Best Over The Range Microwaves 2018 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Although microwaves have been a convenient appliance to keep on our kitchen’s countertops, they have their set of disadvantages. One is that they are space-eaters in the kitchen.
This has led to the concept of over-the-range (OTR) microwave ovens, one that any homeowner and cooking enthusiast should consider given its space-saving advantage coupled with its aesthetics and overall cooking efficiency.
However, even with the advantage that OTR microwaves present, you should still be cautious about choosing the best over the range microwave 2018.
Different brands have varying advantages as well as disadvantages. From basic features such as its power and size to more advanced ones like its sensors, we will help you decide which of the 5 brands listed below fits your interests the most. Check out the reviews below!
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
What are Over-the-Range Microwaves?
OTR microwaves are essentially the same as standard microwaves, but instead of cluttering your space, it is mounted on the top of your stove. This gives it an advantage as it saves a lot of space, especially for smaller kitchens.
Another characteristic of OTR microwaves is its duality in its role in your kitchen, as they can serve as a range hood for your stove top, as well. Although it may not be as effective as a typical range hood, an OTR may get the job done depending on your standards. It’s also bigger than a counter-top microwave, giving it an edge in terms of capacity.
Compared with other microwaves, an OTR microwave is more expensive than a standard one but is cheaper compared to built-ins. Although some OTR microwaves are installed as built-ins, built-in microwaves are not specifically featured with the over-the-range function as it is designed to be installed in cabinets, walls, and any place of your liking.
OTR microwaves cost between $190 to over $1,000. With a capacity that varies from under 1 to 2 cubic feet, these microwaves operate between 6001,200 watts (OTR’s are designed to operate more efficiently at 1,000 watts for speed in heating).
This gives you an option to consider OTRs more as it caters to not just smaller kitchens but to faster cooking process and heating as well.
The installation process of OTR microwaves is well-studied by its developers and engineers to avoid any electrical circuit malfunction. These microwaves are usually wired into the wall, avoiding any hanging wires that may jut out and pose a danger in the household.
So when buying and installing an OTR microwave, it is advised that you seek professional help as the wirings can be tricky to install. OTR microwave installation tutorials are available online should you decide to install one yourself.
Watch how an OTR microwave is installed in this video.
More Features to Consider
Besides the pricing and power, there are other features to consider when choosing the best over the range microwave.
Due to continuous innovations by a variety of companies, microwaves have been engineered to tackle broader areas that cater to your everyday cooking experience. It should be noted that you should be aware of these features and functions before making a final decision on what to buy.
Size and Capacity
As previously stated, over-the-range microwaves are not space-eaters like countertop microwaves, but it’s also worth noting that even though you plan to hang it above your stove, the size and capacity of your microwave still matter.
One of the reasons to consider, as with any other kitchen appliance, is whether it suits your lifestyle or not.
Are you living alone in a small apartment and you don’t need a big microwave? Then maybe consider getting the smallest. If you belong to a large extended family, then maybe it’s best to get the largest size to heat big portions in one go.
Buying a microwave is just like buying a cellphone; you don’t buy a new one every week (or month even) so it’s advisable to think about its efficiency and it suits your lifestyle in the long run to save money.
Microwave sizes are usually measured in cubic feet. For more information on size and capacity, please refer to this link.
Accessories and Aesthetics
Although you may think of this as optional, it is always worth your time to check into the design and overall appearance of the OTR microwave that you will buy.
Would you like it to stand out in your kitchen? Then maybe go for a lighter, more unique color. Or maybe you wish for your microwave to blend in with the kitchen exterior? Or perhaps match it with your stove?
It’s worth it if you go the extra effort to prepare and plan how your new OTR microwave fits in with your kitchen exterior.
Meanwhile, it’s also good to look into the added accessories that you will buy. Should there be extra add-ons like trays, racks, and other tools that enhance your cooking prowess? Then that’s always a big bonus.
The wattage of your microwave corresponds to the power and speed of its operation. Since most of us want fast-heating microwaves, you should tend to look for the higher wattage. It’s advisable that you choose a wattage that goes around the 1,000-watt mark for fast and efficient heating.
Sensors mainly boost an OTR microwave’s heating accuracy for the best results. The sensors present in the microwave adjust the power supply accordingly so that the moisture coming from your food will match the necessary heat supply.
These sensors are used mainly as a device that assists other functions as it gives an indicator on the condition of the microwave’s humidity.
There is a wide array of functions present in all sorts of microwaves that you may want to look further. Some notable ones are:
- Chaos defrost: A mechanism that reduces defrosting time.
- Multiple-Sequence cooking: A coordinated adjustment of heat supply that enables you to start from defrosting to actual cooking.
- Preset Programs: Similar to the ones in an induction stove, these programs allow you to automatically set a function that is best suited for your dish.
- Convection: Spreads heating more evenly for better cooking results.
For a more detailed and fundamental tutorial on a microwave’s functions and technology, kindly refer to this video.
The 5 Best Over The Range Microwaves for 2018
The GE JVM3160RFSS is a heavy duty microwave that boasts a 1.6-cubic-feet capacity and a 62-pound weight that is paired with an impressive 1,000-watt power fit for cooking big portions fast. This OTR microwave is also backed by a 10-year warranty on the main components.
