste and your kitchen.
Bonus tip – What about ease of use? – Worst case scenario – you bought the microwave you’ve had your eye on for quite some time, it’s beautiful, cooks perfectly well, the venting system is amazing and the food is delicious, but using it is a complete nightmare (for example, on one model we’ve seen you have to press the very center of a button to get it to do anything). Always pay attention to what reviewers are saying about ease of use. What good is a powerful oven if it’s difficult to use or a nightmare to install? If you have poor eyesight, get a model with a large-text control panel.
Tips and Tricks – Taking Care of Your Microwave
Right, now you’re almost as expert as we are!
You’ve read every review on our website, researched every microwave you considered buying, pressed the magic button on Amazon and it’s about to arrive at your door. First thing that comes to mind is the installation process. How long will it take? How difficult is it to install the microwave? Will you need a helping hand?
These are all legitimate questions and we will answer them one by one. First, when it comes to the difficulty of the installation process, this mostly depends on 3 things:
1) How handy you are – Let’s face it, some of us can’t screw a lightbulb properly. And that’s fine. Even those of us that have never gotten close to installing so much as a shelf will be able to install some microwaves – there are ovens that are ridiculously easy to install. Still, some require a bit more effort. In that case, the installation manual is the next step, but if even that leaves you clueless, then perhaps you should invite a friend over or even hire a professional.
2) How clear the installation manual is – Even some high quality over-the-range microwave ovens have complicated, confusing installation manuals. If this is the case, only those who are used to completing tasks like this one might have a hard time getting the oven to work. If nothing helps and if you’re unable to find any info online, again, a helping hand or a professional would be the recommended option.
3) How difficult the microwave is to install – If nothing helps and if the microwave is too difficult to install then, regardless of the price or the performance, it probably isn’t a great purchase. This just means we have to go all the way back to the step one of our buyer’s guide – research. Do your research accordingly (there is usually info about the installation process within our reviews) and make sure to get a microwave that’s easy to install. Generally, in our experience, if a microwave is easy to use then it is most probably easy to install.
How to Clean Your Microwave
What about cleaning? Well, when it comes to cleaning things can vary a great deal. Some over-the-range microwaves are very easy to clean, while others require a bit more effort and some require too much of it. This mostly depends on the surface and the material. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy a microwave just because it’s difficult to clean.
All you need to clean the inside of a microwave is a bit of water and vinegar:
- Fill a microwave-safe bowl half full with water
- Add a teaspoon of vinegar
- Place the bowl inside the microwave
- Turn it on for 5 minutes (or a little less, depends on how powerful your oven is), this will steam up the walls of the microwave and loosen up the stains
- Wipe down the inside of the microwave with a paper towel
It’s important to talk about safety a little bit, because over-the-range microwaves, like all other kitchen appliances, can cause an accident or two. For most of you, this isn’t something to worry about, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Even though microwave ovens have come a long way since their early days (yes, trying to cook aluminium foil and similar metals is still a no go and will probably forever be), some safety measures are always recommended. If you have a small child, look for an over-the-range with a child safety lock. This is a useful little feature that parents absolutely love – with a child lock your kids doing something stupid is one problem you don’t have to deal with.
Bonus Tips and Tricks – Make Full Use of Your Microwave
It all comes down to food – power, convenience, ease of use, practicality, price…these things are great but if the food doesn’t taste good none of them matter. But still, a microwave oven is a powerful device and there are some unconventional things you can do to prepare or revitalize your food. Here’s a few:
- If the spices, nuts or seeds in your kitchen have lost their smell, heating them up in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds will bring the aroma back.
- Stale crackers or cereals? Just heat them up for about 30 seconds and they’ll be as good as new.
- Having a hard time peeling fruit or just too lazy to do it properly? Heat them up for 30 seconds, wait for them to cool down for a couple of minutes and the skin will almost fall off by itself.
Convenience and Power, Substance and Style
The microwave is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most important and widely used kitchen appliances in history. It has been this way for decades and since almost every kitchen has a microwave it’s safe to assume that demand for these useful machines will never die out.
On the contrary, they are becoming more and more popular and, naturally, microwave manufacturers are constantly finding new ways to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Obviously, this is to satisfy the ever-growing demand and to cater to our wishes and needs.
Over-the-range microwave ovens are not just another variation on the theme. These microwaves are multi-purpose devices that every homeowner would undoubtedly benefit from purchasing. They are a combination of convenience (free up all that counter space!) and power, substance and style.
And here we are doing our best to review every single one.