need a low-cost microwave - under-counter - 24" cabinet

feisty68March 19, 2014

Hi folks,

Any suggestions for a low-cost microwave that would fit in a 24" cabinet installed under the counter? I'm in Canada.

I read previous threads and did some research and found these options:

* Panasonic makes a microwave and trim kit designed for 24" wide cabinet, but the total cost would be $675 - seems overpriced to me

* Sharp microwave drawer - again quite expensive

* cheaper options??

Should I believe manufacturer recommendations about required clearances around countertop microwaves? I found an LG microwave that would fit in the cavity but they want 4" clearance on all sides - that seems like a lot to me, even for on a countertop.

When you get a custom trim kit, does it have to conform with manufacturer recommended clearances?

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xedos

Get any microwave you want and order a trim kit from Micro Trim in Cali for about $125-$150.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:06PM
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feisty68

Thanks Xedos. Any thoughts on whether the trim kit has to allow the minimum clearance recommended by the manufacturer? - that's 4" in each direction in the case of LG :/

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:56PM
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xedos

the trim kit is custom sized to whatever microwave you buy and the cabinet it goes in.

It's incumbent on you or your designer to size the cabinet, opening and trim kit according to the specifications necessary for the micro you select.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:14PM
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writersblock

Here's another trim kit company--don't have any idea of whether the quality is better than/worse than/same as microtrim, but I do like the look of their trim better:

Here is a link that might be useful: euro trim

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:12PM
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feisty68

Thanks writersblock. I looked at euro trim but they don't have any trims for readily available inexpensive microwaves that fit 24".

I am baffled that this is so complicated.

xedos-
"It's incumbent on you or your designer to size the cabinet, opening and trim kit according to the specifications necessary for the micro you select."Thanks for the clarification. If that's the case, then the trim kit is purely cosmetic and I won't bother. I thought it might facilitate venting to allow smaller clearances or something.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:38PM
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live_wire_oak

The problem is that you have a pretty small cabinet. Most built ins have trim kits for 27" or 30" and are sized with the clearances appropriately figured into it. One of the smaller GE models might work for you for width to just sit on the shelf, but since you didn't give the height you have available, that's just conjecture.

Here is a link that might be useful: GE JES0736SPSS

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 5:46PM
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feisty68

Yes, it is a small cabinet and I didn't realize how hard it would be to find something with the correct dimensions. I've never been a microwave user, so that's part of my ignorance.

The height of the space is somewhat flexible - I will arrange the cabinet to fit the microwave, but I'm not sure if I can pull off more than the 24" cabinet width.

The GE JES0736SPSS is promising, but it's 18.25" wide, and GE wants 3" between microwave and sidewalls - thus requiring a width of 24.25" whereas the interior cabinet dimension is 22.5". GE also says "This appliance shall not be installed less than 36" above the floor"...not sure why?

Thanks for the help live_wire_oak.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:47PM
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feisty68

This is a possibility:

Frigidaire 0.7 Cu. Ft. Countertop Microwave
17-1/4" W x 13-1/8" D x 10-1/8" H
FFCM0734LS

But the owner's manual doesn't specify space needed around the microwave. I've seen 3" and 4" required by other manufacturers.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 7:08PM
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feisty68

Pretty sure this one works!

Whirlpoolî 0.5 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave

Comes in a silver body as well.

gets pretty good reviews and not too expensive.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 7:37PM
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xedos

feisty- the trim kit is purely decorative. I thought that was a given, but I've been doing this a long time and sometimes miss the obvious.

re: the height. - legalese.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 7:43PM
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feisty68

Thanks xedos. I think the Whirlpool that looks like a TV is probably the best fit considering clearance requirements. Not sure if there's a convenient Canadian supplier.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:13PM
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weissman

No, trim kits are not always just decorative. I know that in my case the trim kit enables the MW to vent out the front. I don't know if this is true for all MWs though. Check the specs on your MW.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:30PM
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writersblock

>I know that in my case the trim kit enables the MW to vent out the front.

Yes, a good trim kit should do this, if it's going to completely fill in the area around the microwave.

I'd just do the corner countertop and call it a day, myself.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:16PM
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feisty68

Thanks for your input writersblock. I like the idea of "hiding" the microwave below-counter in the island because it will face in a direction that is not in any major sightlines. Counterspace is at a premium and anything on the counters is also very visible in our small open concept kitchen (especially because I won't have upper cabinets). Only the coffeepot and utensil caddy will be on the counters. That's the plan anyway :) .

