We've been evaluating over-the-range microwaves for seven years and have invested hundreds of hours to find the best ones. The Kenmore 80333 is our top pick because it has a wide variety of features and lots of power. Its sensor cooking feature takes the guesswork out of choosing the appropriate cook times and temperatures for dishes. In addition, this microwave's interior has a special coating that is easy to wipe clean.
The Kenmore 80333 offers advanced features at a very reasonable price, including sensor cooking, lots of presets and plenty of choice for things like light and fan settings.
The Samsung ME16K3000AS includes some great features, like a long warranty and a nice selection of presets, all for a low price.
The LG LMV1762ST has a long warranty plus a few other standout features, including a shelf that doubles your cooking space and sensor cooking that takes the guesswork out of reheating leftovers.
The Kenmore 80333 really stands out for having more features than expected, especially when comparing it to other units in the same price range. For instance, it has sensor cooking so 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 can choose from foods like bacon, rice, casseroles or frozen dinners. 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." You just have to use the Warm & Hold button. 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. This also lacks a strong warranty on the magnetron – it just has the standard one year. The range hood is competitive. It moves 300 cubic feet of hot and smoky air per minute, which ties it for the best.
The Samsung ME16K3000AS has an outstanding warranty on the magnetron – the most important part of the microwave – and it still costs $65 below the average price for over-the-range units.
It is covered for 10 years, which is 10 times the warranty coverage of others we tested. We like that this one is available in three different colors: black, stainless steel and white.
There are four preset buttons: popcorn, potatoes, pizza and veggies. It doesn’t offer sensor cooking, which adjusts cooking time based on the amount of steam the food releases. A few other drawbacks include the inability to turn off the turntable or the sound. It can be nice to switch off the turntable when you have a larger tray so it doesn’t bang against the sides as it rotates. Also, there is no shelf to increase the cooking real estate. The microwave does have multiple settings for fan speeds and cooktop lighting, which is nice. The fan also moves up to 300 cubic feet of air, which ties for the most among the units we reviewed. That will go a long way in helping you keep smoke out of your kitchen while you’re cooking.
The LG LMV1762ST is one of only two over-the-range microwaves we considered that has 10 years of warranty coverage on its magnetron – the most expensive and most important part of a microwave.
The magnetron can be unpredictable, and if it goes that can mean buying a new microwave in some cases. A strong warranty means you don't have to worry about that for a long time. This microwave also makes your life easier by sensing the humidity coming off a dish you are reheating and adjusting cook times to accommodate. That means you don't have to guess on times or power levels because the microwave will figure all of that out for you. An included shelf means you can essentially double cooking space, which might come in handy in a big household.
The LG LMV1762ST is missing a few features we value. You can't turn off the sound or stop the turntable from spinning, which can be a nice option for cooking extra-large dishes. It also lacks warm hold, so you will need to take things out of the oven right away. This one also has fewer quick keys than many we compared for foods like pizza, potatoes and popcorn.
Most Color Options
The GE JVM3160RFSS microwave has more color options than any other model we reviewed. It easily matches your décor for a cohesive look throughout your kitchen.
This microwave has fewer presets than others but features the most common: popcorn, beverage and potato. It does have quick keys or buttons that start the microwave with one press. By pressing any number 1-6 the microwave automatically starts and runs for that number of minutes.
This microwave is missing sensor cooking which cooks food automatically based on the amount of steam coming from the food. This is found in more expensive microwaves and helps take the guess work out of cooking certain foods.
Why Trust Us?
Since 2010, we have spent hundreds of hours collecting information about what makes a good over-the-range microwave. We studied product manuals and videos, talked to product representatives, and spent time in home improvement stores learning about range hood and microwave combinations. We re-evaluate periodically to keep up with the latest design trends as well as to make sure the models we feature are still a good value for the investment.
