microwave over cook top?

Holly- KayApril 9, 2013

Has anyone else chosen to use the microwave over cook top route?

Due to limited space in my new kitchen reno we have decided to go that route. I would love to see pics of kitchens using this method.

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It is not popular here on GW. That being said---it is what we are doing. I really wanted to switch my single oven to a double. I didn't have another spot for my micro (it was above the single oven). And I didn't have anything left in the budget to pay for the $1K drawer, so we opted for the micro/hood combo. It has 420 cfm, which is more than the 360cfm hood I had before. I don't use the micro wave much, so I think it will be ok.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 12:48PM
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If you can vent it to the outside, it should be better than nothing. If not, you are just recirculating steam and grease around your kitchen. That's why it's not well received around here, I think.

Heidi, if you don't use the MW much, why not buy a cheap countertop model and just take it out when you need it? Or find a place like in a pantry or something? If you post your floorplan, you will get some great ideas you may not have thought of...

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:07PM
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We have one now, but it's a crappy MW, and the cabinets above make it far too close to the top of the range. If it were installed at an appropriate height above the range, I would have trouble using it (I'm short).

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Holly- Kay

Thanks for the replies. I was so hoping to see some pictures posted. I would like to have a pretty hood but we just don't have a lot of space. I have a custom hood now and don't like the looks of it but I do love the hoods that I see others on this forum have.I talked to my KD and he thinks the microwave over the cook top is the best solution but I am still not convinced!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:56PM
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Kristen Hallock

Microwave hoods stink. It should be fairly easy to find pictures of them though. Just google "microwave hood" or go to Houzz and type in that same phrase. they are somewhat popular.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:17PM
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I think the main issues with the OTR microwaves is that they don't vent well and they are noisy. I had one and on high it was so noisy it was distracting and annoying. If I didn't have it on high, boiling water would set off the smoke alarm in the entry hall.

If it's all you can do with your layout, then make the decision and move on to the next thing. Sometimes space dictates these things.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:45PM
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Holly- Kay

Wow! Obviously it is not at all a popular option. I am the one who said that is where I wanted the microwave because it made sense to me as I have limited space. What I wonder is why my kd didn't try to inform me of the ins and outs of locating the microwave there? If I had known about this going in and I still decided to go over the cook top I would have at least been making an informed decision. I always hate calling him because I am becoming a royal PITA but darn it I don't want to make a mistake. I doubt if he would have to change the design all that much and maybe the over the micro cab has already been made, IDK. I do agree that the micro wouldn't do a good job of venting so here again is an issue. What started out to be a fun project has become a never ending stream of issues. I need a glass of wine. Scratch that.....I need a BOTTLE of wine!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:56PM
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Post your layout in a new thread.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 4:16PM
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Holly- Kay

When I get home I will take a pic of the drawing that he did and post it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 4:45PM
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holly-kay - we currently have mw over range (not really pic worthy...). I think overall it looks okay and is fairly convenient location wise but as far as the vent goes - no way. I hate it - its noisy and doesn't really seem to DO anything. I rarely if ever turn it on just because I hate the sound of it so much. Planning a new build and factored in a vented hood. I can't wait! I hope you can work it in to your design.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:09PM
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We have one too. While definitely not popular on this site, our kitchen is what it is. Ours is not that noisy and it vents just fine. We hav e a smooth top range right now and if we ever move to gas it will be easy to switch to a hood. I will find a pic for you.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Just to throw out some perspective, I really think most GW Kitchen folk care a LOT more about cooking and how kitchens function than the general population, who often care more about looks. I'll bet most KDs work for more of the latter types than the former. In my market, OTR MWs are seen in a lot of otherwise high-end kitchens, and lots of folks like them, as much for their sleek looks as for solving a space problem. My DB & SIL love theirs, but while they cook every day, they don't do very challenging stuff, and probably couldn't tell the difference between the venting ability of their OTR vs my 600 cfm vent. But I do a fair bit of high heat cooking and spicy foods, and can't stand day-old food smells throughout my house.

