9.50
/ 10
9.25
/ 10
8.88
/ 10
8.85
/ 10
8.70
/ 10
8.40
/ 10
8.08
/ 10

Power & Cooking

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Power (watts)
1050
1000
1000
1000
1100
1000
1000
Power Levels
10
10
10
10
9
10
9
Capacity (cubic feet)
1.8
1.8
2
2.1
1.8
1.7
1.7
Sensor Cook
Preset Cook Buttons
8
5
7
12
4
8
5
Convection
Warm Hold
Delay Start
Over-the-Range Microwave: We've spent hundreds of hours over the last seven years evaluating over the range microwaves to determine which ones give you the most convenience for your money.
Over the range microwaves preserve space and do the work of two appliances. While performing the normal cooking duties of a microwave, they also provide ventilation for your stovetop.

Vent & Hood

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Airflow (cubic feet per minute)
400
400
300
400
400
300
300
Fan Speeds
4
4
3
4
4
2
3
Cooktop Light Settings
2
3
2
2
2
2
3
Night Light
Auto-Start Vent
Grease Filter
Charcoal Filter
Internal Recirculating Vent
Hidden Vent

Design

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Color Options
2
1
3
1
1
3
1
Shelves & Racks
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
Child Lock
Sound On & Off
Turntable On & Off

Warranty & Support

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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
Warranty (labor)
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
Phone & Email Support
Live Chat

Dimensions

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Exterior Height (inches)
16
15
17 1/4
16 15/16
17 1/8
15 1/4
16 13/32
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

Over-the-Range Microwave

Why Buy an Over-the-Range Microwave?

The top-rated over the range microwave ovens do the work of a high-powered microwave and replace a traditional range hood, saving you counterspace along the way. There are countless options, but more than 200 hours of research led us to the Kenmore Elite 80373. We compiled information gathered through in-store research, online manuals and customer service on the most important features for these space-saving appliances and found the Kenmore Elite 80373 to have the best combination of the best features. This one is an expert multitasker with convection capability that allows you to bake, roast and broil. The vent works hard too, clearing more than 400 cubic feet of air per minute. It stands out as the best over the range microwave by having all the basic features and some added extras, too, including two racks, 10 power levels, four fan speeds and delay start.

Another Kenmore caught our eye for value. The Kenmore 80333 costs so little when compared to other units we reviewed, but it still has some very nice features that make it competitive, including sensor cooking options that remove a lot of the guesswork. There is no convection capability, but many people would not expect that from their microwave anyway. 

If you’re looking for a really big microwave, we can suggest the Samsung ME21F707MJT. It has the most cubic feet of all the over the range microwaves we reviewed. It also has great features beyond its size that can help you prepare food the way you want in large or small quantities.

Over the Range Microwaves: What We Evaluated, What We Found

We looked at a wide selection of over the range microwaves in a variety of price ranges. They can be priced anywhere from $200 to $900, and the upper range, in many cases, is justifiable because of the amazing capabilities of the machines. Many of the microwave oven models are designed to make you forget about your oven and stovetop, because these microwaves bake cakes, steam vegetables, and reheat or cook virtually anything. We looked at units that do the traditional duties of a microwave well and include a great ventilation system for your stovetop. We looked specifically at the following categories in our research:

Power & Cooking
When looking for a microwave, it’s important to keep power and wattage in mind. The best microwaves typically have higher wattage – around 1,000 watts or more. Higher wattage typically means faster cooking times. Power levels on higher-end microwaves generally range from 10 percent to 100 percent in increments of 10 and allow you to control and fine-tune the percent of time the magnetron tube cycles on and off during a cooking cycle. Higher levels between 80 and 100 percent are better for heating ground beef, fish and other food that responds well to high temperatures. Medium levels between 50 and 70 percent are typically better for casseroles, poultry, slow cooking, braising, roasting meat and reheating foods. Low levels between 20 and 30 percent are best for defrosting and simmering. The lowest level, 10 percent, is best for softening butter or chocolate, heating bread and keeping food warm for a small amount of time.

Most modern microwave ovens offer sensor cooking in one form or another. This means the appliance senses moisture to determine if your food is cooking properly and makes temperature adjustments to finish the job. Nicer microwaves tend to have more sensor preset cook buttons, which automatically adjust power levels and cooking times for specific foods at the touch of a button. These days most people are familiar with the Popcorn preset cook button found on most microwaves. Other common preset cook buttons include Veggies, Pizza, Beverage and Defrost.

Some newer over the range microwaves also perform the functions of a second convection oven, so you can bake, roast and broil right in the microwave. Many also offer a generous interior capacity that allows you to reheat a collection of plates at the same time. If leftovers are on the menu for your family, you won't have to form a line. You can all come to the table at the same time. To put size in perspective, microwaves with a capacity of 1.7 cubic feet or more can usually fit a 20-pound turkey.

Some of the microwaves we reviewed allow you to delay start times, meaning you can place the food in the microwave, focus on other things and have food ready at the time you want without having to be in the kitchen or even in the house. We do recommend monitoring your food since burning may occur without supervision. When preparing a meal, it often happens that one dish is ready way before the others. To keep it from getting cold before the rest of the food is done, you can use the Warm Hold setting, which allows you to keep food warm until you are ready to serve.

Vent & Hood
High-quality over the range microwave oven hoods offer great vent functions in addition to plenty of microwave features. A good vent has a strong airflow capacity; the best in our comparison can handle up to 400 cubic feet per minute. A quality vent offers multiple fan speeds, and many start automatically when they detect too much heat from the cooktop.

We also looked for over the range microwaves that hide the vents – or at least make them look sleek and attractive. We looked for these advanced features, as well as for common items like cavity lights, grease filters, charcoal filters and night lights when reviewing microwaves. Most over the range microwaves are capable of venting to the outdoors. However, this might mean you need to pay additional money for the venting parts. Most of the microwaves also use internal or recirculating vents to circulate the air in your kitchen.

Design
Some over the stove microwaves allow you to lock the controls so children cannot change the settings. This feature is also helpful when cleaning the microwave's surface so you don't change settings accidentally.

We looked for units that come in a variety of colors and attractive designs. Certain design elements, like multicolored displays, can also add to functionality. A particularly nice feature is the ability to turn the sound down or off so you don't have to deal with the loud beeping while you cook. Shelves or racks are valuable additions as they allow you to cook more than one dish at a time. A cooktop light is also standard and helps you see better when cooking on your stove. It also is helpful to be able to turn off the turntable if you are cooking a particularly heavy dish.

Warranty & Support
We looked for manufacturers that stand behind their microwaves with solid warranties and customer service. While it's unlikely you'll purchase a unit from the manufacturer itself, if there is any sign of trouble or you have a question, the original manufacturer should be a great source of information and should help you through its website, customer service representatives and warranties.

An over the range microwave oven can save you time, counter space and trouble by taking on the job of two appliances. The ones that do both jobs the best offer solid features across the board and look gorgeous in your kitchen.

Contributing Reviewer: Angie Parkinson