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Over the Range Microwave or Countertop Microwave- Which one is for You?

by Michael Sasson

Over the Range Microwave or Countertop Microwave- Which one is for You?

Your kitchen is a stage production where you are the director, with stars and supporting players that help you set the stage for a great show for your friends, family and guests. Just like in any stage production of any kind, there are your stars and there are your supporting characters that all need to come together to make sure the show goes on without a hitch, and keeps your audiences coming back for more. Stoves are the star of your kitchen cooking experience, no doubt about it. It is where you cook your Thanksgiving turkey and your roasts that dazzle and show off your ability in the kitchen.

Although the star gets most of the notoriety, it is your supporting players that make it all possible day in and day out, and that is where your microwave comes in. The microwave is the unsung workhorse of your kitchen and typically the first cooking appliance any of us learn to use. It is not pretty and very rarely do you get compliments on your ability to use it. It is not the star of the show when you cook for family or guests, but it is an appliance that gets to do the day to day cooking that is essential for a modern family. It is impossible to live without it in our busy lives. We heat the coffee in the morning in it, pop the popcorn before family move night and whip up a quick snack for the kids after school.

One day, you are getting ready to heat up some left overs for your family before they all shoot their separate ways and you hear a pop. You walk over to it and it looks like your old trusted friend is down for the count. You get by with dinner but you now realize how much you need a microwave. You go to a friend’s house and talk about your microwave issues with your friend and they show you their brand new over the range microwave.

You notice that your friend has her microwave over her range and you are amazed by all the convenience of the microwave being over the range gives you. You are dazzled by the power the vent has to remove smoke and grease to make sure you kitchen cabinets are clean and your entire house does not smell like yesterday’s bacon breakfast. You are also in love with the fact that your friends counter is clear to prepare meals. You think maybe this is the way to go but then you read that the over the range microwave can be costly, also your young children can’t reach and they love using the microwave to cook up there snacks. So you do what so many of your friends do when they have appliance related issues…. You go to your local Don’s Appliances, the appliance experts since 1971 in the Pittsburgh area.

You walk in to figure out which option is best for you and you suddenly realize looking at the beautiful showroom that maybe you have more options than you think. You could go with the old standard counter top microwave, a PEM31SFSS GE. It definitely suits your needs and if you want it you can purchase a hanging kit so you can place it under your cabinets. You ask the big question to your sales associate at Don’s Appliances… Countertop vs. over the range microwaves… Which one is best for me? In order to answer that the salesperson asks you some basic questions to get to you the right microwave for your needs.

1. What is your budget? An over the range microwave is in general a more expensive option, especially if you need installation. But remember, an over the range microwave is 2 appliances in one. It is a microwave as well as your ventilation, so keep that is mind.

2. How much do you cook and what do you cook? If you do a lot of high heat cooking you may need a more powerful vent than an over the range microwave can provide. The CFM (the measure of ventilation power on a hood) of an over the range microwave is at max 400 CFM where you can get ventilation of 1000 CFM on a hood. If you do have a powerful cooktop and you use it to the max, a hood and a separate microwave may be the way to go.

3. How wide of a cooktop to you have? Over the range microwaves are typically built to fit in a 30 inch space and only work over max a 30 inch cooktop, if you have a 36” or greater it is not advisable to use only a 30” vent to vent out the smoke, heat and grease.

4. Who uses your microwave? For example, if children will need on to use the microwave, having it over a range may make it very difficult to use.

5. How valuable would extra counter top space effect your food preparation? If extra food preparation space would help you in creating meals easier, safer, and faster, then an over the range microwave is definitely something you should look into.

6. Would you need to do cabinet modifications in order to make an over the range microwave work? You need to have cabinets that give you a 30 inch opening plus enough height to put a microwave where the bottom of the microwave and the top of the range is between 18-24 inches. If you require a lower profile over the range microwave in order to make that work you can purchase a Whirlpool over the range microwave that is only 10 inches tall such as the WML55011HS.

In the end, keep in mind that at Don’s Appliances we have the expertise to work with you in order to find the right microwave for you. Stop in to your nearest location and we will be happy to serve you!