Can Over the Range Microwave be used on a Countertop?

Can Over the Range Microwave be used on a Countertop

Over the range microwaves are generally installed above your range. Their functionality is comparable to the countertop microwave except for the fact that they emphasize an inbuilt ventilation system that eliminates steam, smoke and other cooking odors. Many homeowners think of installing their over the range microwaves on their kitchen countertop, but they are not UL approved for this purpose and are not meant to be used on a counter or shelf.

Why you must not use Over the Range Microwave on Countertop

Over the Range Microwave Working as ventilation system that eliminates steam, smoke and other cooking odors

Reason 1– The underside bottom of over the range microwaves is not flat and would not provide you with a stable surface. It implies that the appliance will not sit flush with the countertop and it can make the usage quite daunting for you.

You can face adversity while placing the pans inside and taking them off the microwave and it can also be a safety concern if your children prefer to use the unit frequently.

Reason 2- All conventional Over-the-range microwaves have a functional venting apparatus installed at the bottom of the microwave which might create undesirable heating of the microwave if kept with zero immediate clearance, especially if the vent fan or surface lights were remain turned on accidentally.

Editor’s Suggestion

Most of the buyers tend to incline towards over the range microwaves as they offer a built-in ventilation system accompanied by surface lights. But, some homeowners face problems with the installation, especially the ones who don’t pay attention to the specific cabinetry measurements before the purchase.

Editor's Suggestion to install Under Cabinet Rangehood over OTR Microwave

If you also own an OTR microwave that you can’t install over the cooking segment because of deep cabinets over the cooktop or you simply want to buy an under-cabinet range hood for better ventilation, then you can opt for cabinet customization. 

You can hire a professional for modifying the cabinetry of your kitchen space. The modification can be done in the cabinets that are not directly located above the cooktop and are situated somewhere on the side. Make sure that the installation is not done in a closed cabinet and the bottom of the microwave is not covered as it would produce the same effect as that of placing it on the counter.

The ideal place of the installation could be right next to your cooking range where most of the prepping is done. Moreover, it is recommended that the base of the microwave should not exceed the height of 55-inches from the kitchen floor. So, in order to secure the ideal utilization, ensure that the height of the oven is not more than 30-inches.

Besides this, the ideal height will also offer you with the perfect illumination of the countertop and you can easily perform the precise cutting and chopping tasks there.

If you get around these modifications and install your OTR microwave staggered with the location of your cooktop, it is imperative that you’ll be losing points for ventilation. If not placed directly above the range, your venting microwave simply doesn’t function the best it can in terms of venting out steam and odor. In such a case, you might want to consider some alternatives to a range hood to compensate.

Final Words

Over the range microwaves are integrated with numerous additional features that make them differ from the other types of countertop microwaves. They incorporate work surface lights and venting apparatus for expelling smoke and other cooking odors from the kitchen space.

These extended customizations in the OTR microwaves make them an ill fit to be used on a countertop. Other microwave configurations that are to installed built-in with the cabinet can, for once, be kept at the counter. For instance, a built-in convection microwave or a microwave drawer for that matter too, can be used on a counter; but not an over-the-range variant. (Check more differences between OTR and built-in microwaves).

Despite this, some homeowners prefer to install them on their kitchen counters which leads to overheating of the appliance and compromised functionality. Therefore, instead of using over the range microwave on the countertop, you should opt for customizing your kitchen cabinetry. It will offer you the exemplary usage of the device while keeping away the heating issues.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for describing the features of both the over-the-range and countertop microwaves. My old microwave caught on fire and I need to replace it.