Effective kitchen design really does depend how, or if, you cook.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:35PM
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ditto what cooksnsews said. I will also add that many appear to be stuck in what ever year they became a KD. As if they stopped learning right then. I felt after hanging out here that I knew more than most KDs or contractors, that I spoke to regarding basic kitchen design.

To those KDs who are here on GW of course this doesn't apply to you!

So don't be surprised if a KD suggests something that goes against what is suggested here.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Here is a shot of ours. We kept 3/4 of our old appliances so the range doesn't "match" the rest of the appliances. I disagree about those of us with OTR microwaves not caring about function. Sometimes it comes down to space, finances, and/or spousal input.

This post was edited by bcafe on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 18:00

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Holly- Kay

You are all so kind! I love the folks here on GW. I must admit to be rather inept at taking pictures and I don't have a clue how to scan our design so I am going to cross post some pics of the design...they leave a lot to be desired!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:26PM
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If you look through the threads on the forum there are lots of photos of over the range (OTR) MW's, you don't need a special thread. I'm doing one as well, an LG with a 400 CFM fan for the reason noted above. Don't want to give up counter space, cost, etc. etc.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:31PM
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bcafe-nice kitchen. I like your counter tops and lighting. :) My appliances are mismatched right now too but the lovely 2 toned black and white smooth top electric stove with black MW and HUGE oversized white fridge with yellowed handles. Nice, eh? All in good time I suppose.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Hey Holly - what type of cook top/range will you have and what type of cook are you, i.e. fry, high heat, not so much, etc. That may help drive the decision.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:53PM
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You can kind of see mine here.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Holly- Kay

Actually I don't fry anything. At this point i don't even cook often except for holidays and a few Sunday family dinners each month I own a business and spend much time away from our home. I am planning to retire in three to five years and when I do I will be cooking often (more often at least)!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:42PM
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The one big advantage of an OTR MW is space savings. If you have a small kitchen, and nowhere else to put the MW, then that trumps all the disadvantages. Here is a list of the disadvantages, some of which have already been mentioned:

- does not exhaust well because its exhaust duct is tiny.

- does not exhaust well because it has only 2 or 3 small squares of mesh for exhaust.

- does not exhaust the front burners because it is too set back from the front burners to exhaust them.

- the exhaust is excessively noisy.

- requires you to pull hot, sloshing dishes from a height (my particular pet peeve).

- if you are at the cooktop, and someone wants to use the OTR MW, you must step aside.

- gives a feeling of claustrophobia because it is hung so low over the cooktop; typically the MW bottom is 16-18" above the cooktop. Cannot be hung higher because you'd be unable to see into the MW, and because you'd have to be pulling hot, sloshing dishes from an even higher height.

- if you are using a taller pot like a stockpot, you will not easily be able to peer into it or stir it because the MW is low.

- children, say in the tween years, who should be able to use a MW, will likely not due to the height.

- OTR MWs tend to have short lives, because the electronics are exposed often to high heat.

- if you have a professional-style cooktop with high btu's, you cannot install an OTR MW above it - it will melt the underside of the MW. Some ranges specifically prohibit the use of an OTR MW above them in their installation/instruction manuals.

Again, if you have nowhere else to put a MW, then you should get an OTR MW. But if your KD can come up with another plan to allow one elsewhere--say on an open shelf in your cabinetry, or an unused corner, then try to do that.

There is also a MW made by Sharp (or is it GE?) that is hung within your upper cabinetry, not over the range. I.e the bottom is flush with the bottom of your cabinets. I have seen it on this Forum as an alternative to an OTR MW.

This post was edited by akchicago on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 20:23

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:08PM
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I do not feel like over-the-counter microwaves are used for many things other than simple reheating and defrosting, and they have so many negatives. But if that's all you have to work with, it's all you have to work with, and it'll end up fine. I'll give you an example from my space. My house has a small kitchen (approximately 8.5' x 14'). When I bought it 2.5 years ago, the prior owners replaced the kitchen. Unfortunately, they had ordered the materials already so I didn't have much say. I lived with it for about 2 years and then switched out some of the appliances, added a wall unit/ marble counter, new backsplash, and, relevant here, ditched the OTC microwave.

