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The Best Over-the-Range Microwaves You Can Buy

Whether you're looking for an upgrade on an out-of-date microwave or clearing up countertop space, these are the best over-the-range microwaves you can buy.

best over the range microwaves
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One of the better upgrades you can make to your kitchen is swapping out your old countertop microwave for an over-the-range model. The reason is simple: countertop space. This square footage is primo real estate, and unless you do serious, smoky searing on your cooktop and require a restaurant-grade range hood, an over-the-range microwave is your space savior; distinct from countertop versions, these slightly pricier models can pull double duty as microwaves and cooktop exhaust systems.

(Note: One small but significant drawback of an over-the-range model is that, for shorter chefs out there, access can be a bit more frustrating compared to a countertop model.)

Looking to upgrade your current over-the-range microwave? Now is a fantastic time; microwave capital C cooking — not just reheating — is having a bit of a moment. Look no further than at David Chang, the Momofuku-owning, highly influential chef who’s been busting microwave myths and championing the relatively new idea of cooking ambitious meals from start to finish in his home Hestan. Microwave-exclusive recipes and lines of microwave-specific cooking dishes are now part of the cooking zeitgeist. The time to invest in a capable microwave is here.

What's the Difference Between Them?

Below are a handful of models — from budget to behemoth and convection-capable to exhaust-fan focused — that will satisfy all kitchen needs. But for the average home cook, differentiating between models is difficult.

The vast majority of over-the-range models fit into a standard 30-inches-wide slot over your kitchen range (below, we included one notable exception for smaller kitchens) and capacity differences typically won’t make a huge impact on most reheat jobs. The other core functions - power and exhaust - also won’t vary widely from model to model. Unless you need a convection-cooking, Chang-inspired workhorse, typical microwave jobs can be handled by any of these models perfectly well. (After all, any differences in heating “uniformity” can be solved if you love yourself enough to give those mashed potatoes a quick stir.)

So how to decide? Our advice may seem counterintuitive: decide based on the small factors. Do you want stainless steel or glossy platinum glass? Handle or no handle? Warm night light? Mute function? Turntable with an on/off switch? In the sea of comparable and capable microwaves, let these be your guide.

All of the picks on this list are under $1000. We’ve found that after this price point, you’ll be better off brand matching with your other higher-end kitchen appliances. So if you’re a semi-professional home cook that needs to match your Viking gas cooktop with a Viking 5 Series microwave, you don’t need our help.

The Best Over-the-Range Microwaves of 2022

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Best Overall Microwave
KitchenAid 1.9 cu. ft. Convection Microwave

If you want to have your cake and eat it too, this is your microwave. It’s the best model at this price point that comes with all of our favorite features: automatic sensor cooking, a convection cooking option, beefy turntable sizing, and powerful fans.

This is the only convection microwave on the list. A convection microwave will never match the results of a convection oven, and for that reason we only recommend this feature for those frequent entertainers who don’t quite have the space for a double oven. Ideally, the convection oven - which can hit 425 degrees for baking - is your go-to for getting deserts started while the main oven is occupied with entrees or appetizers. That being said, the large turntable and full list of standard features on this microwave make it a solid choice, whether or not you use it for its convection capabilities.

Wattage: 1000 watts
Size: 1.9 cubic feet
Turntable Diameter: 14 inches
Convection: Yes
Sensor Cook: Yes
Exhaust: 6 speed, 400 CFM

  • Convection cooking
  • Turn turntable on/off
  • Powerful exhaust

  • Expensive
Best Budget Microwave
GE 1.7 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave

GE's affordable offering is a favorite among gear review sites, and it's easy to see why. While its footprint is on the smaller side, it punches above its weight due to its ability to turn off the turntable. This allows for oblong, casserole-sized dishes to be reheated easily. It also has most of the features you’d typically only find at much higher price points, including sensor cooking, two-level cooking, and a mute button. And because it’s available in 5 different finishes, it’ll be easy to match your current kitchen aesthetic.