As you look for an over-the-range microwave, you may notice some recent innovations. "We're beginning to see many over-the-range units with the ability to bake using radiant heat, allowing them to serve as small ovens," according to Ed Reitano, Pacific Kitchen & Home sales manager at Best Buy, which sells Insignia-brand microwaves.
However, our research indicates that folks don't often buy the more expensive microwaves with extras like the ability to bake. The bestsellers on Home Depot, Lowe's, Best Buy and Amazon averaged $214, while the over-range microwaves with convection cooking are priced at $400 to $850. Still, if you want more room to bake than your oven allows, especially around the holidays, it could be worth the 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. We looked for microwaves that have a lot of options for different kinds of dishes. Microwaves that offer any kind of one-touch cooking were preferable, as were the ones that offer sensor cooking. Our recommendations on the range hood part of this appliance come down to how much air the vent circulates and a few other convenience features.
How Much Do Over-the-Range Microwaves Cost?
Over-the-range microwaves typically cost between $100 and $500. If you’re looking for a decent, no-frills device, expect to spend $100 to $250.
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.
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 & 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.
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.
How Long Should My Over-the-Range Microwave Last?
Prolonging the life of whatever microwave you buy comes down to commonsense, said Richard Spencer, who has worked in the appliance repair business since the '60s and owns the Utah-based company Mark-A-Newt Appliance Specialists. Most microwaves make it only about a decade, but if you treat yours nice and buy one with good warranty coverage, it can last longer. He recommends finding one made by a well-known brand that repair shops are willing to work on and to make sure it comes with excellent warranty coverage, as microwaves can be a bit unpredictable. He's seen microwaves that cost thousands of dollars break down in their first few weeks.
Spencer also said preparing dishes that don't have much moisture can damage a microwave. Even microwavable popcorn is too dry in most cases. He recommends using a reusable glass or silicone popcorn bowl instead with a little oil. In addition, models with few moving parts typically require fewer repairs and have longer lives. You should also resist the urge to lean on the open door while looking at food so the hinges and other components last longer.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Power & Cooking||Price & Warranty||Vent & Hood||Design||Power (watts)||Power Levels||Capacity (cubic feet)||Preset Cook Buttons||Sensor Cook||Warm Hold||Quick Cook||Price||Warranty (magnetron)||Warranty (parts)||Warranty (labor)||Airflow (cubic feet per minute)||Fan Speeds||Cooktop Light Settings||Night Light||Auto-Start Vent||Color Options||Shelves & Racks||Sound On & Off||Turntable On & Off|
|Kenmore 80333||View Deal||4/5||5||2.9||5||5||1000||10||1.7||5||✓||✓||✓||269||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||300||2||2||✓||✓||3||1||✓||✓|
|LG LMV1762ST||View Deal||3.5/5||3.2||4.5||4.2||1.7||1000||10||1.7||4||✓||✖||✖||249||10 Years||1 Year||1 Year||300||2||1||✓||✓||1||1||✖||✖|
|GE JVM3160RFSS||View Deal||3.5/5||3.9||2.9||5||2.8||1000||10||1.6||3||✖||✓||✓||269||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||300||2||2||✓||✓||5||0||✖||✓|
|Samsung ME16K3000AS||View Deal||3.5/5||2.2||5||5||0.3||1000||10||1.6||4||✖||✖||✖||219||10 Years||1 Year||1 Year||300||2||2||✓||✓||1||0||✖||✖|
|KitchenAid UMV1160CS||3.5/5||1.9||4.5||3.8||3.7||1000||10||1.6||1||✖||✖||✖||159||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||220||2||1||✓||✓||3||0||✓||✓|
|Frigidaire LFMV1645TF||3/5||2.9||3||3.8||0.3||1000||9||1.6||3||✖||✖||✓||259||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||220||2||1||✓||✓||1||0||✖||✖|
|Whirlpool WMH31017HZ||View Deal||2.5/5||2.2||2.4||4.2||1.2||1000||10||1.7||3||✖||✖||✖||299||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||300||2||1||✓||✓||4||0||✖||✖|