Microwaves can be tricky for a kitchen designer. They aren’t the belles of the ball nor the cutting-edge appliance du jour. Yet most people use them and need them at a place. They also are available in many shapes and sizes, unlike other appliances. Learn about the four main types of microwaves here and get some tips about how best to pick and put them.

Ellen Grasso & Sons, LLC

Built-In Microwave

What it is: Built-in microwaves include a trim kit that is often ordered separately. Any size microwave can be built in — large-capacity, high-wattage units or compact countertop units — but the trim kit permits the microwave to seem more integrated.

Variations: Built-in microwaves can be set up on their own at a cabinet or over a single oven unit. Trim kits from manufacturers frequently come in a couple of sizes, and custom trim kits are also offered.

When to use:
When specifying a microwave, it is important to take into account the following:
Can it be found in a place that is out of the cook’s way but also easy to access? I have found that near the refrigerator works best.
Is there counter area nearby to set hot dishes on?
Can it be in a convenient height for the whole family?How deep is your cabinet for your microwave? How does this use adjacent cabinetry? Which way would the microwave door swing? Will the door get in the way?
Hint: Be attentive when figuring the thickness of the cabinet for your built-in microwave, and make sure you measure the plug, also. Specs can be hard, and the thickness of the plug might make your microwave not seem so built in after all.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

Microwaves over built-in ovens seem better when they appear to be exactly the same width as the oven below it, which is why you might need a larger trim kit.

Julie Williams Design

You can put in a normal microwave at a base cabinet, but you might want to check out microwave options, which are often much simpler to use in this place.


Dacor Discovery Convection Microwave, Stainless Steel – $969

Trim kits are available from many microwave manufacturers, but you can also purchase after-market kits online for a good price.

Turan Designs, Inc..

Over-the-Range Microwave

What it is: In over-the-range microwaves, the microwave and stove hood are one unit. A few of these units vent, while others only recirculate air. These units are approximately 24 to 30 inches wide and are shallower than full-size constructed microwaves. The shallow size means they can be set up over the cooking surface without causing you to hit your mind every time you lean forwards to mix the tomato sauce.

Variations: the majority of these microwaves are made to go over a 30-inch selection or cooktop and might come with trim bits to make them seem wider. Recirculation and vented options are both available. When it is a vented model, check out the wattage and CFMs (cubic feet per minute) on the hood to make sure that you’re getting the right one for your needs.

When to use:
If you are limited on space in your kitchen, this is a great bet. Stylewise, it proceeds to seems better in a apartment or condo than a single-family house. If you’ve got the distance, I recommend installing a stand-alone exhaust fan or hood and placing the microwave in a different place. From a design perspective, hoods control a presence and seem more substantial over a range than a microwave-hood combo. Additionally, microwave-hood combos tend to be somewhat less powerful, since they have lower CFMs. The same is true of recirculating hoods, which have charcoal filters and don’t actually port to the exterior.


Framtid Microwave Oven With Extractor Fan – $249

Over-the-range microwaves are very similar in style and are shallower in thickness to fit under a normal wall cabinet. The shallower depth allows for them to be put lower over the cooking surface (24 inches off the cooktop) than a normal hood (30 inches over the cooktop).

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Drawer Microwave

What it is: A drawer microwave permits for base cabinet setup. Because it pulls out, the switches are positioned higher, making it simpler and easier on the back.

Variations: A few manufacturers today make these, but they’re not exceptionally different from one another except in fashion. Typically they arrive in 24- or 30-inch wide options and fit inside a standard base cabinet. If you are using cabinets from a stock cabinet company, make among those cabinets will work with the device you’ve selected.

When to use: Some homeowners actually struggle with microwave place; placing it in the wrong place can actually ruin the kitchen’s aesthetic. Installing the microwave anywhere below eye level can enhance the design of a wall cabinet or tall cabinet arrangement.

Erin Sander Design

Drawer units won’t ruin the hardness or hardness of a kitchen. Additionally, it is handy to have the counter area directly in front of you when you’re handling a hot dish.

AJ Madison

Sharp Insight Pro Series Built-In Microwave Drawer – $734.30

A 30-inch drawer unit works very well below a wall mount. The 24-inch versions are more streamlined and suited for individual base cabinets.

Insignia Kitchen and Bath Design Studio

Countertop Microwave

What it is: These are the traditional, everyday, what-you-grew-up-with type of microwaves, intended to sit on the countertop and plug right in. You might even use these as built-in units by adding a trim kit.

Dozens of options for wattage, size and finish are available. There does not appear to be much standardization for this appliance.

When to use: I love to put countertop microwaves in markets, on shelves with cookbooks or hidden away behind a pocket door or cabinet door. I rarely put a countertop microwave to the true counter.

Sophisticated Construction Inc..

This microwave sits only on a shelf, with open shelves over, creating a breakfast-bar feel.

Heartwood Kitchens

You could also conceal one behind a pocket door or a uphinged door.

The French Tradition

In my old apartment we had ours concealed in the pantry like this, and I loved it. A little warning about putting a microwave at the pantry: The pantry might end up smelling like the sandwhich your warmed up for lunch.

AJ Madison

Viking Professional Series Countertop Microwave Oven

Most manufacturers make countertop microwave versions which can be built in or utilized as stand-alone choices.

Tell us Where would you keep your microwave?

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