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.
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.
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
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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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