OTR Microwaves - need advice!

rmiriamSeptember 29, 2008

OK...I know that OTR microwaves aren't very popular on here, but it's really necessary for our tiny galley kitchen. Here's the thing - mircowaves are 16" deep, but the cabinet beside where the microwave will be is only 12" deep. So the microwave will stick out a few inches from the cabinet (the fridge is on the other side, so that's OK). Do you think this will be really bad? Also, does anyone have an OTR microwave that they really love? And are they generally attached to the cabinet above or to the wall (or both?) Any advice on anything having to do with these things would be terrific!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As you said, OTR microwaves aren't very popular in upscale kitchens, but sometimes it's the only way in a space challenged kitchen and it's still pretty common. Since the range usually protrudes at least to counter depth (26"), I don't think the microwave looks too funny sticking out. When we installed ours, it mounted to the wall joists for main support via a mounting plate, but also had long screws down from the cabinet floor above; I think there was a template for each part. Hope that helps,


    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 8:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had the same problem with space. Our OTR is also next to our 12" cabs and while it sticks out, I've never thought it looked odd (and I tend to obsess on these kind of things).

We have a panasonic prestige. It is the only OTR I would recommend. It has a turbo exhaust that really sucks, but also regular exhaust if you just need a little (quieter) pull. The lifespan on a regular OTR is a few years (from what I've read) and we've had 3 of them in our extended family. My MIL's was was put in about 6 yrs ago and she has never had a problem. She did a huge amount of research before buying and said nothing got nearly as good reviews as the Prestige.

Here is a pic or ours. Hopefully you can see it's profile against the cabs. We've had it for about 3 or 4 years.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 10:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's a perfect pictures - thank you! I'll definitely look into the Panasonic. I think it looks fine in your kitchen. And really, I guess it doesn't matter...have to have a microwave, and we're big on saving space.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not sure what the specs on your cabs are but many uppers are at least 12.5 with the 3\4 thickness of the door. My Mom is getting a Panasonic OTR micro and fan (she has a friend with this unit and vented she really is happy with the suction on the fan) which is 15 deep so we are looking at 2.5 - 3 inches sticking out. I am a stickler about the fridge - I hate to see fridges not built in properly with 3 or more inches after the door sticking out but with the microwave I agree with the others, I looked at a lot of pics because I thought it would look terrible, and as in the pic provided they aways looked fine to me. Read the specs for installation the HD we are using for the cabs tried to force me to put in a shorter cab over the stove so my Mom's would be higher than the specs for her unit required, we had them change it. I saw one pic where someone pulled out the cabinet over the microwave so the door edge was flush with the front edge of the microwave to try to integrate it more and it looked fine - will ony be useful if your cabs have colour matched exteriors. Our soffet is only as deep as the cabs so it wasn't something we considered. I don't think it will bother you at all.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 10:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am mostly a lurker, but we do have an OTR microwave for the same reason as you--couldn't imagine losing the space anywhere else. Ours is a Kenmore, the venting is not that great (but my cooking style does not require it that often--I usually just open the kitchen window if things really get smoky) it does have about twice as much power as our previous (countertop) tiny microwave, so we've been happy with that aspect. Visually, I think that it just reads as part of the stove (same color, ours are both white, as is the backsplash) so the sticking out does not really register as a problem to me---the clutter on my counters probably distracts anyone from noticing it--LOL! I can't tell you for sure how it is mounted--there are screws in the cabinet above, don't know if there are also some behind. Our code requires a separate power source for the MW--there is a dedicated outlet hidden in the cabinet above for it.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Budge, your kitchen is beautiful! Everything looks so shiny.

I'm getting an OTR microwave too. I finally decided on a GE - decent reviews, but probably not as good as the Panasonic. I was going to get a Frigidaire because it's pretty ;-), but read not such good things about it...

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Panasonic Prestige was tied for #9 in the Comsumer's 2008 buying guide but they ony evaluated the microwave not the fan. Our code also requires a dedicated plug. Most come with a bracket that has to be tied into structure behind the drywall as well as the upper cabinet. Panasonic has a video showing how to install the Prestige on their website.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ours is the Kenmore Elite (#80823) microhood/convection oven and I LOVE it! It is so convenient and the convection oven is great to use. I've used it all summer long without ever having to heat up the house by turning on the big lower oven. The exhaust is great (5 levels), optional venting to outside (we did this) or inside. This was highly rated by Consumer Guide products and Appliance.com. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 2:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My advice is to use a half height upper with a microwave shelf below it.

