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We chose the GE JNM3163DJBB 1.6 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Microwave as our best overall because of its powerful and efficient performance. If you're looking for something a bit more high-tech, the GE Profile 2.1 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Microwave has an intuitive touchpad and other useful features.
Whether you don't have the counter space or you'd just like the microwave to be out of the way, an over-the-range is a great option. Because of the introduction of the drawer microwave, however, microwaves in place of range hoods may seem a bit out of fashion. But manufacturers have made sure to update their models and include all of the high-tech features buyers are looking for.
From large capacity and powerful wattage to sensor-cook and dual function capabilities, over-the-range microwaves can be one of the most impressive appliances in your kitchen. Some even have Wi-Fi connectivity so you can control the microwave from a smart device. With a sleek design and sophisticated settings, this small appliance doesn't come cheap, so you will want to be thoughtful in your purchase.
Read on to learn about the best over-the-range microwaves available.
Best Overall: GE 1.6 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave with Recirculating Venting JNM3163DJBB
Heats food thoroughly
Has two fan settings
No butter softening or melting shortcut button
For an over-the-range microwave that combines function and value, this GE model is a popular option. This microwave has 1.6 cubic feet of interior space and includes both express cook settings and convenience cooking modes (for items like popcorn and potatoes). An "Add 30 Sec" button is useful for tacking on extra cook time or for giving your coffee a quick warm-up. With 950 watts of power, this microwave performs well and heats food thoroughly.
Available in black, stainless steel, or white finishes, this microwave will make a handy addition when it's installed above your cooktop. The onboard 300 CFM vent fan helps to dispel smoke and odors from your cooktop, and you can select from two fan speed settings. Reviewers appreciate that the surface light has two brightness settings as well.
Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet | Power Rating: 950 watts | Dimensions: 15.88 x 29.88 x 16.44 inches | Turntable Size: 12.5 inches | Weight: 56 pounds
Best with Sensor Cooking: GE Profile 2.1 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Sensor Microwave Oven PVM9005SJSS
Nice stainless steel, handle-less design
Heats powerfully and quickly
Door has a wider swing than traditional microwaves
Buttons require a firm press
Over-the-range microwaves with sensor cooking provide efficient heating and reliable results. This GE Profile model combines sensor cooking technology with other microwave must-haves, like a variable speed 400 CFM exhaust fan, 1000 watts of cooking power, and a turntable that can be set to rotate or remain stationary.
Reviewers find the sensor cooking to be a huge help in heating food. Many people report that this over-the-range microwave heats food quickly without over-cooking it. The touchpad is also conveniently located at the bottom of the unit’s door, which is easier to reach—especially on an over-the-range microwave. The only common complaint is that the buttons require a firm push, which some users found annoying or difficult.
Capacity: 2.1 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1000 watts | Dimensions: 15.56 x 29.88 x 16.13 inches | Turntable Size: 14.25 inches | Weight: 58 pounds
Best Convection: KitchenAid 30-Inch 1000-Watt Microwave Hood Combination with Convection Cooking KMHC319ESS
Convection function is quick and easy to use
Includes steam sensor and simmer function
Steam cleaning mode makes clean-up easier
Door heats up quite a bit
Buttons require a firm press
An over-the-range microwave with convection cooking is a must-have multi-tasking kitchen appliance for many home cooks. This convection over-the-range microwave has almost 2 cubic feet of space to quickly cook pizzas and pies or reheat leftovers and beverages.
Reviewers say that the convection function of this model works great and find it is often faster and easier than heating up a full-sized oven. An over-the-range convection microwave also makes an affordable substitute for a double oven configuration when space and money are limited. In addition to convection cooking, this KitchenAid microwave model includes other features that users appreciate, like a steam sensor, simmer function, and steam cleaning mode that makes microwave clean-up even easier.
Capacity: 1.9 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1000 watts | Dimensions: 17 x 30 x 17.13 inches | Turntable Size: 14 inches | Weight: 77 pounds
Best High-Capacity: LG 2.2 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave Oven with EasyClean LMHM2237ST
Roomy and can hold multiple dishes
Powerful extendable ventilation fan
Easy to use
Build quality seems a bit cheap
Digital display is small and dim
The LG ExtendaVent Microwave is one of the largest over-the-range microwaves on the market. With 2.2 cubic feet of interior space, this high-capacity microwave has plenty of space for heating family-style dishes, casseroles, and more. If you rely on your microwave to reheat multiple servings or have oversized dishware or serving bowls, the extra space inside this microwave will come in handy.
There are many reasons that reviewers love the LG ExtendaVent, aside from its roomy interior. In addition to being able to hold multiple dishes for reheating, the ExtendaVent’s other claim to fame is its powerful 400 CFM ventilation fan. As the name suggests, this vented over-the-range microwave has an extendable fan that does a great job of circulating air over the cooktop. Exhaust can be internally or externally vented, depending on your kitchen configuration.
