Microwave Question

jengeorgesonOctober 11, 2013

We're trying to decide whether to get a kitchenaid built-in microwave or a counter top style with a trim kit. We definitely like the look of the built-in style better but are wondering if it will be difficult for our children to use because of the pull down door on the built-in vs the side open door on the countertop one. Any advice on this?

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I don't have any advice for you, but I personally decided on the countertop/trimkit style for exactly that reason - kids are 9 and 11 and I didn't think the pull-down style would be very usable or safe for them.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 7:27AM
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Have you thought about a microwave drawer? They're a little more expensive, but it solves the dilemma of where to put a microwave without using up counterspace. There are several brands but they're all manufactured by Sharp, so keep that in mind if shopping for one.

I have a small kitchen with little counterspace and being short with a bad shoulder, didn't want a high microwave either.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 2:07PM
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I have a wall mount built in microwave/oven combo unit and it is difficult for me to clean to the back corners because the door opens down and I am 5 ' 2" with shoes on : ) If you do a wall mount like above the built in oven then a side-open might be a better choice with kids and shorter family members.
Have you considered a base cabinet for the microwave?

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    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 2:19PM
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Assuming they can reach the handle, which a 9 year old should be able to do, why is the pull-down door difficult to for kids to use?

I selected the pull-down style for our built-in MW because the door makes an ideal landing zone, which is great for convenience and safety. Side open doors are OK for countertop microwaves, but they're borderline unsafe when built-in or above counter (like OTR models) because the landing is less convenient. This is especially true for kids because they're more likely to burn themselves using the MW.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 6:03PM
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Above range MWs are unsafe for just about anyone who is under 6 feet tall (or so). You have to reach over/above a stove top that is often hot, there is often no convenient landing zone. Seems like KDs put them there because there is often limited counter space...we are doing a MW that is below the upper cabinets, and has a drawer underneath, with a bit of counter in front for a landing area. It *could* have the built in look, but that wasn't important to us.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 6:10PM
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I think it would be more difficult for a child to reach up over a pull-down door to try to get the food out, so would have to stand to the side of the door which is pulled fully down. I'll have to measure when my 9 year old gets home, but I think she's about 50" tall, and the glass carousal is at about 53". So standing directly in front of the microwave (rather than the side which is what shorter person would have to do with a pull-down door) seems like it would be easier and safer to remove warm/hot food.

Just my opinion :)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 7:50PM
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I see, yeah, that's high. My built in MW is counter height, and it seems ideal to me.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 8:22PM
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If you're considering a MW drawer (which I highly recommend), the cost will be around the same as a MW + Trim Kit. That's what we discovered when we debated b/w a built-in and a drawer.

We really like our drawer - it's easy to use and much safer than an OTR MW or one that's built-in too high.

  • Open with a gentle tug to start it - it opens smoothly on it's own. On mine, I can program a button to open the drawer when I press the button

  • Place the food in the MW - straight down, no leaning over to look inside or straining to look on tip toes

  • Close the drawer with a gentle nudge to start it - it closes smoothly and softly on it's own. Again, I can program a button to close it.

  • Need to stir something? Simply open the MW drawer, stir the food, close the MW drawer. No reaching inside to stir or taking food out to stir and replacing it or, if it's below counter and a "standard" MW, no leaning over and/or reaching blindly inside.

  • The controls are angled up so there's no leaning over or squatting to read/use them.

[Edited for typos]

This post was edited by buehl on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 4:34

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 8:31PM
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I'm looking forward to my microwave drawer! I've always hated my OTR microwave - it's just too high up for this short family (not to mention not terribly attractive).

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 8:55PM
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Just to clarify, our MW is above an oven so cannot be at counter height. There is a drawer under the oven (where the space can accommodate a warming drawer if we decide later to add one). The height is pretty much the same as our previous MW/oven combo unit.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 9:03AM
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If you haven't purchase one yet, consider getting a speedcooker, like an Advantium.

My gf's husband thought she was crazy to get one and now he's the one that loves it the most. They just sold their house and they plan on putting an Advantium in in their new house.
Same for my DH: he didn't think we needed one and now he loves ours (located above our wall oven).
(we also have a simple/cheap microwave in our pantry at a lower height for the kids to use).
Just a thought...

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We didn't want a MW too high to be useful, we didn't like the under counter drawer type as it's too hard to watch things like oatmeal, and we didn't want to pay the price of the $$$MWs that work with the expensive trim kits and we didn't want the stainless surround as we weren't doing stainless appliances.

Our solution was to make a built-in cavity with an outlet over the wall oven for the MW with nesting doors, so it's convenient when we're using it, and it goes away when we're not. Further, we can replace the MW as necessary without being restricted to one that fits the specific trim kit or having to buy it all new. And we were able to set it at exactly the height that was most convenient for us.

Now you see it:

Now you don't:

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Annie, we also had a microwave on a shelf (no doors though - in our house they never would have been closed ) in our previous home.

What do you mean it's too hard to watch things like oatmeal?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 11:21AM
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I meant to add, we loved this setup, although the microwave was set just a couple of inches too high. We have no room in our new space for this setup, hence the drawer in the island.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 11:45AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If you've ever used your MW to cook hot cereal, it tends to blow up with the steam that can't escape and bubble over the edge of the bowl and all over the MW. The only way I know to prevent that, besides using a ginormous bowl, is to watch it as it cooks and stop it and stir before it overflows. This is hard to do under counter, unless you are on your knees. I also imagine washing down the ceiling of the interior of a drawer model would be difficult.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 10:22AM
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