Best Over-the-Range Microwaves of 2018

Angela Parkinson ·
Updated
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We've been evaluating over-the-range microwaves for seven years and have invested hundreds of hours in finding the best one for the most people. We singled out the Kenmore Elite 80373 for its wide range of capabilities and high power. This one has the highest power of those we compared – 1050 watts – and sensor cooking that removes the guesswork from using your microwave. It also has convection capabilities, which basically makes it like a second oven.

Best Overall

Kenmore Elite 80373

The Kenmore Elite 80373 does the job of a microwave and range hood like the others, but it also takes on a third role – that of an oven – with its convection capabilities.
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Best Large Capacity

Samsung ME21F707MJT

This microwave oven is the largest we compared, so it’s a great choice if you have a bigger household to feed, and it has controls along the bottom that make settings easy to access and change.
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Best Value

Kenmore 80333

Kenmore 80333 is not the very best, but it is the best value. It costs the least among those we compared, and it still manages to offer some nice features.

Our Test Results

Product
Price
Overall Rating
9.5
9.3
8.9
8.8
8.7
8.4
8.1
Power & Cooking
10
8.8
8
8
8
7.8
6.5
Vent & Hood
9.8
10
9.5
9.8
9.8
9.5
9.8
Design
9.5
8.8
9.3
8.8
8.8
9.3
8.8
Warranty & Support
6.8
10
9.8
9.8
8.3
6
8
Night Light
Cooktop Light Settings
2
3
2
2
2
2
3
Auto-Start Vent
Fan Speeds
4
4
3
4
4
2
3
Charcoal Filter
Internal Recirculating Vent
Airflow (cubic feet per minute)
400
400
300
400
400
300
300
Hidden Vent
Grease Filter
Child Lock
Turntable On & Off
Color Options
2
1
3
1
1
3
1
Shelves & Racks
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
Sound On & Off
N/A
Exterior Width (inches)
29 7/8
29 8/9
30
29 13/16
29 15/16
29 7/8
20 15/16
Exterior Depth (inches)
17 5/9
17 1/9
16 1/4
18
18 1/2
16 13/32
15 1/32
Exterior Height (inches)
16
15
17 1/4
16 15/16
17 1/8
15 1/4
16 13/32
Live Chat
N/A
N/A
Warranty (labor)
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
Phone & Email Support
Warranty (magnetron)
5 Years
10 Years
10 Years
10 Years
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
Warranty (parts)
1 Year
3 Years
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
Preset Cook Buttons
8
5
7
12
4
8
5
Capacity (cubic feet)
1.8
1.8
2
2.1
1.8
1.7
1.7
Power Levels
10
10
10
10
9
10
9
Power (watts)
1050
1000
1000
1000
1100
1000
1000
Sensor Cook
Delay Start
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Convection
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Warm Hold
N/A
Best Overall

Kenmore Elite 80373

The Kenmore Elite 80373 has the most wattage of any model we reviewed, so it can quickly prepare your food. The wattage alone would not be enough to make it the best over-the-range microwave, but its combination of features is.
This Kenmore model is not the only competing unit to offer convection cooking, but it is one of only a few, and that feature makes it possible to use this as a second oven. The best microwaves have offered sensor cooking and preset options for a while now, and all of the ones we compared offer both, but some offer more presets than others. The 80373 has eight presets, which is more than most, and that makes it easy to prepare the dishes most commonly made in a microwave. The sensor cooking capabilities detect humidity levels to check if the food is cooked thoroughly, adjusting the cook time accordingly. Its integrated hood is excellent, clearing 400 cubic feet of air per minute. That ties it for the most air movement among all the models we compared.
Pros
  • It has convection so you can bake with it.
  • It senses humidity levels so you can optimize cooking times.
  • The range hood moves 400 cubic feet of air per minute.
Cons
  • There are microwaves with more power levels.
  • This is not the biggest microwave we reviewed.
  • There are range hoods with more cooktop light settings.
$759.00Amazon
Best Large Capacity

