Best Over-the-Range Microwave Brands?

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1. Whirlpool? 2. GE? 3. Frigidaire?
Is this the top 3 or am I way off. Any suggestions on where to start comparing brands/models?
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Ken_W wrote:

I have no opinion on the best brand, but I had to go ahead and say it. I don't care for over the range microwaves. They are much more expensive than counter top units, and when they quit they are very expensive to repair. You can buy a counter top unit for less than $100, and when it fails you can dispose of it an buy another. In the 10 or 15 year life of a microwave you will save more than enough to buy several counter top units.
Just put in a shelf to hold a countertop and save the money.
Bill
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I agree in principle - in fact, I think vent hoods look far nicer over a range than a microwave. The problem is that in smaller kitchens, there usually isn't enough room to go with a cabinet opening for a microwave.
As to which manufacturer to choose - as long as you stay with one of the major brands, you should be fine. The deciding factor is usually matching the other appliances in the kitchen.
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Totally agree with others on this. An over the range MW doesn't do venting right even if it might do MWing right. Put this down as another Great American Marketing Fad to put more profit in the builder's pockets and limited or sometimes no usefulness for the poor consumer. But they never seem to learn..."Brittany's got one, I want one, too!"
Joe
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Most over the range microwaves can be installed to vent externally or recirculate. All you have to do is flip a damper. It's entirely up to the builder or installer. If they are vented externally, there's no difference between a microwave doing the vent vs. a vent hood.
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I'm with you. I just tossed a dead one. One that was in this house when I bought it. Not only are they a lot more expensive, they are a magnet for steam and oil and gunge that collects from being right over the cooking surface. Most are inadequately vented if at all. Most just pull the smoke and blow it right back in your face. Of course, you don't know it until you completely dismount one and trace the path of air. They are also very unsafe. You have your private parts right next to hot stuff on the stove when you reach up there to put stuff in and take it out. You have hot stuff at shoulder height and arms length.
I know it works for some people, and for some styles of cooking, but I'd never own one.
Steve
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They are also very

(answering myself with an afterthought)
My wife is 5'2". For her, it is particularly dangerous. She has a small step stool just for reaching the cupboards. A mess up with hot stuff on the stove or coming out of the microwave would be a major thing. Plus, she would definitely have to stand on a stool just to reach up there. And you can't see the fluid levels sometimes, making it easier to pour stuff on yourself if you're short.
I just don't like them from a safety and hygeine standpoint.
But, again, IF IT'S WHAT YOU LIKE, OR WHAT YOU HAVE SPACE FOR, GO FOR IT.
Steve
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Steve B wrote:

I mainly use mine because it is so much more powerful (hence, faster) than my still-working 28 year old countertop unit. It came with the house. I wish it had a turntable in it, though. It has an oven-style metal shelf with little kinks to keep it from sparking.
-- aem sends...
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Ken_W wrote:

They all work the same. More gadgets and more options make them more expensive. If you think that's better go for it.
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

Ok thanks for the replies. I read on some model reviews where the unit dies after 1 or 2 years, yet some other models last for over 10 years. I bought a used OTR microwave for myself which is a GE made in 2002 and it's still working fine. That's not a good sample to base a conclusion on I know.
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Wait till it dies, then take it apart and see all the slime you've been inches from all these years.
Steve
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Steve B wrote:

I agree that it's a bad solution but my Mom has a small kitchen and this combines two things to make space. Combines them badly yes but still it's workable. Otherwise would have to take a cabinet out somewhere to wall mount. Then maybe pay a cabinet maker to make a custom piece to fit around it which is another expense.
Most home builders seem to take the easy way out and design with OTR microwaves, even the upper middle class type houses. The only place I seem to see wall mounted microwaves done right (not above the range) is in the more affluent range of houses.
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Alternatives: a cabinet that already has dead space. No need to hire a cabinet maker, as one can DIY with a shelf and molding and make it look nice. Another is a roll around cart. Think outside the box.
steve
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My Sharp OTR MW was installed almost 15 yrs ago and is still working just fine. But then we primarily use it to thaw, warm, & make popcorn so it doesn't run for long periods of time.
KC.
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Ken_W wrote:

Not an over-the-range, but I love our Kenmore (model #721.---). First feature that attracted me was the inside of the cabinet being rounded in the back and one-piece, making it a cinch to clean. It defrosts meat and softens a stick of butter perfectly - no hot spots. About $125.
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Ken_W wrote:

You are way off.
The key issue with the over the range microwave ovens is how good the exhaust fan for the range is. Avoid units with only a 300 cfm fan.
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Ken_W wrote:

Amana and Panasonic appear to dominate the commercial microwave market. I know just about every time I take notice of the brand in a restaurant it is a Panasonic. That also happens to be the brand of the best one I ever owned.
My current one (Sharp) is okay, but I have never been able to find a setting that will make a decent bag of popcorn. I have to choose between leaving a third of the bag unpopped or burning it.
It would be nice to find one that actually had different power levels instead of just cycling the power on and off with a timer.
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Rick Brandt wrote the following:

I don't use the popcorn setting. I just set it on high for a minute or so and stop it when I hear no more popping for a couple of seconds. That's the way it was done before they put popcorn settings on microwave ovens.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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It IS possible to set a bag of microwave popcorn fully on fire. Don't ask me how I know.
Steve
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Steve B wrote:

I set a bread wrapper on fire in the microwave once....forgot to take the wire twist-tie off to defrost loaf of bread. My son happened to come into the kitchen and asked me, "What's on fire, Mom?" :o) Got it before any damage done, but the end of the plastic bag was flaming.
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