The best over-the-range microwaves are a design innovation that saves you kitchen space while fitting in all the most useful of appliances. A microwave is still one of the fastest and most energy-efficient ways to cook, defrost, and heat-up foods and liquids -- and now it's one of the most space efficient too.
Going for an over-the-range microwave doesn't mean making sacrifices as these can compete with standard models for size, power and features. The major difference is that you may pay a little more for these compact powerhouses. That said, their specific nature also makes their demand less, so you may find some really great deals at sales times.
Crucially these not only work as microwaves but also as your over-oven exhaust fan, meaning they will suck up and spit out steam and odors from your cooking on the hob too.
Sizes of these microwaves generally range from 1.7 to 2.2 cubic feet while venting power ranges from 250 to 400 CFM. These features are all worth keeping in mind when you're deciding what you need and are willing to pay for.
You may also benefit from checking out the best range hoods and the best compact microwaves. Then, when you have your ideal over-the-range microwave be sure to check our guide on how to clean a microwave so it lasts for as long as possible too.
1. GE JVM3160RFSS: Best over-the-range microwave overall
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Over at BestBuy this model has an impressive 4.5/5 rating and can be seen in the sale often. On the positive side users say this has a great dimming light, is easy to setup and use, is backed by top customer service and quick cooking is helpful. Some negative reviews point to issues with the light being too dim and the build quality being average.
This 1000W GE JVM3160RFSS over-the-range microwave is a 1.6 cubic feet capacity model which comes in a sleek and minimal design with digital controls and attractive metallic finish. That, and the fact it comes in five different colors, should make this a top pick to pair with your current kitchen layout – enhancing the look of the room. But it will do so much more thanks to a 300CFM venting system.
This microwave, capable of cooking and defrosting with helpful auto settings, also uses two-fans to clear your kitchen when cooking on the hob. This works to remove smoke, steam and odors from your cooking space. It even comes with a removable charcoal filter and behind-the-door grille. All that should mean odors are wicked away by the charcoal while the grille makes sure your microwave is kept clean and as efficient as possible. Since the filter is in the front of the unit, it's easily removed by opening the door for quick access – meaning you should always be odor free in your kitchen and microwave.
Controls are made easy with quick and automatic features at the touch of a button. You even have the helpful option of turning the turntable on or off as you need. This can be ideal when cooking larger plates of food that may not need to be spun around when being cooked. You can also control the surface light, allowing you to check food or save power as needed.
The venting is external and there is an easy mount system which should all make installation and running of this model straightforward and effective. While the whole microwave gets a one year warranty, you also get a 10-year warranty on the magnetron.
- Read our GE JVM3160RFSS review
2. Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF: Best over-the-range microwave for making multiple meals
Amazon reviews put this at 4.3/5 stars with positive reviews talking about the low noise level, value for money and ease of overall setup and use. Negative reviews focus on poor packaging and the size not being exactly as hoped.
The Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF is a superb pick if you want to use your microwave as a home cooking hub, churning out lots of cooked meals at once. Thanks to 1000 watts of power you can cook meals very quickly, making this ideal for families that want to cook a few dishes back to back.
But the real appeal here is a built-in rack that allows you to actually cook more than one meal at a time in your microwave. While you will need to work out timings based on more items being in the microwave at once, with that 1000W of power you should still be cooking quickly even when this is full. All that said, there is a sensor built-in which is able to help with the detection of cooking allowing you to get perfectly cooked meals each time.
If you do want to cook a specific food then this microwave is very helpful thanks to a selection of preset buttons that let you tap and go. These include cooking veggies, softening food, cooking popcorn and more with ten functions in total. You can activate or stop the turntable making it ideal for whatever type of food you need to cook.
This model comes with a powerful 300 CFM fan meaning it should make short work of venting any cooking steam, odors or fumes from your kitchen as you cook on the hob below. It's tough to find negatives here but at a push, the clock can't be dimmed and the alarm beep is constant until you turn it off – but even that could be a positive if it motivates you.
- Read our Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF review
3. ZLINE MWO-OTR-30: Best over-the-range microwave for power
This has a 4.79/5 star rating on HomeOutletDirect where positives say it has great microwave functions, looks good and is well priced. Negative comments focus on popcorn not being cooked properly and a poor returns policy.
The ZLINE MWO-OTR-30 might have a name that makes your lips get in a twist but the cooking and venting features should set your mind at ease. First up is the power of this machine which packs in a far-better-than-most 1500 watts of juice meaning if you want pure cooking speed this is the model to go for.
That much power does come at a price though, so this is one of the more expensive microwave units you can buy. If you want the ultimate speed when cooking then you'll need to be prepared to pay a little more than most up front.
While this model comes with presents for food like vegetables, popcorn, snacks, melting and more, it also features a sensor. This will measure the humidity meaning you won't find this microwave overcooks food, despite having all that power – ideal if you're not sure on timings and want to let the microwave just work it out for you.
There is also a DiamondTech interior, as the company calls it, which creates a reflective heat system that ultimately should mean your food is all cooked more evenly. So no more removing of food that's hot around the edges but cold in the middle. It should also mean less need to stop halfway to stir your meals.
The fan on this model is also plenty powerful at 300 CFM which should make short work of odors, steam and smoke coming from the hob below. While that's great and the unit looks decent too, there is only a two-year parts warranty which isn't the best out there and is especially disappointing at this high price point.