My advice on OTRs is Don't.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 3:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The cabinet above my microwave is 15" deep, allowing the front of the microwave to be flush with the cabinet. I think it is a little more of a built-in look. The cabinets on either side are 12" deep. I have a more traditional-style kitchen with staggered uppers, so maybe that wouldn't work with your style? But I have to say I LOVE the 15" deep cabinets, so maybe you could consider making all of your uppers 15" in depth. Just another option:-)

Here's a picture, but excuse the unpainted area right below the microwave. I'm getting a backsplash fairly soon which will cover up that spot. Let me know if you'd like to see closer up. I didn't have one in my photobucket at this time:

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 4:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for posting I'm not sure I explained it very well. It is a nice look, I agree it is a bit more finished and suits the style of your kitchen.

I still don't mind the more typical installation though I do think I would look for a max 15 inch deep model if you only have 12 inches to the front of your cab doors Miriam - it is possible for it to stick out too far. The Prestige comes with convection. In relation to budget you would be hard pressed to get an exhaust fan and a microwave for what the combined units go for. In terms of the 1\2 upper with a microwave shelf that is lost enclosed cupboard space in a small kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 6:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ww got the Whirlpool Velos - it OTR - which we didn't need but we LOVED the it so much we bought and put it over a counter. It's a convection and mirvo combo with an awesome menu system that you just follow to cook what you need to. I really can't rave about it enough - even has a broiler so you can get crispy foods crisp and cook them fast with the microwaves. Oh and the fan is great.

It is deeper - but that's because it's 2.5 cubic feet. You could have your cabinets on each side be 15" deep to be as deep as the Velos. The upper cabinet can only be 12" deep though since there is a vent at the top. Here's it trimmed out. If you search the appliance forum there's some threads on the Velos. Did I mention I LOVE it - wish we'd bought two!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are really happy with our OTR MW. It is also a Panasonic- not Prestige, but has the Turbo Fan. The fan is better than either of our previous hood fans, and we love the location. Have had a MW on a shelf before- that was also OK- but this way I have saved valuable upper space. The couple of inches that it protrudes has never bothered me at all.

It's all relative- in a perfect world, I'd be driving a nicer car, AND have a truck to do all the heavy lifting. But I drive a passenger van that combines the jobs- maybe it doesn't do either one quite as well- but it fits our lifestyle and budget.

I'm not sure that it's so much that OTR MW are really that unpopular, or that their opponents here are so vocal.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 7:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hey raehelen could you tell me the model of your panasonic? I have not found any panasonic otr microwaves-- the ones I found are "built in"-- is that the same?

I have researched otr mw's a bit as I want one that doesn't hang down too far and some definitely have more front end. Also, as mentioned some are deeper than others.

I have been looking at a Samsung. It has 400 cfm which is a bonus and not as large/deep as some of the others.

You should check out specs on line to help eliminate ones that might be too deep. As mentioned the convection ones are much larger.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 7:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a Samsung. It's only 3 1/2 months old but works great, so far.
We had our cabinets built a little deeper to minimize the amount it sticks out and to gain more cab space for dishes & things.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 8:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was mistaken about the convection but it is only 15 deep and 16.5 high so even with a 10 inch soffett we were able to have a 15 inch cab above and still have 17 inches from the stove top to the bottom of the microwave which is 4 inches more than the manufacturers minimum over an electric range. In Canada Panasonic markets them as over-the-range microwaves.

Here is a link that might be useful: Genius Prestige from Panasonic Canada

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 10:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We decided to make the upper cabinets 13.5" deep so our 15" deep Bosch didn't stick out as much as our previous microwave. Here is what it looks like.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 4:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow - thanks everyone! We're going with IKEA cabinets, so not much choice on cabinet depth. But I'll consider getting a deeper one if they have them. I'd heard good things about GE microwaves, but I'm going to look into the Panasonics now. Unfortunately, no convection or broiler for me - this is a budget kitchen, and my husband would have a heart attack if I spent $900 for a microwave! I'm very jealous, though - they sounds fabulous :)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 7:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Miriam depending on your set up it is possible to cheat your cabinets forward to make them look like they are deeper. Typically you would do this around the fridge but if your stove was in an alcove it would be easy. Even on a short wall with one open end it would work. If Ikea doesn't make a finish panel in that depth you could cut down one for a base cabinet or a fridge panel to hide the cheat space between the back of the cab and the wall. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 8:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Agreed, not sure why the OTR critics are so vocal, don't remember the OP asking if she should get one or not... and yet they still chime in to say that they hate them!

