Countertop vs. Over-the-Range Microwaves

Countertop vs. Over the Range Microwaves

If you're remodeling your kitchen, you'll be faced with the decision of what type of microwave to purchase. The most frequently purchased microwave ovens are countertop and over the range. The debate of countertop vs. 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.  

As far as the aesthetics of the different types of microwaves, you can find all styles in a variety of sizes, wattages and colors. With stainless steel appliances trending heavily right now, you may want to opt for one of these sleep models, but black and white styles are also available to match your kitchen decor. The size and wattage also depend on your needs and preferences, but they may also depend on how much space you need.  Whether you choose an over the range or a countertop microwave, you'll still have plenty of decisions to make regarding the actual model.

What is a countertop microwave?

The most common microwave that you'll find in many kitchens is a countertop microwave. These models are designed to sit atop your counter in a convenient location for easy cooking.  When you're shopping for new appliances, you'll find many advantages of countertop microwave. With varying sizes and wattage, a countertop microwave is one of the most versatile and easily portable appliances. These traditional appliances offer smaller sizes that are perfect for college dorms, small offices and small kitchens.  You can also find larger sizes that are perfect for cooking full family meals in just a few minutes, which is ideal for busy parents.  Countertop microwaves are also the most cost-effective models on the market, with pricing sometimes under than $100. The best part about buying a countertop microwave, though, is the lack of installation. Once you buy it, just plug it in and you're ready to start cooking.

While countertop microwaves have many pros, there are also some disadvantages of countertop microwaves.  Though they are incredibly convenient and easily portable, countertop microwaves take up a lot of space on your kitchen counters. This is especially tough for people with small galley kitchens and studio apartments. Countertop microwaves are also great for older kids who want to be able to cook their own meals, easily. They won't need a ladder or step stool to reach a higher up fridge, when the microwave on the counter is at their level.

What is an over the range microwave?

An over the range is a microwave that can be installed above your stovetop range. Many of these models offer lighting and built-in exhaust fans to ensure that cooking on your range is still safe and easy. Microwaves above the range are perfect for maintaining the kitchen efficiency triangle of food prep. You can easily cook in your oven, on your stovetop and in your microwave in the same convenient location. Defrosted items can easily transfer to a frying pan or an oven-safe dish without a lot of transfer time or potential for spillage across the kitchen.

Advantages of an over-the-range microwaves include the maximization of space. Often the area over your stovetop is reserved solely for lighting and an exhaust fan, but with the convenience of these microwaves, you can have all three. You'll save precious counter space for other appliances or food prep. Often, these microwaves are on the larger end of microwave sizes, which means that you'll be able to cook larger amounts of food, while utilizing less space. These models are also excellent for households with children who are tall enough to reach the countertop, but not old enough to use the microwave.  

Of course, where there are benefits, there are also disadvantages of an over the range microwave.  These models require precise sizing to fit above your range. You need to install them, so they won't be easily moved, either. While an over the range model may be great for keeping kids away, it's also tough for shorter adults to reach the microwave, creating another drawback.  The most obvious disadvantage is the cost. Most over the range microwaves are more costly than the standard countertop styles.

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