Over the range microwave without cabinet might look a little weird at first. It is certainly a new idea that may work wonders, but it also requires a bit of attention. Simply put, a classic microwave will eat some valuable space on the countertop. You could use that space for storage, food preparation, or even various decorations.
On the other hand, an over the range microwave will not eat all that space. In fact, they are usually installed under the cabinetry. They are not on your countertop, but they can go above the range of the cooktop. In other words, they are supposed to replace the range hood. Just like you have probably guessed already, they come with a few extra features too, hence the plethora of over the range microwave reviews.
So, what should you know about over the range microwaves before making a final decision?
Our Picks of Best 5 Over The Range Microwaves Without Cabinets
GE’s top rated over the range microwave without cabinet measures around 29.8×16.4×15.8 inches. It can be installed in two different ways. It does not come with a cabinet, but you can fit it inside one. However, as you are looking for microwaves without cabinets, you can also mount it individually. The installation makes a good DIY project.
In terms of power, you have 950 watts. It is more powerful than average and will cook your food in no time. The venting system is quite powerful for a microwave – 300 CFM. There are two different settings. It will remove odors, steam and smoke. Other than that, the microwave is only available in a sleek black design.
Features and controls are just as important. The control panel is intuitive and straightforward. It is located on the right side of the unit. You can defrost things, but also opt for automatic cooking. The automatic cooking feature takes time to get used to. However, you can also set everything manually for more control.
You have a few other extras over the control panel. You have an option for the turntable, as well as one for the light. The fan is accessible through the same panel, not to mention the timer. As for the cooking modes, there are five presets. Some of them are a bit unusual for a small over the range microwave – popcorn, beverage, potato, reheat and defrost.
If you are after convenience and relatively basic features, this over the range microwave without cabinet is excellent. It is good value for money.
Black+Decker does not fool around when it comes to quality and efficiency. Its best rated over the range microwave low profile features not less than 1,000 watts of power. It is way above average and can cook food at a much faster rate. At the same time, you have 10 different levels in terms of power.
You can boil, reheat and defrost food. You can also opt for quick start features – ideal when you are on the go and cannot be bothered with specific settings. The quick start features go anywhere between 30 seconds and six minutes.
The control panel is available over the right size. You have a nice LED display, press and go features for speed, modern controls and a safety lock. There are a few presets as well, whether you want to prepare some popcorn, reheat something, do a baked potato or come up with a hot beverage.
Finally, when it comes to range hood features, you have a quality venting system. It will easily eliminate steam, cooking odors and smoke. You have an incandescent light as well, which provides plenty of light for the cooking area.
Looking for great power, durability and convenient modes and presets? This might be the ideal microwave then – excellent for those who rely on microwaves for most of their food.
This model is probably GE’s most powerful over the range microwave without cabinet. In order to combat the competition, GE has also released a super powerful unit – 1,000 watts of power. It can handle your food in no time.
The control panel is pretty intuitive, even if you have never used a microwave before. You have a few presets, whether you are after some popcorn, a hot beverage or perhaps a baked potato. You can also reheat food.
Just like other models from GE, this one comes with a few extras as well. You have full control over the turntable, not to mention the timer. All the range hood features – such as the venting system or lighting the cooking area – can be controlled through the same panel.
There are 10 levels of power. Also, there are two different options for the venting system. Altogether, it features 300 CFM. It is not as powerful as a high-end range hood, but it is more than enough for most of your cooking needs.
Whether you use the microwave a lot or you have a large family, the impressive power and multiple settings will make this option a suitable choice.
Black+Decker has created a powerful over the range microwave with 1,000 watts of cooking power. Whether you want to defrost something, reheat your leftovers or boil a soup, you have 10 different power levels.
There are more quick start options too. You can do it for half a minute, as well as a minute or up to six minutes. There are a few different programs for the most common food, including one for popcorn and another one for baked potatoes.
Worried about removing the range hood? Forget about it. This microwave features a venting system that clears out all the cooking odors, smoke and steam. At the same time, it has a lighting feature for the cooking area, just like your range hood.
Finally, it is worth noting the safety lock feature to prevent kids from accidentally using it – in case they can actually reach it. You also have all the mounting over the range microwave installation hardware in the package, plus a modern and sleek white finish.
Black+Decker’s over the range microwave without cabinet is a mix of a powerful microwave and a solid range hood, making it suitable for most kitchens.
Made of stainless steel and featuring a sleek appearance, Sharp’s over the range microwave comes with 1,000 watts of power. It is above average, but it seems to become a standard when it comes to over the range alternatives.
The turntable is quite large – 14.1 inches. It adds to the overall capacity – 1.5 cubic feet. It is also versatile and can handle larger food. Altogether, the unit measures about 19x16x15 inches. All the mounting hardware is included in the package.
There are multiple sensor settings. You have 11 smart settings, as well as some presets for popular food, such as popcorn. The control panel is extremely simple and may take a bit to get used to it – sleek and without too many buttons.
Other than that, you will love the automatic touch panel. Just like you have probably guessed already, it has all the range hood features, including venting and lighting.
In the end, Sharp’s over the range microwave is likely to become a focal point. It has the right features for both single individuals and families, but it also looks better than most of its competition.
