You know that an over the range microwave can save precious counter top space, but what is the best over the range microwave?
While there are many great models available, our top pick is GE’s 1000W OTR Microwave.
In this guide we will cover some of the best OTR microwaves including their type, size and wattage in our comparison table and OTR microwave reviews.
Top 10: Best OTR Microwaves
Brand & Model
1.6 cu. ft.
1.6 cu. ft.
1.1 cu. ft.
1.6 cu. ft.
1.6 cu. ft.
1.7 cu. ft.
1.7 cu. ft.
1.5 cu. ft.
1.5 cu. ft.
1.7 cu. ft.
Over The Range Microwave Reviews
GE JVM3160RFSS Microwave Oven
The GE JVM3160RFSS 1000 watt microwave is on the higher end of the power spectrum which results in faster cooking times.
However, with higher wattages you'll need to err on the side of caution to prevent over cooking or burning food.
Microwave recipes usually give a cooking time, but don’t mention the wattage of microwaves that those times correspond with.
GE has hooked the powerful 300-CFM venting fans to a steam sensor that turns on automatically whenever you use the oven. This is nice when you need it (you save a button press by not having to manually activate it), but the fan can be quite loud and there's no obvious way to disable this feature.
There's a version of this microwave available without a steam sensor, GE JVM3160DFBB, so it’s important to make sure you understand which one you're getting should you decide to purchase one.
The dimensions of the GE JVM3160RFSS microwave have been incorrectly published on a variety of sites. Be sure to check the actual specs on the manufacturer's website to make sure it will fit in your kitchen.
The cook time notification and the timer on this microwave use different sounds. This is quite handy when you need to time other kitchen tasks as you use the microwave since you'll know which is which without looking.
On the other hand, the panel is quite dim compared to other units. If you don’t have a well-lit kitchen this may be a deal breaker.
If you’re looking for more automation in your home, the GE JVM3160RFSS OTR microwave may be worth considering. Again, make sure you verify which model you're buying so that you have all the features you’re looking for.
RCA 1000W OTR Microwave
The RCA OTR 1000 watt microwave has a standard array of one-touch functions.
Its normal sensor cooking modes include a beverage button for your coffee and a child lock to keep curious fingers from activating the unit.
However, this unit is designed to go over your range or counter top, so if your children have to climb up on your range or counter top to reach it, you probably have another issue to address.
The handles are made of stainless steel which means they’re easier to clean and studier compared to plastic. Given enough time, plastic will eventually stain and there’s nothing you can do about it. Stainless steel just needs to be cleaned and polished.
This microwave has just enough light emitting from within to allow you to see food cooking though the tinted glass. We don’t recommended watching your food, but the occasional check shouldn’t hurt.
Like most microwave units, the turntable may spin itself out of its track.
This typically happens if it’s not seated correctly before you start the microwave or if you are using a large dish that refuses to spin and creates a lot of friction on the turn table.
This is easily fixed with a gentle nudge.
Perhaps the biggest issue is the lack of instructions when it comes to installation. There's very little in the box for users to go by when it comes to setting up this microwave.
You'll have to seek professional help or turn to the Internet for instructions. Granted, first-time microwave installers would probably do the latter anyway, but normally there's some written information to fall back on.
The RCA 1.6 cubic foot microwave is powerful and large enough for the average home kitchen. While there are quite a few control options to choose from, basic operation is simple and makes this unit a great option to consider.
SHARP R1874T OTR Convection Microwave
The Sharp R1874T 850W microwave trades power and space for a convection fan.
Convection cooking is awesome, especially during warmer months, because you can literally cook food in it like an oven without heating your entire house.
This microwave is smaller than the one in our previous review in two areas, the wattage and size.
It only has 1.1 cubic feet of space compared to the RCA’s 1.6 cubic feet and as a regular microwave it uses less wattage which may mean longer cook times by about 20%.
While the convection modes are a major feature, the microwave requires the turntable to be engaged while it’s being used. It's already a bit on the small side, so this places some strict limits on the dishes you can use.
Rectangular dishes are probably not a good idea since the corners may rub against the walls as it turns.
Most microwaves allow you to adjust both the power setting and the time while they're being used. This one doesn't. You'll have to stop cooking entirely to make any changes and be mindful of your initial settings or accept that you'll have to start again from scratch.
For a small convection microwave, the Sharp R1874T may be a great pick for anyone who will use the convection mode regularly. If you don't plan to bake with your microwave, or need to use large baking dishes, this unit may not be for you.
LG LMV1683ST Over-The-Range Microwave Oven
The LG LMV1683ST 1000 watt microwave has multiple venting options. Not all kitchens are made the same, so this allows you to decide which installation works best for you.
However, installing OTR microwaves can be a challenge regardless, so it may be best to have a professional install it for you.
There is a timer separate from the cooking time notification. This is great for doing multiple tasks without having to remember where you left that pesky apple timer.