Capacity: 2.2 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1000 watts | Dimensions: 15.75 x 29.88 x 17.72 inches | Turntable Size: 14.2 inches | Weight: 76 pounds
Best for Smart Homes: Whirlpool 1.9 Cu. Ft. Smart Over-the-Range Microwave with Scan-to-Cook Technology
Easy WiFi setup
Very spacious interior with optional rack
Powerful ventilation fan
Prone to fingerprint smudges
Clock often reboots
Microwaves make quick work of reheating your favorite foods, but Whirlpool’s model with Scan-to-Cook technology takes fast, intuitive cooking to the next level. This over-the-range microwave for smart homes is loaded with tech-savvy features and an easy-to-use digital display. An app lets you control many microwave functions—you can even turn on the microwave’s convection mode and start the pre-heating cycle.
While full-featured, over-the-range microwaves for smart homes are not always user-friendly, this innovative model is easy to use. The scan-to-cook functionality enables you to scan the barcode of many different frozen foods with an app on your phone. This information is sent to your microwave and triggers a series of step-by-step instructions from your microwave on how to perfectly heat that item.
Even if you’re not big on pre-packaged frozen food, users appreciate that this microwave learns some of your most frequent functions and stores them—saving you time and steps in prepping your favorite foods or beverages.
Capacity: 1.9 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1100 watts | Dimensions: 16 x 30 x 17.13 inches | Turntable Size: 14 inches | Weight: 78 pounds
Best Low-Profile: Whirlpool 1.1 Cu. Ft. Low-Profile Microwave Hood Combination WML55011HS
Easy to install
Slim design looks clean
Can still fit a 9 x 13 casserole dish
Leaves ample room above your stovetop
Buttons only accessible with the door open
The Whirlpool WML55011HS is our top choice for a low-profile, over-the-range microwave that saves space without minimizing function. This slim model fits in the space of most under cabinet exhaust hoods. You won’t miss the ventilator, though, since this model features an exhaust fan rated for a surprising 400 CFM per minute.
With a standard width, you can still heat larger dishes inside this model—you just may need to turn the turntable off to do so. One reviewer was happy to point out that it’s still wide enough to fit a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish inside and tall enough to accommodate a 4-cup measuring cup.
Capacity: 1.1 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1000 watts | Dimensions: 18 x 29.88 x 10.31 inches | Turntable Size: 12 inches | Weight: 57 pounds
We love the GE JNM3163DJBB 1.6 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Microwave for its power, efficiency, and roomy interior. For high-tech sensor cooking, look no further than the GE Profile 2.1 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Microwave, which boasts a convenient touchpad and reliable results.
What to Look for When Buying an Over-the-Range Microwave
Size and Capacity
The size of the microwave is different from the capacity. The size is the exterior measurement whereas capacity, which is often measured in cubic feet, is the space inside the microwave. The most common dimensions for over-the-range microwaves are 30 inches wide by 17 inches high by 16 inches deep. Make sure to measure since the microwave must fit into the space above the range top. You should also have an idea of how big you need the interior to be: Will you be reheating large platters or bowls or multiple plates of food, or is the microwave for warming up single plates or dishes? Consider this before selecting a certain capacity.
The ideal wattage for an over-the-range microwave is between 900 and 1,000, as anything lower will make reheating food a slow process. You can find models with higher wattage, but they will also come with a higher price tag.
One of the most important features an over-the-range microwave can have is a good ventilation system. Since it is replacing a typical range hood, the microwave needs to be able to reduce cooking odors and smoke. There are two types of ventilation: a vented hood, which sends the exhaust outdoors, and those with a filter that circulate the air indoors. Look for models with a range of fan speeds and that are quiet when the fan is on.
Most microwaves strive to take the guesswork out of cooking and heating food by including sensors and shortcuts. Other models do double duty offering secondary features such as convection cooking. Determine the features you require in a microwave before making your purchase.
A confusing control panel, or one that is too high up for shorter people to reach, will be frustrating and difficult to use. Some microwaves locate the panel inside, keeping with a streamlined exterior appearance. Choose a model that will work best for everyone in the household and is appealing aesthetically.
Easy to Clean
Certain models will be designed with a special interior coating that resists staining and makes cleanup easier. Being able to wipe away food with a damp cloth is ideal, especially since this type of microwave is often installed above eye level.
Can any type of microwave be installed over the stove?
Only microwaves that are designed to hang above a range can be used above the stove. Since it is replacing the ventilation system that is normally above the cooktop, there needs to be some sort of ventilation to help reduce any smoke or cooking odors.
How do I know what microwave capacity I need?
The inside area of the microwave is referred to as the capacity, and it is most often measured in cubic feet. A microwave with a capacity of 0.5 cubic feet will fit one 10-inch dinner plate, while a 2-cubic-feet interior will accommodate a large piece of cookware, like a 9 x 13-inch pan. Consider what you will most often be using the microwave for—simply reheating a plate of food or cooking full dishes—to determine what size you need.
Can I install an over-the-range microwave myself?
Unlike a countertop microwave that needs to be plugged in, an over-the-range is a bit more involved when it comes to installation. If the model you chose has outdoor ventilation, and you don't have experience with ductwork, it is probably best to call in an expert.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Erica Puisis is an interior design expert and writer who has been covering topics on home and lifestyle for The Spruce and The Spruce Eats since 2017. In addition to the best over-the-range microwaves, Erica has written similar roundups on other kitchen appliances, including our roundup on the best microwaves.