This post was edited by feisty68 on Fri, Mar 21, 14 at 1:25

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:21AM
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feisty68

Thanks also for the clarifications regarding the function of trimkits weissman and writersblock. Sounds like there is not agreement on whether actually serve a function other than "filler"? Perhaps some trim kits are functional (to facilitate venting) and others aren't?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:23AM
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feisty68

OK, I've been looking at a manufacturer made trim kit and it seems to have three functions:
1. anti-tip bracket prevents microwave from tipping forward
2. metal thingy under the microwave is actually a DUCT that compensates for reduced airspace on the sides/top of the microwave and
3. front trim allows air flow out of cabinet opening while hiding gaps around microwave

So, that gives me a new idea. I could use any microwave that fits within the available width (22.5") - and there are many easily available options - as long as I allow adequate vent space above and below the microwave. I have more flexibility in the height dimensions than the width dimension in my kitchen design. For ABOVE venting I can simply allow enough space above the microwave. For BELOW venting I can put the microwave on a sturdy wire shelf and ensure that adequate airspace below and out is maintained. The manufacturer's airspace recommendations should be able to be addressed that way because the models I have looked at don't have side vents anyway, so it shouldn't matter if the sides are close to the cabinet sides as long at the venting is adequate above and below.

So a model like the one below should work (CAN $159). Does this make sense?

Here is a link that might be useful: LG 1.5-cu ft 1,100-Watt Countertop Microwave

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 1:20PM
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xedos

weissman - any of the microwaves that you see with kits that vent out of the front can be used without those kits!

In fact, many models are identical (except for the model #) to units that sell as countertop models.

You only need provide the necessary clearances around the microwave for air flow. All those kits are doing is re -directing that flow so that a face plate can be added to "fill in" the opening created by said clearance.

It's purely cosmetic for those that like the look. The microwave will function just fine without the kit. Though , why you'd buy one with a kit and not use it is another story.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:09PM
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feisty68

Xedos, the trim kits that have a duct UNDER the microwave, thus allowing narrower clearances on the sides, do actually seem to serve a purpose that is non-cosmetic. For example I found a GE microwave trim kit that did that.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 7:12PM
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xedos

Yes feisty, those ducts do serve a purpose, but that microwave CAN function just fine without that kit. That's my point.

That kit allows for a cleaner look, or narrower cabinet, or this or that and the other - but that is purely a cosmetic choice or install requirement based on your design and a specific unit. No one says you have to use THAT unit though.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:01PM
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feisty68

Nice execution of a DIY trim kit with ducting under the microwave:

That is looking like an attractive option.

Here is a link that might be useful: how to fake a built-in microwave

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 3:22PM
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writersblock

Well, that certainly looks cool, but I don't understand how putting vent slits in the box the micro stands on will help it vent. I would expect a MW installed like that to have a very short life span because of poor air circulation/lack of venting, so I'd be sure I was willing to have to keep making a new front every year or two, frankly, when you have to replace the MW with a new one that isn't the exact same dimensions.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 4:57PM
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feisty68

Writersblock, I am assuming that the DIY solution imitates the manufacturer-type trim kits - where the duct passes under the microwave. In other words, I believe that the box that the microwave sits on doesn't go to the back of the cabinet interior - which would allow steam to circulate behind the microwave and down and under the box and come through the vents.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:36AM
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feisty68

considering:

Panasonic 1.2 Genius Microwave - Stainless Steel - NNST663S
http://www.londondrugs.com/Panasonic-1.2-Genius-Microwave---Stainless-Steel---NNST663S/L7704786,default,pd.html?start=5&cgid=appliances-kitchen-microwaves
* this gets good reviews but apparently it's noisy and has a lot of beeping, which I'd like to avoid

LG 1.1 CU. FT. Counter Top Microwave - Easy One Touch Cooking
http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/lg-11-cu-ft-counter-top-microwave-easy-one-touch-cooking/6000092376501
* sounds like there have been lots of lemons, but otherwise consumers are satisfied

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:40AM
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writersblock

Thanks, feisty. It's been a while since I looked at any of the specialized trim kits, but they used to sort of funnel the vented hot air. Don't they work that way anymore? The older third party kits from microtrim et al used to have slashes all over the front panel, especially at the top, to ensure sufficient ventilation, and I see they no longer do that, so maybe things have changed.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:53AM
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feisty68

Writersblock - sorry that I missed your reply! I think that they do sort of funnel the vented hot air - when I looked at a diagram of one, they allow the air to vent *under* the microwave rather than just the top and sides.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 4:12PM
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feisty68

I've purchased the

LG 1.5 CU.FT. COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE WITH EASYCLEAN LMS1531ST
WxHxD=21 7/8" x 12 19/32" x 17 7/32"

It was on sale for CAN$150 at Future Shop (with free shipping).

That will just fit in the interior width of the cabinet, which is 22.5".

I am planning a solution similar to the blogger's one that I posted above (on Apr 2, 14 at 15:22). I will mount it as high as possible for optimal ergonomics, with most venting going under the unit.

Here is a link that might be useful: LG 1.5 CU.FT. COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE

This post was edited by feisty68 on Tue, Apr 22, 14 at 16:22

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 4:20PM
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