A microwave is one of the most convenient appliances found in almost every modern kitchen. Offering you the ability to not only cook, reheat or defrost different type of meals, a microwave also gives you some flexibility. You can use it virtually anything that your stovetop or oven would do, from boiling water to thawing meats, and so much more.
While a microwave is considered a staple kitchen appliance, original countertop ones can take up a lot of space, which many homeowners with limited kitchen space find that it impacts their entire kitchen. If you have a limited counter space but still want the convenience of microwave cooking, then an over the range microwave is a great option since it helps to free up your counter space after just a bit of installation.
But what is the best over the range microwave?
The best model is the one that perfectly marries aesthetics functionality. You will want a unit that not only fits into your overall kitchen decor but also provides enough functions to perfectly cook your food.
In order to help you in choosing the right one, we have put together this article for you. In this article, you can find the details of the top six models available on the market today. To make sure you choose the right over the range microwave, we also have made a buying guide section below, be sure to check it too.
Table of contents
- Reviews of the best over the range microwaves
- Buying guide
- Over the range microwave comparison table
Reviews of the best over the range microwaves
LG LMV2031ST Over-The-Range Microwave Oven
If a powerful and well-designed over the range microwave is what you’re seeking for, then this model may be worth your consideration. The LG LMV2031ST performs well in both aspects: it cooks wonderfully well and the venting system works even better. Even though its capacity is not large, it has more capacity than most models. It is also very user-friendly and outperforms other microwaves within the price range.
- Great design
- Good size and capacity
- User-friendly panel
- Energy efficiency
- Easy to maintain
- Doesn’t have a large number of pre-settings
- It is not easy to install the unit yourself
Design & Usability
The LG LMV2031ST microwave drew any attention because of its sleek and modern styling. It does great with any kitchen decors, both modern and traditional, yet LG has managed to make it cook modern in all of its simplicity. This is the type of machine that should complement every kitchen and can be fitted easily over most ranges.
It comes in an industrial chic stainless steel finish and a glass-like control panel which make it easy to clean without the necessity of using detergents and cleaning materials to clear up the grease in it. However, the inside of the microwave is a grey color, and the glass doors are quite heavily tinted that can make this unit a challenge. Since the microwave will be installed over your range, this is a bit of a problem when you want to check the food cooking inside. In this case, you will have to open your microwave to monitor your foods as it cooks.
Quality & performance
And just as it looks, it also delivers good performance to ensure you cook and heat food much faster. It delivers 1000 watts of cooking power, given its powerful 10-level cooking capacity which is more than sufficient for in-home use.
This over-the-range microwave is impressively spacious with a capacity of 2.0 cubic feet which can further be optimized with a two-level rack to increase the usable cooking space inside. This is more than enough no matter what type of cook you are and surely enough to prepare fully-fledged Thanksgiving feasts. The LG LMV2031ST microwave is a large model with a 14-inch turntable which is ideal for larger plates, platters, and even small pizzas. We’re not saying you can cook a chicken with this unit since it wouldn’t cook evenly, but you could certainly reheat one with no trouble at all.
These are everything you need for proper preparation of whatever you’d normally put into a microwave. It also utilizes a sensor system to cook, defrost, and heat up to exact power levels.
The sensor cooking options will automatically sense and set times for foods like cheese, mac, chicken nuggets and hot dogs.
Like most other ovens, this model has a one-button cooking which enables you to cook popcorn, reheat, defrost, melt in just a single button press. Although this model only has five presets, it will still be useful even without the excess buttons.
In addition, this microwave uses a charcoal filter venting system that clears up your kitchen air and reduce smells. This is one of the most powerful around with three options and 400 CFM airflow. The good thing about the venting system is that it is incredibly quiet and flawless so you won’t have to worry about your unit sounding like a noisy vacuum cleaner.
One thing we like about the microwave is that its user-friendly panel is very simple and easy to operate. The microwave has a child lock feature that prevents any changes during cooking or when the machine is not in use. It features a clock, a kitchen timer, a completion beeper. The microwave also comes with a bracket, but it’s worth noting that the machine not easy to install. Given its large size and heavy weight, it may require two or more people to install correctly.
Sharp R1874T 850W Over-the-Range Convection Microwave
The sharp R1874T has premium features like a four-way convection heating and a three-way ventilation system that make it a standout even amongst high-end models. For a small over the range convection microwave, this model may be a great choice for people who plan to use the convection mode regularly. If you don’t plan to bake with your machine, or need to use large baking dishes, this mode may not be for you.
- Good design
- Interactive display
- Consistently good results
- Quiet operation
- Has a large number of pre-settings
- The interior capacity is relatively small
- Difficult installation
Design & Usability
At first glance, the text-filled control panel seems a little intimidating and a 7 digit interactive display would make it convenient to use. The controls are well placed for improved performance. With its simple design and chick appearance, the machine will look good in many kitchen places. It also complements your kitchen interior. However, its interior is not very smooth, making it difficult to clean.
While this microwave presents a strong base when it comes to cooking functionality, there is, however, a downside with its weight and external size. Other users often complained about its bulkiness and its excessive weight. Considering the fact that the convection microwave is heavy, like the first model, you will need a few extra hands in installing or seek professional help.
It’s also worth mentioning that Sharp doesn’t sell ranges in the US. That means the sharp R1874T over-the-range convection microwave will never be a perfect match for the appliance it sits above.
Quality & performance
This model is smaller than the first one in two areas, the interior capacity, and the wattage. Its chunky exterior belies a small interior capacity of just 1.1 cubic feet. Needless to say, if you have a large family, you should look elsewhere. It comes with 850 watts which may mean longer cook times by about 20%. Fortunately, thanks to the convection feature, the convection microwaves cook food 25% faster than non-convection microwaves. This is because the convection feature distributes hot air all over the surface which allows you cook food evenly.
Since the major feature is the convection mode, the machine requires the turntable to be engaged while it’s being used. It’s already a bit on the small side, so this places some limits on the dishes you can use.
While most over-the-range models allow you to adjust both the time and the power setting while they’re being used. This one does not. So you will have to stop cooking entirely to make any changes and keep in mind your initial settings or you will have to start again from scratch.
Despite of these limitations, The sharp R1874T over-the-range convection microwave is still notably ultra-functional when it comes to cooking tasks. It has 25 automatic settings that you can access whenever you defrost, melt or perform any other food preparation. A rack provides two levels to cook multiple dishes. This type of over-the-range microwave can be used for daily cooking in a short amount of time.
With a number of auto convection features, it can automatically compute temperature and cooking times for baking, grilling, and roasting. Convection cooking feature can be very useful, especially during warmer months, because you can cook food in the microwave like an oven without heating your entire home.
GE JVM3160RFSS Over-the-Range Microwave Oven
Good-performing, robust, and affordable over-the-range microwave ovens are not that easy to find these days. Most over-the-range models available are too expensive or too small or don’t do more than just cook popcorn or reheat yesterday’s pizza. And this model from GE can be a great option if you want to find a practical model which does everything you’d want your microwave to do and more.
- Great performance
- Easy to use
- Quiet venting system
- Great selection of presets
- A bit tricky installation
- Keypad is dark
Design & Usability
Even though the overall visual aspect of this unit is far from thrilling, it has the simple grey-black color scheme and a classy stainless steel finish is a guarantee that it won’t hurt your kitchen’s overall aesthetics. With its larger buttons, easy-open handle, the GE JVM3160RFSS scores extra high on the usability scale. We are also impressed with the additional features since they are moderate options that suit any kitchen and can easily fit in many oven arrangements without worrying about compatibility. The control buttons are placed vertically, which isn’t something we often see with this type of microwave. But the main flaw is the dim panel that can be a bit difficult to read if you don’t have a well-lit kitchen.
The GE JVM3160RFSS offers lots of convenient cooking features. It includes shortcut buttons for beverage, popcorn, defrost, and reheat. An auto defrost option automatically sets the temperature and the time for defrosting your fresh meat. There’s the 1-6 minute express which expedites the cooking process. This feature can be useful if you’re in a hurry. Lastly, its surface is lighted so you can monitor the cooking process without opening your microwave oven.
Quality & performance
The microwave delivers a power of 1000 watts which is not very powerful but enough to cook pretty much any food with no heating surprises. However, sometimes, with higher wattages, microwaves can burn food if you’re not prepared.
It comes with the 1.6 cubic foot capacity which is a bit underwhelming, but definitely serves the purpose and can handle nearly the size of the dish. In terms of the venting system, with 300 CFM air flow and simple two-speed controls, it removes smoke and steam effectively and gets the job done quietly. In addition, GE has hooked venting fans to a steamer sensor that activates automatically whenever you use the microwave so that you save a button press by not having to manually turn it on.
When it comes to the way you want your unit to work, there are two options you can choose from – an outside exhaust which essentially releases all exhaust outside your house or the recirculate option which employs a recirculating charcoal filter kit which comes with the microwave.
There are also a few small but noticeable bonuses which we like about this model. The turntable can be turned on or off based on what you are cooking which makes preparing meals easy. Power levels can either be automatically programmed or switched to the manual mode based on your preference. The cooking sensor is very accurate and the food is evenly cooked or reheated. The cook time notification and the timer on this unit use different sounds. This is very handy when you want to do multiple tasks since you will know which is which without looking.
While the GE JVM3160RFSS is easy to use, it is not that easy to install. It can also be difficult for some people to install by themselves without professional installation help.
Overall, this over-the-range microwave doesn’t really excel in the design department, but with a large number of presets and power levels, combined with the fact that the microwave makes little to no noise while venting, this model is one of the best selling over-the-range microwaves in America.
LG LMHM2237ST Over-The-Range Microwave Oven
LG LMHM2237ST is a solid, well-designed, good performing microwave from LG – one of the most well-known electronic brands in the world. This model is a great choice for those who need to quickly reheat or de-freeze previously prepared meals or do some basic cooking when in hurry.
- Sleek design
- Large capacity
- Easy to use
- Quiet venting system
- Easy to maintain
- Inaccurate cooking sensor
Design & Usability
The LG LMHM2237ST microwave oven has a simple, sleek and compact design, making it perfect in most modern-day kitchens. Regardless of your kitchen’s color scheme and overall design, this model should blend in nicely. The control scheme is horizontal, which may seem unusual at first. Even if you haven’t had a microwave with a horizontal control scheme before you should be able to get used to it quickly.
One of the features we like about this over-the-range microwave is the ExtendaVent 2.0 which meant to improve steam and smoke extraction. This combined with compact size, sleek design, the functional control scheme, is enough to conclude that LG has done a good job in terms of design.
If you’re wondering about its dimensions, the LG LMHM2237ST microwave oven is about 30 inches wide, 18 inches tall, and 16 inches deep. Inside, its capacity is 2.2 cubic feet, which gives you plenty of room for large dishes which makes it a good choice for those who are looking for a microwave oven that can be used for cooking large meal sets.
Quality & performance
Offer 1000 watts of cooking power, the LG LMHM2237ST can be used for everything from defrosting meals, boiling water to preparing popcorn. If you want to freeze a lot of food, this oven can do a good job. But if you want to prepare full-blown meals and side dishes, then this LG model will not fulfill your needs. The major drawback of the LG LMHM2237ST is its cooking sensor has a few design flaws which make the cooked food a blend of over and under-heated spots, making foods are cooked unevenly.
Compared to other over-the-range microwave models, this LG unit has decent cooking features but not as plentiful as its other competitors. One of the interesting features of this model is it has a touchpad control which is smudge proof immediately starts you off right with microwave experience.
When it comes to its venting feature, you have the options to chose top, front, or back ventilation. The top and back ventilations are for exterior venting if you have the setup for it. The power of the system is one of the strongest on our list at 400 CFM. It’s great at clearing all the smoke, fumes, and obnoxious odors from your kitchen air.
As with any other kitchen appliances, the overall user satisfaction depends a lot on preconceived expectations. Simply put, this model from LG is decent and practical, but if the venting feature is less of a priority for you, look at some other units that give you higher functionality as a microwave.
GE MICROWAVES 1029481 Over-The-Ran Microwave Oven
Another great product from GE, this 1029481 microwave is one of our favorite models due to its traditional styling, easy-to-clean surface, practical functions and affordable price. It can be installed easily in the home kitchen or commercial kitchen and boasts of many nice features for better functionality.
- Good weight
- Decent cooking capacity
- Energy efficient
- Good venting and quiet operation
- Affordable price
- No advanced features
Design & Usability
This is certainly not an over the range microwave which has a lot of aesthetic value. But its unique body color offers a stark appearance that will look great in any kitchen, especially country kitchens.
This model is quite a value for money since it comes with plenty of options. The control panel has auto-sensing selections such as beverages, potato, and popcorn, while optional defrost and reheat are also available at the touch of a finger, allowing you to quickly prepare last night’s leftovers or tonight’s oven roast.
Quality & performance
The straightforward design doesn’t really tell the story about performance. Performance is where this unit excels. With 1000 watts of power, the GE 1029481 microwave heats food evenly, reducing cooking time overall. Even heating is helped by a glass turntable that can be turned on and off, ensuring your food is prepared the way that you want it to be.
This is a quiet-operating appliance that that lots of nice features such as express cooking, incandescent interior oven light, clock, kitchen timer. This model also has 10 cooking levels you can choose from. Offering 1.6 feet of cubic space, you will have lots of room to cook, defrost, and heat a wide range of foods.
For ventilation, it has a 300 CFM venting capacity that is also slightly weaker when compared to the GE PVM’s 400 CFM rate. However, its capacity sits just at the average CFM rate for most over the range microwave ovens and the two-speed, two fans, 300 CFM venting system still gets the job done efficiently and quietly. So you would not have to worry about any noise while it clears up smoke, fumes, and other unwanted odors in your kitchen.
Overall, the GE 1029481 microwave offers decent cooking, venting power, and durable construction. With a ten-year warranty covering major components, you can be sure that this unit is a wise investment and will last you a long time.
Sharp R-1214 Over-the-Counter Microwave
When choosing the best over the range microwave of the year, we took several aspects into consideration, including size, performance, features, capacity, power, and budget. Most of all, we wanted to find the best over-the-range microwave from a value viewpoint. That’s how we reached the Sharp R-1214, a nicely-sized over the range microwave that meets almost all common requirements.
- Compact and Elegant design
- Great performance
- Lots of cooking options and presets
- Easy to install
- No fan unit
Design & Usability
The Sharp R-1214 microwave is the top-rated over-the-range microwave which is made up of unique and stylish design with the inbuilt sensor system and the latest smart technology. It should be a nice addition to most kitchens. The horizontal control scheme is well-designed and easy to use. Even the most inexperienced of cooks shouldn’t have any trouble getting used to this one.
With dimensions of 23.88 x 14.06 x 15.56 inches, the Sharp R-1214 microwave is the smallest model on our list of the best over-the-range microwaves, making it ideal for small kitchen. Even though it doesn’t take too much space, it is still big enough for cooking larger meals. With the 14.125 inch turntable, it can fit even the largest microwave-safe dishes. Another cool feature is there are three languages to choose from – English, Spanish, and French.
Quality & performance
With 1.5 cubic feet of interior space, the Sharp R-1214 microwave is large enough for all but the biggest families. However, it should be noted that just this unit is small in size, which doesn’t mean that it is less powerful. Quite the contrary, actually. It is rated at 1,100 watts but is reported as very powerful like a more powerful microwave, making quick work for most tasks.
The Sharp R-1214 microwave comes with 24 different automatic settings – including 8 instant action keys, reheat/cook center, and 11 power levels. It also has seven digits, two-color LCD display as well as an intuitive auto-touch control panel. With smart sensor technology, less guess time is needed since the Sharp R-1214 microwave will do its job after you punch in the settings on the control panel. With this control panel, you can easily select one of many convenient functions such as popcorn, hot water, minute plus, and hot water. Minute plus offers one minute of high cooking while keeping warm option keeps your cooked foods warm up to 30 minutes.
When it comes to installation, this model is one of the easiest over-the-range microwaves since it is lightweight and the user manual is very easy to follow.
Overall, the Sharp R-1214 is a smartly designed, well performing, highly functional over-the-range microwave. It is small enough to nicely fit above any range but powerful enough for preparing large, family meals. It is definitely cheaper than most microwave oven of this type and certainly good value for the money.
Of course, we think that these models are the best over the range microwaves currently available on the market. However, they may not fulfill your every preference. So, you may want to look for another model that we didn’t list above.
Since we want you to find the right option that meets your needs, we prefer you to have a look at the over-the-range microwave buying guide below that will help you make the best possible decision. Keep reading on!
What is over the range microwave?
An over-the-range microwave is the type of microwave which is secured above an oven and underneath a bank of upper cabinets. It can also be placed on a shelf above a range, or installed inside a cabinet. The major advantage of the over-the-range microwave is that it takes the microwave up and off of the countertop, saving precious countertop space so that you can use that space for other things like food preparation.
Combining a microwave and range hood, this type of microwave is a perfect choice for saving space and maximizing function. These kitchen appliances usually incorporate ventilation in the structure of the oven itself. The built-in fans will vary from 170 CFM to a power-boosting 400 CFM fan velocity to vent away all the fumes, odor, and warmness all over the air in the kitchen.
While an over-the-range microwave certainly offers several advantages, picking the best one might be a tad more difficult than one would expect. There is a wide variety of models to choose from and a number of aspects to consider before choosing one, which can make finding the best models for your needs a challenge.
Still – no need to worry, in this section, we’re going to discuss some key factors that you should consider when shopping for one of these kitchen appliances, and so much more.
How to choose the best over range microwave?
Where will you put your microwave?
Of course, an over-the-range microwave is intended to be installed over the range, but you don’t necessarily have to place it there. You can also place it in a cabinet, or you can put it under cabinets that are not located above a stove. Just make sure you know where you will place your microwave before choosing one.
Size may not be the most important factor but it can be a deal breaker. When it comes to over the range spaces, you usually don’t have much of a choice. So be sure to take measurements of the space allotted for your unit before you start shopping, or you will just have to return it. It is also important to compare the depth of the surrounding cupboards to the depth of the microwave for a good fit.
After you know the external size that fit suitably above the range in your kitchen, you also need to determine the amount of food that you plan on cooking. The interior capacity can be anywhere from 1.1 cubic feet up to more than 2 cubic feet. When deciding the capacity of the microwave you’re buying, you’d ideally want something that has a large capacity. These large models work best for those who want to cook for a large family or use the microwave for larger cooking projects.
Another consideration to keep in mind centers on how powerful you want your microwave to be and for what purposes you will use it. Do you plan on cooking and baking entire meals in it, or do you want to use it to pop a bag of popcorn or warm up leftovers once in a while?
The type of cooking you plan on doing will influence your decision in selecting the right model that gives you the power that you need in this microwave. For instance, if you need to use your microwave for regular meal prep, you will want to choose a unit with a higher wattage of power than one that you just use for warming up leftovers or snacks. Ideally, your microwave should have a wattage of at least 1000 watts.
Conventional vs. Convection
Conventional microwaves pass microwaves at a frequency through food containers to cook the food.
Convection microwaves combine basic microwave technology and radiant heating. They offer heat not only from the top and bottom but also from the back in order to ensure your food is evenly cooked. An over-the-range microwave oven with a convection mode allows for baking, browning, grilling, and roasting. So if you want to use your microwave to do more advanced cooking, you will need a convection model. If the microwave will only be used for quick reheating and basic cooking, a convection mode is not necessary.
One of the best thing about this type of microwave is that they offer a venting feature. Which means that these microwaves can also function as venting hoods that control smoke, odors. Venting power is indicated as CFM (cubic feet per minute). The higher the CFM, the greater the airflow and the better it is at clearing the air in your kitchen. The ideal CPM rate should be at least 300. Some microwaves have fans that can only be turned on manually while others have fans that turn on automatically when heat is detected. Some models come with two or more fans which will remove smoke and odors more efficiently. So if you do a lot of cooking on the stove, look for a model with good ventilation.
These over the range microwaves also offer the option of venting or non-venting depending on placement and personal preference. A venting model sends exhaust outdoors, while non-venting one circulates the air indoors through a carbon filter.
Sensors save you the trouble of guessing the time and the cooking temperature because they automatically adjust the temperature and the cooking timer based on the humidity produced by your food in the microwave.
While the look of the microwave won’t impact its performance, it will impact the look of your kitchen. Since this is an appliance that will feature prominently in your kitchen design, you will want something that works with the look of your kitchen. As you have probably noticed by now, companies are trying to offer models with different designs. Pick one that fits your taste and your kitchen.
It’s also worth checking the preset features like popcorn, defrost, baked potato, or frozen dinner. These presets will save you a lot of time since they automatically set the exact temperature and time needed for cooking popular food like popcorn, pizza, and other items. There are also pre-set cycles for defrosting, melting, reheating, and other cooking options.
If you have children in your house, this is a worthwhile feature to look for. This feature locks the door using a password, ensuring that your children can’t open the microwave. This is a great extra feature but we think it is unnecessary since the over-the-range microwaves are usually placed in a position that is high enough not to be reached by your children.
Clocks and timers
Since over-the-range microwaves tend to occupy a central space in the kitchen, clocks and timers are surprisingly important.
Over the range microwave comparison table
|Products||Exterior dimensions (WxHxD)||Weight||Capacity (Cubic feet)||Power (Watts)||Power levels|
|LG LMV2031ST Over-The-Range Microwave Oven||29.9" x 16.4" x 15.8"||63||2.0||1000||10|
|Sharp R1874T 850W Over-the-Range Convection Microwave||29.9″ x 16.3″ x 15.4″||71||1.1||850||11|
|GE JVM3160RFSS Over-the-Range Microwave Oven||29.9″ x 16.5″x 15.4″||66||1.6||1000||10|
|LG LMHM2237ST Over-The-Range Microwave Oven||29.9″ x 17.9″ x 15.9″||75.3||2.2||1000||10|
|GE MICROWAVES 1029481 Over-The-Ran Microwave Oven||33.5" x 19.4" x 20.2"||60||1.6||1000||10|
|Sharp R-1214 Over-the-Counter Microwave||23.88" x 14.06" x 15.56"||46||1.5||1100||11|