It boasts a set of features such as two-speed, 300 CFM venting system that removes smoke, steam, and even unwanted odors. It also comes with an internal function that allows you to operate the turntables.
Lastly, it comes with a function where you can choose to set or manually set the time for defrosting automatically.
- Good functions that allow versatile, fuss-free cooking
- Has a good capacity and wattage
- Comes with a long warranty plan
- Fairly simple to use
- Exterior may not be the most eye-catching or sleek design
- May have issues with its glass door’s and handle’s durability
- Push buttons need to be easier to read
The Sharp R-1211’s main features are its 1,100-watt operation power with 11 levels. This allows the Sharp R-1211 to have a strong power supply that you can adjust depending on the need.
This is further enhanced by 8 instant action keys that enhance cooking methods for better overall results. This also enables you to avoid going through the pain of mixing functions and playing the guessing game.
Its size is 1.5 cubic feet with a 14-1/8-inch turntable that allows for even heating. The Sharp R1211 also features a convenient moisture sensor that enables up to 4 cooking sequences to limit the hassle of operating this OTR microwave oven.
It also has an auto-defrost mechanism to go along with a convenient timer and touch-key control panel. It comes with a limited 1-year warranty.
- Superior technology offers a wide range of features that boost cooking methods for the best results
- Very strong wattage to go along with versatile power levels
- Wide turntable
- Cooking sequences further enhances its efficiency
- Very short warranty period
- May be mishandled especially in terms of its heating feature, could cause overheating
- Fuses may short out if not handled properly
The LGLMV2031ST has a nice stainless steel finish to it that gives it a sleek, minimalistic look that should fit any kitchen exterior. It features the biggest surface area of an OTR microwave’s interior at 2.0 cubic feet, giving it an advantage in terms of cooking big portions.
The LGLMV2031ST also operates at 1,000 watts enabling it for fast heating. To add to its sleek design, its control panel is entirely touchpad which only requires minimal force upon operating. It is also coupled with a WideView exterior design.
It also features an efficient vent system that boasts a charcoal filter. This enables it to operate quietly when paired with the Quiet Power ventilation feature.
- Large interior, capable of accommodating the largest of meals
- Good wattage that’s fit for fast and efficient heating
- Great exterior and versatile design that can blend in with any kitchen household
- The touchpad is easy to operate as it is touch-sensitive which requires only a minimal amount of force.
- Quiet Power Vent system results in very minimal noise
- Interior is shaded in gray, blurs vision towards the food due to bad lighting
- Handles may be prone to breaking
- Has a tiny and heavily tinted window
The Frigidaire MWV150KW OTR microwave oven covers 1.5 cubic feet in capacity. It comes with a 14-inch diameter glass turntable which can accommodate large plates.
This OTR microwave also comes with easy-to-touch control buttons that help you avoid the pain when it comes to touching so many buttons just to get a function going.
To further increase its efficiency, it is designed to have superior sensor cooking options that adjust power levels for a better cooking experience. This microwave oven also functions as a range hood that has a two-speed ventilation system.
- Sensor cooking options are great for cooking versatility
- Fairly light at 52 pounds but still maintains a good capacity at 1.5 cubic feet
- Large turntable
- Efficient control buttons
- Capable as a range hood substitute
- Not the best in terms of heating power
- Doesn’t stand out much regarding its cooking features
- Weak lighting
- Might need to slam the door shut, might not be durable long-term
The Samsung ME16H702SEB presents itself in a sleek, classy design for an over-the-range microwave with its matte-black finish. Its features are also on par with its overall aesthetics, as it has an efficient 300 CFM ventilation system that removes unwanted odors upon heating through a charcoal filter.
An Eco Mode button can be used for power saving, while a cooktop light matched with a digital LED display enables you to view your food with ease. The microwave oven has a 1.6 cubic feet capacity and has a 1,000-watt power.
It also has a two-stage program cooking function to go along with 10 power levels and an efficient kitchen timer.
- Enables great vision on the interior due to its incandescent cooktop light
- LED display enhances ease in reading
- Has a power saving mechanism
- 300 CFM ventilation system creates an odor-free interior
- Great overall design
- Ventilation fan may be susceptible to breaking
- Fan may be too noisy and irritable
- Push buttons are quite difficult to operate
With all five products reviewed, it is important to note that each product has its set of pros and cons and that your choice mainly depends on the life you lead and the standards you have. But by sheer comparison via aesthetics, power, versatility, and overall technology, it is down to either LGLMV2031ST vs. the Sharp R2-1211, as these two products boast features that further enhance a typical microwave’s function.
But due to the incredible 1,100-watt power, large 14-inch diameter turntable, and most of all, the staggering amount of features it has such as 8 instant keys and a 4-sequence cooking mechanism, the Sharp R2-1211 gets the edge here. Of course, if you’re looking for a bigger OTR microwave with simpler mechanisms, then the LGMV2031ST’s 2cubic-feet interior is the way to go. Remember, it’s only a matter of preference!