Choosing the Perfect Over-the-Stove Microwave
Jul 19, 2023
As homeowners continuously aim to optimize space in their kitchens, one household appliance that has seen a rise in popularity is the over-the-stove microwave. By combining the functionality of a microwave and range hood into one, these microwaves are a practical and appealing solution for those seeking a minimalist aesthetic without sacrificing functionality. This article is a comprehensive guide to help you choose the perfect over-the-stove microwave.
Over-the-stove microwaves, also known as over-the-range (OTR) microwaves, not only maximize your kitchen space but also elevate its overall design. But before buying one, there are certain factors to consider to ensure you choose the best fit for your kitchen.
Space and Installation
An over-the-stove microwave requires precise measurements for seamless integration into your kitchen. The typical dimensions of an OTR microwave range from 29-30 inches wide, 16-18 inches high, and 15-16 inches deep. However, these are not standard and can vary based on your stove and cabinetry. Ensure to measure your space accurately before making a purchase.
Installation can be a bit tricky. While it is feasible for handy homeowners to do it themselves, hiring a professional is often recommended. It's essential to have a dedicated electrical circuit to handle the microwave's power requirements.
Power and Ventilation
The power of an over-the-stove microwave is measured in watts, with most models ranging from 600 to 1200 watts. The wattage impacts how quickly and evenly your food will cook. For an average household, a microwave between 800-1000 watts offers an optimal balance between power and efficiency.
OTR microwaves also function as range hoods, extracting smoke, steam, and cooking odors from your kitchen. Most models offer venting systems capable of moving 300-400 cubic feet of air per minute. This functionality is vital to keep your kitchen air clean and odor-free.
Features and Functionality
The best over-the-stove microwaves come with a range of advanced features. Some include convection cooking, which allows you to cook meals more evenly, and sensor cooking, which automatically adjusts cooking time based on the moisture level in the food.
Some models also have a removable rack, enabling you to cook multiple items simultaneously. More premium options might feature smart home connectivity, allowing you to control your microwave from your smartphone or through voice commands.
Price and Warranty
Price varies depending on brand, features, and size. Basic models start around $200, while higher-end models with more advanced features can cost up to $1000 or more. It’s important to note that spending more doesn't necessarily guarantee a better product. Be sure to do your research, read reviews, and consider your specific needs before making a decision.
Most manufacturers provide a warranty for their products, typically ranging from 1-10 years. A longer warranty period can give you peace of mind, as it covers any potential issues with the appliance.
Efficiency and Energy Consumption
Efficiency and energy consumption are other factors to consider when choosing an over-the-stove microwave. Typically, the more efficient the microwave, the less energy it consumes. Look for models with Energy Star ratings, which meet government standards for energy efficiency. Not only will this help you minimize your environmental footprint, but it can also lead to savings on your utility bills in the long run.
Ease of Use and Maintenance
User-friendly controls and easy maintenance are crucial for any household appliance. The best over-the-stove microwaves feature intuitive controls, making it easier for you to heat, defrost, or cook your favorite dishes. Some models come with a child lock feature, which prevents children from accidentally operating the microwave.
As for maintenance, over-the-stove microwaves usually come with an easy-to-clean interior surface and a removable grease or charcoal filter. Cleaning the microwave regularly can prolong its lifespan, ensuring it remains in top working condition for years to come.
Brand Reputation and Customer Reviews
Lastly, the reputation of the brand and reviews from other customers can give you a clearer picture of the microwave's performance and reliability. Brands known for their durability, excellent customer service, and quality products can be a safer choice. Reading reviews can also help you identify any common issues or unique benefits of specific models, giving you more insight before making your decision.
Over-the-range microwaves are the modern homeowner's answer to achieving more counter space without sacrificing kitchen efficiency. These versatile appliances serve double duty as a microwave and a dedicated range hood, offering an advanced ventilation system that promotes clean, filtered air within your cooking area. With the added benefits of evenly heating food, thanks to design features like the wire rack, cold spots in your meals can become a thing of the past.
These appliances are designed with convenience in mind. Imagine having all the capabilities of a microwave, combined with the ability to save space and improve your kitchen's airflow. Don't let the initial complexity of installation, including managing the power cord and using a mounting template, deter you. Once installed, an over-the-range microwave is an investment that pays off in functionality and aesthetics.
As supported by various consumer reports, an over-the-range microwave may require a little more money upfront, but its benefits certainly outweigh this initial cost. For those who value efficiency, space-saving, and the combined utility of a microwave and a range hood, the choice is clear. An over-the-range microwave is a worthwhile addition to any modern kitchen. So, say goodbye to clutter and hello to a streamlined, functional kitchen space.