Benefits Of Using An Over The Range Microwave Without Cabinet
Space is the most important consideration when interested in an over the range microwave. Practically, you can clear at least 200 square inches off your countertop. A classic microwave will simply sit there scream for something. It feels like nothing and it does not match with anything around it. This is the preferred option for most people, yet everyone can agree there are much better solutions.
An over the range microwave looks like it has a purpose. It clears all that space and it feels like it actually belongs there. Whether you need that space for food preparation, storage, some decorative items or you simply want your kitchen to look better, the over the range alternative is a much more efficient idea for kitchens.
How About Range Hood?
Now, you probably ask yourself – how about my range hood? How are you going to clear all that smoke and heat out? What about the cooking smells? Over the range microwaves come with a bunch of extra features to compensate for their location. You practically get rid of the range hood, so the microwave will take its tasks over. It is a two in one alternative.
Most of these microwaves come with venting options. There are different options out there. Some of them rely on external venting. In other words, the smoke, steam and odors are sent outside through an exhaust vent. On the other hand, you can also find recirculating features, which practically take air through a charcoal filter before resending it back into the kitchen – clean, of course.
Another common feature in ranges that you can also find in over the range microwaves is the light. Press a button and the light will kick in. It is not impressive, but it is suitable for small things, such as cooking late at night – pretty much the same intensity you would get from a range hood. Finally, an over the range microwave without cabinet tends to be quite compact and lightweight due to its location.
Now that you understand the benefits of over the range microwaves, what kind of features do you need to look for when about to buy one? What are the most important considerations in the process?
Venting power is never to be overlooked. Your microwave doubles as a range hood, so you want to ensure it can actually perform its jobs as well. The solution is excellent for small kitchens. Large kitchens may also benefit from this alternative, especially if you are not a professional chef. A professional chef will always choose the hood though – it can easily go over 450 CFM in terms of venting.
An over the range microwave will easily do about 300 CFM too. It is great for occasional (or even daily) cooking, as long as you do not plan to spend four hours a day in the kitchen. Bottom line, opt for more venting power. Also, consider the venting option – is the smoke going out or is it actually recirculated after being cleaned?
While this is not necessarily related to the actual microwave, make sure you install it at the optimal height. If you are short or you want your kid to heat their porridge, they may spill it over them if the microwave is installed at the wrong height. On the other hand, tall people will love not having to bend over whenever they use it.
The lighting relates to taking over the function of a range hood. Sure, it is irrelevant if you never use the light, but then, there are times when you only need a dim light, rather than your full kitchen lighting on. Make sure you have this option and the whole cooking experience will be more convenient.
The power depends on how fast you want things cooked. Most over the range microwaves come with about 800/900 watts of power. It is more than enough for everyday tasks. More power will provide quicker results.
Consider the extra settings and presets. For example, you might want to defrost something or perhaps keep it warm. The more presets you have, the better – just a bit of extra convenience.
Top Brands Of Over The Range Microwave
Choosing the best over the range microwave can be both easy and challenging. It is easy because the industry is not that developed. Most microwaves out there are suitable for counters. Therefore, your options are not that diversified, so there is not too much research to do. It is also challenging from the same point of view – not too many solutions.
GE seems to be one of the top players on the market. It is quite innovative and seems to dominate these days. However, Samsung is not to be overlooked either. With a few over the range microwaves in its segment, it pushes hard to dominate the competition, so you will get a few nice options.
There are a few other options worth considering, such as Sharp, Black+Decker, Frigidaire and Kenmore Elite.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are over the range microwaves vented?
There are two venting possibilities. An external venting solution will send the smoke, steam and odors outside through a vent. However, you can also get a recirculating unit, which sucks the air in, cleans it and releases it back into your kitchen.
Do over the range microwaves come with brackets?
Most manufacturers these days include mounting hardware in the package. Practically, you will get all the mounting hardware, such as screws, mounting brackets and perhaps an exhaust adapter. Installation instructions are also included for a DIY project, yet the procedure is pretty straightforward.
Do microwaves need space around them?
Proper ventilation is a main necessity for microwaves, especially for those built into cabinetry. Even if you get a counter unit or over the range microwave without cabinet, you still need a bit of space around it.
How far do over the range microwaves stick out?
It depends on how far you install them. Most of them require at least 30 inches above the range. Consider the manufacturer’s requirements, as well as the size of your pots. If the microwave is too close, the bottom could get quite hot.
Are over the range microwaves worth the change?
Over the range microwaves are suitable if your kitchen space is limited, you want a different look or you need the counter space for other appliances. The relatively built in appearance will make your kitchen stand out too.
Can you install an over the range microwave without cabinet?
Absolutely. Over the range microwaves without cabinets will come with all the mounting hardware. They come with brackets, which go into the wall and have a bit of support, so they will not slide out. The installation is usually a good DIY project if you are into this type of thing.
If the brand you bought from did not provide the bracket, do not panic or worry as amazon is selling the over the range microwave shelf.
Over the range microwave seems to take over the market. There are more reasons for its popularity. They can save space, they look better and they remove the necessity of buying a range hood – you get two appliances in one.
Choosing the best over the range microwave without cabinet will obviously take a bit of effort. There are more options out there and each of them comes with similar features. Whether it is the power, the overall design or the preset modes, make sure you make this decision with your personal needs in mind and you will not regret it.
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