clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

5 Best Over-the-Range Microwaves (2023 Review)

Over-the-range microwaves free up valuable countertop space in your kitchen and feature built-in exhaust fans to help ventilate smoke from your stovetop. Check out our recommendations for the best over-the-range microwave on Amazon.

BLACK + DECKER Over-the-Range Microwave and FRIGIDAIRE SmudgeProof Over-the-Range Microwave isolated on a blue grid paper background Courtesy Amazon

In This Guide: Sharp Over-the-Range Convection Microwave | BLACK + DECKER Over-the-Range Microwave | FRIGIDAIRE Over-the-Range Microwave | FRIGIDAIRE SmudgeProof Over-the-Range Microwave | GASLAND Over-the-Range Microwave Oven | Buyer’s Guide | Microwave Maintenance and Tips | FAQs

Over-the-range, or OTR, microwaves help homeowners maximize compact kitchens, unlike countertop microwaves. However, with varying capacities, cooking modes, styles, handle designs, and other considerations, there are many considerations before choosing the right one.

To help you decide, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best over-the-range microwaves on Amazon. Discover our top recommended models below.

Top 5 Over-the-Range Microwaves

Here are the best over-the-range microwaves we found:


Compare the Best Over-the-Range Microwaves

Product Capacity Power Handle Design Weight Dimensions (Outer)
Product Capacity Power Handle Design Weight Dimensions (Outer)
Sharp Over-the-Range Convection Microwave 1.1 cu feet 850 watts Push 72 pounds ‎30 x 16 x 15 inches
BLACK + DECKER Over-the-Range Microwave 1.6 cu feet 1,000 watts Pull 55 pounds 15 x 30 x 16 inches
FRIGIDAIRE Over-the-Range Microwave 1.9 cu feet 1,000 watts Push 55 pounds ‎16 x 30 x 16 inches
FRIGIDAIRE SmudgeProof Over-the-Range Microwave 1.7 cu feet 1,000 watts Pull 60 pounds ‎30 x 15 x 16 inches
GASLAND Over-the-Range Microwave Oven 1.6 cu feet 1,000 watts Pull 62 pounds 30 x 15 x 16 inches

Most Compact: Sharp Over-the-Range Convection Microwave

Sharp Over-the-Range Convection Microwave

Sharp Over-the-Range Convection Microwave

  • $600

Prices taken at time of publishing.

With a 1.1 cu-ft capacity, this convection microwave oven is the smallest in this review. The four-way convection system lets users brown, bake, broil, or crisp their food, making this a versatile kitchen appliance. Additionally, the exterior is covered in sleek stainless steel.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Push-button door opens gently
✔ Can ventilate air horizontally, vertically, or through ductless recirculation
✔ Includes custom help key for easy-to-follow cooking and programming instructions

✘ At 850 watts, it’s weaker than other over-the-range microwaves
✘ More expensive than similar models

What Customers Are Saying

Users appreciated the compact size of this microwave, stating that it fits perfectly inside their RV or motorhome kitchen. Other customers thought the over-the-range microwave looked modern and sleek and frequently utilized the four-way convection cooking system. Alternatively, a few users found the microwave difficult to install, and others experienced issues with broken door handles.


Best Entry-Level: BLACK + DECKER Over-the-Range Microwave

BLACK + DECKER Over-the-Range Microwave

BLACK + DECKER Over-the-Range Microwave

  • $320

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Made with a plastic finish, this black over-the-stove microwave oven is a good choice for homeowners without stainless steel kitchen appliances. The 1,000-watt power output, 1.6 cu-ft capacity, and straightforward cooking modes make it a practical, everyday option.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has one-press quick start options ranging from one to six minutes
✔ Includes easy-to-read digital clock and timer
✔ Plugs directly into a wall outlet, so no hardwiring is necessary

✘ Has incandescent lighting inside rather than modern LED lighting
✘ Outdated appearance

What Customers Are Saying

Many satisfied customers thought this over-the-range microwave was well-priced and came with plenty of basic functionality for their needs, ultimately contributing to the overall value of the appliance. However, some users experienced premature defects several months into using the microwave, and one complained about the exhaust fans’ power.


