Whether you want to save counter space or just want your microwave out of the way, an over-the-range model is a great option. From large capacities 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 sleek designs and sophisticated settings, over-the-range microwaves typically don't come cheap, so we're here to help you make a smart purchase.
GE 1.6 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave with Recirculating Venting JNM3163DJBB
Heats food thoroughly
Has two fan settings
No butter softening/melting shortcut button
For an over-the-range microwave that combines function and value, this GE model is a popular option. It 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 giving your coffee a quick warm-up. With 950 watts of power, it 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 stove, and you can select from two fan speed settings. The surface light has two brightness settings.
Price at time of publish: $320
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 | Exhaust Fan Capability: 300 cubic feet per minute
Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Over the Range Microwave in Stainless Steel
Straightforward and easy to navigate
Simple, sleek design
Full power at an affordable price
Basic, no special features
While over-the-range microwaves are never cheap appliances, this one provides great quality and reliability at a much lower price point than most. This one has all of the basic features you'd expect from a standard microwave: popcorn, reheat, auto-defrost, add 30 seconds, baked potato, and a stovetop light. But although it's on the simple and affordable side, it still offers a full 1,000 watts of power to heat food quickly and efficiently, and its exhaust fan circulates at 300 cubic feet per minute.
The design is attractive and comes in multiple different finishes, and the large glass window allows you to see your food as it's cooking. Users say it delivers solid performance and is a great bargain.
Price at time of publish: $218
Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1,000 watts | Dimensions: 15.8 x 17.4 x 30.0 inches | Turntable Size: 12.0 inches | Weight: 63 pounds | Exhaust Fan Capability: 300 cubic feet per minute
Best With Sensor Cooking
GE Profile 2.1 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Sensor Microwave Oven PVM9005SJSS
Nice stainless steel, handleless design
Heats powerfully and quickly
Door has a wide swing
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, 1,000 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; many people report that it heats food quickly without overcooking 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.
Price at time of publish: $518
Capacity: 2.1 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1,000 watts | Dimensions: 15.56 x 29.88 x 16.13 inches | Turntable Size: 14.25 inches | Weight: 58 pounds | Exhaust Fan Capability: 400 cubic feet per minute
KitchenAid 30-Inch 1000-Watt Microwave Hood Combination with Convection Cooking KMHC319ESS
Convection function is quick and easy
Includes steam sensor and simmer function
Steam clean mode simplifies cleaning
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 mashed potatoes and beverages.
Reviewers say that the convection function of this model works great and is often faster and easier than heating up a full-size 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, including a steam sensor, simmer function, and steam cleaning mode that makes microwave cleanup even easier.
Price at time of publish: $1,049
Capacity: 1.9 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1,000 watts | Dimensions: 17 x 30 x 17.13 inches | Turntable Size: 14 inches | Weight: 77 pounds | Exhaust Fan Capability: 400 cubic feet per minute
LG MVEL2137F 2.1 Cu. Ft. Over-The-Range Microwave Oven With EasyClean
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 2.1 cubic feet of interior space, this high-capacity microwave has plenty of space for heating family-style dishes, dinner 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. It's got a sleek, modern design, sensor cooking functions, and even Wi-Fi compatibility for setting cook times and power levels remotely.
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.
Price at time of publish: $494
Capacity: 2.1 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1,800 watts | Dimensions: 17.94 x 29.88 x 5.88 inches | Turntable Size: 14.2 inches | Weight: 64.6 pounds | Exhaust Fan Capability: 400 cubic feet per minute
Best for Smart Homes
Whirlpool 1.9 Cu. Ft. Smart Over-the-Range Microwave with Scan-to-Cook Technology
Easy Wi-Fi setup
Very spacious interior with optional rack
Powerful ventilation fan
Prone to fingerprint smudges
Clock often reboots
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.
Price at time of publish: $882
Capacity: 1.9 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1,100 watts | Dimensions: 16 x 30 x 17.13 inches | Turntable Size: 14 inches | Weight: 78 pounds | Exhaust Fan Capability: 400 cubic feet per minute
Whirlpool 1.1 Cu. Ft. Low-Profile Microwave Hood Combination WML55011HS
Easy to install
Slim design looks clean
Still fits a 9 x 13 casserole dish
Leaves ample room above stovetop
Buttons only accessible with the door open
This microwave saves space without minimizing function. The 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 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.
Price at time of publish: $400
Capacity: 1.1 cubic feet | Power Rating: 1,000 watts | Dimensions: 18 x 29.88 x 10.31 inches | Turntable Size: 12 inches | Weight: 57 pounds | Exhaust Fan Capability: 400 cubic feet per minute
We love the GE JNM3163DJBB 1.6 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Microwave for its power, efficiency, and roomy interior. For a great budget pick, we recommend the Amana 1.6 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Microwave.
What to Look for in 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 your stovetop dimensions, since the microwave must fit into that space. 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. Some microwaves even offer convection cooking features, which allows the appliance to get foods nice and crispy like an air fryer, oven, or toaster oven would. Convection cooking works by blowing hot air over the food with a fan and venting it back out via an exhaust. Since one major downside of microwave cooking is that it can result in soggy food, convection features can be a game-changer. That said, if you already have an air fryer or toaster oven you prefer to use for crisping up pizzas, roasts, snacks, etc., convection-enabled microwaves may not be worth the extra cost.
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 aesthetically appealing.
Ease of Cleaning
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. Likewise, some models collect fingerprints on their exteriors more easily, and some are easier than others to wipe clean on the outside.
Can any type of microwave be installed over the stove?
Only microwaves that are designed to sit above a range can be installed above the stove. Since an over-the-range microwave 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 my microwave needs to be repaired or replaced?
If your over-the-range microwave has been used regularly for over 10 years, it may be time for a replacement. Other signs that repair or replacement may be needed are food taking much longer to heat than it used to, smoke or strange smells, sparks, cracks in the door, strange noises, unresponsive controls, or a complete lack of function. In many cases, the issues can be fixed by a technician if the appliance isn't too old.
Do you need to vent over-the-range microwaves?
No, over-the-range microwaves do not need to be vented. Vented hoods send the exhaust outside, whereas many over-the-range microwaves just have filters to circulate that air back inside the kitchen. Venting that air to the outdoors can be a nice touch, but it isn't required.
How long does an over-the-range microwave last?
It should last for around 10 years, especially when kept clean and used properly.
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.
This article was updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef.