Microwaves play an essential role in our kitchens and can help us in saving time immensely. Microwaves assist in our cooking in various ways by heating, baking and even cooking food contents. But typical microwaves among other types, occupy space and making extra space for the countertop microwaves can be a rather daunting task. 

Built in appliances are also gaining popularity these days, since they have a more minimalistic design. Wall oven microwave combos, electric wall ovens and microwave drawers are all examples of this. But built-in microwaves can be rather expensive, hence people often consider the option of putting the countertop microwave in a cabinet, since it will be more accessible and will not occupy any counter space. 

A microwave oven that has been designed exclusively for being put on the counter, the option of putting them in the cabinet is not advised widely since it can block the vents on the back of the microwave. However, these days the practice of putting a countertop microwave in a cabinet is being exercised increasingly, but with proper caution. Learn if you can put your countertop microwave in a cabinet too, and what measures you’ll have to take care of.

Can You Put a Countertop Microwave in a Cabinet? 

can you put a countertop microwave in a cabinet

A countertop microwave can be put in a cabinet as long as the necessary arrangements are made and proper safety precautions have been taken. With proper instructions and safety precautions, the microwave can be installed easily in the cabinet and its functioning will also not be affected.  However, please ensure that you do not put it in directly over your range or cooktop. Unlike over-the-range microwaves, countertop microwaves don’t have vent fans on the underside and hence can’t diffuse fumes at all. Built-in and Over-the-Range microwaves are fairly different in terms of design and functionalities and shouldn’t be confused with each other.

Before the microwave is installed in the cabinet, it is essential to get the clearances from the manufacturers. The microwave is built for open air, so inside the cabinet it might need a lot of space otherwise it will not function properly. 

Is it Safe to Put a Microwave in a Cabinet? 

It is possible to use a countertop microwave in a cabinet, but since microwaves are especially designed to be put on the top of the counter, certain hindrances need to be worked through. It should be ensured that the cabinet has adequate ventilation, the shelf is strong enough to hold the weight of the microwave and that the cabinet has a proper wire management system. 

Putting the microwave in the cabinet should not affect the vents. There should be proper space around the microwave in the cabinet and the shelf on which it is placed should be sturdy. As long as all the necessary arrangements are made, installing a microwave in the kitchen cabinet can be a safe option and won’t result in unnecessary harm to the cabinets or the microwave. 

Factors to Ensure Before Putting Your Countertop Microwave in a Cabinet 

Before installing a countertop microwave in a cabinet, there are several safety factors that need to be considered and arrangements that should be made so that the possibility of any complications occurring is removed. There are several ways to work out the hindrances that occur by placing a counter top microwave inside a cabinet. 

1. The Cabinet is Sturdy Enough to Take the Weight 

One of the most essential things that needs to be determined before putting the microwave in the cabinet, is whether the cabinet is strong enough to hold the microwave. The cabinet should be able to support the weight of the microwave. For smaller, every day use standard microwaves, the weight shouldn’t be an issue. But for larger countertop microwaves, it’s always better to make sure that the cabinet can withstand the weight.

Before installing the microwave, it should be checked that the shelf is not bending and that it is secure on its supports. To be careful, extra supports can be added to make sure that the shelf is sturdy. It is generally safe to choose cabinets that are made of materials which can withstand heavy weight. One of the most durable materials for this purpose is plywood. 

The kitchen cabinet should have stability and should be long lasting. The hardware shouldn’t be too old, and should be properly anchored. This ensures that the cabinet will withstand the test of time and won’t be overloaded by the weight of the microwave. 

2. The Cabinet Platform is at a Convenient Height 

countertop microwave in cabinet height

It is not considered safe to put the kitchen cupboard just anywhere. It is advisable to choose a place in the cabinet which is not too high and is easily accessible. The microwave should be placed at a convenient height so it is easy to open and close it. 

When the microwave is placed high above the neck, accidents can occur any time. The standard cabinet height is the one in which you are comfortable. It should be based on your size preferences and in a way that it doesn’t strain you to move things in and out of it. 

