Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Feb 12

Should I remodel my kitchen with a countertop or over-the-range microwave?

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Popcorn popping out spells disaster for ANY type of microwave

This spring, when you’re remodeling your kitchen, you might be debating between buying an over-the-range microwave or a countertop microwave at an online appliance store. We’re here to help you make that decision by considering the pros and cons of both kinds. We’ll evaluate the pros and cons of 2 over-the-range models and 2 countertop models and hopefully you’ll figure out what’s best for you by the end.

1) LG LMV1680 1.6 cu. ft. over-the-range microwave (black, white, stainless steel)

PROS: Over-the-range ovens are lauded for acting as both a heating instrument AND range hood, as well as saving space and venting range air. Its 2-speed fan vents more effectively than previous over-the-range models and can move air at up to 300 cubic feet per minute. Its touchpad screen allows you to adjust cooking power levels, switch the rotating turntable on and off. And you’ll cook food evenly and quickly with 1000 watts of cooking power.  One of the better models for balancing size, features, and affordability.

CONS: Because they act as both a heating device and range hood, over-the-range tend to be more expensive. But that still depends on how expensive the separate range-hood and counter microwave you’ll buy instead. Range-hoods can cost up to $120.00 and countertop microwaves like the one below cost around $170, so in some cases, you’re saving money buying ONE over-the-range microwave that does both than buying both the range hood and countertop microwave.

2) Panasonic NN-H965BF 2.2 Cu. Ft countertop microwave (black)

PROS: Less expensive than the over-the-range above, this countertop microwave also cooks evenly and features power levels. It boosts 1250 watts, higher cooking power that the LMV-1680 above. By most accounts, it does much of what the over-the-range above can do.

CONS: Its downfalls? It will take up significant counter space and it only acts as a microwave, not a dual microwave and range-hood with ventilation, so its price might not even out if you’re also buying a range hood.

3) General Electric PVM1870SM 1.8 cu. ft. GE Profile Spacemaker over-the-range microwave (stainless steel)

PROS: This over-the-range offers more thorough filtration that the first over-the-range with a 4-speed fan. Better yet, it comes with lights to illuminate the foods you’re preparing on your range with its bright halogen lights, that also feature a low-light option. Its cooking power at 1100 watts rests right in between the 1000 and 1250 watts of the microwaves above. Unlike both microwaves above, it features a child-lock option so kids who can reach a counter-level over-the-range won’t get into trouble.

CONS: Sometimes more is less. You might not need the lights, 4-speed fan if the cooking power’s less than other microwave models. And if it’s over-the-range and NOT under-the-range, then is the child-lock option necessary?

4) Sharp R520LK countertop microwave (black, white)

PROS: This countertop microwave cooks at 1200 watts, much like the other ones, and holds 16” diameter turntable for larger dishes. It has several popular microwave presets for popcorn, frozen entrees, baked potatoes, rice, fresh vegetables, ground meat, poultry, and fish.

CONS: But what’s worth discussing in the debate between countertop and over-the-range is the fact that countertop microwaves are much easier to install and replace than over-the-range microwaves. By that we mean that countertops require NO installation: you just buy, place on your counter, and plug it in. Then, easily unplug and throw away if you cannot fix it. Over-the-range microwaves come with mounting kits to be installed to the rear wall and under the cabinet. In the mounting kit, you’ll find brackets that attach directly toe the wall and the cabinets over the range. You attach your microwave to the mounting plate and then connect the plate to these brackets. You also have to plug your microwave into an electrical outlet OR connect it to a pipe that vents to the outside.

Call a Vann’s representative from our online appliance store for step-by-step help if you’re installing an over-the-range by yourself OR for information on getting a professional to install it for you.

We hope this blog fleshed out the main advantages and disadvantages of countertop and over-the-range microwaves. We want you to make an informed decision when you’re remodeling your kitchen this spring and selecting appropriate products from an online appliance store. Let us know what else we can do to help you with remodeling tips in the comments section below!

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