Countertop vs. Over-the-Range Microwaves
Whether you're a college student, living on your own for the first time or a practiced homeowner, everyone can appreciate the ease and speed of a microwave oven. The most frequently purchased microwaves are countertop and over-the-range models. The debate of countertop versus over-the-range microwaves offers benefits and drawbacks for both designs. Much of the decision is completely dependent on personal preferences as well as the size and configuration of your kitchen.
|Portable and compact||Larger models are not portable and are difficult to uninstall|
|No installation necessary||Installation required|
|Uses valuable counter space||Built-in to cabinetry above your stovetop to maximize counter space|
*Refer to the Microwave Buying Guide for more specific dimension, capacity and cost ranges.
Advantages of countertop microwaves
- Compact Design – Countertop microwaves come in a variety of sizes and finishes, and compact styles are great for small kitchens or college dorm rooms.
- Convenience – These models are portable, and since they don't require installation, you can move them from one space to another with ease.
- Low Cost – Countertop microwaves are much more cost-effective with some models being less than $100.
Limitations of countertop microwaves
- Design Dilemma – Though you can choose a smaller, compact model, countertop microwaves rest on your counter and take up valuable cooking space and storage.
- Lack of Space– Likewise, if your kitchen doesn't have a lot of counter space to begin with, you probably won't be able to make room for a countertop model.
Advantages of over-the-range microwaves
- More Space – Over-the-range models are installed above your stovetop and into your cabinetry, freeing up counter space.
- Larger Models – These microwaves are typically larger in size, allowing you to cook more food at once.
Limitations of over-the-range microwaves
- Installation Needed – Over-the-range microwaves require professional installation, so you can't simply bring onehome and expect to use your microwave right away.
- Portability – Once they're installed, these microwaves are like a permanent fixture and are more difficult to remove
- Height – Because they're installed above the stovetop, shorter people might find it difficult to use an over-the-range model and might need to use a stool in order to use.