- Read our ZLINE MWO-OTR-30 review
4. Samsung ME16K3000AS: Best over-the-range microwave for affordability
This has a decent 4.4/5 star rating over at BestBuy where positive reviews talk about ease of installation, an easy function control panel and good looks. Negative comments touch on the vent fan being noisy.
If you want to stick to a budget when buying your microwave but still want a model from a known brand with a good record for reliability and performance then the Samsung ME16K3000AS is ideal.
For one thing, this certainly looks like a premium microwave with all that brushed metal and those digital controls. Even the sleek metallic handle looks high-end and helps enhance any kitchen it sits in.
Despite being more affordable you still get the 300 CFM powerful fan that all the top end models pack in, meaning this will deal with odors, steam and smoke as capably as any over-the-range microwave out there.
When it comes to cooking, this punches well above its price point too thanks to a powerful 1000 watts of cooking grunt. There are also a plentiful 10 cooking settings which include boil, defrost, eco mode and reheat. This might not pack in some of the more unique features of pricier models but for covering off the basics – and most needs – this does a very good job.
Details like the turntable being flush with the bottom of the microwave for easier use help show this has been made by a high-end manufacturer. You also get the backing of that brand name in the form of a whopping 10-year warranty for the magnetron as well as a one-year warranty on parts.
So as long as you don't need features like sensor cooking, but want to save a few bucks, this is a great option for your next over-the-range microwave.
- Read our Samsung ME16K3000AS review
5. BLACK+DECKER EM044KB19 Over The Range Microwave: Best for extraction power
Over on Amazon this model had a 4.4/5 star rating with positive comments focused on the great uniform heating, large cooking capacity, easy installation and quiet running. Negative reviews seem to focus on manufacturing issues which result in returns on receipt.
The BLACK+DECKER EM044KB19 over-the-range microwave is a superb choice if you want maximum extraction power. Topping 400 CFM, this is the most powerful extraction unit on this list and is, in fact, one of the most powerful you can buy. That should mean this makes short work of pulling out any odors, steam or smoke from your hob and oven cooking below.
Continuing that focus on supporting the cooker below, this also packs in a powerful LED downlight which helps to illuminate the space as you're oven or hob cooking. It also has a clock with a kitchen timer which can be helpful for all kitchen jobs.
Getting down to the microwave itself, this is one of the larger models in this over-the-range class, with 1.9 cubic feet of capacity thanks to a 13.5-inch turntable. This can be turned on or off as needed, has a two-level rack for multi-dish cooking, and is backed by sensor cooking. So you should be able to cook most dishes with ease and without the worry of it over cooking. And this could otherwise be a reality since the microwave packs in a powerful 1000 watts of cooking power.
All that said, this does come with pre-programmed modes that allow for specific cooking needs to be met perfectly. This includes pizza, potato, popcorn, vegetables, bacon, frozen food, rice and more. You also have a 30-second express cook mode which is ideal if you're in a hurry.
Packing in that many premium features, and continuing with a high-end brushed metallic look, isn't cheap – as you might expect. But with a strong brand name and features to suit all needs, this certainly justifies that cost.
Today's best prices on the top over-the-range-microwaves
Best over-the-range-microwaves FAQ
How much do the best over-the-range microwaves cost?
Whatever your budget, you can find an over-the-range microwave for you. Prices range from $200 and $600. You can expect to pay between $150 and $250 if you’re looking for a device that does the job without breaking the bank.
You get what you pay for, so the budget models tend to be no-frills devices. Look out for options like a dishwasher-safe turntable to make cleaning fuss-free as a basic requirement. You may also want to opt for one with a 30-second button, handy for adding time to an existing countdown, or to warm food for shorter blasts. We recommend checking the preset buttons for specific food types like popcorn if you use these a lot.
The more expensive models come with premium features. If you’re cooking for a crowd, you may want to go for a device with a larger capacity. Other touches we love are nonstick interiors and fingerprint resistance, making your over-the-range microwave a breeze to clean. Premium models benefit from high-tech features. Examples include convection ovens for quick and balanced heating. Look out for sensor cooking, a nifty feature that assesses and adjusts your cooking time accordingly. The more expensive over-the-range microwaves come with smartphone compatibility and even scan-to-cook technology for ultimate convenience. This allows you to scan the barcode on frozen food packages with an app that automatically sets the correct cooking time for you.
How to choose the best over-the-range microwave for you
When it's time to pick the best over-the-range microwave you may want to keep a few facts and figures in mind to make sure you get the perfect model for your needs. Power and performance are worth thinking about as you may want a model that can cook your food the fastest or you may prefer something that uses less energy to save on bills. Either way it's the wattage figure that you need to look at when deciding on this point.
Features like an extractor are worth considering, since this is over your hob you will likely need to have the option to fan smells and smoke out of your kitchen. Look for the CFM figure to judge the power of this with a higher number meaning a faster fan speed. Most models will have this feature but if you find one that's a lot cheaper and seems like a good deal, be sure to check it does have an extractor feature. Some also have convection cooking capabilities, for oven-like results, so that's also worth having if you can include that in your price range.
Design can be important since this will likely be a big feature in your kitchen over the top of your oven, clearly in line of sight. Most are designed with this in mind but look into things like color and material, where some models may have various options to suit your kitchen style.
Warranty and support are also worth considering as these can denote a model that is going to last, where the warranty period is longer. Also, good support means you can have more peace of mind knowing that even if there is an issue – as there will be at some point with any tech – you're in good hands to get a fix.