OTR microwaves can be used over standard-sized ranges. The 24-inch microwave can be used over a 30-inch range, while the 30-inch model is designed to fit over a larger range. Cubic feet refers to how much space is in a microwave. But, remember that a lot of that space is due to its height. An over-the-range microwave can hold 1.5 to 1.7 cubic yards of food, which is enough space for a large dinner plate. If you use a convection microwave oven, and need to cook on two racks, height is not an issue. Models with a lower profile (1.1 to 1.5 inches) will still work well for tall glasses and wide plates.
Wattage is the cooking power. A microwave that has 900 to 1000 wattage will work well for a sensor-cooking microwave. A lower wattage will result in a slower cooking time and may cause uneven heating. OTR microwaves that have higher wattages are more expensive because they are more powerful.
Pre-programmed settings eliminate the need to guess at the cooking time. Common buttons, such as add a minute, soften and melt popcorn, and an automatic one-touch freeze can prove extremely useful. Convection ovens should have a glass turntable that locks to allow you to cook casseroles.
Sensors detect steam emitted by food and adjust cooking times and power accordingly. This reduces the likelihood of food explosions or overcooking, as well as reducing cooking time.
Control panel: A control panel that runs along the bottom rather than the sides of the microwave is a good option for those who are smaller. Some models include hidden control panels behind the doors for a cleaner look. A model that lights up can be used in dimming kitchen lighting.
What to look for before buying a microwave oven
A microwave is an essential purchase for many people. The Good Housekeeping Institute has all the answers to your questions while you shop. Before you purchase your next microwave, read our entire guide. Next, choose your favorite countertop microwave from our list.
What kind of microwave do you need?
There are three types of microwaves: built-in, countertop and over-the range. The most popular and most affordable microwave type is the countertop. They are popular because they don’t require extra installation. Simply unpack the box, and then plug in your appliance. They can also be moved with you if necessary.
However, over-the-range and built-in models are more expensive, require a professional installation, and they’re more likely stay in your home even after you move. They also offer unique advantages. Carolyn Forte, director at the GH Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab says that over-the-range models trap smoke and odors from your cooktop and filter them before exhausting it into the air or outside. Built-in models save counter space and make the kitchen appear more luxurious. She suggests that you consider trim kits that will make most microwaves look like they are built into your cabinets if you don’t want to go with a countertop model.
How big a microwave do I require?
After you have determined the right type of microwave for you, you should consider how much space you are willing to sacrifice. You might consider a smaller model if your counter space is limited. The internal capacity of countertop microwaves ranges from 0.5 cubic feet (larger than most 10-inch dinner plates but not much else) up to slightly more than 2 cubic feet (larger enough to accommodate larger cookware). Most countertop microwaves are between 1-2 cubic feet in size. Dimensions outside can also vary so make sure to measure the space you want (width and depth plus height). Make sure the box can hold the dimensions. Double check to make sure there is a power outlet nearby while you measure. Our organizers love to hide cords behind appliances.