3. There is Enough Clearance at the Sides 

countertop microwave in cabinet space

Making sure that the microwave is adequately ventilated after being placed in the cabinet is essential to ensure the safety of the appliance and prevent damage. The clearance needs to be large enough on the outside to ensure proper ventilation

Ventilation is very important for the microwave since it produces a lot of heat which needs to be regulated through going outside the cabinet. This is amplified for convection microwaves that utilize a fan to distribute the heat inside the cavity.

Countertop microwaves usually have their vents on the sides or at the back so it should be checked that there is enough space around the vents for adequate air flow. Most manufacturers have minimum clearance measurements in their user manual, so it should be adhered to. 

4. If a Trim Kit Can Be Used around the Microwave Circumference

Can You Put a Countertop Microwave in a Cabinet?

Trim kits are specifically made for installing a countertop microwave inside the cabinet. They are not necessary to be put while installing the microwave but they can protect the microwave from dust and grime while also giving it a built-in look. They also have the right amount of ventilation space so that won’t be a cause of worry. 

A trim kit is not at all necessary and is basically used for organising and aesthetic purposes, but if you still consider putting it, you might wanna choose the one provided by the same manufacturer as your microwave since it will be made according to your microwave size, ventilation requirement, and type. Manufacturers have recently been making built-in compatible countertop microwaves that you can get custom-made trim kits for, separately. GE microwaves, for instance are often made with a compatible trim kit and can be either put on a countertop or be installed as a built in microwave. When a trim kit is used around the perimeter, it seals the edges and allows the microwave to blend in with the existing cabinet. 

5. Adjacent Power Source

When the countertop microwave is put in the cabinet, it necessarily requires a power source somewhere nearby so it is not a hindrance. It is best if there is a power plug at the back of the cabinet or on the sides, since it will be the nearest power outlet then and of least hindrance. The electrical socket should be in easy reach of the wire, but the wire should not be coiled on the top of the microwave or hang onto its sides. We imply that the spot should be ideal for wire management despite the fact that a microwave power cable isn’t often that long.

A small cut can be on the sides of the cabinet to pass the wire and plug it in the nearest outlet. It is often advisable to not use an extension cord or power bar, since microwaves should be connected to grounded power outlets. 

Are there any Downsides to Putting Countertop Microwave in Cabinet? 

With the space advantage and others, there are also certain disadvantages which come with placing the countertop microwave in the cabinet. Due to the enclosed space, the moisture and heat can damage both the cabinet and the microwave. There is also no adequate ventilation in the cabinet, all of which may affect the functioning of the microwave. 

1. Difficulty Cleaning 

When the microwave is placed on the counter, cleaning it inside and outside can be done easily. However, when the microwave is put inside the cabinet, cleaning it becomes a rather daunting task. While cleaning the inside part is still manageable, cleaning the outside part gets harder. Over time, when it’s not cleaned, dust and debris can settle on the outside part and clog its vents. 

If the vents get blocked, the ventilation in the microwave won’t happen properly eventually leading to its overheating and breaking down. To prevent all this from happening, the microwave needs to be taken out from the cabinet once every few months, to give it a good cleaning. This will ensure the proper functioning of the microwave. Cleaning the microwave is one major difficulty witnessed after putting it in the cabinet. 

2. Heating Issues

Microwaves produce a lot of heat and moisture which can cause damage to the cabinet. Since the cabinet is an enclosed space, the heat and moisture gets trapped inside and subsequently begins to damage the insides of the cabinet. 

There can be a space crunch inside the cabinet, whereas the microwaves require a lot of space for the heat to vent. Microwaves in the cabinet also get considerably hotter, making the cabinet a not so ideal place for them

Countertop Microwave in Cabinet | Closing Thoughts 

It is perfectly safe to put the microwave in the kitchen cabinet, only that certain basic precautions need to be observed before that is done. Putting the microwave in the cabinet is not normally safe but it can be made safe by carrying out certain standard precautions. This will eliminate the possibility of any kitchen accidents happening. 

Installing a countertop microwave in the cabinet does not have to be so daunting and can be done rather smoothly. It can save you the much needed space and can make the kitchen counter look more spacious and clean. The space can then be used for other purposes.

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