The main problem with the OTC microwave is that it takes up so much visual and actual space. There is not enough cooking headroom and really even space for them, in my opinion, and they almost always have inadequate or overly loud fans (sometimes even unducted). Put a stock pot on your stove and envision where the microwave's bottom will be. Also, imagine a 14" high or so block sticking out from the wall nearly as deep a your counter and further than your upper cabinets.

So I replaced it with a modestly priced professional-looking stainless hood and bought a small Whirlpool microwave others on these boards have used too (WMC20005YD) and put it into one of the 18" pantry cabinets in my new wall unit (after having an electrician wire an outlet to it). I don't regret it at all. My kitchen looks far better than it did, and for not a lot of money.

Anyhow, here's an example of the difference.



    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:16PM
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Couldn't say it better. akchicago summarized beautifully all the reasons I didn't get an OTR MW even though my kitchen is only about 8 x15. I got a smallish MW and put it on the counter. For my family, it was worth sacrificing a little counter space - and I even have a toaster oven sitting next to it - to have the MW in a convenient place and a real hood 30" over the cooktop.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:28PM
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Thanks Ginny!

OK, I found the Sharp MW I mentioned in my post above. The Sharp R121 over-the-counter MW. I've linked it below on the ajmadison website. GE also makes some OTC MWs.

Though I think KevinMP's small MW is a better solution.

(KevinMP - great post. I think you meant over-the-range MWs, not over-the-counter).

Here is a link that might be useful: Sharp R121 OTC MW

This post was edited by akchicago on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 20:33

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Holly- Kay

Thank you all! Now will someone hold my hand when I call the KD and tell him to stop the presses, there is another change under way? I am sure I have been a major PITA during this as I have made a few changes but this is an expensive project and I am willing to spend more to get it right!

I so very much appreciate the people who have been kind enough to post photos and answer my questions. Honestly I don't think this has to be all that difficult though I imagine a stove pipe style hood is out of the question!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:55PM
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You don't have to scan the design just take a photo of it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:25PM
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I didn't notice if you had an electric or gas range. I really like having the microwave over the stove, but now that we are remodelling, we're replacing it with a hood.

In the 10 years we've been in our house, this is the third microwave we've had. I think they keep failing because my hottest gas burner is right under the microwave door. The current microwave still works, but, the apparantly metal handle, turned out to be plastic with metallic coating, which is now peeling off. I give up.

Functionality wise, I like the location and appreciate it for small spaces. Now I'm going to buy a counter one and stick it inside my pantry.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:49PM
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Holly- Kay

It will be an electric induction so the heat shouldn't be bad. I honestly think from an aesthetic stand point I much prefer the hood but I am calling kd tomorrow!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:16PM
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I'm sorry if this has already been mentioned, but with two separate functions in the same appliance, if one breaks down, you have to replace both. I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't think a MW on the counter is a bad thing. Even in my little kitchen I have a place for mine in what would otherwise just collect some other small appliance.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I LOVE mine and hate clutter on the counters! Our new kitchen in the current remodel is being configured to have the same thing!

I have never in 10 years noticed greasy stuff anywhere from that micro-hood. Mine is a GE Profile and it works like magic!

I vote GO FOR IT!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:28PM
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MIne is over the stove and it is fine. I am not a great big cook though. I suppose if you cook often and a lot then it might not be for you. My whole neighborhood (middle class) was designed with them. I don't know any of us who would sacrifice counter space for it. My hubby prefers clutter free counters and the only cabinet space I'd sacrifice is the over the stove space. I wouldn't want a hood there and then have to use of other valuable cabinet space for the micro. Ours is vented to the outside. It does not pull real well from the front burners and is loud on high, but we don't leave it on high for long anyway.

I didn't think steam should set off smoke detectors. Steam usually goes up and dissipates unlike smoke which spreads and travels. You have to weigh your cooking needs against your space needs. We use our micro ALOT, for reheating and heating of frozen stuff. Not too many chefs in our house.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 3:56PM
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Our MW is over the stove for now and was before. We had it vent outside, and will again (working on getting a new vent pipe-thing LOL). It is set up high enough so it doesn't obscure our view of stovetop surface.

I love all the beautiful range hoods but right now we don't have the counter space to spare.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 8:43PM
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