It’s important to point out that the timer only beeps once when it goes off and not indefinitely until you shut it off. If you're in another room and you miss the alarm, you might end up burning something.
The LG OTR microwave is a sleek looking unit, but the interior light combined with the glass tinting can make this microwave a challenge to look in to. From some angles you may not be able to look inside at all.
Since it will be installed over your range, this is a bit of a problem when trying to monitor your food as it cooks. In that case you'll have to open your microwave to monitor the cooking progress.
The LG LMV1683ST is another unit that may be ideal for most home kitchens and worth your consideration.
Bosch HMV3052U OTR Microwave
The Bosch HMV3052U is similar to other 1000w models we’ve reviewed, but the interior light in this microwave is especially bright and even shuts itself off if the door is left open.
How many times have you woken up for a midnight snack and not closed things properly for fear of waking others up?
It also has an exterior light to help you see your cooktop. This unit pairs up with the Bosch HGI8054UC slide-in gas range for a uniform look and cooking experience in your kitchen.
On the other hand, this unit has fairly small text on its buttons. It may take some getting used to, especially if you have vision problems.
Many modern microwaves start cooking with the press of a single numeric value. If you're used to pressing "2" to get 2 minutes of operation with a single press, you'll be disappointed here.
The Bosch HMV3052U may be just as a good as any of the other units that we’ve looked at. However, if you have any sort of vision impairment, this keypad on unit may not be suited for your abilities.
Features & Specifications
Over the range microwaves can be hard-wired into your kitchen or plugged in with a standard grounded plug. Again, if you don't know how to hard wire an appliance, contact a professional for your safety and the safety of your family and home.
Electrical experts with Ask The Electrician do not recommend connecting a microwave to a circuit already assigned to power other appliances in your home because of the risk of overload and tripping of the circuit breaker.
Depending on the age of your home, it may be hard to tell which outlets connect to which circuit breaker. If you ever have any questions about re-wiring a space or hard-wiring an appliance, contact a professional!
Over the range microwaves tend to have more capacity than counter top units. If you're cooking for a large family or use your microwave for larger cooking projects, this may be ideal.
While a larger microwave doesn't lose efficiency in the cooking process, the investment to purchase, wire and mount an over the range microwave can be substantial.
An over the range model may not be worth the money or effort, depending on your use habits.
Turntables And Trays
While most microwaves offer a turntable to rotate your food as it heats, many over the range microwaves also offer a convection feature so you can use your microwave as a second oven.
These microwaves often include trays so you can raise food to the center of the microwave space for effective convection cooking.
Convection ovens work faster than radiant heat ovens because they offer heat not only from the top and bottom but also from the back. Convection ovens also use a fan to cycle hot air to your food. This speeds up the cooking process.
Authorities at Fine Cooking explain that convection ovens can reduce cooking times by 25% thanks to the efficient movement of hot air.
Over the range microwaves offer venting capabilities to serve the dual function of kitchen fan and microwave. These fans come in variable speeds depending on the microwave and many offer replacement charcoal filters to keep kitchen odors in check.
An electric range can pull a lot of power; adding an over the range microwave with venting capabilities and convection cooking will add to the power load in your kitchen.
SEE ALSO: Best Gas Ranges
If you're renovating, consider discussing these power needs with your electrician to make sure that you're not tripping circuits when you cook.
Cooking in a microwave can mean handling extremely (and sometimes surprisingly) hot containers at the end of the cooking time. With a counter top microwave, the move from microwave to counter can be quick.
However, pulling a hot dish from an over the range microwave can put you at risk of burns. Spills from microwaved dishes may wind up on your hot cook top and put you at risk of injury or fire.
Mounting an over the range microwave takes some know-how and access to the wall studs. Over the range microwaves are generally larger than counter top models and many include vent features; thus, they are heavy.
If you don't have the tools or the know-how to access wall studs and safely mount the microwave, invest in professional help with installation to reduce the risk of dropping your very heavy microwave onto your very hot stove top.
If you're renovating your kitchen and choose an over the range microwave, be aware that replacing it may require an adjustment to your cabinets or molding.
Kitchen experts with Harrisburg Kitchen and Bath offer several suggestions for dealing with sizing adjustments, including updates to upper cabinets and re-fitting crown molding.
Appliance technology is always changing and improving, and cooking capabilities and size change accordingly.
An over the range microwave can be a striking addition to your kitchen cabinet layout, save you some counter space and increase your cooking options.
If you like to entertain or often cook for a large crowd, an over the range convection microwave can greatly increase your cooking efficiency.
If, however, you’ve got young children learning to cook using the microwave, be aware that the over the range configuration can be hard to reach and increase the risk of spills and burns.
Did you enjoy this guide? Let us know in the comments with your favorite OTR microwave, installation and cooking experiences.