Samsung ME21F707MJT

One of the reasons you get an over-the-range microwave is its potential to save counter space, but that doesn't mean you want the appliance itself to be small. The Samsung ME21F707MJT offers the most cubic footage of all the units we looked at.
It can be a great advantage for a larger family. You have the option of cooking full-sized casseroles or a whole chicken up to 4 pounds. This is not a model that offers convection cooking, so that will feel like a letdown if you are used to using your microwave for baking. But for many folks, that is still considered an extra. This model offers sensor cooking that will adjust cooking times based on how much moisture is left in the food. This can be a great help for reheating leftovers. The hood has some smart features too. It ties for clearing the most cubic feet of air per minute among the models we compared. It will even turn itself on if it senses too much heat, steam or smoke in the air. Even the placement of the controls is smart: They are along the bottom so you don't have to reach as far to get the settings you need.
Pros
  • This large appliance will be great for big families.
  • Having the controls along the bottom puts everything within easy reach.
  • This has the longest warranty of the models we reviewed.
Cons
  • The lack of convection means you can't bake with it.
  • There is no delay-start feature.
  • There is just one color, so if it doesn't fit your kitchen motif, this will not be the right model.
$329.99Best Buy
Best Value

Kenmore 80333

The Kenmore 80333 costs a lot less than the front-runners but still offers the most important features.
You don’t get convection capabilities with this model, but with sensor cooking the microwave can essentially evaluate moisture levels for you, adjusting cooking times so food gets heated but not overcooked. There are even some specific settings for leftovers. You get a cooking rack that essentially doubles your cooking space. That will come in very handy for bigger families or when you entertain. This microwave has a keep warm feature that maintains food at a good temperature for a while after the "ding." There is no delay-start function, and that is less than ideal for busy families. With delay-start, you could have someone throw in a casserole dish in the afternoon and then come home to a fully cooked meal later. The range hood that goes with this microwave is designed to sense hot and smoky air in the kitchen and to automatically clean the air.
Pros
  • The price is economical.
  • It comes in three colors, and one is sure to fit into your décor.
  • Sensor cooking takes the guesswork out of reheating leftovers.
Cons
  • The lack of convection means you will not be able to bake with it.
  • It does not offer delayed start.
  • Other range hoods move more air.

Why Trust Us? 

Since 2010, we have spent hundreds of hours collecting information about what makes a good over-the-range microwave. We spent a fair amount of time studying product manuals and videos. We have also talked with product representatives and spent time in home improvement stores learning about what goes into a quality range hood and microwave combination. We have re-evaluated periodically to keep up with the latest trends in the design of this appliance and to make sure you are getting as much value as possible out of your investment. 

How We Researched  

We have created comparison charts over the years to track the details of the best over-the-range microwaves and get a clear picture of which ones are the best bet for your money. There is a lot to consider, since these essentially give you two appliances in one. To assess the quality of the microwave, we evaluated factors such as wattage, capacity and capabilities (including convection cooking). Our recommendations on the range hood part of this appliance come down to the cubic feet of air the vent circulates and a few other convenience features.

Choosing an Over-the-Range Microwave 

Power & Cooking
When you turn to the microwave instead of the oven, you are likely in a hurry – so the ability to cook food quickly is important in this appliance. We looked at each unit's ability to cook a lot of food quickly by evaluating total wattage, capacity, convection capabilities and other cooking features.

Vent & Hood
One of the best things about these units is that they combine cooking capabilities with a vent hood to control smoke from the oven. This is not only space-saving but practical. We looked for the models that move air the fastest and provide convenient features such as night lights and automatic venting.

Design
Since this is an appliance that will feature prominently in your kitchen design, you will want something that looks good and has a sensible design. Having good options for colors, shelving configurations, child locks and other features can add convenience.

Warranty & Support
We favor units that come with long and strong warranties so your investment comes with the proper protection. We also like the manufacturers that stand by their microwaves with excellent customer support that is easy to access.