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Best over-the-range microwaves 2021: OTR microwaves for easy cooking

Best over-the-range microwaves 2021: OTR microwaves for easy cooking
(Image credit: Getty)

The best over-the-range microwaves are the kitchenware gadgets that keep on giving. Not only do they double up as a way to cook food or reheat leftovers, they also provide a built-in ventilation system. Unlike the best compact microwaves, an OTR microwave is fitted in above your range or cooktop to primarily offer an additional form of cooking whilst also being able to eliminate food odors, smoke, and steam at the same time. 

The best venting over-the-range microwaves have great fan speeds to extract any cooking smells and keep your kitchen space smelling fresh. Top-rated OTR microwaves have a fan speed of at least 300CFM, whilst a handful of the best OTR microwaves in our roundup have a fan speed of 400CFM. Capacity is another important aspect to look out for. In our over-the-range microwave reviews, one model has a capacity of up to 2.2 cubic feet. This is a huge amount of room to cook big dishes or full on meals for those that need to.  

Another factor that will help you determine the best venting over the range microwave for your space, is by looking at the different power settings and preset functions. These functions make cooking popular microwavable items such as vegetables, popcorn, or potatoes even easier than before. 

Pricewise, you can expect to pay anywhere between $200 to more than $700 for the best over the range microwaves. But as seen in our round up, it isn’t always the price that dictates the best from the worst microwaves. You should essentially think about what you will need from your microwave. If you will be using it religiously to cook or reheat, make sure it has the functions to do so. Whilst if you will be using it primarily for an extractor fan, make sure it has a good fan speed. Keep reading to discover the best over the range microwave for you. 


1.  LG LMHM2237ST: Best over-the-range microwave overall 

LG LMHM2237ST review

(Image credit: Home Depot)

LG LMHM2237ST

The LG LMHM2237ST has an impressive fan speed and well-designed features.

Capacity (cubic feet): 2.2 | Fan speed (CFM): 400 | Sensor cooking: Yes

Sensor cooking
Great fan speed
Pricey
Clock is hard to read

The LG LMHM2237ST over-the-range microwave has the largest capacity out of all the microwaves we reviewed at 2.2 cubic feet, making it great for large dishes and preparing family meals. Doubling up as an extractor fan, this over-the-range microwave from LG has the most impressive fan speed of all models we reviewed - a brilliant 400 CFM. 

The fan on the LG LMHM2237ST has four power levels to choose from and there are also three settings for the lights which shine down on the cooktop below. In terms of cooking features that this over-the-range microwave offers, you can expect sensor cooking to ensure your food isn’t overcooked. 

Other handy features include the energy-saving mode which turns off the display when not in use, and the controls on this over-the-range microwave are also placed along the bottom of the model, making them easy to access. The LG LMHM2237ST comes with a one-year warranty covering parts and labor, but a 10-year warranty on the microwave’s magnetron. 


2. GE JVM3160RFSS: Best over-the-range microwave for quick cook options 

GE JVM3160RFSS review

(Image credit: Home Depot)

GE JVM3160RFSS

The GE JVM3160RFSS over-the-range microwave has some well-designed features and a two-speed fan.

Capacity (cubic feet): 1.6 | Fan speed (CFM): 300 | Sensor cooking: No

 Turntable turns off 
 Good quick cook options  
Doesn’t have sensor cooking 
Short warranty  

The GE JVM3160RFSS over-the-range microwave is one of the more affordable options in our round up. For less than $300, you will benefit from a robust and modern-looking microwave that has a capacity of 1.6 cubic feet. 

In terms of features on offer with this microwave, there isn’t sensor cooking, however, there is a warm power setting which will be handy when you want to keep food warm but aren’t quite ready to eat just yet. There are also presets for popcorn, potatoes, and drinks. 

What’s good about the GE JVM3160RFSS is that you can choose between two different fan speeds and two light settings too. The warranty is also particularly impressive on this GE model. A one-year warranty covers the whole microwave, but there’s also a 10-year warranty on the magnetron too. 


Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF

(Image credit: Home Depot)

The Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF has an in-built rack so that you cook more than one thing at the same time.

Capacity (cubic feet): 1.7 | Fan speed (CFM): 300 | Sensor cooking: Yes

The Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF is a great over-the-range microwave that has a decent 1.7 cubic feet capacity and a smudge-proof finish so you won’t be left with fingerprints all over your microwave. 

This microwave has 1000 watts of power, which is pretty standard, but it also comes complete with a removable rack so that you cook more than one dish at once. The Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF also has ten cooking functions including preset buttons for things such as popcorn, softening, and veggies - and it benefits from sensor cooking too. 

A safety long is a handy extra and you’ll also have the ability to turn off the turntable. The fan on the Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF reaches a maximum CFM of 300 but some once your food has finished cooking, this microwave will continuously beep until you open the door or cancel the program. You also won’t be able to dim the light on the clock. 


4. ZLINE MWO-OTR-30: Best powerful over-the-range microwave  

ZLINE MWO-OTR-30 review

(Image credit: Home Depot)

ZLINE MWO-OTR-30

The ZLINE MWO-OTR-30 over-the-range microwave has the highest power wattage of all the models we reviewed.

Capacity (cubic feet): 1.5 | Fan speed (CFM): 300 | Sensor cooking: Yes

Powerful  
Sensor cooking  
Causes a fair amount of condensation 
Slow heat-up times 

The ZLINE MWO-OTR-30 over-the range microwave has an impressive wattage of 1500 - that’s the highest of all the models we reviewed but it is one of the more expensive microwaves we reviewed too. 

In terms of features on offer with this ZLINE microwave, there are presets for snacks, popcorn, and melting and you’ll also benefit from sensor cooking too. The extractor fan on this over-the-range microwave has a fan speed of 300 CFM and the interior is coated with a diamond-shaped reflective pattern to help cook food more evenly. 

What is a little disappointing about this microwave is that it only comes with a two-year parts warranty, which isn’t long considering the price of this model. 


5. Samsung ME16K3000AS: Best over-the-range microwave for affordability  

Samsung ME16K3000AS review

(Image credit: Home Depot)

Samsung ME16K3000AS

Samsung’s over-the-range microwave isn’t packed full of features, but it also doesn’t have a sky-high price point either.

Capacity (cubic feet): 1.6 | Fan speed (CFM): 300 | Sensor cooking: No

Affordable
Good warranty   
Not many features
You can’t turn off the turntable    

The Samsung ME16K3000AS is one of the cheaper over-the-range microwaves we’ve reviewed. It might not have lots of fancy features, but it still offers 1000 watts of cooking power and its fan has a maximum CFM of 300 which is good. 

There are 10 different cooking settings including the usuals like defrost, boil, and reheat. One element which is well-thought-out on this microwave is the position of the turntable which is flush with the bottom of the microwave. This is useful because you can easily slide dishes in and out. 

Where this microwave is lacking is the inability to switch off the turntable and there is no sensor cooking function either. But for what you pay, you are covered by a 10-year warranty on the magnetron, a one-year warranty on the parts, and an Eco Mode too. 


How much do over-the-range microwaves cost?

Over-the-range microwaves typically cost between $200 and $600. If you’re looking for a decent, no-frills device, expect to spend $150 to $250.

Inexpensive units
The less money you spend on a microwave, the fewer features you’ll get. At a minimum, look for a microwave that has a dishwasher-safe turntable and a nonstick interior for easy cleaning. We also recommend getting one that offers a 30-second button that lets you quickly add time to an existing countdown or start a short timer. Preset food buttons, such as for popcorn, are also convenient.

Expensive units
More expensive units usually have high-end features. These might include convection ovens for quick and balanced heating; a larger capacity; fingerprint resistance; nonstick interiors that are easy to clean; smartphone compatibility; sensor cooking, which scans your food to determine how thoroughly it's cooking and adjusts cooking times accordingly; and scan-to-cook technology, which lets you scan the barcode on frozen food packages with an app that automatically sets the correct cooking time for your food.

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
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 be featured 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.