I love my Kitchenaid OTR!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 8:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have the Whirlpool Gold. Nothing fancy but it works for me.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 8:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Must admit in terms of appearance it isn't a must have look but from a practicality standpoint I know it was definitely a must have for my Mom. It is a kitchen right? Function is important. It certainly is a sore point with some but then again don't get me started about not building in your fridge adequately.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 9:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

rmiriam, it's possible to mount the ikea cabs so they are out from the wall a bit (although it is a hassle), but you could also just use a deeper cabinet directly over the microhood, although you might also need to factor in cover panel over the side edges that would show, depending on your door style.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 12:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My microwave sits on counter. It works great, Costco whirlpool, maybe $100 some years back? My KD says to get an OTR, which for me is probably too high, and how do you use it while cooking? I'd be happy to go with a hood, but KD states would cost too much to be in a vent.

Strangest part is the original stove in my 25 y.o. house had a range with a second oven above the cooktop. Maybe there was a fan below that top oven, but I never used it. I just open a window.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 6:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have the Whirlpool white ice. I really like it a lot! Do not worry if things are popular on this site...not everyone here has a huge kitchen or an unlimited budget! LOL

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 9:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kruegesm, I love your Whirlpool White Ice OTR Microwave! If I was taller, I would have done an over the range microwave but I can barely reach the bottom shelf and have to keep climbing on stools.

This post was edited by lynn2006 on Sun, Aug 11, 13 at 0:09

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 12:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bookworm - Is the vent stll there? Or was it just a recirculating grease catcher?

It sounds like you had the double-oven with vent like we had. They were popular in the 1980s.

I replaced it with a OTR Microwave with an exhaust fan. It's adequate.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 9:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It never bothered me that my OTR microwave sticks out. I needed a 36" to fit my space, the only one I could find was the GE profile. I was concerned because reviews weren't the best, but am happy with it.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had to go OTR as well; we chose Bosch. Visually the sticking out is not a problem, I think, because the range sticks out twice as far. One thing we did to increase spaciousness was to raise the micro 3" above standard OTR height.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I struggled with whether or not to put in an OTR microwave as well. Never had one before and heard bad things about them. But the alternative for me was having a microwave in another room because my kitchen is so small. So I went with an OTR. I have IKEA cabinets as well and this was a super low-budget kitchen remodel. My microwave is a Kenmore and it cost me a little over $200. So far, it works great, although I have not had a very long. Installation was very easy and it looks built in with the cabinets. It is supposed to stick out a little bit because there are small vents on the top of the microwave that should not be inside the cabinet. And I am not talking about the actual venting mechanism that's outside the house. This is more like a fan for the microwave that on the very top of the microwave just in front of the cabinet. Also, it needs to stick put a little to allow the door to fully swing open. I think all OTRs are supposed to stick out a little bit. it looks "normal" or unnoticeable. There is a picture of mine in my backsplash post if you want to see it although it is not a side view.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 11:22AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Soapstone in the Midwest/St. Louis area?
Hi everyone. I've been lurking here for the past year,...
Week 45: He'p me!
He'p me! I have no idea what to ask about this week,...
Resurrecting kitchen project Part II
My husband’s kitchen deadline is still May, but it...
Carrara all the way!
It's my first post here, and I have to thank you all...
Week 44: Spring, spring, SPring, SPRING dreams!
I am having spring fever. I can't wait until it's...
Sponsored Products
Bronze Table Lamp: 17 in. Table Lamp CLI-LS495468
Home Depot
Chips Maker Gift Set
$34.99 | zulily
Jeco Classic Water Pump Outdoor Fountain with Led Light - FCL061
$219.99 | Hayneedle
Alize Hi-Rizer Mattress - 61-ALI-10020-001
$834.99 | Hayneedle
Anolon Advanced 5-quart Covered Saute
Home Decorators Area Rug: Starburst Brown and Paprika 5' 3" x 8' 3"
Home Depot
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™