Largest Capacity: FRIGIDAIRE Gallery Series Over-the-Range Microwave

FRIGIDAIRE Gallery Series Over-the-Range Microwave

FRIGIDAIRE Gallery Series Microwave

  • $394
  • $549
  • 29% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Unlike many microwave ovens, this model has controls on the bottom of the front door to the left and right of the digital clock for a sleek and unique design. Its spacious 1.9 cu-ft capacity makes for a great cooking appliance for large families or those who frequently eat leftovers.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has bright LED lighting for visibility
✔ Features smudge-proof stainless steel to resist fingerprints
✔ Includes a rack to separate the interior into two different compartments

✘ The door is oversized, causing some reviewers to hit their heads on it accidentally
✘ Can accidentally press cooking buttons due to their proximity to the door button

What Customers Are Saying

Most users gave this over-the-stove microwave four or five stars in their reviews. They thought the microwave oven was attractive and nicely matched their existing kitchen appliances. Customers also said that the bright LED lights helped illuminate their cooktops well. Negatively, a few users had issues with the exhaust fans, saying they were loud but didn’t ventilate air very effectively.


Best Medium-Capacity: FRIGIDAIRE SmudgeProof Over-the-Range Microwave

FRIGIDAIRE SmudgeProof Over-the-Range Microwave

FRIGIDAIRE SmudgeProof Microwave

  • $305
  • $489
  • 38% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This modern stainless steel microwave oven is designed to fit flush over most ranges and stovetops. It’s an excellent medium-sized option for families or heavy-use microwave users. It also features sensor cooking to automatically adjust the cooking power to use less energy.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has over 30 different cooking options to reheat almost anything
✔ Has a large, curved handle that’s easy to grip
✔ The stainless steel exterior is sleek and easy to clean

✘ The multitude of “food ready” beeps was annoying to some users
✘ Some customers complained about the poor quality of the packaging

What Customers Are Saying

Most reviewers were happy with the looks and performance of this over-the-range microwave oven. In their positive reviews, they highlighted the microwave’s quiet noise level, powerful heating capabilities, and quality of the smudge-resistant stainless steel on the exterior of the unit. However, negative feedback revolved around the thin packaging from the manufacturer, which left the microwave and its mounting hardware unprotected during transit.


Largest Turntable: GASLAND Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

GASLAND Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

GASLAND Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

  • $350

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This budget-friendly over-the-cooktop microwave offers intuitive control buttons and 10 variable power levels to cook a wide variety of food efficiently and evenly. With a glass turntable close to 14 inches in diameter, it can easily fit large plates or other dishware.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has four auto-cook programs: reheat, popcorn, baked potato, and beverage
✔ Has a 300 cubic feet per minute (CFM) recirculating exhaust system
✔ Noise level doesn’t exceed 62 decibels

✘ Has limited cooking modes compared to more robust models
✘ Some users experienced longevity issues with their microwave

What Customers Are Saying

Happy users said this over-the-range microwave oven was easy to install, and the included instruction manual was helpful and easy to understand. Unsatisfied customers also wished that there were multiple brightness settings for the cooktop lighting and said the microwave’s noise level was too loud for their liking.


Buying Guide for Over-the-Range Microwaves

Above all else, you’ll want to ensure your microwave fits flush above your cooktop and in between cabinetry. Fortunately, the sizing for over-the-range microwaves is relatively straightforward. Additional considerations include capacity, cooking options, fan speed, materials, and wattage. Check out our microwave buying guide or consider these quick facts to help you make an informed decision.

Capacity

The capacity, or size, of over-the-cooktop microwave ovens is expressed in cubic feet. Models range from small microwaves as compact as 1 cubic foot to units as large as more than 2 cubic feet. While this size range may sound insignificant, even half a cubic foot makes a big difference in how much food you can fit inside and how much space the microwave occupies in your kitchen.

Cooking Options

All microwaves, including over-the-range models, allow you to select exactly how long you want to reheat or cook your food. Defrost and auto-cook modes are also standard in most microwaves. You’ll also come across popular preset cooking times to heat popcorn, potatoes, fish, and other types of food.

Fan Speed

Over-the-stovetop microwaves usually have two fan speed settings: high and low. The same is true for most range hoods on the market, although a dedicated range hood is more likely to have three or more fan speed settings.