Wattage: 1000 watts
Size: 1.7 cubic feet
Turntable Diameter: 11 ½”
Convection: No
Sensor Cook: Yes
Exhaust: 2 speed, 300 CFM

  • Turntable with on/off function
  • Two level cooking

  • Some finishes cost a lot more
  • Small turntable
Best Splurge Microwave
Café Modern Glass 2.1 Cu. Ft. Microwave

The Café’s platinum glass finish sets it apart as a sleek, but powerful microwave that’ll be at home in more contemporary kitchens, while also boasting the high tech bells and whistles you’d expect to come with this price tag. Control it with your smartphone, scan barcodes to cook based on packaging instructions, and sync it with your cooktop to automatically turn on the vents and surface lights when your burners are lit.

Wattage: 1050 watts
Size: 2.1 cubic feet
Turntable Diameter: 14 5/16"
Convection: No
Sensor Cook: Yes
Exhaust: 3 speed, 400 CFM

  • Absolutely gorgeous, inside and out
  • Massively smart with range syncing

  • Expensive
  • No handles to grab or nobs to turn for tactile fun
Best Microwave for Small Kitchens
Frigidaire 1.4 Cu. Ft. Compact Over-the-Range Microwave
Now 11% off

The options for those of you with small kitchens is pretty limited, with the majority of over-the-range microwaves requiring a cutout 30-inches wide for mounting. This model is for those who need something that can fit into a 24-inch wide cutout. It’s the sleekest, most feature filled option at the smaller size we’ve found, and it sports a massive turntable despite its size

Wattage: 1000 watts
Size: 1.4 cubic feet
Turntable Diameter: 16 ⅝”
Convection: No
Sensor Cook: Yes
Exhaust
: 2 speed, 300 CFM

  • Only requires a 24-inch cutout (vs. 30-inch)
  • Huge turntable

  • Small capacity
  • Only 2 finish options
Best for Smoky Kitchens
KitchenAid 1.1 Cu. Ft. Low Profile Microwave Hood Combination in Stainless Steel

With the ability to circulate 500 cubic feet of exhaust per minute, this microwave outperforms most standalone range hoods. So if you constantly find yourself setting off the smoke alarms while cooking, or huddling by an open window while cooking steak, this microwave’s for you. The only compromise is the limited height and capacity, but for most reheating and popcorn popping jobs, you won’t miss the space.

Wattage: 1000 watts
Size: 1.1 cubic feet
Turntable Diameter: 12 inches
Convection: No
Sensor Cook: Yes
Exhaust: 4 speed, 500 CFM

  • Better exhaust than most standalone range hoods
  • Sleek design

  • Only ~10 inches high
  • Expensive
Whirlpool 1.7 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave

For those with smaller kitchens or who are looking to reheat food for just one or two people, this model has everything you need. While pricier models come with slightly larger turntables and luxuries like automatic sensor cooking, if you primarily use your microwave for reheating, rather than cooking, I’d splurge on other aspects of the kitchen and leave the cold pizza to this little workhorse. 

Wattage
: 1000 watts
Size: 1.7 cubic feet
Turntable Diameter: 12"
Convection: No
Sensor Cooking: No
Exhaust: 2-Speed, 300 CFM

  • Inexpensive
  • Idiot-proof

  • Other models can fit larger plates
  • Takes slightly longer to heat food
Thermador Professional Series 2.1 Cu. Ft. Microwave

This model from Thermador, a powerhouse of professional-level kitchen appliances and star-shaped gas cooktops, features a tasteful and classically-designed aesthetic, while quietly outperforming most any other microwave on the market with 1100 watts of power.

The most impressive features are a “Triple Distribution Turntable Disk,” which provides improved distribution of microwave energy for more even cooking, a two-position adjustable metal rack for even defrosting or doubling its already massive cooking space, and a sensor that allows for automatic defrost and reheat at the touch of a button

Wattage: 1100 watts
Size: 2.1 cubic feet
Turntable Diameter: 14 3/16 inches
Sensor Cooking: Yes
Convection: No
Exhaust: 4 speed, 385 CFM

  • Quiet, yet hugely powerful
  • Thermador reliability

  • Expensive
  • Only available in stainless steel
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