The best over-the-range microwaves save you precious space in the kitchen because they can be installed over your stove. So while they aren’t quite as small as the best compact microwaves, a good OTR microwave frees up countertop space that you could fill with another hard-working kitchen appliance - or simply enjoy more room for food prep. Over-the-range microwaves aren’t portable, so you can’t move them around so easily. However, they do have integrated exhaust fans to help eradicate smoke, cooking smells and steam.
The top venting over-the-range microwaves therefore take the place of a range hood, making them versatile appliances to have in your kitchen. When choosing the best over-the-range microwave for you, consider the capacity as well as the fan speed. Most standard OTR microwaves have a fan speed of 250 to 300 CFM, while the top-rated models reach up to 400 CFM. The average capacity ranges from 1.7 to 2.0 cubic feet, with the largest over-the-range microwaves offering up to 2.2 cubic feet. These are ideal for cooking family-sized dishes.
The top brands to look out for include LG, GE and Frigidaire, and with so many to pick from, how can you be sure you’re picking the best over-the-range microwave for your money? We can help, as below we have included reviews for fully featured, top-rated OTR microwaves made by reputable brands. We’ve looked at power, capacity, extra features, and how easy they are to use and to clean - read our guide on how to clean a microwave for some top tips here.
1. LG LMHM2237ST: Best over-the-range microwave overall
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.
- Read our LG LMHM2237ST review
2. GE JVM3160RFSS: Best over-the-range microwave for quick cook options
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.
- Read our GE JVM3160RFSS review
3. Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF: Best over-the-range microwave for making multiple meals
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.
- Read our Frigidaire Gallery FGMV17WNVF review
4. ZLINE MWO-OTR-30: Best over-the-range microwave for power
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.
- Read our ZLINE MWO-OTR-30 review
5. Samsung ME16K3000AS: Best over-the-range microwave for affordability
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.
- Read our Samsung ME16K3000AS review
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?
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.
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.
How to choose the best over-the-range microwave for you
Power and 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.
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 and support
We favor units that come with long and strong warranties, so your investment comes with the proper protection.