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Pros and Cons of Over-the-Range Microwaves

Over-the-range microwave are mounted above the stove, acting as both a hood vent and a microwave. They are known for being extreme space savers, but they aren’t ideal for all kitchen designs. If you’re debating whether or not to mount your microwave, check out the pros and cons of over-the-range microwaves.

Pro: OTR Microwaves Double as Hood Vents

Over-the-range microwaves offer the cooking functions of a microwave and the venting functions of a traditional hood vent. Most over-the-range microwaves can be set to vent outside or circulate air through a filter back into the kitchen. The circulating option is useful in kitchens where venting outside is difficult, costly, or not an option at all.

Con: Wall-Mounted Microwaves Are Inconvenient for Shorter Users

Shorter users may have a harder time with over-the-range microwaves because they are mounted a minimum of 13 inches above the cook top. Not only does this make it difficult to cook food, but it can also make cleaning the microwave a task. If you have young children that need to use the microwave, they may need a stool to reach it until they grow taller.

Pro: Over-the-Range Microwaves Clear Counterspace

The main reason why many homeowners choose OTR microwaves is because they save counterspace. If you have a small kitchen with limited prep space, a mounted microwave can open vital square footage. Even if you have a decent amount of counterspace, a bulky microwave may not fit the look you want in your kitchen.

There is another space-saving alternative to consider, and that is mounting your microwave below your countertop. You can put certain microwaves in your lower cabinets, assuming you have the right microwave and the right cabinet structure. This keeps the microwave accessible to shorter users, and it clears counterspace like an OTR microwave.

Con: Hood Vents Are More Aesthetically Pleasing

A statement hood vent can quickly elevate a kitchen. This has become a staple of farmhouse kitchen designs, but it can be used in almost any style. An over-the-range microwave is not going to provide the same wow factor as a dramatic hood with accent tile behind it.

Pro: Over-the-Range Placement Keeps All Your Cooking in One Zone

The ideal kitchen layout has cooking appliances, the fridge, and the sink in a triangular formation. If your microwave is not above the stove, you may lose some of that highly sought-after triangle shape. With an over-the-range microwave, the stove and the microwave are in the same vertical placement. This defines the cooking area and may make the function of the kitchen better in the long run.

Con: It Can Be Difficult to Cook with a Microwave above the Stove

Some tall pots may not sit well under an OTR microwave, depending on how low the microwave sits. If you want a pasta arm above the stove, placement may be difficult or impossible with a microwave above. This is why it is important to consider the kitchen as a whole when planning your remodel. Every decision has a ripple effect for other elements in the kitchen.

Should I Get an Over-the-Range Microwaves for My Kitchen?

Now that you know the pros and cons of over-the-range microwaves, you can decide if you’d like one in your kitchen. The space-saving perks are undeniable, but that may not matter much in your kitchen. If you have room to put the microwave elsewhere and get a gorgeous statement hood vent, go for it! If maximizing prep space is your top priority, an OTR microwave may be perfect for you.

The talented kitchen designers here at O’Hanlon Kitchens would love to help you plan your kitchen remodel. We can recommend the best features, appliances, placements and design elements for your personal needs. Contact us at 443-285-0558 to schedule a custom kitchen design consultation.


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