Materials

Most over-the-stove microwaves are made of stainless steel or hard plastic. While more expensive, stainless steel microwaves can also be fingerprint-resistant, a sought-after feature for many families. Black stainless steel, while less common, is also available on some high-end models. The turntable inside the microwave is usually made of glass, which can be removed and cleaned. All microwaves are designed to be easy to clean and can be wiped down fairly easily due to the materials of the nonstick interior.

Surface Light

Most, if not all, over-the-range microwaves have a built-in surface light at the bottom of the unit. This illuminates the cooking surface beneath the microwave and may have multiple brightness settings. Your microwave oven should also have an interior light that activates when food is being cooked or when the door is opened.

Touch Controls and Other Features

Many microwave ovens have standard push buttons to control the timer, cooking duration, and other settings. Soft-touch controls, rather than hard-press buttons, are becoming more common on countertop and over-the-cooktop microwaves. Less common is voice control, available on smart appliances that connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network.

Wattage

A microwave’s total cooking power is measured in wattage. This applies to both countertop microwaves and over-the-range microwaves. Smaller, less powerful units may have a 700 or 850-watt motor, while higher-end microwave ovens put out more than 1,000 watts of power.


Over-the-Range Microwave Maintenance and Tips

Microwaves tend to last up to 10 years with regular use. However, you can extend the lifespan of your over-the-range microwave if you take good care of it and only use it as designed. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your over-the-cooktop microwave.

  • Clean spills as soon as they happen. No one likes using a dirty microwave, and it’s much more difficult to clean off caked-on grime and leftover food matter inside a neglected microwave. Though it takes a little discipline, wipe down any messes with a paper towel as soon as they happen. You can also use a microwave-safe food cover to place over your food to contain any spills.
  • Open and close the door gently. The components on your microwave’s door can only withstand so much abuse, but they’ll last longer and won’t give you many issues if you treat them gently. Never slam the door closed or rip it open.
  • Don’t run the microwave if it’s empty. A microwave oven is designed to bounce waves back and forth around the inside, warming up the water molecules in food. Over time, running an empty microwave may damage the magnetron inside.
  • Don’t microwave any metal materials. Though it’s common knowledge, you should never place anything with metal in your microwave. If you clean your microwave with a steel wool pad, ensure none of the pieces remain.
  • Clean the grease filter periodically. Over-the-range microwaves have a grease trap at the bottom next to the ventilation system—this collects any greasy fumes from cooking. If you frequently cook at home, we recommend checking the trap and washing it with soap and water every couple of months.
  • Stick to the preset cook times as much as possible. Microwave oven manufacturers test their models to determine how long, based on the appliance’s size and power, it takes to cook different types of food. When in doubt, choose a preset option and add time after it’s done rather than running the microwave for too long.
  • Check to make sure the turntable is aligned correctly. Turntables spin 360 degrees to evenly heat your food, which means less time operating your microwave oven and greater longevity.

It’s important to take great care of all of your kitchen appliances. In this episode of Ask This Old House, repairman Richie Isaacson shows host Kevin O’Connor how to get the most out of your commonly used kitchen appliances:


Frequently Asked Questions About Over-the-Range Microwaves

Can any microwave be installed over the range?

No. You should confirm that the model you’re interested in is specifically designed to install above a stovetop or range. Usually, this designation from the manufacturer is clear. The sizing for most over-the-range microwaves is straightforward, too. Most measure around 30 inches wide, 17 inches high, and 15 to 18 inches deep, depending on whether the door is open or closed.

Do over-the-range microwaves need to be vented?

Not necessarily. Though you can choose to vent air from your microwave to the outdoors, over-the-range microwaves can also recirculate air around your kitchen. There is no requirement that your microwave requires this air duct. However, venting air outdoors is generally more effective than recirculating air.

What are the advantages of having a microwave over the range?

Other than freeing valuable counter space in your kitchen, over-the-stovetop microwaves have built-in fans at the bottom of the unit, eliminating the need for an additional exhaust fan for your range or stovetop. This makes an over-the-range microwave a two-in-one appliance.

Do over-the-range microwaves work well?

Typically, yes. Over-the-range microwaves should function just as well, if not better, than a regular countertop microwave. Make sure you choose a model with your desired power level, cooking modes, design, and other considerations, so it meets your expectations.


Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.